2022 Vintage Midwest Ride-In: The Brands Have It

Midwest Ride In parking area
One of the best parts of the Midwest Ride-In is that it’s a riding event, not just a “show” where sleds are brought, showcased and trailered away without ever being used the way they were intended.

The Midwest Ride-In event – previously known by many simply as “Waconia” – has grown into arguably the largest vintage snowmobile event in the world.

The event dates back 31 years, but starting in 2020, it moved out of its Waconia, Minnesota, laketop location to the 500-plus acre ERX Motor Park in Elk River, Minnesota, which has allowed it to grow even more.

The Ride-In is an extravaganza of all things old-school snowmobiling which draws collectors and memory seekers from far and wide. There’s racing action, a swap meet, judged events and various entertaining things to do, but the very best part to us is the “ride” aspect of it.

When we visited on Saturday, January 29, the place was abuzz with old snowmobiles being drive on ERX’s 10-mile trail system. At any one moment while we walked the grounds, we’d be getting passed by a super-loud Sno Jet with rear-exiting pipes, a perfectly restored Mercury, a classic Scorpion featuring a modern suspension or a Allsport cockpit sled. Nobody was going over about 20 mph, but everybody was having a great time. Folks would gather at the big bonfire and swap stories, admire each others’ sleds and then make another lap.

Here are just a few of the photos we captured at the three-day event, celebrating some of the brands that had strong showings. Enjoy.

John Deere
John Deere was the featured brand at the 2022 Midwest Ride-In, and there were dozens of them both inside the main hall and outside on the trails at the event.
Midwest Ride In
If you look closely in this image, you’ll see sleds from the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s.
Sno Jet snowmobiles
In the club parking areas, collectors lined up their showpieces by brand, as seen in this Sno Jet image.
Rupp is another brand that always seems to attract a crowd at big vintage events.
swap meet
Old and new riding gear are a part of the scene in the swap meet every year.
Sleds at the Ride-In are in varying form of restoration or modification. Restomods like the red Whiz are always fun to gawk at.
Midwest Ride In Moto-Ski
The Moto-Ski brand was very well represented at the Ride-In. Here’s a small subset of those parked by one trailer.
Classic Cats
It wouldn’t be a vintage snowmobile event without some awesome looking Arctic Cats.
This Skiroule parking area was violated by a couple other brands, but nobody seemed upset.

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