Jan 18, 2023 | By: Justin Othoudt

Northwoods Experience: Snowmobile Ride in Bemidji Brings Veterans Together

Snowmobiling is one of the great activities Minnesota can provide and have people come together together for in the winter. This sense of camaraderie the motorsport can inspire was the main inspiration for the annual Veterans Appreciation Ride, held last Saturday in Bemidji.

The event was the result of a long-standing collaboration between the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association (MnUSA) and the Minnesota Snowmobile Education and Advancement Fund (MnSEAF).

“Back 15 years ago, we decided that we could bring some veterans and give them a little payback, so we started the event,” said MnSEAF President and Veterans Appreciation Ride co-founder Terry Hutchinson. “We had about 20 people participate.”

Years later, the event has grown significantly. Initially it was reported that 94 veterans would be attending the event, but Hutchinson claims that when the day of the ride finally came, over 180 people participated.

During the ride itself, participants were placed in groups based upon their experience level, with the most experienced riders manning the front and the least experienced taking up the rear. To establish this order, organizers asked riders a series of questions regarding their experience on a snowmobile.

Overall, the day sought to provide a fun experience for everyone involved, and according to those involved, it proved to be an ideal day for a ride.

“Everybody I talked to had fun. Just ecstatically,” said North Country Snowmobile Club administrator Rod Seibel. “It was just a great event to get all the people together like that on snowmobiles.”

Gear, lodging and snowmobiles were all provided for the veterans attending, assuring that everyone had a chance to ride.

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