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Ontonagon County will host ATV rally

BRUCE CROSSING -- Ontonagon County will host the second annual National All-Terrain Vehicle Ride-In Rally June 26. Rally central will be Bruce Crossing, on a field east of the U.S. 45-M-28 intersection.

The rally will include the first in a series of ATV Super Challenges. Trail riders with trail and utility ATVs race side-by-side on a closed course that includes a series of mud puddles, hills and tight corners.

Registration will be at the course starting at noon (EDT), with competition at 2 p.m. After the event, the Bruce Crossing Lions Club will prepare a cook-out at Stannard Park.

Throughout the day, ATV riders can enjoy multi-use trails in the county. A group of women ATV riders will take a ride to the scenic Agate Falls trestle.

Mi-TRALE, the event organizer, also plans a treasure hunt. ATV riders will find clues at participating businesses to look for a certificate for a set of ATV tires, donated by Whitetail Tire of Ewen. The club will also have hidden a certificate for $100. It will be redeemed on Saturday night.

A dance is set for Saturday night at the Stannard Park pavilion, with the Bruce Crossing Fire Department providing beverage service.

Last year's National ATV Ride-In Rally had nearly 150 riders, and Mi-TRALE hopes to see an increase this year. With ATV sales surpassing snowmobile sales in the Midwest, ATV tourism is becoming a major business in the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin.

"It was the Wisconsin Department of Tourism that just released a study showing ATV riders spend more money on a daily basis than snowmobilers," said Mi-TRALE board member Skip Schulz. "Over this Memorial Day weekend, more than 2,000 ATV riders were in the Hurley area," Schulz noted, adding his organization hopes the National ATV Ride-In Rally will grow to those numbers in years to come.

Mi-TRALE (Michigan Trails and Recreation Alliance of Land and the Environment), has a goal to have all the roads in Ontonagon County open to ORV use, and hopes to build an ATV trail system connecting Ironwood to Houghton.

The organization has officers in both Ontonagon and Gogebic counties, and members in the U.P., Wisconsin and Illinois. It is a member of the Wisconsin ATV Association, Blue Ribbon Coalition and Ontonagon County Chamber of Commerce.

Mi-TRALE plans an ATV Super Challenge points race at this year's Gogebic County Fair. Ironwood Chamber of Commerce executive secretary Kim Kolesar led the effort to have a Super Challenge at the fairgrounds last year and is involved again this year.

"Our organization consists of community leaders from both Ontonagon and Gogebic counties. We're hoping to get more members from Gogebic County to help us in building an ATV trail system from Ironwood to Marenisco -- then we can ride an ATV all the way to South Range to the north, to Florence, Wis., to the east, and to the Baraga Plains ORV trail system," said Schulz.

Contact Schulz at 884-9668 or via e-mail at:

Composed: 06/04/2004 | Modified: 06/04/2004

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