The second annual MASTERS Ojibwa Casino Motorcycle Hillclimb returns to Whealkate Bluff in South Range, Michigan, on Saturday, July 6. For many years during the 1970’s and 1980’s, this steep hill hosted a motorcycle hillclimb on the 4th of July weekend.

After Treist Forest Products invested thousands of dollars in construction work on the hill, roads in and out of the site, and expanded fan and pit parking, the event makes a return this summer.

This year’s hillclimb will include a class for snowmobiles to run straight up the hill. The 3 fastest snowmobilers will qualify for the “King of the Dirt” run and the winner of that pocketing $150.00! 

“Since we have the Sno-Bikes run at our snowmobile hillclimbs, it’s only fair that we have the snowmobiles run at the motorcycle hillclimb,” commented Jason Kleinschmidt, MASTERS Director of Race Operations.

This year two motorcycle classes allowing for modified suspension will be added to the competition. All the classes that ran last year will return, including classes for the children to run the smaller “cc” bikes.

Plans are underway in looking at making improvements to the entrance and exit to the grounds. Once again this summer, work will need to be done on the hill, especially after the amount of snow and spring runoff on the hill.

“This event draws a lot of racers and fans to South Range. It is a good benefit to the area’s economy,” commented Jeremy Schmidt, MASTERS official.

The MASTERS, which is an acronym for Mid America Snow and Terrain Expert Racers, has been involved or sanctioning hillclimbs since 1991. Last year was the first time that the MASTERS sanctioned a motorcycle hillclimb. However, the MASTERS had run other forms of off-road vehicle races in the past.

For racer information, including the classes and registration, you can call the MASTERS at 906-884-9101 or see the links at the top of this page.

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Rules changes

April 1, 2019

There have been some minor changes to the general and hillclimb rules for 2020. Please view or download them on the rules page.

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Three western U.P. snowmobile hillclimbers represented Michigan as well as the Upper Peninsula at the World Championship Snowmobile Hillclimb in Jackson, Wyoming. Another snowmobiler represented an area snowmobile dealership.

Competing for Pat’s Motorsports of Greenland on the dealership’s Yamahas was Tyler Robinson. Robinson of Afton, Wyoming, posted the fastest time in the Improved Stock 600 class. This advanced him to the finals in that class, along with the second fastest time in the Improved Stock 700 class. 

This is the first time in over 20 years that a snowmobile hillclimber who qualified through the MASTERS Racing Circuit advanced to two finals. The MASTERS, which stands for Mid America Snow and Terrain Expert Racers, is a qualifying hillclimb circuit from the Midwest.

Tyler Robinson, WINTERNATIONALS

“Talk about the highest of highs and lowest of lows! After qualifying first in 600 improved and second in 700 improved, we experienced equipment failure on our Mod runs on Saturday,” explained Robinson. “That ended up literally draining me mentally and physically.”

Even a crew of technicians from throughout the area couldn’t help Hubbell’s Jimmy Marietta. Marietta came down with the flu, yet he competed in 4 different classes. Marietta and his M & M Powersports Arctic Cat excited the thousands of fans in attendance and hundreds of people watching the competition over the Internet.

Sandy Schulz and Jimmy Marietta, Vollwerth’s KOH MACH 2019

“Jimmy (Marietta) had one of the fastest times from the start to the very challenging halfway point up Snow King Mountain,” explained Jason Kleinschmidt, MASTERS VP of Racing. “All of us in the MASTERS are very proud of him, especially when one considers how he was feeling and this being the first time he competed at the World Championship.”

Also qualifying for the World Championship and competing for the first time were Roger Strack of Atlantic Mine and Wyatt McIntyre of Greenland.

Whealkate MACH Roger Strack, 2019

In only his second year of snowmobile hillclimb experience with the MASTERS, Strack ran in both Stock and Mod classes on his Tina’s Katalina/Diamond House International Polaris. The weekend before the World Championships, Strack took a first place finish at the Adventure Mountain Terra-X Race.

It was at the Terra-X race in Greenland that Wyatt McIntyre won two classes. It was that Terra-X experience, along with winning the Junior Division at the Ojibwa Casino Hillclimbs in South Range, that made him the only Junior Division competitor at the World Championship from Michigan.

Wyatt McIntyre, WINTERNATIONALS

“I would like to thank everyone that made my childhood dream of going to Jackson, Wyoming, to race snowmobiles at the world championships. It has been something I thought I’d never get to do. I know many others have come so close but haven’t made it,” stated the 17-year-old McIntyre. “It was an amazing experience, and I hope to do it again soon. I’m grateful for the people who made it possible for me, especially my mother, Trisha McIntyre, the one who pushed me to become a not only a better rider but a better person, and to surround myself with amazing people.”

While McIntyre did not advance, he defeated 12 other Junior racers in qualifying.

