2017-10-05 / Front Page

Trail Riders Trek the Mighty Mac

By Debra Petkus


The third annual Trek the Mighty Mac had a parade of 532 vehicles crossing the Mackinac Bridge Saturday, September 30, beginning at 11 a.m. The crossing, organized in St. Ignace, saw sunny skies and fine weather this year, and many riders took the opportunity to explore the Eastern Upper Peninsula trails following the bridge crossing. The third annual Trek the Mighty Mac had a parade of 532 vehicles crossing the Mackinac Bridge Saturday, September 30, beginning at 11 a.m. The crossing, organized in St. Ignace, saw sunny skies and fine weather this year, and many riders took the opportunity to explore the Eastern Upper Peninsula trails following the bridge crossing. With 560 off road vehicles registered for the Trek the Mighty Mac weekend in St. Ignace, 532 of them made the Mackinac Bridge crossing Saturday morning, September 29. Trail vehicles of all shapes and sizes came to the Straits of Mackinac for the third annual event, and after crossing the bridge, many explored the extensive network of trails in the area. The weather was sunny and fine and organizers were pleased with the turnout.

Eric Long and Tammy Rohner from Holly were in attendance and said this is their third year.

“We love it,” she said.


Off-road vehicle riders had their turn to cross the Mackinac Bridge in convoy Saturday, September 30. In separate events earlier this year, bridge crossings were made by convoys of vintage snowmobiles, antique cars, Mini Coopers, antique tractors, semi trucks, and runners taking part in a foot race. Off-road vehicle riders had their turn to cross the Mackinac Bridge in convoy Saturday, September 30. In separate events earlier this year, bridge crossings were made by convoys of vintage snowmobiles, antique cars, Mini Coopers, antique tractors, semi trucks, and runners taking part in a foot race. Jamie Curtis from Gladwin agreed. He and several friends took part and he said he enjoyed the good camaraderie between the visitors and local residents at the Friday evening reception: “It’s great. They are really rolling out the red carpet.”

St. Ignace Visitors Bureau Direc- tor Quincy Ranville said the new Friday gathering was designed to replace a Saturday afternoon gathering held last year after the bridge crossing, which included a beer tent and live music. Instead of that, she said, the ATV riders say they would rather explore trails in the Eastern Upper Peninsula.

“We found they want to hit the trails,” she said. “Everyone wants to have a good time and get out.”


At right: Haley Graves, 13, and her father Jim Graves, from Cedarville, await the start of a trail ride to Trout Lake from St. Ignace. At right: Haley Graves, 13, and her father Jim Graves, from Cedarville, await the start of a trail ride to Trout Lake from St. Ignace. The event is organized in St. Ignace. Participants staying in St. Ignace lodgings are bused early Saturday morning to Mackinaw City, where the off road vehicles are staged at Darrow gravel pit in anticipation of the bridge crossing. Boy Scout Troop 3383 was on hand selling coffee and doughnuts as the ride got organized that morning.

Joe and Lynn Ventimiglia from Hillman were happy for the good weather this year. The first year they took part, they said, it was freezing and snowing. Her husband said last year’s crossing was rainy and windy.

For this year’s ride, he said, “You couldn’t ask for a better day.” The couple comes up almost every weekend from Detroit.


At left: Cousins gather to make the trail ride to Trout Lake after the luncheon at Trek the Mighty Mac. Pictured (from left) are Bob Yenkel of Berkley, George Yenkel of Taylor, and Bill Tobia of Dansville. At left: Cousins gather to make the trail ride to Trout Lake after the luncheon at Trek the Mighty Mac. Pictured (from left) are Bob Yenkel of Berkley, George Yenkel of Taylor, and Bill Tobia of Dansville. Saturday, an unofficial trip to Trout Lake after lunch was made by about half of the participants. Carol’s Corral Cancer Foundation hosted a bonfire and hot dog roast and a 50/50 raffle. The foundation, based in Rudyard, supports cancer patients with transportation costs.

Many ORV club members were on hand to participate in the weekend event. Mark and Lanette Roberts of Three Rivers near Kalamazoo are members of Mud Brothers of the North out of Indian River and the Way Back Group from the U.P.

He was happy to attend Trek the Mighty Mac.

“I like it. It’s really organized and very inviting, a fun thing to do,” he said.


At right: Mark and Lanette Roberts from Three Rivers sit in their side by side utility vehicle as they await the start of the procession to Trout Lake. They are members of ORV riding clubs, including the Mud Brothers of the North. They go on organized rides with other members and were looking forward to seeing the scenery between St. Ignace and Trout Lake. At right: Mark and Lanette Roberts from Three Rivers sit in their side by side utility vehicle as they await the start of the procession to Trout Lake. They are members of ORV riding clubs, including the Mud Brothers of the North. They go on organized rides with other members and were looking forward to seeing the scenery between St. Ignace and Trout Lake. Jim Graves of Cedarville made his first trek across the Mackinac Bridge solo and his 13-year-old daughter joined him after lunch for the trip to Trout Lake. He said it was fun and he will do it again.

Some participants commented they enjoyed seeing people watching and waving as they entered into town on their trail vehicles.

The first year the event had record numbers of 1,340, then numbers dropped to 750 vehicles last year. Mrs. Ranville said the Trek has a “bucket list quality,” in other words, once it’s checked off, for some, they are done.


Gary Engle from G-Man Entertainment interviews Carol Eby from Carol’s Corral Foundation at Little Bear East Arena Saturday, September 30, at the Trek the Mighty Mac luncheon. Pictured (from left, clockwide) are Colleen Rye of Rudyard, Carol Eby of Rudyard, Mr. Engle, Ivah Vega from Bridgeport, who is purchasing a T-shirt, and her daughter Jamie Waldron from Bridgeport. Ms. Waldron said this was her second event and her mother’s first. Her mother said, “I loved it and I’ll be back.” Gary Engle from G-Man Entertainment interviews Carol Eby from Carol’s Corral Foundation at Little Bear East Arena Saturday, September 30, at the Trek the Mighty Mac luncheon. Pictured (from left, clockwide) are Colleen Rye of Rudyard, Carol Eby of Rudyard, Mr. Engle, Ivah Vega from Bridgeport, who is purchasing a T-shirt, and her daughter Jamie Waldron from Bridgeport. Ms. Waldron said this was her second event and her mother’s first. Her mother said, “I loved it and I’ll be back.” But there is a growing group of regular participants, and they want a full weekend of trail rides. The Events Committee is looking into adding expanded trail rides in the future. If the event never grows beyond the 500 to 600-participant range, Mrs. Ranville said, the organizers will be perfectly happy with it.

Return to top


Click here for digital edition
2017-10-05 digital edition