Rocket sled at Snodeo
Anderson seeks to break world speed record on ice
By Holly Neumann
After a year in the making, Kurt Anderson will attempt to break the world speed record on ice during Snodeo, which takes place Feb. 15-16 on Bear Lake.
The Orono, Minnesota man has been drag racing since 2007.
In 2014, he took on an interest in rockets.
“I am a science junky,” Anderson said. “I had no idea that this type of racing even existed. I came into it late, but got into it full throttle.”
He thinks it is his destiny to break the current record of 247.93 mph, set in 1981 by the late “Slam’n Sammy” Miller of Lake George, New York.
Records made to be broken
“This is something that I can do, and it is obtainable,” Anderson said. “This is part of my journey. I have a desire and I know I can do this.”
Some people may think he is crazy for trying.
“There is nothing crazy about going after your dreams,” he said.
Anderson will drive his rocket-powered Arctic Arrow snow machine.
The vehicle gets up to 300 miles per hour in four seconds.
“I have a need for speed,” he said. “I do, however, realize what a serious thing this is that I am doing, and I feel safe in my machine.”
When he is ready to go, he gets into a zone.
“The rush is amazing,” Anderson said. “To feel the g-force, the pressure, as things are flying by me, I see key points. Overall, I am nervous and excited.”
Slowing down a rocket
The anxiety about starting is nothing compared to when he will need to slow down.
“The slowing down is the most anxious part,” he said. “You deploy your parachute and wait for the bloom and then breathe a sigh of relief when you can finally say I made it.”
The Arctic Arrow also has a second parachute and ice claw for stopping purposes.
“I am not a stupid racer,” he said. “I do an excellent job ahead to time to make sure this is done safely. I always want to live for another race.”
Anderson, along with Snodeo promoter Dave Sarna, agree putting this together was an undertaking.
“But the cool part is that everything is lining up and falling into place,” said Sarna.
He noted they have been working with the Waupaca County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Manawa Rural Fire Department and more to make sure everything is done correctly and that safety measures are in place.
Anderson and his crew arrived a month in advance to start the planning.
They rented a home and also a vacant lot on the lake.
They have also used drones to find the perfect spot for the run to take place.
“He will start on the south shore near the boat landing and end up on the north end,” said Sarna.
Anderson thinks it is the perfect location.
“There is a lot of the shoreline undeveloped,” he said. “It is farm country here. The lake is not deep, I have a long enough runway, and there are no natural obstacles. Everything is lining up, and the people we are working with are all giving us the thumbs up.”
A track will also need to be prepared.
“The track needs to be 100 feet wide, a mile long and clear of snow,” said Anderson. “A surveyor will be hired to make sure it is perfectly straight.”
Repair work will be done if there are ice heaves along the course, to make sure the track is safe.
For safety purposes, spectators will not be allowed to get close to the track.
“They don’t have to be close to see what is going on,” said Sarna. “They will be able to see the run in its entirety.”
“Every snowflake for five counties will be blown into the air,” added Anderson. “The tip is to look down the track and follow the vehicle, not the sound.”
High-speed snowmobiles a local legacy
Sarna believes Snodeo is the perfect venue for this world record attempt to happen as Manawa already has the claim to fame for being the first documented location for a 100 mph run being achieved on a snowmobile, which was manufactured by the Tradewinds Company.
That run took place on White Lake, between Manawa and Weyauwega.
“This is why having the Arctic Arrow do this run right here in Manawa is a perfect fit,” said Sarna. “For our little town and this little area to capture the 100 mph record and now a world speed record on ice, this is incredible.”