The Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew (Crew) a chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) recently announced their upcoming grassroots fundraiser #ForCuyuna to expand the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails. The goal of the #ForCuyuna event is to raise $132,000 in one evening. A hundred percent of these dollars will be immediately matched by the Hallett Trust matching grant and be earmarked, for the design and construction of a 10-mile backcountry adventure trail in the Cuyuna Hills — Crow Wing County’s designated recreation land adjacent to the City of Cuyuna.
Riding the red dirt of the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail, north of Crosby, MN. – photo by Aaron W. Hautala
Aaron Hautala, volunteer president of the Crew stated, “I continue to be amazed how the red dirt trails of Cuyuna have positively impacted so many individuals and businesses both near and far from the Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area. This is a wonderful opportunity for citizens and businesses to invest in the continued expansion of the mountain bike trails in collaboration with the State of Minnesota.”
#ForCuyuna ― The Event, announced by the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew.
The fundraising event was first conceived by Ben Thuringer, Vice President and General Manager of Madden’s Lodge at Madden’s Resort, Brainerd, MN. Thuringer approached Hautala well over a year ago with this simple statement: “Cuyuna is a big deal for our area. At Madden’s, with our summer business, we do not have the ability to assist in maintaining Cuyuna’s mountain bike trails. However, we would like to do what we do best, host an event for Cuyuna to raise a significant amount of money for the trails.” At that moment, #ForCuyuna was born. The event was originally planned for 2015 and was placed on hold temporarily when wind storms blew through Gull Lake last July, 2015.
Hautala remarked, “When we started the #ForCuyuna fundraiser, many said we’d never raise $50,000. The good news is to date we’ve already raised over $264,000 (including match) and now we are purposefully placing the ‘fun’ in ‘fundraiser’ with the objective of raising an additional $132,000 in one night ($264,000 with the match).”
A family riding the Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trail, north of Crosby, MN. -photo by Aaron W. Hautala
These funds will complement the Legislative request for $4.2 million in bonding to complete the Master Vision. “It is meaningful to the Legislature to show this type of local support,” said Judy Erickson, Government Relations consultant to the Crew. “It is exciting to have this type of local enthusiasm for a project as we enter the legislative session.”
The #ForCuyuna event agenda will cover two days, starting on Friday, June 3rd. The event kicks off with a 7p Red Bull deck party featuring DJ Indy at Madden’s. Saturday, June 4th, the event focus shifts to the red dirt and paved trails of Cuyuna. Members of the Crew will host free-to-join group rides for all skill levels. To learn more about each mountain and paved trail group ride please visit www.ForCuyuna.com. To rent a mountain bike or paved trail bicycle in advance, please contact Cycle Path and Paddle, in Crosby at: 218-545-4545.
Saturday evening shifts back to Madden’s on Gull Lake. The evening’s festivities begin at 5 p.m. with the Minnesota Craft Beer (and Moonshine) Experience featuring tastings from Jack Pine Brewery (Baxter), Gull Dam Brewing, (Nisswa), Disgruntled Brewing (Perham) and American Born Moonshine. Also scheduled, is a one-of-a-kind silent auction, a “health-first-minded” dinner, program, and live auction. The live auction will provide guests a chance to bid on prize packages, including a vacation at Madden’s on Gull Lake, a Raleigh gravel grinder bike, Ruttger’s on Bay Lake vacation weekends, and one year of yoga lessons by Holy Yoga in Crosby. Following the live auction, Jillian Rae will provide a live concert to close out the night in “Rockin-the-Red” style.
“It’s our honor at Madden’s to be able to host this event for Cuyuna. As the mountain bike trails continue to expand, so does our entire region’s tourism economy, and more importantly, our area continues to grow as a destination for 21st-century entrepreneurs and employees. This is community economic development through trails. We are so excited to be a partner in this future,” remarked Thuringer in a news release.
Hautala closed saying, “This event marks a unique opportunity. During my 4-plus year term as volunteer president of the Crew, I’ve consistently heard how cyclists and business owners want to expand the trails. Here’s the best opportunity each of us has to take expansion into our own hands. Every dollar we raise doubles. It’s time to take action. It’s time to invest in Cuyuna.”
Tickets for the event may be purchased online; please visit www.ForCuyuna.com. The Friday Night Red Bull Deck Party with DJ Indy is $25 to attend with 100% of the proceeds going directly to the #ForCuyuna matching grant. Limited individual seats for Saturday’s #ForCuyuna – The Event are $60 per ticket; tables of 8 may also be reserved at $560. $30 from every individual ticket and $320 from every table reservation goes directly to the #ForCuyuna matching grant. Madden’s is also offering weekend ‘ride-cation’ packages where the Friday and Saturday events can be combined with overnight lodging.
#ForCuyuna poster shows two days of activities starting a deck party Madden’s Resort. Then Saturday, June 4th, event rides the red dirt and paved trails of Cuyuna.
The Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Crew is a group of local volunteers who gives back to the trails and community by hosting events, conducting trail maintenance, fundraising, and promoting trail advocacy. The Crew’s vision is to become an international, year-round, family cycling destination. To learn more about the Crew visit www.CuyunaLakesMTB.com.
Questions please contact Aaron W. Hautala, Volunteer President of the Cuyuna Lakes Trail Association at: [email protected] or 218-851-6749.