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Motorcyclists converge on North Hudson

A pack of motorcyclists heads out on the highway from North Hudson shortly after midday Saturday. The Mallalieu Inn on Wisconsin Street North was the starting place for an annual spring ride that attracted an estimated 3,500 riders from around the region. North Hudson Police Sgt. Mark Volz is directing traffic. Photo by Randy Hanson

North Hudson Police Chief Mark Richert estimates that 3,500 motorcyclists came to his village Saturday for the start of an annual spring ride.

The "Defrost Your Nuts" event came off without incident, the police chief said.

The riders congregated on Wisconsin Street North west of Hwy. 35/Sixth Street North at the start of the ride through western Wisconsin that ended at Hammond.

Richert said there were various participating establishments throughout the region that the riders stopped at along the way.

Two motorcycles were involved in an accident on Hwy. 128 north of the village of Elmwood shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday. A spokesperson for the Pierce County Sheriff's Department said it was unknown whether the riders were participating in the run that started in North Hudson.

A man and woman from Cottage Grove, Minn., were airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul and another Minnesota cyclist was transported to River Falls Area Hospital.

The crash occurred after one of the motorcycles, southbound on 128, crossed into the northbound lane on a sharp curve and hit a northbound Chevrolet Suburban driven by Charles Harmon, 63, of Hudson.

A second motorcycle then struck the motorcycle as it crossed back into the southbound lane.

A special turn lane for motorcycles was set up by the North Hudson Public Works Department to allow riders safe access to Wisconsin Street North from Hwy. 35.

North Hudson police officers also were on hand to direct traffic at the intersection.

Richert said four North Hudson officers and three St. Croix County sheriff's deputies worked the event, along with North Hudson Public Works Director Mark Ekblad and a part-time Public Works employee.

The event organizers paid the wages of the law enforcement officers and public works employees.

Asked how the event went, Richert replied: "Great. No arrests. No problems whatsoever."

He said most of the motorcycles departed from North Hudson between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The Mallalieu Inn in North Hudson is the local organizer of the ride.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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