History

1991

November

Don Edberg and Bob Manwell meet at Chicago Area Bicycle Dealers trade show and discuss combining their individual mountain bike races into a series. Steve Meurett is asked to bring his race into the series and Don Edberg originates the WORS acronym for Wisconsin Off Road Series.

1992

May

Wisconsin Off Road Series is founded with 6 events: Spring Green (race director: Bob Manwell), Phillips (race director: Bruce Davey), Sayner (race director: Bruce Drew), Wausau (race director: Les Schwartz), Hatfield (race director: Steve Meurett), and Arnot (race director: Don Edberg), joining the initial series. Rolf Garthus, owner of the Hostel Shoppe (Stevens Point, WI), sets up initial scoring program on his store computer.

October

First WORS is completed with Hostel Shoppe Cantilever Classic at Standing Rocks Park in Portage County. 167 racers receive an overall score with some completing as few as 3 races.

The champions in the Expert Class were Randy Bailey and Vickie Roberts.

November

The first version of the WORS logo is designed by Steve Meurett.

1993

March

Bob Manwell and the Spring Green event leave WORS as cut backs at the Madison shop where Bob works cancel his race.

August

WORS kicks off second season with a seven race schedule starting in La Crosse at Mt. La Crosse ski area. WORS events are held in Phillips, Sayner, Wausau, Hatfield, Horshaw, and Iola. The average number of entrants per race is 204.

October

WORS changes Beginner class to Citizen at race directors meeting, establishing a class for not only beginning racers but for those who have limited training time and or expertise and just want to race for fun.

1993 series ends with Greg Bednorski and Susan Caskey as Expert points champions.

1994

June

Bruce Beaman comes on board with WORS as volunteer data coordinator responsible for tabulation of series points.

July

WORS kicks off its third season with six of the seven races from the 1993. The La Crosse event at Mt. La Crosse, the biggest drawing event of the previous year, is lost from the series.

October

The 1994 series ends with the Hostel Shoppe Cantilever Classic at Iola. WORS ’94 averages 225 racers per event with the Gear Grinder Classic in Wausau its largest event with 319 participants. 1992 champions, Randy Bailey and Vickie Roberts repeat in the Expert Class.

Les Schwartz, Gear Grinder race director, secures initial commitment from Schwinn Racing to become first WORS title sponsor. Concept of series handbook is discussed, pre registration race entry fees are fixed at $17 for Citizen and Sport and $20 for Expert for the 1995 series, and Citizen and Sport age categories are expanded to 9 with the first 10 place in each category receiving points.

Four events are added to the series with the Ladysmith Log Jam, Devil’s Head Mountain Bike Challenge, Nepco Lake Mongoose Classic, and Goat Farm Cross Country Classic. The Pinewood Octoberfest Mountain Bike Race leaves to remain the NORBA Wisconsin State Championship race. Series race directors decide there will no NORBA sanctioned races in the series, so recreational racers will not be required to carry a license and WORS can use moneys that would go to NORBA to improve services to WORS racers.

December

WORS purchases its first computer and sets up for in house production of the first series handbook and tabulation of series points.

1995

January

Schwinn Racing sponsorship of the series is finalized and work is begun on the first WORS racer handbook.

March

WORS first handbook is produced through the hard work of all nine race directors, layout work from Jesse Bostic and the help of WORS Director, Don Edberg’s parents. 5000 handbooks are printed and it is mailed directly to 1300 racers and 126 shops.

July

1995 series begins in Ladysmith with the Log Jam.

July

The WORS Rider, official newsletter of the Wisconsin Off Road Series continues to be the vehicle of results distribution and the June issue with results from the Duck Creek Classic and the Crusty Bluff Hunker Down are mailed. A total of six issues of voume II of the WORS Rider are mailed during 1998.

WORS makes it first venture on to the world wide web as WORS racer, Todd Kalkoske out of Milwaukee hosts a web page for WORS.

WORS alltime race entry mark is again surpassed and WORS top 1000 entrants at a single event for the first time as 1059 race participate in the Calumet Sun Run. Both record setting WORS event of 1998 have seventeen year old Matt Kelly of Johnson Creek, Wisconsin winning the Expert race. Matt went on to win the Junior World Cyclecross championship in 1999.

October

1995 series ends with Hostel Shoppe Cantilever Classic at Iola’s Norseman Hill nordic ski area. There were 3425 entrants for an average of 381 per event in WORS ’95. Greg Bednorski and Jennifer Vena were crowned Expert Overall Champions.

