Vintage snowmobile ride brings hundreds of riders to the Iron Ra - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Vintage snowmobile ride brings hundreds of riders to the Iron Range

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A small city just outside of Chisholm called Kinney, has a population of just over 150 people. That means on Saturday, there were almost twice as many snowmobiles in town, as there were people. It was part of the annual Vintage Snowmobile Ride, where it was out with the new, and in with the old. 

"These are the sleds that I grew up with. My dad had these sleds, and we've had them all our life. And I've been snowmobiling since I was a little kid," said Scott Sauter, a participant in the ride.  

Fifteen years ago event organizer Larry Hauta got a few of his closest friends together, and started the ride. 

"We had 75 sleds the first year, and it's only grown from there," said Hauta. 

Nearly two decades later, what started as a group of friends looking for a good time, has grown into an annual tradition. It now attracts roughly 300 of the areas oldest snowmobiles.

"You're going to get every year from '62 to 2018 here, and you can actually see each make and models development through the years," said Kevin Anderson, a participant at the ride.  

The older sleds are much slower than the newer ones, but speed isn't what these riders are looking for. 

"The new sleds are nice, but it's fun to get out on the old ones and actually ride 20 miles per hour all day and enjoy the scenery a little bit," said Sauter.  

Advancements in snowmobile technology also means the the older sleds are also not as smooth riding as the state of the art models. That also doesn't matter to these folks. 

"The rides are pretty primitive on these. You will be sore after a 14 mile ride on these," said Anderson.   

And maybe the easiest thing to spot, the designs. The evolution of the snowmobile over the last 50 years has seen just about everything from tall and round, to short and square, to today's sleek and aggressive designs built for speed.  But just like all the other advancements in sled technology, these collectors are focused squarely on the old. 

"Some are so pristine. They've fixed them up so nice, and others it looks like they just drug them out of the barn. It's just fun to see how they've aged, and how some people take care of them, and some just run them every year," said Hauta.  

After all, none of that is what these collectors are truly after. 

"You watch all these people here, and they're all in their 40's 50's and 60's, and they're remembering the past too. Hopefully we can get the young kids involved in this so they can take over after we're all gone," said Hauta.  

This is widely considered to be one of the larger vintage snowmobile rides in Minnesota. The largest brings roughly 1,000 snowmobilers to Lake Waconia, which is just west of the Twin Cities. 

Minnesota is home to the second most registered snowmobiles in the nation at more than 196,000 sleds. Tens of thousands are considered vintage, meaning older than 25 years old; or antique, meaning made before 1968.

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