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As I’ve alluded to a few times since I started penning articles here at ArcticInsider, I’ve been doing this “editor” gig since the early 1990s. Doing anything that long can sometimes leave you a little jaded. After having the opportunity to ride virtually every new snowmobile, ATV, and side-by-side over the past 30-years in locations around the globe, it can be hard to get excited to go on a simple day-burn on local trails. I say this not to brag, but as a reminder just how important it is to get out and ride…any kind of ride. 

A few weeks ago I had just finished writing a column for Midwest Rider, a print publication that focuses on off-road and snowmobile adventure in the Midwest. The gist of the article was reminding everyone of the importance of getting out and riding and supporting local business – especially after the dismal winter many of us experienced. 

Last winter was a disappointment to say the least, and not just for riders, small businesses that rely on winter tourism were crushed. From little to no traffic, poor ice fishing conditions, and any other winter-based activity -nearly every hotel, lodge, bar, restaurant, and other businesses that rely on winter tourism suffered. 

My pal Tom Rowland of Thomas Sno Sports had called inviting me on a day ride on the trails near his dealership. The local club, the Mille Lacs Drift Skippers, had organized a ride and roast featuring their area trails and local establishments. With perfect weather on tap, an open invitation, complete with a new Arctic Cat Alterra 600 ready to go, and the chance to rekindle my ride enthusiasm, I was in. 

Wearing his Saturday best jeans, Tom was perfectly geared for the ride. The Driftskippers club house in Isle served as the launching point for the day’s rides and activities.

In short, it was a great day, and the trails were fantastic. The Drift Skippers maintain some of my favorite snowmobile trails in Minnesota, and the same can be said for their ATV and side-by-side trails. Things kicked off with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Isle Fire Department, and Tom and I wrapped things up with a big burger, a cold drink, and the third best chili in town at my favorite central Minnesota cold beer and thick burger destination – Mugg’s.

One of my favorite features of the Red Top Trails outside of Isle is they feature dedicated 50-inch wide trails for ATVs. More technical in nature, they were just what our Alterra’s craved.

The ride was just what I needed to get my summer season kicked-off. In fact, it was so good I’m announcing the first ArcticInsider Ride & Rally, June 29th in Wahkon, Minnesota. The free to participate ride will include raffle prizes for everyone who preregisters, guided and self-guided rides for both 50-inch and under and over vehicles, and on your own lunch and Arctic Cat trivia following at Mugg’s. I’ll be announcing details including online registration next week. The ride will be open to all brands, but obviously I’m especially encouraging Arctic Cat riders to show up and gear up. Until then, here’s some highlights from my ride.

There were several large groups participating in the organized ride portion of the event, many including a mix of vehicle types.
Excited by our just hatched ArcticInsider Ride & Rally idea, Tom was quick to start recruiting participants for the event.
A lot of work has went into the trails in this region so as to prevent wear, tear, and erosion. This kind of effort often goes unnoticed but is often what it takes to ensure a trail remains open, especially over sensitive environments.
Community involvement is what makes events like this work, and we were super appreciative of the Isle Fire Department being on hand…mostly because we love pancakes.
Mugg’s in Wahkon, Minnesota is a popular ride destination for snowmobilers, and it will serve as our host venue during the ArcticInsider Ride & Rally at the end of June. Details to be announced next week.
This early spring ride was just what I needed to get excited for the summer season, and it’s just what many businesses who rely on snowmobile and OHV traffic need after a dismal winter. So, get out there and ride.


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