Wertz Warriors to take annual ride for Special Olympics this weekend
MOUNT PLEASANT — The Wertz Warriors, a group of endurance snowmobile riders, will begin their annual ride to raise money for Michigan Special Olympics beginning Feb. 2, according to event organizers.
The event was originally created in the early 1980s by Vic Wertz, a former Detroit Tiger and Michigan Hall of Fame member who founded the warriors group as a way to raise money for Special Olympics.
Since their first ride, the group has generated nearly $9 million. Feb. 2, a group of more than 50 will depart, making stops on their first day in Skidway, Au Gres, Sand Lake, Sterling, Alger and West Branch.
Throughout the seven-day ride, the riders will hit locations all over the state, including areas in Arenac, Oscoda and Ogemaw counties. The group is scheduled to be in Arenac County Feb. 2, with its first stop scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Town & County in Au Gres. The warriors will also stop at Cliff’s Bar in Sterling at 4 p.m. and Hank’s of Alger at 5 p.m.
A full itinerary of stops can be found by visiting the Special Olympics of Michigan’s website at www.SOMI.Com
Area rider Scott Bird, who also helps organize the event, said the stops are in an effort to raise money. He said area bars, restaurants and other businesses hold charity events to help the riders make more than $250,000 annually.
“Our riders raise money in a variety of ways,” Bird said. “They do everything from bowling tournaments, to bake sales, to golf outings; each warrior is responsible for $3,500.
Bird said at the end of the ride finishes in Petoskey. He said a check for the money raised will be presented to Michigan Special Olympics during their annual winter games event in Traverse City.
More information about the warriors can be found by going to www.wertzwarriors.com
In other Wertz Warriors news, Standish-Sterling Community Schools recently held their annual penny wars for Special Olympics, raising $1,160. Middle school students raised the most, collecting $367.95 in the penny wars.
The classroom in each school to collect the most money was awarded with a pizza party in December. Mrs. Courtemanche’s class was the winner at Sterling Elementary. In Standish Elementary, Mrs. Briggs’ class won the pizza party. Mrs. Maison’s class won at the middle school and Mrs. Wolfgang’s class won at the high school.
News Editor Tim Barnum contributed to this story.