November

The 1996 schedule is finalized at the fall race director’s meeting. WORS ’96 expands to ten races with new events at Lake Geneva, Hilbert (Calumet Sun Run), and Sheboygan (Bud Light Challenge). Hilbert replaces the Goat Farm Cross Country Classic. Race director, Scott Protheroe, joins Marc Wildemann as co-race directors of the new event. Race director Les Schwartz and his staff from the Wausau Wheelers Bike Club pulled the Gear Grinder citing monetary and philosophical difference with WORS and the other race directors.

An expanded points system was designed to award points in each age category to 30th place from the previous 10th place. Expert Class moves from age category to overall scoring.

WORS series registration is formulated to better track series points and overall results.

1996

January

Trek Bicycle Corporation becomes the major sponsor of WORS as negotiations with Schwinn break down. WORS is told that Schwinn Racing’s budget will only allow for half of 1995 sponsorship fee and this does not meet WORS desires to expand services to its racers without raising entry fees. The series is projected to grow at least 25% in 1996.

February

Clif Bar begins its association with WORS and begins providing product for the racers at each WORS event.

Ready-Set-Go professional timing service is contracted to time the 1996 Wisconsin Off Road Series.

March

The Wisconsin Off Road Series 1996 Racer Handbook is completed, printed and mailed. The WORS logo is revised and the handbook cover designed by Steve Meurett. WORS director, Don Edberg handles handbook layout complete in house for the first time.

May

WORS purchases first vehicle: a 1994 Plymouth Grand Voyager.

WORS is notified of the bankruptcy and closing of the Longhorn Ranch, host of race number 1 in WORS ’96. In the 3 weeks before the race: an alternate site is found in Lake Geneva, former Lake Geneva resident Brett Edgerle and the Fat Kats cycling club of Sheboygan mobilize to create a course at the new site, and WORS director, Don Edberg, family and friends come together to administer the race. The Grand Geneva Grind makes its one and only appearance in WORS with just over 500 entrants.

The first WORS custom medals are awarded to top finishers in the Citizen and Sport classes.

October

The 1996 series concludes in Sheboygan with the onsite presentation of series overall awards after the conclusion of the race. Local rider, Mike Spiro along with Wausau rider, Susan Parman walk away with top Expert honors.

December

Recognition and support for WORS expands with resigning of Trek as major sponsor and All Sport and Mountain Dew as class sponsors. SRAM, Hayes Disc Brakes, Rock Shox and Zipp sign on as product sponsors supplying products used in the overall awards and raffles.

1997

March

1997 WORS Racer Handbook is printed and mailed.

April

WORS series registration starts. For the first time in the history of the series competitors will have their overall score tracked by number and are issued a plastic number plate to used for the whole series.

WORS purchases first trailer, PA, and tent and constructs first start scaffold and awards podiums.

May

The Crusty Bluff Hunker Down kicks off the 1997 Wisconsin Off Road Series sponsored by Trek Bicycles. The men’s expert race is won by national pro rider and future Olympian, Travis Brown.

WORS start scaffold debuts and the first WORS team competition is initiated.

July

Event entry records fall as the Calumet Sun Run and Devil’s Head Mountain Bike Challenge top 900 entrants each.

Volume one, number one of the WORS Rider, official newsletter of the Wisconsin Off Road Series, is printed and mailed to approximately 1600 WORS participants.

National Mountain Bike Patrol rider support with first aid and on trail mechanical assistance to WORS racers is begun with their participation in the Calumet Sun Run. Monetary support of the non profit patrol by WORS promotes its growth and strengthens the relationship between them.

August

The first annual WORS Awards Banquet is announced.

October

Tentative 1998 WORS schedule is announced. Series expands from 11 to 12 races with the addition of the Duck Creek Classic at Oneida. Race director Dan Doxtator heads up the new event.

Mike Spiro and Sue Par man are crowned 1997 WORS men’s and women’s Expert champions during the first ever WORS Awards Banquet at the Sentry World Sports Center in Stevens Point. 150 racers, family, and friends enjoy a great meal as they review the year’s racing.

December

Negotiations with Trek Bicycle Cooperation for continued title sponsorship of WORS break down. WORS seeks to expand series’ sponsorship and participation by reducing exclusivity’s of Trek’s sponsorship and Trek responds by offering WORS one half the sponsorship dollars of 1997. The overall number of participants in WORS grew approximately 50% in 1997 (increasing to 7512 from 5183 in 1996).

1998

January

WORS welcomes Mongoose Pro Bicycles as its new title sponsor. Bel Gioioso Cheese comes on board as Expert class sponsor. Mt. Dew, All Sport, and Clif Bar continue as Sport, Comp, and Citizen class sponsors respectively. Rock Shox, Hayes Disc Brakes, Briko, and Bicycle Doctor/Mavic sign on as product sponsors.

