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Torch Light Parade to return after 30 yearsSubmitted: 01/14/2014
Story By Joe Dufek

Torch Light Parade to return after 30 years
EAGLE RIVER - The 51st annual World Championship Snowmobile Derby gets underway later this week. Racing in Eagle River runs Thursday through Sunday.

For many years, the Torch Light Parade was a unique snowmobile ride started in downtown Eagle River. The riders would travel to the Eagle River Sports Arena.

After a 30 year absence, it's back. The tour is put on by the Sno-Eagles snowmobile club and the Eagle River Lions club.

Officially it's not part of the Derby.



However, it's a great tradition from the weekend making a return.

As the snowmobiles changed, they damaged city streets. That's why it was stopped in the mid 80s.

The trail was lit with torches or candles years ago.

Now they'll have glow sticks. The riders will have them too. Folks are excited to have the ride back.

"As the snowmobiles got more modern, we just couldn't get the approval to do it," Richard Decker - the Marketing Director at Eagle River Derby Track explains. "Now you can snowmobile in downtown Eagle River. Not on all of the streets but some of them. It made a really big difference. I think it will be interesting for the public to watch and anyone who wants to join in and ride."

"Years ago we (lit the trail) with candles," Jim Ayers of the Sno-Eagles and Lions club adds. "That was a problem keeping them lit. Now we have some new products. Hopefully it will make it really nice. If it does, we'll do it again next year I think."

The Torch Light Parade begins at 6pm on Saturday. The public is invited to take part in the ride. It starts across from Eagle River Derby track.


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You might think of snowmobile racing as a sport for adults, but people of all ages are competing. Kids as young as four years old came out Friday to ride their tiny sleds through the finish line. 

On Sunday, all eyes will be on the riders lining up for the world snowmobile championship race. But before those riders came into the spotlight they started as kids. 

"My first race was when I was five," said Maverick Woyke. 

At just 12 years old, Woyke has been racing for seven years. 

"We went and watched a race and he had so much fun watching he decided he wanted to start racing," said Maverick's dad Jesse Woyke. 

Maverick traveled to with his dad from Buffalo, Minnesota to race this weekend in Eagle River. He's no stranger to traveling for the sport. 

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"I've done this race as long as I can remember. Probably since I was four or five," said 11-year-old Tyler Poker. 

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"We were eating dinner and Dad asked me if I wanted to come race, and I said yeah, and then this happened," said 11-year-old Reece Bollmann. 

They travel from all over Wisconsin and the Midwest to have fun, but also to compete. 

"I've been to this race four times now and I've won it the last three times so I'm hoping for a fourth," said 14-year-old Kyle Thome. 

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