World Records Broken on Lake of the Woods
Willie Ewing. He may not be someone you recognize but he made snowmobile history recently on Sunday, March 13 and Monday, March 14, 2022 as he broke two world records on Lake of the Woods. Driving him was the awareness and the ability to send more kids who cannot afford to go to Living Word Bible Camp near Grand Rapids, MN. Why he did it… 1day4kids.com.
This video was filmed this past summer. It interviews Willie and shares why he wanted to go after this new world record. The video is short but gives some great insight.
With many sponsors, friends and family all set up out on Lake of the Woods, the goal was to beat the previous world record of driving the greatest distance traveled in 24 hours by a single person on a snowmobile of 1,907 miles. Initially, this attempt was to take place near Grand Marais, MN but slushy conditions on the lake prevented the attempt.
Ewing and his team contacted Gregg Hennum of Sportsman’s Lodge for help. With a “can do” attitude, Hennum and his team created a track to attempt the world record seven miles out on Big Traverse Bay of Lake of the Woods. The track that was created ended up being 10.52 miles long.
Many tents were set up. Some for warmth. Some to properly track every lap and the time each lap took. When you are going after a new world record, as you can imagine, the team had to dot their I’s and cross their T’s.
Stops were planned about every 30 – 45 minutes and would only last about 15 seconds! He was connected to the snowmobile with specialized warm weather gear to keep him warm for the 24 hours he would be riding his Arctic Cat Thundercat Snowmobile.
There was a pit crew of 5 main people much like you would see at a Nascar race. Everyone had a job. When Ewing would come in for refueling and adjusting of his track, the crew was on it. A specialized gas tank quickly filled the sled. Mechanics raced around the sled checking for issues and adjusting as needed.
The temps were mild on March 13th, mid 20’s. Conditions were good, cloud cover, no white outs, things were looking up.
The attempt officially began at 1:30pm. Imagine, driving a snowmobile 24 hours straight at very high speeds. In order to set the world record, Willie averaged over 87 mph for 24 hours straight.
A YouTube video was shot live on the ice. If you would like to see Willie as he comes in for his final lap with everyone cheering him on, and it is very touching, check out this video at the 1:41 mark.
The first record that was broken was the world record of driving the greatest distance traveled in 24 hours by a single person on a snowmobile with 2,104 miles, surpassing the previous record of 1,907 miles.
The second record broken was the greatest distance in 24 hours by a team. Willie’s 2,104 miles single handedly beat the team record of 2,081 miles which was achieved by a team of four riders from Canada in 2019.
Upon the 24 hours finishing up, Ewing had well wishers, crew and others at the finish line waving the traditional black and white checkered flag. After bring his sled to a stop and taking a minute to unhook the clothing that was attached to the snowmobile providing him warmth, he had his wife and daughter come to him behind his snowmobile for a few photos.
After the photos, he first took his wife and then his daughter for a short victory lap.
Imagine, for avid snowmobilers, how many miles are actually put on in a season. Willie Ewing rode 2,081 miles in 24 hours, all for the kids.
Ewing will probably never become a household name, unless you follow snowmobiling closely. He may, however, make a lasting, lifelong impact to those kids who end up participating in the Living Word Bible Camp who otherwise wouldn’t have.
Congratulations Willie and thank you on behalf of the kids!