February

Renee Calaway of the Devil’s Head Mountain Bike Challenge informs WORS that the race will be unable to continue with the series. Director, Don Edberg creates the WORS Cup race to be held at Nine Mile Forest in Wausau.

March

Waupaca Publishing prints and mails WORS 1998 Racer Handbook.

May

The 1998 series begins with a the biggest mudfest in the history of WORS as a fast fun new course between the Nobert Hill Center and Duck Creek on the Onieda Reservation succums to an all day rain producing log stretch of foot deep puddles and wheel stopping mud. Sport times were in excess of 2 hours.

WORS establishes its initial relationship with Ford Motor Company and the Local Ford Stores as it leases a Ford Ranger to use for transporting equipment, the WORS trailer and personnel to races. We bid fairwell to the 1994 Plymouth Grand Voyager.

June

WORS set a new race entry mark with 994 entrants at the Sprecher Metro Mountain Bikers Off-Road Challenge.

September

Hayes Disc Brakes brings three young slovakians to the last three WORS races of 1998 and WORS regular Expert rider find themselves competing for forth place as they are unable to match the speed of these international riders.

November

WORS second annual awards banquet is held at the Holiday Inn in Stevens Point. The 225 in attendance witness the recogniton of 57 racers who compete in all twelve 1998 WORS races, the awarding of 1998 series overall awards with Expert overall champions Amy Hunter-Dillinger and Rick Blazer receiving Mongoose Pro NSX 7.5 bicycles for their efforts, and the awarding of the first ever WORS Team Competition awards.

The Hostel Shoppe of Stevens Point turns over the reigns of the Iola race to the Iola Winter Sports Club and one of the founding WORS races, the 14 year old Hostel Shop Cantilever Classic becomes the Iola Bump and Jump for 1999.

December

Brunswick Bicycles resigns to have Mongoose Pro Bicycle as WORS title sponsor for 1999. Mavic/Bicycle Doctor and Briko decline sponsorship of WORS for 1999 however, Louis Garneau steps into the product sponsor category to fill the void.

1999

March

Fifth issue of WORS Racer Handbook is produced and distributed to racers and bike shops.

WORS purchases a 6×18 foot trailer to transport race setup as it expands its presentation with an improved start scaffold, podium back drop, PA system and finish scaffold.

April

Todd Zumach of Phillips begins work on www.wors.org the current WORS website.

May

WORS comes very close to its first ever canceling of (part of) an event as high winds, lighting and hard rain greet the Comp and Expert rider at the Crusty Bluff Hunker Down. The awards ceremony was canceled due to weather concerns.

A new WORS attendance record is set as over 1100 races participate in the WORS Cup at Nine Mile Forest in Wausau on Memorial Day weekend.

August

The August issue of WORS Rider, official newsletter of WORS announce that race results are now available online at the WORS website.

Location of Duck Creek Classic is change from an a much anticipated new venue on the Onieda reservation to the Brown County Reforestration Camp (NEW Zoo) as land aquisition for the original expect site is delayed.

October

Informed earlier of the intent of Bruce and Jean Drew to retire from directing the Ridge Rider, WORS is informed by the Sayners Lions Club that the race will leave WORS to become part of the newly formed Northwest Series. Bruce and the Ridge Rider were part of the very first Wisconsin Off Road Series and provided WORS riders with an outstanding race for eight years.

November

WORS crowns its 1999 overall champions at the 3rd annual WORS Awards Banquet held at Sentry World Sports complex in Stevens Point. Dani Rayner of Madison is Expert women champ and Rick Blazer of Green Bay repeats on the mens side. They each receive a Mongoose Pro titanium frame for their efforts.

The void left by the leaving of the Ridge Rider is filled as Jim Faber and the Alterra Coffee Mountain Bike Team take on the challenge of running a WORS event. The WOR at Wilmot is established.

December

WORS has a very successful sponsorship drive in preparation for 2000. Mongoose Pro continues as WORS title sponsor. Ford and your local Ford Stores become class sponsor of the sport series as the Ford Outfitters Sport Series. Although Pepsi (Mt. Dew and All Sport) end their relationship with WORS, Spy eyewear and Alterra Coffee Roasters sign with WORS as class sponsors. In the product sponsor category, WORS welcome Park Tool, Ritchey wheel and tires, and Festina watches.

2000

January

Marty Wiegel, race director of the Sprecher Metro Mountain Bike Meet regretfully informs WORS that they will have to retire from the series because of a new Milwaukee county ordinance requiring rain dates for events using trails in parks and leased land. WORS quickly fills out the 2000 calendar by contacting Dave Hasse at Atitude Sports in Fond du Lac. Dave had previously contacted WORS with a proposal for an event at Sunburst Ski Area in Kewauskum. The Sunburst Showdown is born.

