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Enthusiasm builds for USXC Winnipeg to Willmar I-500 race through PR

Brian Nelson owns the USXC circuit that is planning a 500-mile race. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

The 2015 USXC Racing Winnipeg to Willmar I-500 took another step closer to reality with the hiring of Cameron Koopman as event coordinator.

Koopman will be specifically responsible for tying together all the loose ends necessary to make the race a reality next season. This is a massive undertaking, making sure all the stakeholders on the almost 600-mile proposed route are on the same page in time for next season.

The race will go through Park Rapids.

In the past, one of the major hurdles facing a revival of this storied race was the ability to get, literally, dozens of cities, counties, law enforcement personnel, snowmobile clubs, and a variety of other agencies moving in one direction. Not to mention two countries, Canada and the United States. USXC has channeled their passion for cross country racing into facing down the details of holding this historic race, one step at a time. Cameron Koopman was specifically hired to help address the details of this race more efficiently.

“Cameron will be traveling the race route from Winnipeg down to Willmar coordinating all the various groups,” according to USXC owner Brian Nelson. “We’ve gotten this far and it was time to bring in a dedicated individual to nail this event down.”

With the event a little over a year away, Nelson added, “Cameron’s hiring just makes sense at this point.”

Koopman is an avid snowmobile enthusiast who hails from Wisconsin. He recently received a degree in sports marketing from Minnesota State University Mankato. His brother is also a former snocross competitor, so he is no stranger to snowmobile racing.

The original I-500 ran a continuous route between Winnipeg, Manitoba and St. Paul from 1966 through the early 1980s in conjunction with the St. Paul Winter Carnival. After various iterations of the event or no I-500 at all, the race began consistently running, approximately, 150-mile loops over three days out of the Seven Clans Casino near Thief River Falls in 2005.

Brian Nelson, a two-time winner of the original I-500, has worked to revive the old race format, while understanding that racing into the Twin Cities has become an impractical option. The 2015 race will involve a four day trek from Winnipeg to Willmar, remaining as faithful to the original route as possible. USXC Racing welcomes Cameron Koopman to the team of individuals planning this historic event.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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