T.E.R.R.O.R. earns money for Special Olympics

May 26, 2017

By Steve Landon
Correspondent


This past Saturday the sleepy little hamlet of Leota saw its population nearly quadrupled when well over 1000 outdoor enthusiast’s along with their friends and family invaded the area for the annual Trails End Rough Roarin’ Off Roadin’   -‘T.E.R.R.O.R. Run hosted by the Trails End Pub to benefit the Michigan›s Special Olympics.

Basking in the glow of a beautiful northern Michigan sunrise tow vehicles of all shapes and sizes began arriving bright and early quickly filling  up the parking areas in and around the pub with eager riders.  Back in registration early sign-ups picked up their bright orange participant tee shirts, chatted with friends and fellow riders before hitting the trail.  Throughout the morning a steady flow of some of the coolest looking off roadin’ dream machines left the parking lot under the direction of an eagle eyed volunteer who wished everyone an enjoyable safe ride as they passed by. It was truly a beautiful sight even to the non-rider watching from the road side.

Started in the fall of 2014 the annual event draws ATV’s, UTV’s, dirt bikes and other off road vehicles for a day of riding in the sun, rain, water and dirt on a vast network of trails and seasonal roads. Thanks to the community’s central location riders from across Michigan and as far away as Ohio and Indiana have become regular visitors to the event and the community.
Leota has long been an outdoor paradise thanks to its abundance of state land, dirt roads miles of trails, lakes and popular Muskegon River. With so many great activities it is easy to see why Trails End Pub owner Dan Wilhem decided to put on such a great event that has and continues to grow.

Special Olympians got a change to go for a ride later in the day thanks to many UTV owners. They all had a great time.

Special Olympians got a change to go for a ride later in the day thanks to many UTV owners. They all had a great time.

“From that first event four years ago we have had a run both in the spring and again in the fall. With the popularity of side by side UTV’s and quads we decided to put together a charity ride for Special Olympics. Due to current Michigan State Liquor Laws “Poker Runs” are not legal for a licensed establishment to be involved in. Therefore it is not a “Poker Run” however we do make it competitive by having the participants compete in a game of skill, not a game of chance. A cash prize is then awarded to the winner.   The average distance rider’s travel is between 80 and 90 miles covering county roads, seasonal roads and state trails”. – Dan Wilhem explained

With so many charities out there why did they select Michigan Special Olympics to be the beneficiary?

“When my wife and I purchased the bar in 2013 the previous owner was involved with Wertz Warriors, the main charity the bar donated to. Our bar is a stop on their annual snowmobile ride  to Traverse City for the Michigan Special Olympics winter games. During their stop here and we provide them ( Wertz Warriors) with a huge hot breakfast and a check.  This past  January we were able to give them a check for $8,500.

For the first time this year we have involved Clare County Area 7 Special Olympics both for help with the event and  as a partial recipient of the funds that are raised. It has gotten big enough that we raise enough funds to give to both Wertz Warriors and Area 7. The Clare County Area 7 Olympians  assisted in passing out hot dogs, chips and pop at the  Jonesville Bridge trail head parking lot.

Don’t think this driver got the memo that T.E.R.R.O.R. - means Trails End Rough Roarin’ Off Roadin’ not Terror as in terrifying your passenger. This guy surprised his lady passenger with a cool wheelie as he pulled out of the parking lot.  

Don’t think this driver got the memo that T.E.R.R.O.R. – means Trails End Rough Roarin’ Off Roadin’ not Terror as in terrifying your passenger. This guy surprised his lady passenger with a cool wheelie as he pulled out of the parking lot.

The ride has really grown over the years, the first year we had approx. 80 people, at last week’s run we had a little over 1000 riders in attendance.  We try to include other businesses in the area due to the length of the run. Bathroom breaks , refreshments, etc. We also bought over 700 Tee shirts. A few of the local businesses in the Harrison area donated money and prizes. Not only is T.E.R.R.O.R. the biggest event of the year in Leota I would venture to say it›s the biggest event ever in Leota.

Our volunteer crew is made up of family and close personal friends of my wife and I as well as Area 7 Olympians, their parents and families. It takes about 30 people and tons of preparation to pull it thing off. When the riders return we have music, games, food and fun.

This year it rained a little when our riders returned, however the party went on, in fact some of the participants gave rides to the Olympians which really made their day.  Beyond some pretty dusty spots along the way – something expected by off road riders,  this year’s event went off without a hitch.  After all the bills are paid we’re looking to donate approximately. $12,000.00 from this event”, Dan Wilhem said.

A bunch of ATV riders head out of town for the trails.

A bunch of ATV riders head out of town for the trails.

Thanks to incredible weather for 90% of the day, great staff, volunteers, excellent organization as well as very safety conscious drivers and passengers, the May 2017 edition of the T.E.R.R.O.R. Ride was a huge success.  As the dust settles, Dan and his crew are hard at work getting ready for the October T.E.R.R.O.R. ride when bright autumn colors will dominate the already beautiful scenery.  Before the fall chill arrives motorcyclist will have a chance to get out and enjoy the area July 15th to support Wertz Warriors and Area 7 Special Olympics at the Motorcycle run.

To learn more about the Trails End Pub,  T.E.R.R.O.R. Ride or the Motorcycle Run, like them on face book or give them a call, 989-539-9644.

 

 

 

 

 

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