Wausau native Jason Myers works with his family to complete the special challenge at the 2019 Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge. Photo courtesy Ann Ilagan Photography.

MADISON – Wisconsin Department of Tourism awarded the Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge a Joint Effort Marketing, or JEM, Grant that will help fund the seventh Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge in 2021.

Racers in 2019 traveled from eight states to participate in the event and race directors Tim Buchholz and Anna Nummelin want to draw even more out-of-state racers this year. So far for the 2021 event, nearly one-third of registrants will travel from outside of Wisconsin for the event, representing nine states.

“The Office works to connect the dots between Wisconsin’s natural resources, how we enjoy them, manufacturing of outdoor gear and the economic health and overall well-being of our state and its residents, providing a central resource to support and uplift the growing industry,” said Mary Monroe Brown, director of the office of outdoor recreation, in a news release.

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation industry supports over 93,000 jobs and contributes $7.8 billion to the state’s economy. In other words, $1 for every $40 generated in Wisconsin comes from outdoor recreation related activity.

The Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge course changes every year, with past courses showcasing Rib Mountain State Park, Nine Mile County Forest, Sunnyvale Park, Dells of the Eau Claire, the Ice Age Trail, and Big Eau Pleine County Park. 

To ensure a safe experience in 2021, Buchholz and Nummelin plan to implement COVID protocols similar to those applied during the inaugural Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge – Winter Edition, which was held in January.

The Rib Mountain Adventure Challenge is held every Memorial Day weekend. More details are available at ribmountainadventurechallenge.com/.