(Above) One hundred fifty-eight entries were made in the first Midwest Sled Fest held on Clear Lake Saturday. Race results and more photos appear on page 8A. -Reporter photo by Chris Barragy.by Marianne Gasaway
Within hours of the 2019 announcement that “The Jack” snowmobile races would no longer be held, snowmobile enthusiasts like the husband and wife team of Mindy Eastman and Rusty Peters got busy. They knew that winter fun on Clear Lake needed to continue to be promoted. A short while later, the inaugural Midwest Sled Fest was announced.
Saturday, the event was off and running.
“When (we) decided to take this on as co-chairs of the event, we didn’t really know what kind of commitment we’d just gotten ourselves into. But we had so much support from so many people - it was amazing. The snowmobiling community really has a passion for supporting and promoting snowmobiling!” said Mindy.
Saturday was a picture-perfect winter day, although sub-zero temperatures in the morning were a chilly start. Still, there was a great turnout at Clear Lake State Park for the event. Racers came from as far away as Green Bay, Wis., Chicago, Ill., far northern Minnesota and South Dakota.
“Our overall numbers were slightly less than the previous year, but we feel that we have established a strong following, and anticipate growing every year going forward,” said Mindy. “We thought the entire event ran smoothly, and we had many positive comments from people. We were thrilled that a reporter from the Des Moines Register was there, and he wrote a great article with amazing photos - he said he’ll be back next year.”
Sponsors were also critical to the continuation of a snowmobile event here, said Mindy and Rusty.
“Not only did they provide financial support, but many were part of the planning committee, volunteered to take on responsibilities, and helped in so many ways leading up to the event.”
Organizers will hold a wrap-up meeting this week and will discuss a date for next year.
“We’ll also decide what charitable donations we’re able to give,” added Mindy. “We want to give back to Clear Lake to show appreciation for the support we’ve received, and we look forward to many years together.”