Catching some air
A big crowd turned out for the ATV Big Air Tour show at Clarkfield’s town festival
CLARKFIELD — The bleachers were packed. So were a couple of picnic tables, and rows of lawn chairs set up on the Clarkfield athletic field. Everyone craned their necks to watch ATV riders zoom skyward and do stunts with names like “the Heart Attack,” before landing safely.
The crowd applauded, but the most enthusiastic fans were probably the kids, who lined up at the guard rope to high-five the riders after each jump.
Picking a favorite part of the show wasn’t easy for some of the young audience members. At first, Kendra Jahn said the coolest stunt was “Probably when they had their feet on the handlebars and their hands in the air.” But she changed her mind after her cousin Will Douglass spoke up.
“I liked the train,” Douglass said, describing a stunt where three ATVs jumped off a ramp one after the other.
“The train was awesome!” Jahn said.
The ATV show, featuring the ATV Big Air Tour, was a new event at this year’s Clarkfield Cardinal Days, said Katie Kaatz, one of the festival organizers.
“We said if we could make it work with our budget, we’d do it. And it seemed like we could,” she said.
The show brought out riders from the ATV Big Air Tour, founded by pro ATV stunt rider and Wabasso native Derek Guetter. Guetter served as emcee for the show, and also joined riders Adam Thene and John Langaas in showing off their skills.
The show at Cardinal Days focused on ATV stunts, which riders performed while jumping their ATVs off a nine-foot takeoff ramp. While riders said they have a lot of fun — “This is something I wanted to do from an early age,” Guetter said — they also warned the crowd that their stunts are definitely the “don’t try this at home” kind.
Later, Guetter, Thene and Langaas signed autographs for the crowd.
The fun of the ATV show was just one part of Cardinal Days. Local residents also got together for events like a family game show-style competition, a parade, and a Saturday night street dance.
“The goal is to promote our community, and just getting the community together to socialize,” Kaatz said. “So many people live in Clarkfield but work out of town,” she said, so events like Cardinal Days are a chance to bring the community closer together.
“The greatest part is seeing all the smiles and laughter,” Kaatz said.
A lot of work goes into making Cardinal Days a success, Kaatz said. Starting in August, the Clarkfield Prairie Cardinals look at what went well this year and how they could improve next year’s festival.
“So really, (planning) is a year in advance,” she said.