Badger State Winter Games begin with snowmobile torch ride

The games consist of 23 different events
Published: Jan. 16, 2022 at 11:40 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Snowmobilers marked the 33rd Badger State Winter Games with an annual snowmobile torch ride.

The third annual ride took off in Wausau. Riders will stop at over a dozen snowmobile clubs from Wausau to Eagle River.

“It will be over the course of two days, 200 miles, over a dozen stops and involving 16 snowmobile clubs,” explained Nicholas Ockwig, Director of the Badger State Winter Games.

Ockwig said the newer tradition brings more awareness to the games.

“It’s exposure for the Badger State Games,” he explained. “We have 23 events this winter. And it’s also about snowmobiling and tourism in the state of Wisconsin.”

The Badger State Winter Games have been played for over three decades. Ockwig said he remembers the first torch lighting ceremony.

“Back in 1989 when then Governor Tommy Thompson, we started the torch tour,” Ockwig explained. “From the capitol steps in Madison, they drove by snowmobile up here to Wausau to Marathon Park.”

Many of the snowmobiles ridden are donated by local clubs and sports center.

Gary Hilgendorf is the father of the owner of Tomahawk Sports Center. Hilgendorf said he came on the ride for his son.

“We’ve always been involved in snowmobiling,” Hilgendorf explained. “I did the very touch ride in ‘89. I’ve always been involved with skidoo and they wanted to do a torch ride again. I said, ‘well, we’ll provide sleds for you.’”

Copyright 2022 WSAW. All rights reserved.