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January 28th - February 3th 2024

The Wertz man's dream transformed into reality.

Vic Wertz, a former Detroit Tiger and Michigan Hall of Fame member, had a dream "to completely underwrite the Special Olympics Michigan Inc. (SOMI) State Winter Games." So, in 1981 he set out and succeeded to enlist many of his friends to help him with his dream. Together they considered a variety of ways to generate the money needed to fund the Winter Games for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Michigan.

Their idea was to create an endurance snowmobile ride throughout northern Michigan. The ride would not only raise funds for SOMI, but it would help create awareness for those with intellectual disabilities. Since 1982, the Wertz Warriors have raised more than $11.2 million for SOMI. Each year, warriors ride over 900 miles as they journey across northern Michigan.

Take the ride of a lifetime
Be a part of the ride that changes lives. The Wertz Warriors are looking for riders to join the cause. Riders who participate will enjoy the seven-day ride touring northern Michigan, be a part of the Opening Ceremony at the SOMI State Winter Games, and will have gas and most meals provided. Riders must meet a fundraising commitment to participate. Anyone interested can contact the Wertz Warriors at Become a Wertz Warriors Rider Today!

Warriors Road Map

The Wertz Warriors zigzag their way 900 miles  across Northern Michigan.The 43nd Anniversary Ride will begin January 28 in Chesterfield Township and spans seven days ending in Mackinaw City on February 3.


Wertz Warriors?
Anyone who enjoys snowmobiling, and has a desire to be part of something greater than them self – look no further!
The Wertz Warriors are actively recruiting new members. Women, men and couples from all walks of life are welcome.

How Do I Join?

Every new rider needs a sponsor, and any current member of the Wertz Warriors can do that for you!

  • Riders must be at least 18 years old.
  • First year rider fundraising commitment is $2,000, second year $2,750 and third year$3,500.
  • Riders must provide snowmobile and parts.
  • Riders have one year to raise or donate their total fundraising commitment. Fundraising support is available.
  • Get Started - Fill out the New Rider Application

One Warrior’s Story

It seems a lifetime ago, 29 years to be exact, when I first read the story in our local newspaper. It had mentioned Vic Wertz and the idea of riding snowmobiles across the state of Michigan, ending up in Mackinaw City in an attempt to raise money for the Special Olympics Winter Games. I’ll be the first one to admit, my passion for snowmobiling drew me towards this endeavor and at the time I knew very little about Special Olympics. I often wonder if it was something that was meant to be, when in 1981, I was invited to take part in the endurance ride. Becoming a warrior has not only enriched my life, but it has also allowed me to experience the joy of it, through acts of kindness, generosity and giving of oneself to others.

Throughout the years, I’ve known and met so many wonderful people. I have come to know and deeply appreciate the people who are part of the communities and towns we encounter in travel. To me, these are the true “Warriors,” for they have supported our cause without hesitation. Year after year, their hearts and efforts have been united into one common bond:
raise the funds needed to ensure Special Olympics Michigan athletes have the chance to participate in the Winter Games.

All we accomplished through the years was started by a single person- -one man’s thought of doing something good for someone less fortunate. The idea still exists today, but it has grown into an immense circle. It has drawn within itself a tremendous amount of passion and goodness, from all of us. The end result: an athlete heading for the finish line to the best of his/ her ability, sometimes by themselves but quite often with another; one who has fallen and had been helped so they may finish together. I will always feel it is an honor to be called a Warrior, and I am tremendously thankful to be able to have the athletes of Special Olympics Michigan as a part of my life held cherished.

Larry Ternes,
Wertz Warrior since 1982