Robinson also thanked those from the Western U.P. for giving him the chance to compete in one of the biggest snowmobile events in the world. “Can’t thank the Pat’s Motorsports team enough! Hauling their sleds from Michigan to give me the chance to take them over the top of Snow King, working on the repairs between classes, supporting and believing in me as a racer, and being able to roll with the punches really says a lot!”

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While at this present time Mont du Lac has snow on the hill where the MASTERS was going to run our final race of the season, the hill is losing two inches of snow per hour.

The forecast for next week is highs in the upper 40’s.  To build the course that would make the Terra-X fun, exciting for fans, and competitive, we had planned on a couple jumps.  There is not enough snow to make the jumps, and with the race course developed with the slaloms, and sharp turns, both the MASTERS and Mont du Lac have the fear of damage to the ground. Damage to the ground creates an erosion problem that we simply cannot gamble on.

We are sorry for those who have made plans. For those who have sent in their pre-registration, simply e-mail me if you want us to send back your check or to void the check.

This would have been the latest we ran at Mont du Lac. The MASTERS is sending this to the management at Mont du Lac and requesting that we move our final race, a Terra-X race at Mont du Lac, up one week to March 28, 2020.

Thank you to Mont du Lac for once again being so cooperative and friendly to work with! Mont du Lac staff is simply FANTASTIC to work with!

Thank you to all our MASTERS racers for understanding that no one ever thought that with the winter we had, we would have had this quick of a “meltdown” as we have had all over the Midwest.

To be fair in determining the 2019 Terra-X TOP GUN Champion, we are going to run the final points race for Terra-X at our FIRST Terra-X next season; that will be the North Country Snowmobile Club Terra-X in Ontonagon, MI on January 18, 2020.

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What we are going to do is for those who send in their pre-registration along with fees by April 1st and register for TOP GUN, Pro Open Stock, and one Trail Class, we’re going to GIVE YOU an additional Trail Stock Class entry fee for FREE! Those who register at the Mont du Lac lodge at the bottom of the hill on Friday night, April 5th, if you register for Pro Open Stock, TOP GUN, and one Trail Stock class, you will get another Trail Stock class for half the entry fee.

Since Mont du Lac is a ski hill and has additional insurance requirements, we had no choice but to have a separate Terra-X registration.  We really appreciate all the work that Mont du Lac will be doing in setting up the Terra-X course on Friday, along with providing us with their digital timing system and PA system. The staff at Mont du Lac is GREAT for the MASTERS to work with and they really treat all of us great.

Not to forget how they brought our MASTERS flagman back to life after his heart stopped from his heart attack last year.

Registration will be Friday night, April 5th from 6 to 8 p.m. Central time at the lodge at the bottom of the hill.

Test N Tune will run from 9 to 10:00 a.m. CT. Mandatory Drivers Meeting will be from 10:15 a.m. CT to 10:30 a.m. CT, with racing to start 5 minutes after the completion of the Drivers Meeting. As of right now, we’re planning on running the Juniors, Trail Stock classes first, then go to the 120’s, then come back with the 1st round of Trail Mod, and finish the first round with Pro Open Stock and TOP GUN. This is going to be dependent on snow conditions, so it may change. I will keep everyone updated as to the order of the racing.

We’re going to be running on the ski runway to the right when looking up the hill. This is where we ran the Uphill Drags last year.

We’ll have the awards ceremony in the lodge at the bottom of the hill approximately an hour to 90 minutes after the races have concluded. Make plans on competing in the final MASTERS Race of the year, the Terra-X finals at Mont du Lac, April 6th!

Thanks again everyone!

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Fans and racers came out to see Terra-X racing at Adventure Mountain in Greenland on Saturday. They were treated by a lot of sunshine and snow to see snowmobilers go through a winding course up and down the former ski hill.

It was in the Pat’s Motorsports Pro Open Stock that Jordan Wolfe of Montreal, Wisconsin, thrilled the fans with an amazing move to go on to win the class.

“I got beat on the hole shot, so I held back to cut on the inside of Travis (Kaurala) on the first turn,” Wolfe stated.

The move worked out so well that other racers in the 2-sled class championship shoot-out would try if they also did not get the lead when the flagged dropped. However, Wolfe was the only one who would get into the lead with that move.

Kaurala would come back to win the TOP GUN feature over Wolfe.

While TOP GUN and Pro Open Stock are the “featured” classes, the excitement started in the qualifying time trials. The top 3 racers in the children’s 120 classes would advance to the finals. It is the top 2 racers in the Trail Stock and Junior classes that advanced.

In the 120 Stock class, 6 children tried to advance to the finals. One one-hundredth of a second prevented a first-time Terra-X child from Wisconsin from advancing to the finals. 

Ontonagon’s Klayton Kin edged out Wisconsin’s Camden Carothers with a 56.60-second run. Carothers ran a 56.61-second run.

“The officials and timers kept going over the time to see if it really happened. One one-hundredth of a second is amazing, then to think Camden (Carothers) never did Terra-X before, while Klayton has been a previous Terra-X winner,” explained Jeremy Schmidt, MASTERS Official.

