Sled Fest: Sturgis On Snow?

With the demise of the long-running Red Light Snowmobile Rally in Hurley, Wisconsin, the organizer of a new snowmobile event hopes that people will hop across the border to Ironwood, Michigan, for a new festival.

The Western Upper Peninsula Convention and Visitors Bureau and other groups are planning the community’s first Sled Fest 2008, scheduled for January 4-13.

The Red Light Rally, which was typically scheduled in early December, ran into low-snow problems the last few years of its existence. This area is popular with snowmobilers for its lake-effect snow.

DeeGee Pawlicki, of the Western Upper Peninsula Convention and Visitors Bureau, is not worried about snow. She’s done her research, and these dates are historically snow-covered.

The event, based primarily around snowmobiles and snowmobile recreation, will include races, rides and shows. Events will take place in Ironwood and surrounding communities as far away as Lake Gogebic.

Pawlicki said her goal is to become the Sturgis of snowmobiling. She’ll be happy if the event draws 3,000 snowmobilers — ecstatic if it draws 5,000. And she’s making plans to keep every rider happy — poker runs, guided rides, trailside events, shows, parties and races.

Events will include:
d The United State Snowmobile Association’s season-opening oval racing event in Ironwood to kick off the 10-day celebration on January 4

– SledJam freestyle show on January 10–12
– A parade of vintage snowmobiles will start a trek to Eagle River, Wisconsin, for the World Championship Snowmobile Derby.
– Guided snowmobile tours and special club events
– And yes, some events may cross back over the border to Hurley — poker runs are planned to start in the Wisconsin town.

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