Between the rush of harvest season and the excitement of fall sports, those looking to amp up the fun need look no further than the 10th Annual Peterson Coulee Hare Scramble, a two day event taking place on the weekend of September 10 and 11.
Posted on 9/3/16
By Melissa Anderson
“The first year we had 65 riders, and it has grown to 135 riders last year,” lead organizer Ricky Peterson said, “We pick up some new riders every year, and there have been a few that have made it=every year.”
The Peterson Coulee Hare scramble started when Peterson along with Greg Goschke attended a few hare scrambles in North Dakota around 2004 and 2005. After attending those events and experiencing the trails used, Peterson and Goschke began talking about hosting their own hare scramble.
“We saw that other people held them at areas that were relatively flat with very few trees,” Peterson explained, “The coulee that I grew up next to had a small river with lots of trees and ravines that just looked like the perfect place to have a motorcycle trail.”
The two dirt bike enthusiasts believed the coulee location had the potential to put on a very excellent event and after getting the go ahead from Peterson’s family, started mapping out a trail through the coulee.
“Clearing out the trail proved to be the hard part, but with help from Ed, Jeff and Carl Hoffarth, we finally made a complete loop heading west on the south side of the coulee and heading back to the yard on the north side,” Peterson stated.
The first year the event was held, the organizers were on a mission to make it a very tough course. Peterson and others decided to name the event “North Dakota’s Last Man Standing” as a testament to the difficult course.
“We had a very tight trail with many uphills and river crossings,” Peterson explained, “Everyone that raced it had fun but were all very played out.”
Over the years, the course has gotten a little easier on the competitors but Peterson and the other organizers still like to add some little changes to it every year to keep competitors on their toes. For some it is the changing challenge that brings them back year after year and has increased the size of the event.
“It has turned into an annual event for a lot of people and even had one person say it was the highlight of their summer,” Peterson said.
“We have learned a lot about hosting an event and have made minor changes every year to make things go a little smoother,” Peterson added.
It is this dedication to always trying to make the event bigger and better that has created the top notch event that draws riders from all over the area and even from Canada.
“We are a bunch of amateurs, but we are putting on a very well run, well respected event. It is a family friendly event, and we have classes from 4 years old on up,” Peterson said.
The event draws riders from all over North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and even Manitoba, Canada. The Peterson Coulee Hare Scramble is held in the same yard where Peterson grew up, making not only the location but the event very special to him.
“It is just an awesome place to ride dirt bikes,” Peterson said, “The hills, trees and the river make it the perfect spot, and the yard provides parking and a modern bathroom facility.”
Spectators are not limited to just the yard for the viewing of the competition but have the opportunity to walk or drive down to the bottom of the coulee to watch the race and view the wonderful scenery.
For those that don’t know what a Hare Scramble is, it’s a race through tight trails, woods and hills. It is a dead engine start with the classes starting in one minute waves. The riders race for either one hour or two hours, depending on the class.
The competitors do as many laps as they can in the time allowed. After each lap, they ride through a checkpoint to get their lap time recorded. At this race, the A and B riders generally do about 5 or 6 laps, averaging about 20 to 25 minutes a lap.
“The start for the A and B class is a shotgun/LeMans start. The riders have to run about 40 feet to their bike after the shogun blast,” Peterson stated.
The Scramble will begin on Saturday, with a start time of 4 p.m. with the first event being a team race. There is a $10 entry fee, and there is a draw for partners with each teammate doing one lap a piece. The entire pot goes to charity.
“Every year we donate to the Relay for Life in Langdon and also try to help out with other people or organizations that are in need,” Peterson explained.
Following the team race on Saturday will be a vintage motorcycle ride/race/show.
“We will have some dirt bikes from the old days that we will ride around and maybe stir up some old memories and get some stories going,” Peterson shared.
Sunday’s events start bright and early at 9 a.m. with the Pee Wee, Kids, Junior B and woman’s classes all of which will be raced over a 2.5 mile course that will run for one hour.
The Junior A, Open C, Vet C and Master’s class is set for an 11 a.m. start and will be over a course that is about 5 miles long and run for one hour.
The Team, Open A and B, Vet A and B, and Double A will run at 1 p.m., and that race will be for 2 hours on a 6 mile course.
“ We pay out cash to the top five riders of the day and give trophies for the top three of every class,” Peterson said.
Admission to the grounds is $5 dollars for adults with children 12 and under getting to enjoy the days’ events for free. Concessions are available on site and serve both breakfast and lunch.
For those interested in competing on Sunday, race fee for the 9 a.m. race is $25.00. Race fees for either the 11a.m. or 1 p.m. race is $45.
The primary sponsors of the Peterson Coulee Hare Scramble is the Pembina Gorge Dirt Riders (PGDR) composed of a core group of dirt bike and motorcycle enthusiasts: Ricky Peterson, Greg and Deb Goschke, Ed and Jayna Hoffarth, Carl and Jen Hoffarth, Jeff and Penny Hoffarth, Randy and Janelle Bata and Reily Bata.
“But the list is endless of who has been helping through the years,” Peterson said, “We couldn’t do it without them.”
The Peterson Coulee Hare Scramble has numerous sponsors that the group is very thankful to have. The community has been very receptive to this event and very generous in helping PGDR put the event on. This event takes a lot of hard work and a lot of dedication from a lot of people making it nearly impossible to succeed without them or the sponsors.
“The Cavalier County Search and Rescue and the Langdon Ambulance have been a huge help to us,” Peterson said,” And I could never forget my mom, Beverly Peterson for allowing all of us to hold this event on her land.”
Be sure to mark the weekend of September 10 and 11 on the calendar and attend the 10th Annual Peterson Coulee Hare Scramble.