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Father and son to ride 1973 John Deere sleds from Winnipeg to Twin Cities

The 500-mile snowmobile trip will be good bonding time for Roger and Wyatt Kram.

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Roger Kram and his son Wyatt stand with WDAY News reporter Kevin Wallevand. The father and son duo will be driving their 1973 John Deer snowmobiles to recreate the International 500 Snowmobile race.
WDAY News
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FARGO — Roger Kram and his son Wyatt have been around snowmobiles all their lives. Specifically, two 1973 John Deere snowmobiles.

"You grow up on it," Wyatt Kram said. "This sled here, I grew up riding."

The two are setting out Tuesday, Jan. 25, recreating the route of the International 500 Snowmobile race that went from Winnipeg to the Twin Cities back in the late 60's and early 70's.

"It was Dad's idea," Wyatt said, smiling. "Aside from the ride planning, we rebuilt all of our sleds from the ground up. Every bearing, nut and bolt has been touched. So, they're mechanically ready to go."

It is also the 50th anniversary of the John Deere snowmobiles, which was one of a number of snowmobiles that hit the market in the 1970s. There were more brands of sleds than cars. Old TV ads from the 70's show the popularity of the sleds.

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This grueling snowmobile trip, is about more than just the route. It's about creating an experience for the father and son to share together.

"It's going to make a lot of memories. I'm going to look back on this and say, 'I'm glad I did it,'" Wyatt Kram said. "It might not be easy, and we're going to be sore when we're done, but I'll look back and we'll have a lots of memories from that," Wyatt said.

"(I am) looking forward to this," Roger Kram said. "It's (the) camaraderie. We work together a lot — all the time — (and) I live only a mile away."

It's not just days on the John Deere sled, the Krams are also raising money for the honor guard members who come to pay respects at every funeral of every veteran in our communities. Money raised would help build a chapel at the national cemetery.

For now, Roger and Wyatt are tweaking their sleds and getting ready for the 500-mile trek. We've got the snow, they just need a little luck as the vintage sleds power through the route.

"It's kind of a crazy deal, 500 miles, but we'll give it our best," Wyatt said.

To follow the father and son snowmobile journey on their Facebook page . To buy their raffle tickets to help the National Cemetery Honor Guard chapel project at i-500challenge.com

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

Contact Email: kwallevand@wday.com
Phone Number: (701) 241-5317
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