50th anniversary of the most prestigious snowmobile race in the world set for January 28-February 3rd, 2018
Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan (Tuesday, October 17th, 2017): The International 500 Snowmobile Race (#SooI500) and its Board of Directors are proud to announce that the Voices of the #SooI500 for the past two years, Matt Prieur and Lorne (Spanky) Robinson, will both return as the voices for the 50th anniversary of the International 500 Snowmobile Race. The 50th annual event has been extended by a day and is set for Sunday-Saturday, January 28-February 3rd, 2018.
Prieur returns to the #SooI500 for the third year in a row as the lead voice of the #SooI500. The 43-year-old also serves as the Director of Communications for the prestigious event. Prieur is best known as the voice of national and regional motorsports events on both dirt and pavement surfaces for the past 28 years throughout the United States. During the 2017 racing season and amongst his wide variety of roles throughout the year, the Westerville, Ohio resident who is originally from Flint, Michigan, was on the call for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards event, the Music City 200 presented by the Azure Foundation at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville in Nashville, Tennessee. Prieur was also the voice of Champions Week within the most grueling dirt Late Model and Modified tours in the country; the DIRTcar Summer Nationals Hell Tour and Summit Racing Equipment Modified Nationals for World Racing Group.
Robinson, affectionately known as “Spanky” is a Desbarats, Ontario resident and also returns to the #SooI500 for the third year in a row. Robinson was a crew member on the 1989 #SooI500 winning team of George Sharrard, Tom Sibbald and Jeff Kipfmiller. The 58-year-old has also been the Color Commentary Voice of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) for their home games since the 2005/2006 hockey season. Additionally, Robinson just completed his fourth year as the Voice of Kinross Speedpark located at the Chippewa County Fairgrounds in Kinross, Michigan.
The 50th anniversary of the #SooI500 begins a day earlier than normal with a Sunday Matinee on January 28th featuring Qualifying for the Great Lakes Antique Snowmobile Series (G.L.A.S.S.). With an expected huge turnout of vintage sleds that are 30 years old (1988) and older, the extra day was added to set the field for Wednesday’s 2nd Running of the Brad Redman Memorial. It all begins with G.L.A.S.S. Rig Parking & Unloading at 9:00a.m. The teams then take to the track for Qualifying starting at 12:00p.m., and once Qualifying is complete, any Last Chance Races that are needed will be conducted and complete Day I.
The 50th Anniversary of the International 500 Snowmobile Race Week then officially begins for the #SooI500 teams on Monday, January 29th with Rig Parking & Unloading at 10:00a.m. Registration & Tech Day starting at 12:00p.m., and going until 6:00p.m. Prospective riders and teams go through the process of getting things ready to go for a grueling three days of Qualifying to get into the most prestigious snowmobile race in the world!
The famed one-mile ice oval will host the traditional Open Skate Night from 7:00-10:00p.m. Also, come out and enjoy the Mini-5 Race. Moved from Friday of Race Week to Monday in 2017, these aspiring racers get a chance to race in their very own Mini-5 Snowmobile event starting at 7:30p.m. The race takes place on a mini version of our oval ice course located at a designated area in the Upper Level Parking Lot. The three classes: Kitty Cat, Stock 120, and Modified 120 all compete, but everyone goes home a winner. Monday of race week is opening day. This is a special day as the I-500 and Soo city officials have proclaimed opening day to be forever known as Bud Clarke Day.
On Tuesday, January 30th, Spectators can enjoy watching the first on-track action of the week for the #SooI500 teams as the professional riders begin the grueling process of attempting to qualify for the I-500! The first time the I-500 riders get a chance to get out onto the track is for a newly added hour-long Practice from 12:00-1:00p.m. The Rookies then get the track to themselves from 1:00-2:00p.m.
Then it’s time for First Day Qualifying from 3:00-5:00p.m. The Woody’s Challenge competitors get their first of three chances to Qualify for the prestigious Woody’s Challenge from 6:00-6:45p.m., before the I-500 rider return for the first of two night-time Qualifying Sessions for the 50th Anniversary of the I-500 from 7:00-9:00p.m. Hot Seats also go on sale! For pricing and availability, contact Ric Federau by email, [email protected], or phone/text: (989) 808-5266.
It’s a busy day in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan on Wednesday, January 31st as Qualifying continues for the 50th Anniversary of the I-500 as the Woody’s Challenge teams kick things off with second round Qualifying from 12:00-12:45p.m. The I-500 Rookies return to the track for more Practice from 1:00-2:00p.m., then it’s time for the third round of I-500 Qualifying from 2:00-4;00p.m. The riders and sleds from the Great Lakes Antique Snowmobile Series (G.L.A.S.S.) return for their one and only Practice for the Brad Redman Memorial from 4:00-5:00p.m., before the second and final night time Qualifying Session for the I-500 teams from 6:00-8:00p.m.
