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Published October 04 2011

Snocross event coming to Buffalo River

GLYNDON, Minn. – Good thing for Kevin Nathe that he is a curious guy.

He wanted to know what it would take to host a snocross event sanctioned by The International Series of Champions.

“I started with getting the ball rolling,” Nathe said. “And they needed a venue. They wanted to be back in the Fargo market.”

It’s just that this time, when the ISOC comes, it will be bringing its newest friend: NBC Sports.

Nathe’s Buffalo River Speedway will host a snocross race March

4-5. One of those races will be nationally broadcast on NBC Sports. ISOC operations director Carl Schubitzke said the race would be tape delayed and would air at a later date.

The ISOC held a race last December in Fargo at Newman Outdoor Field. Schubitzke said Newman Outdoor Field was a good venue but presented challenges to host a snocross race.

“For us being a motorsport-oriented event, Buffalo River was a better fit for us,” Schubitzke said. “In essence, when we come to a facility, there is a matter of just whether it will work well for each venue.”

Snocross is snowmobile racing on a track with tight turns and high jumps in which riders can reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour.

The sport grew in popularity in the late 1990s when it was introduced by the Winter X Games on ESPN. Recently, it was dropped from the X Games lineup. It now means the sport will have a home on NBC during the winter.

“You are going to have a national race with pros from all over the world,” Nathe said. “The pros run at night and I believe it has to do with TV.”

The ISOC was able to land a 4 p.m. central time slot because of its relationship with the Versus network. Versus was recently purchased by NBC and in turn, the ISOC races will be shown on Sundays following the NHL Game of the Week.

Getting ready to host NBC and the race means Nathe has a lot of work ahead of him.

“We have to have all new lighting,” he said. “Our old lighting is down and the new ones should be up in the next week. We also have to have indoor seating for 500 people.”

Nathe said he’s going to build an indoor facility that will also be used in the summer when his facility hosts dirt track racing.

Buffalo River Speedway can hold up to 3,000 people, Nathe said. He plans to expand so the track can hold an extra 2,500 people.

As for the snocross track, it will be inside of the dirt track that’s used for auto racing.

“It is tough to say how long the snocross track will be,” Nathe said. “Because it is going to wind back and forth and the route is up to (the ISOC).”

Another addition that Nathe is pleased about is the traffic lights that are being installed at the intersection in front of the raceway. The raceway sits at the U.S. Highway 10 and Minnesota 9 intersection – where a woman and her daughter in 2007 were killed in an auto accident.

“The stop lights will be great and so much safer for our spectators to get in and out,” said Nathe, who has owned the track for five years. “It will also be safe for our racers and the big rigs they drive to get in and out too.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark’s Force blog can be found

at slightlychilled.areavoices.com