Unseasonable weather forces race postponement; kites questionable

by Marianne Gasaway

Unseasonably warm temperatures have taken a toll on ice conditions on Clear Lake, as well as the events that rely on it.

Organizers of “The Jack” Helgren Memorial Race have announced that they have moved the event from its original date this weekend to Feb. 8-9.

Conditions on the lake are simply “too dangerous,” according to Gary McVicker, from the North Iowa Snow Seekers.

This is not the first time the event has had to be postponed.  Two of the last three years it was successfully pushed from January to February.

This will be the 10th year for The Jack, which is held to honor the life of Jack Helgren, an area businessman, former snowmobile dealer and avid racer.  Helgren passed away in 2009.

In addition to races on the lake, ranging from youngsters on kitty kats, to high-powered machines, there is a vintage sled show and other activities on shore at Clear Lake State Park.   For its 10th anniversary, Jack Helgren’s son, John, owner of House of Sports in Mason City, has donated a mint restored 1975 Ski-Doo TNT 440 F/A that will be auctioned off at the Awards Banquet at the Best Western in Clear Lake following races Feb. 9.

Updates on the event are available at www.thejackrace.com and on Facebook.

Another event which depends heavily on ice conditions is the Color The Wind Kite Festival, scheduled for Feb. 16.

Organizer Larry Day says he can be nothing but hopeful that the popular spectacle will have enough ice to support its staging near the downtown Sea Wall.

In its infancy, the kite festival was held at State Park, however it has grown both in terms of flyers and spectators.  With its

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