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51st Derby preparations underway at Eagle River

EAGLE RIVER, Wis. (WXPR) -- The cold weather has been a concern for some, but the cold has helped promoters get the 51st World Championship Snowmobile Derby track ready in Eagle River.

The event begins Thursday through Sunday with vintage snowmobile races, with the World Championship racing competition the following weekend.

Track owner and coordinator Chuck Decker says the cold has given them a boost. "Probably one of the best years ever to get the track prepared...making the ice and making the snow. Probably one of the best race tracks in the history of the derby."

Tens of thousands of visitors come each year. Decker says the addition of vintage snowmobile racing this first weekend has brought in much interest. "We haven't got a final count on the entries yet, but I'm sure it's going to be close to what it was last year, around a thousand entries, It takes about four days to do all the running, Thursday is a practice day. Three full days of racing, a huge amount of racing to get through and one of the best shows to watch."

Decker says the following week most of the top race drivers on the planet will be at the World Championship.

Chamber of Commerce officials estimate the two weekends of racing mean millions of dollars go into the Eagle River area economy.