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Snow kite racing set for Mille Lacs March 6-8

GARRISON - The 11th Annual Mille Lacs Snow Kite Crossing will attract top snowkiting athletes to compete in the nation's most challenging snowkite event. There will be several events on Lake Mille Lacs, based out of Garrison from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m...

GARRISON - The 11th Annual Mille Lacs Snow Kite Crossing will attract top snowkiting athletes to compete in the nation's most challenging snowkite event. There will be several events on Lake Mille Lacs, based out of Garrison from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day on March 6-8.

Among the competitors will be 2014 junior/youth first place finisher Pete Nierenhausen of Brainerd and Womens Ski first place finisher Kate Perkins of Breezy Point. Other first place finishers by category from 2014 who will be in attendance to again race for top honors. They are: Mens Ski: Marty Roy (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada); Mens Snowboard: Adam Burggraff (Rogers); Womens Snowboard: Vicky Hanson (Cross Lake).

In the past 11 years, the Kite Crossing on Mille Lacs has attracted the world's best males and female snowkite athletes to compete in its grueling 28-mile race across the frozen expanse of Lake Mille Lacs.

Races are on either a wakeboard type board and regular alpine skis, with a large kite harnessed to the riders for wind power.

As the country's premier snowkite event, the lake will come alive with kites with riders mainly from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Canada and around the U.S. Minnesota has the largest and most active snowkite community in the nation, competing in an event that is one of the most visually spectacular events in the state.

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Besides two 14-mile Kite Crossing legs of Lake Mille Lacs (out and back) that define this event, more than 75 participants will also compete in free-style events and shorter sprint races. Previous champions from around the country are expected to return to regain their titles, including Denis Foo Kune (Minneapolis), a team rider for kite manufacturer Slingshot Sports and a multi-year Kite Crossing Snowboard Category Champion; Olympic downhill ski racer Joe Levins (White Bear Lake), 2005 and 2006 Mille Lacs Kite Crossing Champion; Jeff Cole (Minnetonka), multi-year Kite Crossing Champion, Rob Evans (Excelsior), 1997 Ice and Snow Surfing World Champion and nine-time Inland Lake Yachting Association Champion, and last year's champions Marty Roy (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada), Kate Perkins (Breezy Point), Adam Burggraff (Rogers) and Vicky Hanson (Crosslake).

The sport started in Minnesota in the 1980s, and the first Kite Crossing was in 1995 on Lake Mille Lacs, located in central Minnesota and the state's second largest lake (14 miles wide, 20 miles long). Minneapolis-based event organizer, Fleet 8's Michael Fox, after 20 years

of windsurfing crossings on Lake Mille Lacs had the idea to apply the crossing idea to snowkiting. Today it is the longest running snow kite event in the country, and the longest snowkite endurance race. There are 500-600 snowkiters in Minnesota.

In addition to viewing this adventure sport close-up on Lake Mille Lacs, spectators will enjoy one of the most visually exciting sports in existence with 75 large multi-colored kite sails racing across the Lake. There is no charge for spectators.

For the competitors and families, there will be a welcome reception with live music Friday night, racing, events and large bonfire during the day on the lake Saturday and dinner awards party that night, and more competition Sunday.

"We are excited about showcasing the top snowkiters in this dynamic sport, as each year more excitement is generated around Mille Lacs Kite Crossing," said Fox. "The visual aspect of snowkiting is unmatched in other sports and the riders can reach speeds up to 30 miles an hour. The Mille Lacs Kite Crossing is the longest running snowkite race event in the country, as well as the most demanding," added Fox.

This video provides a glimpse of the Mille Lacs Kite Crossing: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dMWF025S6rU

Sponsors of the 2015 Mille Lacs Kite Crossing include Red Bull, Deerwood Bank Garrison, HQ Kites, Mille Lacs Messenger, Garrison Commercial Club, Excelsior Brewing, Cabrihna, Best Kites, and Sociable Cider Works. For sponsorship information, contact Tim Browne, 952-594-5395.

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