Wausau snowmobile race honors fallen rider - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau snowmobile race honors fallen rider

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WAUSAU (WAOW) - The Wausau 525 Championship Snowmobile Races have grown since they started ten years ago.

"We're probably going to have at least 100 to 120 drivers," said Ralph Merwin, the founder of the event.

Riders aren't just from Wisconsin, but from around the country and the world.

"Canada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa,” said Merwin.

People lined the track to watch in Wausau on Saturday.

For founder Merwin, it's more than just the sport.

"The race is in memory of my son," said Merwin. "Flip passed away in Eagle River in 2003 in a racing accident and we started the race two years after in his memory."

Family, friends, and fans return to remember him.

"He was known by so many drivers and race fans," said Merwin.

"We come back every year it's a lot of fun the flip memorial and I have friends in it,” said Darren Laffin of Wausau. “Like the Schultz’s, and it's always fun to watch them compete with the big dogs."

The money raised goes toward a good cause.

"We have a fund set up that we give to kids with cancer and high school scholarships, Lions Clubs, Boy Scouts," said Merwin.

So far they've raised close to $200,000, and they want to raise $525,000 by 2020. As the fans continue to pile in, Ralph Merwin is grateful for how far the races have come, and how his son would feel if he was still here.

"Oh I think he'd be elated,” said Merwin. “He raced in Canada, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, had a lot of good friends and I think he'd be very happy."

The races continue throughout the weekend. The big 440 championship race is Sunday afternoon.

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