Now that the weather is starting to turn colder, a lot of people are thinking about winter recreation.
There’s skiing, snowmobiling, and ice-skating, but at Brant Lake near Chester that recreation is on motorcycles.
They’re fast, they’re loud and sometimes they’re furious…
“Yeah I’ve had quite a few bad wrecks, but if you’re scared to crash you might as well not get on a bike,” 17-year-old Owen Gottsch said.
Owen Gottsch of Hartford, who has been ice racing since he was four years old, absolutely loves the thrill of riding fast on ice; especially on Brant Lake.
“Everybody likes this track out here it’s nice and big you can really use your horsepower,” Gottsch said.
To ice race, you have to make some modifications to the quads and bikes. Their tires are covered in thousands of tiny screws that dig into the ice.
“You get a lot more traction because of the screws, it’s different but pretty much the same,” Gottsch said.
The ice races are hosted by The Shipwreck owners John and Melissa Dougan. This is their third year of being involved.
“It is a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it, we really didn’t know a lot about ice racing before we bought the Shipwreck and we just kind of jumped in with both feet and we’ve met so many people who ice race around Chester and Sioux Falls and surrounding areas, it’s really fun to see them do it, generations of kids, parents and grandparents, we’ve met a lot of people who do it and they love it it’s just tons of fun, a great tradition to keep going,” Melissa Dougan said.
“I think the nice part about here is you’re able to watch ice races from inside the restaurant, so like when the little kids come and race on the 50 cc’s and small bikes, grandparents can watch from inside the bar, it’s very close to the ice and it’s just nice like Melissa said, it’s been here for so many years small community, so it’s a big thing for the community to gear up and just get us through winter time it’s been a rough year, especially in the bar business, I just think it’s a nice thing to get us back on track for ’21,” John Dougan said.
While the racers, who are either on four wheels or two, enjoy the ice, the Dougans enjoy meeting so many new people.
“And also it’s really important for our business to keep us going, we’re a lake bar there’s not a lot of business coming in from out of town in the middle of winter and it brings people together and brings them out to the bar and they get to experience something different and they get to experience the Shipwreck,” John said.
The Dougans admit, they couldn’t host the ice races without the partnership with so many great sponsors in the area.
“They’ve really poured some cash into this thing to try and make it work and we really appreciate that,” John said.
They also appreciate racers like Gottsch, who have committed to coming here and having a little fun during a couple of months in the cold.
“Just going fast, it’s fun, I mean you get out here with your family and come out here to the Shipwreck and enjoy the ice races,” Gottsch said.
The Shipwreck will kick off its racing season in January and host events every Sunday through February, weather permitting.
They’re also planning something new this year that’ll benefit the racers even more, but aren’t ready to make that announcement just yet.
For more information on the ice races, click here.