The monstrous vintage snowmobiling event commonly referred to as the Waconia Ride-In won’t be in Waconia, Minnesota, anymore. Instead, it’s moving about 50 miles up the road to the ERX Motor Park in Elk River, Minnesota.
The event, formally called the Midwest Ride-In and generally accepted as the largest celebration of vintage, antique and classic snowmobiles in the world, has been held on the shores of Lake Waconia is a distant southwestern suburb of Minneapolis for the past 25 years. However, changes at the host park plus local housing developments put a squeeze on the event’s plans going forward, causing the host Midwest Vintage Snowmobile Shows organizing body to announce last December that the 2019 event would be the last in Waconia.
Rumors of exactly where the new home for the event would be have flown throughout the snowmobile world even since that announcement, and with each rumor came more rumors over what exactly the host committee was seeking: More land? A location close to the Twin Cities? A lake for the vintage ride? Access to local trails? A place where it could stay for decades?
In the end, the event landed at a site that many observers had predicted and named as a perfect fit. With its landing at ERX, the Ride-In stays close to the Twin Cities — moving to a northwest suburb — and its large population base, yet it moves to a large and very snowmobile-friendly facility where it can have a long and stable future.
The ERX Motor Park opened in 2008 and is owned by dedicated snowmobile enthusiasts Chris Carlson (founder of Sportech) and Todd Plaistad (founder of Plaistad Companies). It hosts snocross events all winter (including regularly scheduled Thursday night events) plus other snowmobiling activities through the season. In the summer, it hosts auto racing events (from its exclusive Beatercross series to high-end off-road truck racing) and numerous other events.
Click through here and here to see two different picture essays from our visit to the 2018 Waconia Ride-In event. Below is the press release from the Midwest Vintage Snowmobile Shows group.
Midwest Vintage Snowmobile Shows Announces New Host Venue for 2020 Show
[Elk River, MN, May 26] Midwest Vintage Snowmobile Shows (MVSS) is excited to announce the 30th annual Midwest Ride-In will be held on January 24-26, 2020 at ERX Motor Park in Elk River, MN.
The Midwest Ride-In is the world’s largest vintage, antique and classic snowmobile event. Formerly known as the Waconia Ride-In it had been held in a county park on the shores of Lake Waconia for the past 25 years. “The success and growth of the show has been nothing short of amazing,” said John Zeglin, the event’s co-chair for over 25 years. “There were several factors that led to relocating the Ride-In, but one of the most significant was impending changes to the host site. We had a number of outstanding options outstate, but hosting a show of our size has become very challenging. We really needed a partner and location with large event experience. ERX is a venue in our back yard that caters to snowmobilers AND it allows MVSS to continue to support the snowmobile clubs and trail associations that have supported us so strongly over the years. Our committee felt it was extremely important to maintain that connection with our local clubs.”
ERX is an all-season motorsports and events facility located on the north end of Elk River, MN, on US Highway 169. Home of Grassroots Snocross and cross country snowmobile racing, also dirt bike and off road racing, concerts, corporate events, monster trucks, rodeo and so much more. “The ERX complex stretches over 400 acres, includes multiple tracks, 10+ miles of rolling wooded trails and a fantastic indoor facility that allows us to continue our popular Saturday night banquet with guest speakers and large display. Our feature for the 2020 Midwest Ride-In is Winnipeg to St. Paul where we will honor all terrain racers and events like the I-500, Jeep 500, ISOC 500, Warroad 500, Regina to Minot I-250 and others like it,” said Zeglin. MVSS is a non-profit organization with a 30 member committee that works year-round to plan and organize the Midwest Ride-In and promote the hobby. For the event weekend itself, MVSS relies on volunteers from local snowmobile clubs to contribute 2,500 hours to ensure a fun, safe and rewarding experience. MVSS donates thousands of dollars each year to these clubs to help finance local trail grooming and maintenance. For many the Midwest Ride-In is their largest source of funding and these clubs are critically important to the future of snowmobiling in MN. For more information visit www.mwvss.com.