February

Bob and Pegge Bellamy after having traveled back to Wisconsin Rapids to run the 1998 Nepco Lake Classic, a WORS event since 1994, decide that the time commitment and other restraints of running a event as large as a WORS race from 8 hours away is too much. The reigns of the Nepco Lake Classic are turn over to Tim and Sue Tenpas.

April

WORS moves its website administration in house and high school sophomore, Ryan Rastedt takes over as webmaster. WORS commits fully to the website and discontinues production the paper version of the WORS Rider taking its content on to the website in an electronic format. Race results are now on the website the day after the race with updated overall in 3 to 4 days.

May

WORS debutes its in house timing at Iola Bump and Jump. High school senior, Greg Blasko of Lake Elmo, MN and new co-director of the Minnesota State Championship Series comes on board as timing consultant to help Chief of timing, Leigh Smith and his staff get acclimated. There are some glitches, however the move to in house timing quickly provides the fastest most accurate results WORS has ever experienced.

WORS turns in its leased Ford Ranger and purchases 1998 Ford E250 Econoline Van as transport and tow vehicle for the series.

A record 1223 entrants participate in the 3rd annual WORS Cup on Memorial Day Weekend.

June

Tim Tenpas makes the decission to cancel the Nepco Lake Classic secondary to space and safety concerns as the YMCA camp where the race had been held, significantly reduce the amount of space in an already crowded staging area by building two additional cabins and parking emphasis would require most racers and spectators to cross a busy highway. Work begins on a new race venue and mountain bike trail system at Skyline Ski Area in Friendship, their Tim and the Skyline Ski Patrol will host the Skyline Scramble. Numerous WORS racers from throughout the state volunteer the physical power for building the trail while WORS director, Don Edberg and Tim colaberate on the course design.

October

With the completion of the Bud Light Challenge, race number twelve in WORS 2000. WORS breaks the 10,000 mark for total entrants for the series averaging 865 per race to solitify its claim as America’s Largest State Moutain Bike Racing Series. With per race averages over 650 since 1997 WORS has few challengers when it comes to the enthusiasm and number of participants.

November

The Fourth Annual WORS Awards Banquet is held at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. A capicity crowd of 350 attend the dinner and awards ceremony. 93 WORS Heads are recognize for entering all twelve WORS races in 2000. Russ Ginter of Wisconsin Rapids and Dani Rayner from Madison receive Mongoose Pro titanium bicycles along with their plaques proclaiming them WORS Expert Overall Champions.

2001

January

Year 10 of WORS is begun. WORS is notified that Pacific Bicycle has purchased Mongoose and the bicycle division of Brunswick and due to drastic budget cuts in all areas of marketing, Mongoose’s title sponsorship of WORS is canceled. IBD sales manager for Mongoose and long time WORS supporter and participant, Jack Gresmer along with others fight to maintain the sponsorship without success. Jack is also a casualty of the buy out as his position is eliminated.

May

WORS begins its tenth year of racing with the Iola Bump & Jump and Alpine Valley Open with both events drawing over one thousand racers.

The new WORS tent is debuted. The 20′ x 20′ peak marquee tent from Warner Shelter Systems is extensive improvent in looks, space and resistance to the elements when compare to the previous 10 x 15 pop up.

September

Steve Meurett (one of the founder of WORS) and Dean Glaze directors of the Buzzard Buster and Dave Borman of the Ladysmith Log Jam inform WORS that they have decided to retire from management of their respective races and that they are unable to find anyone from their race organization that wants to take over their responsibilities. The Buzzard Buster, one of the events on WORS ignaugural schedule in 1992 was run for eleven years by Steve and Dean and the Dave ran the Log Jam for ten years including seven with WORS. The riders of WORS owe a great deal to these harding working race leaders and their families and race staff for their extensive years of providing high quality mountian bike racing events.

October

WORS wraps up year ten with the Kewaunee Cornhusker and the Wigwam/Ultimax Mt. Bike Challenge (Sheboygan) to again exceed 10,000 entrants for the year averaging 845 per race.

2002

February

WORS publishes its 2002 WORS Racer Handbook announcing that the 2002 schedule will include eleven races with new venues at the CMJ Raceway (a motocross track) near Hixton, Wisconsin and Dyracuse Mound in Rome, Wisconsin. The events are named the HIxton Holeshot and Rome Around, the WOR at Wilmot event is moved to Crystal Ridge in Franklin and renamed the Alterra Coffee Bean Classic, and the Kewaunee Cornhusker is renamed the Kewaunee XC Adventure and staging is moved from Riverview to Breummer Park.

