MnUSA Hosts Largest Veteran's Appreciation Ride

Emily Ness
Updated: January 14, 2020 11:27 AM

Snowmobiles—as far as the eye could see—hit trails across the Northland Saturday on behalf of the Minnesota United Snowmobile Association’s 12th annual Veteran's Appreciation Ride.


“We rode both the C.J. Ramstad Northshore state trail and we rode the Voyager Club trails and the Pequaywan trails today,” Kevin Johnson, Area Supervisor with DNR Parks & Trails in Two Harbors said. “The trail conditions are very good out there. As you can see, we have plenty of snow and we finally have good cold conditions and the clubs work hard to keep the trails maintained and groomed.”

Each year, the event is hosted at a different location across the state. This year, it was Two Harbors.

“MN-USA had breakfast this morning for all the veterans and everybody else that was volunteering and then they're providing a lunch here at the Pequaywan Club House,” Johnson said.

Preparing a lunch for the troops is quite the task.

“It probably started about last week when we started doing all the logistics and planning the food for how many people we were going to need,” Melissa Ortman, veteran and volunteer said.

Providing 100 snowmobiles also takes time and effort. Many vets had sleds of their own, but 28 were provided by dealerships and service men and women who brought extras for their brothers and sisters in arms.

“It's really well organized by MnUSA. They put it on,” Don Wineland, Veteran said. “We come in in 5-10 minute incriminates and everything and the first groups will be gone when the last groups come in.”

As the groups came in, they hung up their jackets and helmets and made their way to tables adorned with flags

“It's great riding. It's fun to be together as spouses too,” Angela Amundson, veteran said about she and her husband Chris. “Yeah we're having a blast. They take great care of us here. They guide us nice and feed us well,” Chris Amundson, veteran added.

What amazed one service member was not only the wide range of people, but also the wide range of ages.

“There are quite a few younger ones and then some of us not as young. Some older than us too.” Larry Shepard, veteran said.

No matter their age, their branch or even the sled that they rode, the event meant a lot to all.

“Lot of great vets. It's good to be around other veterans too. People like yourself,” Amundson said.

This was the Minnesota United Snowmobile Association’s largest ride yet.


Emily Ness

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