Antigo is opening its heart and arms to the Kettle Moraine ATV Association and Make-A-Wish Wisconsin.
The group is rolling into town as guests of the Antigo ATV/UTV Club, bringing their 10th annual charity ride to a community eager to help.
The people of the Antigo club and of the community have done nothing but open their arms to us, Tim Rohrer, president of Kettle Moraine ATV Association, said. It’s been phenomenal.
Club members started arriving on Wednesday night and today and Friday are being introduced to the trail networks that radiate from Antigo by the Antigo ATV/UTV Club.
Pete Pennington, Tim Rohrer and members of the ATV and UTV clubs of Antigo
and Kettle Moraine gathered before a group ride this morning. The big charity ride,
with over 200 participants expected, will take place on Saturday.
The club was instrumental in getting the charity ride switched from its Lakewood area location where it has been based for its first decade to Antigo.
We outgrew the area we were at, Rohrer said. We made a decision to move, reached out to Pete Pennington and decided on Antigo.
Pennington, instrumental in bringing the group here, said the ride is an excellent way to showcase the Antigo area. And he hopes that the turnout will exceed the 200-plus participants the charity ride drew in 2016.
I plan on having a big turnout, he said.
Everyone is invited on another get-acquainted tour Friday morning, leaving from the Refuge Restaurant at 8:30 a.m., but the big events start later in the day.
Sign-up begins on Friday evening at the ride’s headquarters located at North Star Lanes, and registrations will also be accepted on Saturday morning starting at 7:30 a.m.
At 8:45 a.m. there will be a group photo taken by a drone provided by Unmanned Systems Incorporated, the Antigo-based business headquartered at the Langlade County Airport.
Drones will also follow the riders for part of the day-long ride, with the footage used for promotional purposes by the Langlade County Economic Development Corporation.
The city of Antigo has opened some streets temporarily to allow ATV and UTV traffic to provide for access to the trailhead off of Amron Avenue in the city’s northwest side. City police officers will assist with road crossings on Saturday morning.
The route will wind north and west, through Harrison Hills, Gleason and the Parrish areas.
Riders will return to Antigo in time for the evening banquet. The public is invited beginning at 6 p.m. with a silent auction, games and raffles.
The goal of the event is to raise funds for Make-A-Wish. Entry is $25 per person or $50 per family, or through pledges collected for Make-A-Wish. That includes Saturday night’s dinner.
To date, the Kettle Moraine ATV Association has raised close of $85,000 for charitable causes.
One goal of bringing the event to Antigo is the potential tourism boost, and Pennington stressed that is evident. Local hotels and motel parking lots are filled with trailers carrying ATV, UTVs and related equipment, restaurants are full, and rooms are filling very fast.