WORS enters into a special agreement with NORBA (National Off-Road Bicycle Association) to sanction its races and provide insurance for a flat fee with license for all racers remaining optional. WORS had not sanctioned with NORBA previously because of the requirement for Expert racer to carry a yearly license and all other entrants to either have a yearly license or purchase a one day license at a cost of $5. Besides the cost to the racers the paperwork requirement for race directors was considered too extensive for the benefits garnered from affiliation with the national organization.

May

Teaming up with race director, Al Kreuger and Team Sports, WORS set a new participantion record with 1232 racers registering to compete in the Alpine Valley Open on May, 5, 2002 at Alpine Valley Resort in East Troy, Wisconsin.

May

WORS contracts for the construction of a 44′ x 60′ steel building to become its headquarters at 8675 County Road Q, Custer, WI 54423.

Don closes on house and eighteen acres of land where the new WORS building will be erected .

June

WORS new building external construction is completed and working on the interior office, vinyl room, work shop, storage loft, and bike repair area begin. The move from the house in Stevens Point begins as administrative offices and all that make up WORS “Dirt Circus” will no longer share Don’s basement, garage, kitchen, livingroom, driveway and lawn, but have a place of their own.

July

A Strong summer storm causes extensive wind damage at Dyracuse Mound. With trees down across the majority of the proposed course, race director, Tim Tenpas with the help of local Wisconsin Rapids riders decides to a course in Wisconsin Rapids staging at the Airport.

August

With WORS well settle into its new headquarters and after several years of putting more than fulltime hours into the running of WORS, Don makes the lifestyle change complete choosing to leave the economic security of his part-time physical therapy career to pursue his passion exclussively.

December

WORS enters into two year agreement with Subaru Mid America for Subaru to be the the major sponsors of the series for 2003 and 2004.

2003

May

The WORS Posse becomes a reality and is an instant success in improving set-up and tear-down at events. Headed by Jonah Lenss, Petar Tomich, Ethan Lenss and Ritchie the posse was concieved to lessen the burden on race directors and their event staffs as previously they had to supply WORS with a volunteer crew to assemble and dismantle the start and finish scaffolds, scoreboards, awards presentation area, signage, etc. that our part of the “Dirt Circus” of WORS traveling from venue to venue. The hard working Posse work for race entry and other small perks.

2004

May

WORS takes advantage of favorable tax laws to replace its Ford Expedition with an ultimate tow vehicle, a Ford F350 crew cab diesel dually. Big Red makes it hard to even know you are pulling a trailer. Thanks to Scaffidi Motors, Stevens Point for a great price and good trade-in making the purchase possible. Unfortunately Subaru has no offering in this category.

October

Director, Don Edberg announces at the annual race director’s meeting and awards banquet that WORS will add a new event and venue, the Chippewa Valley Firecracker, Eau Claire, Wisconsin to WORS 2005 schedule. This event will replace the Buster Buster one of three events that WORS ran in 2004 without the full support of a local organizing committee (LOC). Don explains that to run a quality WORS event without a LOC required recruiting family and friends and that asking these people to help out more than twice a year was very stressful.

The Firecracker brings with it a very high energy LOC and the opportunity to develop a new trail with year round access for riders of the Eau Claire area.

2005

February

After well over 400 hours of work by WORS Director, Don Edberg, the first ever fully electronic version of the WORS Racer Handbook is delivered to the printers, published and distributed a full week ahead of the projected March 1st date. Although somewhat limited by budget the print quality of the handbook is the highest ever and continue to be heralded as a best in class publication.

April

After two years of faithful service the core of the WORS Posse for 2003-2004 move on to other pursuits. Jonah Lenss works on a new home and gets married, Pete takes a post as mechanic with a domestic pro road team, Jammer works on his bike and wake board shop, and Scetchy moves to the west coast. Thanks for all you hard work over the years.

Matt Waite with some Posse experience during the 2004 as “New Guy”, and now at UW-Madison and a member of the UW Cycling Team organizes a new group of Posse members.

June

WORS rolls out its new black 44 ft gooseneck trailer. While not only serving as a billboard for WORS and its sponsors the trailer is an instant hit with the WORS Posse as it improves the speed and ease of set-up and tear-down at WORS events. The previous black trailer is put into semi-retirement, however is used heavily at the WORS Cup in July for bike transport for the downhillers, a tunnel for the Kids Race, and to haul trail grooming equipment from the WORS World Headquarters in Custer, Wisconsin to Devil’s Head.