Due to the lack of snow the last couple of years, snowmobile enthusiasts have been more frustrated than enthusiastic about the conditions that have kept their sleds in the garage and not out winding their way through Minnesota trails and woodlands.
Although heavy snow is predicted for much of Minnesota Sunday, one of the state's biggest snowmobile rallies of the year will be held Saturday and Sunday on Lake Mille Lacs in Central Minnesota.
The 18th Annual Arctic Blast Snowmobile Rally is one of the marquee annual events to benefit the Vikings Children's Fund. The event is sponsored by the Vikings, MillerCoors Brewing Co., the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Total Luxury Limousine and Arctic Cat.
The event provides fans the opportunity to get up close to some of their Vikings favorites, from current players to the stars of yesteryear. Scheduled to participate are current Vikings John Sullivan, Jasper Brinkley, Brandon Fusco, Toby Gerhart, Everson Griffen, Joe Webb and Larry Dean, former Vikings Ben Leber, Pete Bercich, Carl Lee, Bob Lurtsema, Walker Lee Ashley, Robert Tate and Doug Sutherland, coaches Mike Priefer and George Paton, front office executives Mark Wilf, Lester Bagley, Rob Brzezinski and Steve LaCroix, the Vikings cheerleaders and mascot Viktor the Viking.
The scheduled stops for the players include Buzzies On the Bay at 12:10 p.m., Nitti's Hunters Point at 1:10 p.m., Castaway's Resort at 2:05 p.m. and the Arctic Blast headquarters at the Blue Goose Inn at 3:25 p.m.
The event will include giveaways, prize drawings and game for all ages at the Blue Goose in Garrison. There will be free arcade games and an ice fishing pond for the kids on Saturday and a secret mystery guest is scheduled to appear at 3 p.m. On Sunday, a prize party will be held with more than $30,000 in prizes to be given away, including a grand prize of a new Arctic Cat snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle.
For those who want to ride along with the Vikings, registration is available Saturday morning at any of the four Blast Points locations in the towns of Garrison, Onamia, Isle and Malmo. For those looking to make an impromptu trip to meet and greet some of the Vikings, more information is available at the Vikings official website (www.vikings.com).
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Arctic Blast takes off this weekend
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