Wertz Warriors riding through county
ARENAC COUNTY — The Wertz Warriors snowmobile endurance riders will be on their way through Arenac County on Sunday, Feb. 5, making stops to collect money raised by local groups for Special Olympics Michigan Winter Games.
According to Jack Irving, Wertz Warriors spokesman, the riders will be stopping at Knoll View Golf Course in AuGres around 2:15 p.m., MJ’s Bar in Sterling around 3:30 p.m., and Hank’s Bar in Alger around 5:15 p.m. for the check presentation.
In addition, Irving said former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mike Henneman will be riding with the warriors this year. Henneman is scheduled to appear at each stop with the other riders as they collect donations. Each stop is open to the public, Irving said.
The group will make 48 stops as they ride 900 miles throughout Michigan in seven days.
The Wertz Warriors have surpassed their goal of raising $250,000 with this year’s ride from Chesterfield in the Thumb to Petoskey. Irving said they raised approximately $350,000.
He said in Arenac and Bay counties, the group raised close to the same amount as last year, about $35,000. He told the Independent in November the Standish-Sterling School District raised $1,611.51 for the Special Olympics this year. The final total will be announced at Hank’s Bar.
The Wertz Warriors were founded in 1982 by former Detroit Tiger Vic Wertz, who wanted to help fund the winter Special Olympics Michigan games. This year the group has about 60-65 riders and 30 support crewmembers, Irving said,
The group has 10 members from Arenac County, including five support members and about five riders. Irving said the riders during the annual trek tend to fluctuate, as members leave and join at different stops.
Since 1982, Irving said the group has raised $8.5 million for Special Olympics Michigan. The money has gone towards purchasing equipment for participants, which are used for training and competing.