It was then in the Merritt’s Travel Center 120 Stock Final that Kin led throughout the race until the final turn to the finish line. It was in that final turn that Braden Rose of Harvey got by Kin to win the Class Championship Shoot-out.

Bessemer’s Nolan Boggetto and the 120 Mod racers and families decided after the practice runs to have the children run the entire hill. The 120 Stock racers ran half the hill. Boggetto turned in a time of 1 minute and 1 second in qualifying.

“Think of that time! My gosh, the Trail Stock’s fastest time was 46 seconds! Nolan’s time on a 120 was only 15 seconds slower. That is amazing,” explained Wayne Soderbeck, MASTERS flag man.

Boggetto would go on to win in the finals.

The fastest time of the day was set by Wolfe. Wolfe ran a 45.35-second run in the first round qualifying of the Pro Open Stock class. 

Wolfe and Greenland’s Wyatt McIntyre were the only double winners. Wolfe won Pro Open Stock and Trail Stock 600. McIntyre took the Pit Stop Trail Stock 850 and the SONCO Ambulance Trail Mod 600 class.

Trimountain’s Roger Strack, who will be representing the MASTERS and the Midwestern States at this coming weekend’s World Championship Snowmobile Hillclimb in Jackson, Wyoming, won the Pit Stop Trail Mod 850 class. Strack defeated Toivola’s Josh Bramble.

Bramble advanced to 3 class championship shoot-outs.

The MASTERS will conclude the Ojibwa Casino Snowmobile Race Series with a Terra-X race at Mont du Lac, outside of Duluth/Superior on April 6th.

MASTERS Mountain Lions Adventure Mountain Results

Pat’s Motorsports TOP GUN:  1) Travis Kaurala, Nissula, Ski-doo;  2) Jordan Wolfe, Montreal, WI, Polaris.

Pat’s Motorsports Pro Open Stock:  1) Jordan Wolfe, Montreal, WI, Polaris;  2) Travis Kaurala, Nisula, Ski-doo.

Merritt’s Travel Center 120 Mod:  1) Nolan Boggetto, Bessemer, Polaris;  2) Braden Rose, Harvey, Polaris;  3) Lucas Solberg, Ontonagon, Polaris.

Merritt’s Travel Center 120 Stock:  1) Braden Rose, Harvey, Ski-doo;  2) Klayton Kin, Greenland, Arctic Cat;  3) Lucas Solberg, Ontonagon, Polaris.

Ojibwa Casino Junior:  1) Kaeden Kaurala, Nisula, Ski-doo;  2) Jordan Leonards, Gladstone, Arctic Cat.

SONCO Ambulance Trail Stock 600:  1) Jordan Wolfe, Montreal, WI, Polaris;  2) Josh Bramble, Toivola, Ski-doo.

Pit Stop Bar and Grill Trail Stock 850:  1) Wyatt McIntyre, Greenland, Polaris;  2) Josh Bramble, Toivola, Ski-doo.

SONCO Ambulance Trail Mod 600:  1) Wyatt McIntyre, Greenland, Polaris;  2) Kaeden Kaurala, Nisula, Ski-doo.

Pit Stop Bar and Grill Trail Mod 850:  1) Roger Strack, Trimountain, Arctic Cat;  2) Josh Bramble, Toivola, Ski-doo.

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Robinson and Marietta win WINTERNATIONALS

February 26, 2019

Snowmobilers from four states braved the snow falling and snow on Whealkate Bluff to compete at this past Saturday’s Ojibwa Casino WINTERNATIONALS Snowmobile Hillclimb.   Afton, Wyoming’s Tyler Robinson swept all four of the Pro Mod Classes to win the Vollwerth’s Meats Pro Mod King of the Hill. With no other hillclimbers winning a Pro Mod Class, […]

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Ojibwa Casino WINTERNATIONALS Hillclimb at Whealkate Bluff, South Range, MI, Saturday, February 23rd

February 19, 2019

Final registration will be this Friday night from 6 to 8 p.m. Eastern time at the former Big Bucks Bingo Hall, located next to the Ojibwa Casino in Baraga, MI. No registration after 8 p.m. At 8 p.m. we will have the drivers meeting, followed by the draw for class racer order of competition. If […]

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Marietta takes King of Hill

February 5, 2019

Snowmobile hillclimbers came from all over the Midwest, with one coming from Afton, Wyoming. They took part in this past Saturday’s Triest Forest Products-Vollwerth’s Mid America Championship Hillclimb (MACH). The MACH took place at Whealkate Bluff in South Range and was a part of the MASTERS Ojibwa Casino Racing series. It is those who win a class […]

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Whealkate history ups and downs

January 26, 2019

The property that the MASTERS Racing Circuit Snowmobile Hillclimb takes place on has a history all its own. It’s not just the snowmobiles that go up and some come down, but the history of Whealkate Bluff also has its ups and downs. The popular landmark outside of South Range started with motorcycle hillclimbs in the […]

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