The Heartland 200 snowmobile racing event, affiliated with Cor Powersports, will be raced on Fish Hook Lake Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 27-28.
Butch De La Hunt, president and CEO of the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce, announced the decision to race on the ice on Feb. 17, due to a lack of snow on the area’s woodland trails.
He said the decision was made in cooperation with the Nevis Trailblazers and Forest Riders snowmobile clubs, the local race committee and Cor Powersports. The announcement was timed to give race crews 10 days to set up machines for the ice course.
De La Hunt said the race committee does not expect to shift back to a woods race, even if a snow event takes place.
Racers can register online at corpowersport.com or on-site Friday, Feb. 26 until 8:30 p.m. at the C’Mon Inn conference room. No walk-up registrations will be accepted due to COVID-19 protocols.
Gates open at 8 a.m. and racing starts at 9 a.m. both days. For spectators, admission is $10 for adults, free for ages 12 and younger. A portion of proceeds will support the event and increase the purse for winning racers.
De La Hunt said Cor Powersports has more than 120 registered races in the circuit, and they anticipate more than 100 entries in a variety of divisions.
“Park Rapids is the first race for many weeks,” he said. “Many race venues canceled this year due to poor snow conditions and/or COVID-19 restrictions, with the state limiting crowd gathering at events.
“The Park Rapids race comes at a time when positivity rates have dropped significantly, vaccination rates are going up and the event can be organized with many COVID-19 precautions.”
For example, the ice race is spread out across the entire lake. Also, the event has eliminated the food court and warming tents and placed restrictions on gathering on the pit area and at officials’ headquarters.
“People will be encouraged to watch their families in cars along the race route and practice all social distancing protocols in outdoors environments,” De La Hunt said.
He added that anyone interested volunteering can call the Chamber at 732-4111, and fans who are unable to make it out on the lake can tune into 92.5 FM for live coverage of the race.
More details will be in the Enterprise’s Feb. 24 edition. Visit the Chamber’s website at parkrapids.com for a list of race sponsors.