The 33rd Annual Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival comes to northwestern Wisconsin once again the weekend of September 18-20. A total of 3,100 riders will participate in the festival, including a sold-out field of 2,100 riders in the Chequamegon 40, and another 1,000 riders who will race 16 miles in the Short & Fat, both events finishing in the Telemark stadium.
The weekend kicks off on Friday with a sponsor and vendor Expo, as well as a pasta feast that runs from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. under the canvas. Bib pickup will run from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. under the Big Top Chequamegon tent on the Telemark Resort grounds.
There are several top riders and former champions returning for the main events. Six-time defending champion, Brian Matter, returns hoping for an extraordinary seventh title. He will be marked closely by Arizona rider, T.J. Woodruff, who was second to Matter last year. Also returning back this year is Jessie LaLonde, 2007 Chequamegon 40 champion, who won racing on a single speed bike. Minnesota rider and five-time champion, Jenna Rinehart, hopes to retain her title, however, she will be challenged by 2013 Chequamegon 40 champ and national champion, Chloe Woodruff, who is making a return this year. Both will be chased by former champion, Sara Kylander-Johnson. In the tandem Chequamegon 40 race, Brian and Kim Eppen of Iowa City, Iowa return to defend their multi-year title.
SHORT & FAT
In the Short & Fat, both men’s and women’s races look to be wide open. The 2014 male and female champs, Josey Weik and Stacey Kalemkiarian, are both moving on to the long race this year. Samuel Olson, Samuel Elson and Caleb Schwartz are the top returning riders for Short and Fat men. In the women’s short race, Sophie St. Jacques, who finished second in 2014 is a rider to watch. Sisters Keely and Kyra Jackson of Hayward know the course well and are having a good year.
SATURDAY FUN FOR ALL EVENTS
On the lighter side of things, the Fun for All events will be moved to Saturday afternoon from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. These festivities are held at the Telemark Resort event site and will offer some good ole’ fat tire family fun events that are complimentary for those over age 12. Folks can also enjoy Bicycle Bowling, Klunker Toss, Bicycle Limbo, Lumber Jack and Jill Log Pull, Flying Bunny Hop, Children’s Bicycle Rodeo and Kids Criterium.
The festival features several children’s events starting with bicycle parades in Cable and Hayward beginning at 9 a.m. and bike decoration starting before at 8 a.m. In Hayward, children should gather on the 200 block of Main Street, and in Cable at the fire hall behind the Old School Mall. There will be prizes, surprises and treats for all participants. The parade and rodeo are free and open to all kids under 12. Helmets are required.
RACE ROAD CLOSURES
Forest roads along the race route will have limited access on Saturday, September 19 during the race from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Only permitted race vehicles, local residents and hunters will have access during this time. Spectator traffic will not be allowed in the closed road area.
In the town of Spider Lake, Telemark Road/Spider Lake Fire Lane from Clear Lake Road north to the town line, Boedecker Road from the town line east to Spider Lake Fire Lane, and Janet Road from the town line north to Boedecker Road will be closed. In the town of Lenroot, Boedecker Road from Northern Lights Road east to the town line, and Janet Road from Highway OO north to the town line will be closed. The Spider Lake Fire Lane from Telemark Road south to the town line will be closed in the town of Cable.
Race support vehicles need a permit from race headquarters prior to race morning to use these closed roads. Contact the Chequamegon office before race morning at firstname.lastname@example.org with details of rider receiving support, the support vehicle driver’s name and vehicle type.
These road closures will increase rider safety during the event. Spectators using these roads need to be in place before 10:30 a.m.
“NO PARKING” RESTRICTIONS IN HAYWARD AND CABLE ON RACE MORNING
Hayward residents and visitors should take note the entire length of Main Street from Railroad Street to Wittwer Road will be a NO PARKING area from 6 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 19 for the start of the Chequamegon 40.
The city will barricade all intersecting side streets by 6 a.m. and the Sawyer County Sheriff’s office will allow passage across Main Street on Highway 63 and at Fifth Street until just before the start of the race at 10 a.m. In Cable, County Highway M near the Short & Fat start area, First Street east of First Avenue to Randysek Road and Randysek Road south of M will be posted no parking. Also, do not park in the United Church of Christ lot next to the Short & Fat start line or the Trinity Lutheran Church at Spruce Street and Randysek.
**Please do not leave vehicles in the local business lots during either race.
Best of luck to everyone competing in the 2015 Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival, see you all soon!