After returning to normal in 2021 the Ojibwe Forests Rally is evolving again for 2022. Once again we have a big change coming, but as with any event with nearly a 40 year history its history is the story.

In 1980 the Ojibwe Forests Rally started as a TSD (Time Speed and Distance) rally. The goal of which is to arrive exactly on time. The rally was run on open roads with street cars. Precision was key, not speed. Very different than our modern rally.

During the next 35 years the rally evolved it changed formats from a TSD into what it is today, the fastest time wins. Closed roads, speed and durability are the key now. The competition sections of roads are closed to the public and while precision is still key, it is a different definition of precision.

Over the decades the rally went through more than just a format change. Sanctioning bodies changed, organizing volunteers and committees changed and the host community changed. 2012 probably brought the most recent and dramatic changes to the Ojibwe Forests Rally.

After a traumatic 2011, which resulted in a cancelled rally, the organizing committee knew changes had to be made. In 2012 a new chairman and a new host community, Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, were brought on board. Detroit Lakes welcomed the rally as a unique addition to help close out the summer and the new chairman brought rally heritage and immediate goals to achieve. The Ojibwe Forests Rally wanted to regain their championship status and bring racing into the city.

2012 was a successful rally with 31 teams competing in a condensed one day rally. Only 2 months after the rally, the Ojibwe was readmitted into the Rally America championship.

2013 marked the return of the national competitors to the Minnesota stages with names rally fans wanted to see again. Block, Pastrana, Higgins, O’Sullivan and L’Estage. It was a fantastic achievement for the rally, but 2014 brought possibly the biggest challenge the rally has faced.

In August of 2014 in front of an estimated 4,000 fans the Ojibwe Forests Rally, after 9 months of negotiation, closed down the busiest and most high profile areas of Detroit Lakes to use as the final stage of the rally. In 2015, it was done again, twice, with an estimated 9,000 fans, live video feeds and the final two cars drifting together through the city streets to end the rally.

2020 brought new challenges to the world and the Rally. The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated changes to the all events surrounding the rally and eliminated the ability to have the fans watch in person. So, in true Ojibwe Forests Rally fashion, the rally has adapted again. For the first time ever in US Rally, the Ojibwe Forests Rally, with the support of Cooper Tires, live streamed sections of all 14 of the competitive stages.

The Ojibwe Forests Rally was once the rally every other US rally looked to for guidance. In 2013, after a troubled decade, the rally decided to take back that role. Every year it will be bigger, more spectacular, industry leading and never something to be missed.

The 2021 rally continued that trend with the addition of the final two stages on the Detroit Mountain Recreation Area. Three years of negotiations with the city of Detroit Lakes and the DMRA management resulted in and exciting addition. The DMRA stages were held in the pouring rain in front of 1,500 spectators.

After the conclusion of the 2021 event when the committee was trying to wind down, a new opportunity came up. Even with the success of the stages at Detroit Mountain we began looking at a new venue. In 2014 conversations started with the owners of Soo Pass Ranch the home of WEFest south of Detroit Lakes. Over the years the conversations continued but in the fall of 2021 the rally secured Soo Pass Ranch. It will now be the new home of the rally. Check in for volunteers, competitors, kick off part, vehicle inspection and racing all at Soo Pass Ranch.

We say it every year, but don’t miss this. It is the future of the Ojibwe Forests Rally!

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