For the first time, the Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge, the largest adventure race in the United States, will be taking racers to Stevens Point over Memorial Day weekend.
Race directors Anna Nummelin and Tim Buchholz created the Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge in 2015 to give back to the Central Wisconsin community while providing adventure racers with a best-in-class event. Racers leave the course better than they found it with a prize for the team who picks up the most litter. Racers also complete special challenges, often benefiting charities. Proceeds from the event support student scholarships on the UWSP and UWSP at Wausau campuses, with over $67,000 being given to student scholarships since the race’s inception
“I truly believe that adventure racing is the best sport ever invented and love that we can give back to our community by offering this event in Central Wisconsin,” said Tim Buchholz, co-race director of the Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge. “That we’re able to support student scholarships through the proceeds of this event is icing on the cake!”
Year after year racers are buzzing with excitement, with every racer in last year’s anonymous post-event survey saying they’d recommend the race to others. It’s no wonder the Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge quickly grew to the largest adventure race in the USARA series.
“Since its inception, the Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge has been a highlight of the USARA series of races,” said Michael Garrison, executive director of United States Adventure Racing Association (USARA), the sanctioning body for adventure racing. “This professionally-run event is a rewarding challenge for both the participants and the community hosting the event.”
This year the race has also joined the Adventure Racing World Series North America calendar which combines middle distance races across the USA, Mexico and Canada. Any team competing in two of the 23 races on offer will go into the grand prize draw at the end of the year to have a chance to win free races entries, sponsor schwag and a place at the Adventure Racing World Championship in Ecuador in 2024! Coed teams in the 18 hour race will be eligible and will also score ARWS ranking points in the North America series.
The event has 3-hour, 8-hour, and 18-hour race options that draw new to experienced racers ranging from age 7 to 70. Nearly one-third of racers are travelling from outside of Wisconsin, representing 19 states this year. In addition to traditional coed, female, and male team divisions, the Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge offers a multi-generation family division that has attracted 18 teams this year.
Nik Stone has participated in every edition of the Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge. What started as a hobby with buddies has turned into a family affair. “After each race, I would tell my family how much fun it was navigating, biking, trekking up mountains, and I finally convinced my wife to just give it a try,” said Stone.
Last year, she joined the adventure, albeit 22 weeks pregnant with their fourth son, and is hooked. This year, one of their sons is joining them. “Our son begged to go on one with us after he heard our stories. He's great at biking, he loves hiking, and he seems at just the right age to start this adventure! We cannot wait for this race!”
The sport appeals to a range of ability levels. After racingin one of the ten other events in the Wisconsin Adventure Racing Series earlier this season, eight year-old Danica Larson loved her first adventure racing experience. Ever since, she has been counting down the daysfor the Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge. When asked about what’s her favorite part of adventure racing, she exclaimed, “Everything!
Each year the Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge takes place over Memorial Day weekend. Due to logistics, the event is capped at 500 racers. For those still wanting to be a part of this year’s event, consider joining the team of 50+ volunteers at: https://www.ironbull.org/volunteer-rmac
Local event sponsors include the Town of Rib Mountain, Stevens Point Tourism Commission, City of Wausau, Nicolet National Bank, Hostel Shoppe, Gear Junkie, Delta Dental, Red Eye Brewing Company, Mullins Whey, and Mullins Cheese.
For more race information on the Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge go to the Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge Facebook page or https://www.ribmountainadventurechallenge.com/