Since 2010, mayors in local communities have joined a convoy of snowmobilers on the Rum River to raise money for community organizations.
Only the 2012 Mayors Trail Ride has been canceled due to lack of snow. Last year’s event was postponed until more snow came. Organizers are upbeat at the sight of deep snow and the feeling of frigid temperatures that have come so far this winter.
“The snow and ice conditions are good right now,” said Ramsey Police Chief Jim Way, who has the title of trail boss for this event.
The fifth annual, but fourth actual, Mayors Trail Ride is Saturday, Feb. 1 and involves mayors from the cities of Andover, Anoka, Nowthen, Oak Grove, Ramsey and St. Francis. Last year’s event drew 122 riders.
Although the event is still about a month away, riders can register in advance for a discount. Pre-registration forms can be found by visiting any of the city websites. The cost is $10 per person in advance or $20 the day of the event registration. Kids under the age of 14 ride for free.
Rider registration begins at 10 a.m. at the Anoka County Fairgrounds and the ride begins shortly after that. Riders are spread out and are not required to stop at all the same rest stops, but they get a card stamped at each location to become eligible to win prizes from the sponsors such as snowmobile jackets and clothing from Polaris or gift certificates from East Main Tire and Auto in Anoka, for example.
The whole route along the Rum River from the fairgrounds to St. Francis is about 20 miles, according to Way.
The ride officially wraps up at McDuff’s Eatery and Pub in Ramsey at 3 p.m., but other businesses also offering specials and stamping cards during the ride will be Billy’s Bar and Grill, Casa Rio Tex Mex, River City Saloon and Serum’s Good Time Emporium in Anoka; Northwoods Bar & Grill in Nowthen; Bill Superette in Nowthen and Oak Grove; Mac & Chesters SRO in Oak Grove; and Beef O’Brady’s and Dairy Queen/Orange Julius in St. Francis.
Everyone is also invited to check out the bonfire set up by the Sno Ghosts of Anoka County, which is a local snowmobile club. The bonfire will be at the Cedar Creek Conservation Area, which is an Anoka County park on the east side of the Rum River in Andover and Oak Grove.
The Mayors Trail Ride started as an idea between a few local people who wanted to connect the communities, show off the great snowmobile trail options in the area all while raising money for charitable causes, according to Anoka City Councilmember Jeff Weaver.
The cities of Andover, Anoka and Ramsey partner with Youth First Community of Promise to provide space in existing community buildings for youth recreational and educational opportunities. There were already some annual fundraisers such as the Mayors Prayer Breakfast and a Taste of Community. The Mayors Trail Ride was another idea to help this non-profit raise money, Weaver said.
The three mayors set up a post-ride gathering at McDuff’s Eatery and Pub the first year. By the time the second inaugural trail ride arrived in 2011, Nowthen, Oak Grove and St. Francis joined in as did other restaurants and business sponsors.
Weaver loves that this event ties together all the Anoka County communities that border the Rum River and that there are usually new snowmobilers every year, some who may have never tried out the local trails that break off from the Rum River. “When you get back in the woods, it feels like you are completely outside the metro so this event is a good opportunity to show that there are great trail options close to home,” he said.
“It’s a phenomenal day to highlight Anoka County and all it has to offer. I like to see people enjoying the resources available in their back yard.”
Eric Hagen is at