Prospector ATV Club offers 12 guided rides at fall “Ride & Rally”
On Sept. 19, hundreds of ATV riders from across Minnesota will be squeezing the throttle on their ATVs as they venture out on area trails.
The rides, with starting points in Ely, Babbitt, Embarrass and Tower, are part of the annual convention of the ATV Association of Minnesota (ATVAM), hosted this year by the Prospector Loop ATV Club.
This is the second year in a row that the 3-day event, also known as the ATV Minnesota ‘Ride & Rally’, has been held in the area.
Last year the gathering was in Crane Lake, hosted by the Voyageur Country ATV club and featured the dedication of a $1.26 million bridge over the Vermilion River.
COVID-19 forced the Prospector Club to scale back on some event activities, cancelling the annual banquet and moving the group’s fund-raising auction from a live, standing-room-only event to an online auction on eBay.
But that hasn’t dampened the spirit of ATVAM and its members, who belong to 70 ATV clubs that build and maintain the state’s many outstanding ATV trails.
To allow for social distancing, registration for the event and the many rides offered is also online, with all rides listed on the ATVAM website.
“Each ride is unique and we have staggered starting times from seven locations to spread people out,” said Wognum, Prospector ATV Club president.
In addition, each ride has a maximum number of vehicles to keep group sizes down and social distancing easier to manage during stops on the trails.
Rides vary from 25 miles to a 180-mile roundtrip from Ely to the Trestle Inn 10 miles from Lake Superior. That ride is already full.
“We were surprised that the furthest ride filled up first,” said Wognum. “That just shows we have a lot of people out there who love to put miles on.”
All 12 rides will be guided by Prospector members who know the trails well, and will include a leader at the front of the pack and a “sweeper” in the back, to ensure riders stay together and provide assistance should anyone have a flat tire or mechanical issue.
Over 120 riders have already signed up for one of the 12 guided rides. That’s not surprising.
This summer, after months adhering to the Governor’s stay-at-home order, both veteran riders and those new to off-road riding have been heading for the trails in record numbers.
Sales of ATVs — both Class 1 (up to 50 inches wide) and Class 2 (over 50 but not more than 65 inches wide, also called Side-by-Sides) — have been increasing rapidly, as Minnesota residents stayed closed to home and searched for new outdoor activities.
According to the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC), total ATV sales in the U.S. jumped 43% for the first 6 months of 2020, compared to the same period last year.
Polaris Industries recently reported that the second quarter of 2020 was the strongest in demand for its products in its 66-year history, with nearly 75% of its customers being first-time Polaris buyers.
It’s clear, ATV owners are ready to “Ride & Rally” at the ATVAM State Convention.
Other scheduled events include a VIP ride on Friday, Sept. 18, from Embarrass to Tower, with a lakeside catered lunch before the return trip, and a pancake breakfast the morning of the 18th.
The Prospector Loop ATV Club welcomes long-time riders and new riders and their families to the Ride & Rally.
All riders are encouraged to join ATVAM if they are not members already. More information and online registration for the event and the rider’s choice of routes are available on the ATVAM website: atvam.org.
The Prospector Club’s goal is to create a new ATV trail system that will connect five communities (Ely, Babbitt, Embarrass, Soudan and Tower, MN), two state parks (Bear Head Lake State Park and Lake Vermilion State Park) and Lake County Regional ATV Trail.
ATVAM is the state association representing 70 ATV clubs across Minnesota.
Established in 1983, it serves the interests of ATV owners in Minnesota by advocating for ATV recreation, advancing the safe use of ATVs, building trails economically and environmentally sustainable, providing information, and participating in legislative and regulatory activities related to the use of all-terrain vehicles.