2017 Surly Bikes Red Dirt Fest – Presented by the Cuyuna Lakes MTB Crew/IMBA
Saturday, August 5th, 2017 - Volunteers from the Cuyuna Lakes MTB Crew/IMBA gathered early to set up at their newest venue. The expanse of Morningside Park in Ironton, MN allowed a large Vendor Village anchored by the event's main sponsor, Surly Bikes. Also onsite, Freewheel Bikes as well as area bicycle shops; Easy Riders Sport Shop, Lifecycle of Baxter, Muddy Bikes (w/ OTSO Cycles) and Crow Wing Cycle works. Red Dirt Fest attendees were able to test ride a huge selection of styles and sizes of bicycles, perfectly designed for the Red Dirt of Cuyuna.
By 11:00 AM crowds were checking out all the bicycles and visiting the Crew’s tent. The Red Dirt Fest emcee, Jason C. welcomed the crowd and interviewed some of the younger Red Dirt Fest attendees, all ready to ride the red dirt of Cuyuna. At the main Crew tent, volunteers offered riders descriptions for one of ten different rides to be held later in the day. The group rides were well attended and lead by experienced Crew members, offering a variety of Cuyuna tours. From Cuyuna’s State (paved) trail to Cuyuna’s Expert level Red Dirt, all riders had a custom-tailored ride experience.
Throughout the day, the Red Dirt fest held bicycle games including; Bicycle Jousting, Bicycle Limbo, a Bicycle Log Pull that tested the strength of many, a PixieCrit (big kids on little bikes), a Dunk Tank and a fantastic Striderbike course setup by Mitch H. of the Cuyuna Crew. Mitch’s Striderbike course included ramps and obstacles of various shapes and even some of Cuyuna’s Red Dirt for the little tykes to shred. Three Striderbikes were raffled to lucky racers to take home along with helmets and race swag. Closing out the days games was the “Best Calves Contest” juried by notable judges.
Also entertaining the crowds; RideMN put on three incredible bicycle jump shows. All eyes were glued on RideMN’s 8ft tall ramp has their team of riders flew tens of feet in the air, spinning and twisting their BMX bicycles and themselves as the huge crowd watched in amazement.
Red Dirt Fest goers were kept hydrated and fueled by Maucieri’s Bistro on Wheels serving delicious options and dispensing SURLY Brewing’s best selection of Minnesota’s finest craft beers. Also onsite; Cuyuna Brewing offered their one-time, special brew of “Hoppy Yawkey” Red Dirt exclusive Red IPA. Ruttger’s Bay Lake Lodge hosted the “Ruttger’s Lounge” where folks gathered in a comfortable setting, sipping lemonade and snacking on S’mores . . . mmmm, good! Kakookies was also on hand sharing their delicious energy products with riders of all ages.
Always a highlight of Red Dirt Fest, the Crew assembled a stellar lineup of talented musicians to entertain everyone throughout the day while enjoying the bicycle festivities. Opening the music festivities was Judd Hailey, followed by The Thirsty River Band, The High Chair Kings and the Red Dirt Fest headliner; The Last Revel. The Last Revel closed the event with an acoustic jam session, dancing with the crowd and bringing down the curtain on the 2017 Surly Red Dirt Fest.
A final note: The Crew wishes to thank the Red Dirt Fest Chairperson; Teri Fabian for her tireless efforts in organizing this year’s fest. Teri along with her team raised the bar, heck, they smashed it! The 2017 Red Dirt Fest was perhaps the best celebration the Red Dirt of Cuyuna has ever seen . . . that is . . . until 2018!!