ATVers were everywhere during convention

For a weekend and then some there were ATVs everywhere you looked in Ely, Babbitt, Tower and Embarrass.
The ATV Minnesota Ride and Rally was hosted by the Prospector ATV Club Sept. 17-19 weekend and the turnout was higher than it has been in decades, according to organizers.
“We were really happy with how it all went. There was a lot of things going on and a lot of volunteers and businesses that made it happen,” said Prospector President Nick Wognum.
The event included a Friday line up of a pancake breakfast at Timber Hall, a guided VIP Ride to the Lake Vermilion Soudan Underground Mine State Park, the ATV Big Air Tour in Babbitt, followed by more guided ATV rides on Saturday and a banquet Saturday night at Miners Dry in Ely.
The VIP Ride of 180 people included touring new sections of the Prospector trail system and a stop at a gravel pit where two coach busses brought riders to the Lake Vermilion Soudan Underground Mine State Park for a lunch catered by Fortune Bay Resort-Casino.
The new ATV campground to be built adjacent to the state park was discussed by DNR Park Manager Jim Essig and DNR Parks and Trails Regional Manager. The hope is to have the project out for bids in 2022 with 32 campsites built to meet the needs of ATVers.
A number of elected officials were on hand as well including U.S. Rep. Pete Stauber (R), MN State Sen. Tom Bakk (I), State Sen. Dave Tomassoni (DFL), MN Speaker of the House Melissa Hortman (DFL), MN House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R), MN State Rep. Rob Ecklund (DFL), Rep. Anne Neu Brindley (R), Rep. Josh Heintzman (R), Rep. Dave Lislegard (DFL), St. Louis County Board Chair Mike Jugovich, Ely Mayor Roger Skraba, Tower Mayor Orlyn Kringsted, Morse Supervisor Terry Soderberg and Breitung Township Chair Tim Tomsich.
There was a common theme, to create a national ATV destination in northern Minnesota and to get ahead of Wisconsin. There was an emphasis on joining local clubs so they can effectively spend funding, hold events and maintain trails.
Following the ride, there was a huge turnout for the ATV Big Air Tour in Babbitt, sponsored by ATV Minnesota and the Prospector ATV Club. A crowd of over 1,000 watched as professional riders flew 40 feet in the air and did a variety of tricks before landing on an air filled ramp. Kids lined the fences and got high fives from riders on their way back.
On Saturday guided rides left from eight different locations to check out the 250 miles of Prospector trails. It was a beautiful day and the trails were in great shape for the over 350 people registered for the event.
The event wrapped up Saturday night at the historic Pioneer Mine in Ely with presentations by Chris Gamoche of Polaris Ride Command, Dan Kleen of NOHVCC and Craig Smith of All Balls Racing. Bylaw changes were approved and an election of officers was held with Erv Kleinschmidt re-elected as Treasurer and Dan Murch elected as second Vice President.
The night was filled with fun and games, a meal cooked on site and ATV Minnesota's famous live auction.
“The Prospector Club did a great job hosting,” said ATV MN President Ron Potter. "That was a lot to pack into two days and we heard people had fun which is what we want for Ride and Rally."
The event will be held in 50 Lakes next year after being in the Ely area the last two years.