SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. (WJMN) – People braved the cold on Saturday to witness the 53rd annual International 500 Snowmobile Race.

Snowmobilers raced 500 miles around North America’s first and only 1-mile oval ice track.

“This is a winter vacation destination for a lot of sled heads,” said Ric Federau, I-500 board chair/spokesperson. “You come here you’re amongst thousands of people. You’re looking at the best and only mile oval track in North America and they’re going fast. They’re going over 100 mph. The excitement is brewing like never before. COVID backed us up, but guess what? We’re back and everybody’s enjoying it. So we’re all having a good time here at the I-500. “

Federau said there is a lot of preparation that goes into the race. The I-500 relies on about 200 volunteers to make it all possible.

“We have people [who] volunteer, they are the backbone of our event. They go to work, they get out of work, they come here, they drop in a watering truck or a plow or they do something here and help build this track. We usually start building the track at the beginning of December and we carry it right up to race week. So we have a week-long series of events: mid-week racing, people skate on the track, we have the largest kids race in the world, and everything culminates right to the end when we’re racing 500 miles.”

Teams travel from all over the country and Canada to the Sault every winter in the hopes of winning that first place trophy.

#28 of Nelson Racing secured first place at this year’s I-500. To see the full official race results, click here.

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