Then the I-500 hosts the 2nd running of the Brad Redman Memorial for the Great Lakes Antique Snowmobile Series (G.L.A.S.S.). This event allows riders with sleds that are 30 years old (1988) and older the chance to get a feel of the only mile oval snowmobile endurance track in North America as Wednesday activities end with the 30-Lap Brad Redman Memorial. Traverse City, Michigan’s Chris Kelly was the winner of the inaugural Redman Memorial in 2016 while the 2017 version of the event was unfortunately canceled.
Thursday, February 1st is action packed with the fifth round of I-500 Qualifying from 12:00-2:00p.m. The Rookies get one Final Practice Session from 2:00-3:00p.m., then it’s time for Final Round Qualifying for the Woody’s Challenge competitors as the “Sweet 16”, the fastest 16 riders from the three days of Qualifying will be locked into the 23rd running of the Woody’s Challenge.
Also during the day, The #SooI500 will try to break the world record for the largest snowmobile parade! The current world record according to the Guinness Book of World Records is 1,048 snowmobiles. There is a $5.00 registration fee per sled is used to cover the costs incurred to break the record. All snowmobile operators must have a valid driver’s license and a registered sled.
Then from 4:00-6:00p.m., it’s time for the Final Round of I-500 Qualifying. The final opportunity for riders and teams to lock themselves into the 50th Annual I-500 Snowmobile Race. Additionally, a cool $1,000 payday awaits the winner of #SooI500 Pole Award and that rider will lead the field to the Green Flag on Saturday morning. Then after Pre-Race Ceremonies / Invocation & the National Anthem(s), it’s time for the 23rd running of the Woody’s Challenge at 7:30p.m. The newly revised format will see Pro riders battle for $1,000, a special Champion embroidered Woody’s Pit Coat, a trophy to keep and their name added the Woody’s Challenge Trophy and of course bragging rights. Under the new format introduced in 2017, AuGres, Michigan’s, Troy DeWald, who earlier in the day also won the 2017#SooI500 Pole Award in his #21 Cadarette Collision Racing / Arctic Cat, added to his impressive day by going to victory lane in the Woody’s Challenge as the new format drew rave reviews from competitors, fans, officials and sponsors.
Then let the fun begin in Sault Ste. Marie, MI as the city becomes host to the mid-west’s largest “WINTER PUB CRAWL”! We open our heated hospitality tent to visitors with LIVE music and plenty of beverages on hand. Join the Midwest’s premier winter party at the I-500 venue. Visit the many bars, saloons, and lounges in the community who offer maximum fun for race fans and sled-heads. Drinks, food specials and fun are on tap throughout the SOO area. Join the atmosphere of snowmobile race central! A party at every pub! T-Shirts are on sale for those who want to participate in the Pub Crawl.
Friday, February 2nd is an Off Day at the track as I-500 Officials work overtime to get the one-mile ice oval ready for 500 miles. In the meantime, the starting field for the 50th Annual I-500 will head over to the Dream Makers Theater inside Kewadin Casino to Officially Register for the most prestigious snowmobile race in the world. The Official Riders Meeting will start at 3:00p.m., inside The Woodlands Room at Kewadin Casino.
Later on in the evening, the Annual Miss I-500 Pageant will be held starting at 7:00p.m., and for the second year in a row, will be held at the Dream Makers Theater at Kewadin Casino in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. This year’s pageant is located just four miles east of the track. On the day of the pageant, the day before the 50th Anniversary of the I-500, contestants are introduced to the audience in the form of a fashion show. Each contestant will wear either a costume or uniform that reflects her personality, hobbies, career aspirations, or sports affiliations. There is also an onstage interview for all the ladies to share their thoughts and win the hearts of the crowd.
In the final event, contestants model a floor-length evening gown; complete with winter accents (Faux Fur, Ugg-Like Boots, Etc.) that pair perfectly with the theme of the race. The I-500 Pageant starts at 7:00p.m. For more information about the I-500 Pageant, go to the I-500 Pageant Page located at the link provided: i-500.com/miss-i-500
Saturday, February 3rd is RACE DAY! Opening Ceremonies open with the traditional vintage lap at 9:00a.m. A super display of vintage snowmobiles will be on display. Spectators can enjoy the heated hospitality tent all day, race day. Stop by our vendor tent, trailers, and booths for great food, great fun and a host of awesome products for snowmobile and race enthusiasts. The Green flag drops promptly at 10:00a.m. Approximately 90 minutes after the checkered flag flies on the 50th Anniversary of the I-500, the 2018 Awards Banquet will be held at the Dream Makers Theater inside Kewadin Casino.