Reports from the 25th Annual Mud Dog Ride

For the last 25 years, dedicated snowmobilers have ridden to the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association Winter Rendezvous. This group, appropriately referred to as the Mud Dogs, goes through trials and tribulations as they make their annual journey for fun, glory and bragging rights. Following is several of the group’s stories.

Group Members: Dan Vertina and Terry Peterson

From: ???? to Hinckley, MN

Mileage: 343.8

Day 1: My riding partner gracefully fell off a ladder and couldn’t make the trip. She insisted I “Press on Regardless.” DARN! All the planning and maps out the window. Now I only need to know two numbers – Corridor 37 to 80. What could go wrong? I call Terry Peterson and tell him I am heading his way alone. Terry agrees he’ll ride my way; we’ll hook up and ride in together. I leave Ericsburg Wednesday at 28 below zero. Go figure.

My first warm up stop was Tenstrike, sign said open, lights were on, doors were locked. Away I go. Onward past Bemidji looking for 80 but ended up in Laporte with low fuel light blinking. A groomer operator was fueling up so I asked him some questions. He said he didn’t have a clue either; his first trip out too. The nice lady at the gas station offered some good suggestions to get me back on track to the trail to I was supposed to be on. Left my glasses there and had to go back. Finally made it to Cass Lake with an extra 50 miles.

I’m finally on the Soo Line, only to get confused again. A logging operation, no trees, no sign, no trail markers. Wandered around there a bit. Thank God I had my glasses; I spotted a trail marker 150 yards up. So far I hadn’t had a real break and I spotted a bar sign off the trail at Federal Damn only to find it all boarded up. Ahh, just down the road was an Open sign, one quick Dr. Pepper and bag of chips and I’m back on the trail. Still no sign of Terry until I finally spotted an abandoned Ski-Doo on the trail. I tracked the boot prints down a side trail to Jackson Hole and found my buddy Terry. We continued on to Sturgeon Lake for the night and met my first sled of the day. 301.1 miles.

Day 2: Terry and I left at the crack of 1 pm. Added 2 quarts of oil and noticed my scratchers were completely worn out but we “Pressed on Regardless” to the Northern Pine Riders club house and rode those trails to the Munger Trail and then 13 miles to Hinckley. Then tar and cement to the casino. 42.7 miles.

I “Pressed on Regardless” even without my wife because it was the 25th Anniversary of the Mud Dogs.

Group Members: Chuck Doherthy, Dave Myers, James Broden and David Broden

From: Shakopee to Hinckley, MN

Mileage: 65 to 570 – depending on who you ask.

Day 1: Left Shakopee, MN. Some took the route of Rochester to Rush City, some just trailered to Rush City. Again, depending on who you ask…nothing special happened. No snow and plowed fields. The leader was a Mud Puppy training to be a Mud Dog and followed by a pack of Mud Dogs.

Day 2: Trail riding with Chuck was more interesting than day 1. Left Hinckley and got as far as Finlayson and guess what happened. The Mud Pup went blazing down the Munger Trail to prove his dog nests only to stopped to find out he had blown his carbides/wear rods right off the skis!

Group Members: Cleve Johnston, Joel Burshi, Tony McNeal, Greg Nelson and John Cady

From: Rice to Hinckley, MN

Mileage: 152

Day 1: Drove 4 miles to gas station, split new hyfax by bent track cup. Drove home and replaced. Got to Moose Lake and found that slide rails were ruined by loose bolts. Drove truck home to get spare sled and continued trip.

We rode through no snow, crushed granite and break downs. Cleve really, really, really wants the trophy. Please.

Group Members: Mark DeMax, Jeff Alberts, Brian Lund and Mike Nodsle

From: Detroit Lakes to Hinckley, MN

Mileage: 260

Day 1: Started in Detroit Lakes – 10 below zero. Took two and a half hours to go 30 miles. We were fogging up. Park Rapids to Walker on Heartland Trail. We were first to make tracks on new grooming. Got dizzy on trail from Walker Casino to Longville. New grooming to Remer. Three riders and a truck left Remer at the same time. Riders get to McGregor 20 minutes before truck.

Missed turn to Munger Trail in Moose Lake. Went 20 miles on Soo Line towards Duluth. Turned around and found Munger intersection. Getting dark. Got to Hinckley at 6:45. Turned a 220-mile trip into a 260 miles. One guy lives 12 miles north of Detroit Lakes; he rode 272 miles.

We rode in a year with no snow. We have ridden 16 out of 25 years since the Mud Dog got started.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.