Planning has been underway for the 2022 Badger State Winter Games Torch Tour, which is set for this Thursday and Friday, Jan. 13-14, with a two-day, 200-mile ride from Wausau to the finish line on the iconic World Championship Snowmobile Derby ice oval in Eagle River.

In preparation for this year’s event, Torch Tour organizers have been working with more than 15 snowmobile clubs, various chambers of commerce, visitor bureaus, and businesses throughout central and northern Wisconsin.

While the Badger State Winter Games Torch Ride has taken place for many years, launching 33 years ago in 1989 with a similar snowmobile ride from Madison to Wausau for a game-opening cauldron lighting, this will be the third annual Torch Tour from Wausau to Eagle River.

The ride will encompass nearly two dozen stops along the way for torch-passing and photo opportunities at various businesses and event sponsors. Area stops on Jan. 14 include Pitlik’s Sand Lake Resort in Sugar Camp at 12:30 p.m., Three Lakes at 2 p.m., the east side of the Eagle River Dairy Queen at 3:30 p.m., and the World Snowmobile Headquarters adjacent to the Derby Track in Eagle River at 3:50 p.m.

“Since 1964, the Vilas County winter economy has been stimulated by snowmobile racing and snowmobile tourism in general,” said Kim Emerson, executive director of the Eagle River Area Chamber of Commerce. “Combine that with the 33rd year of the Badger State Games in Wausau and it’s a winning combination.”

Other checkpoint stops on the Jan. 13-14 Torch Tour will be held at Wausau, Merrill, Hazelhurst, Minocqua, Lake Tomahawk, Arbor Vitae, snowmobile birthplace Sayner, and St. Germain.

The opening ceremonies will be held at 6 p.m. on the Derby Track ice oval, where the cauldron will be lit to signal the opening ceremony of the 59th World Championship Snowmobile Derby.

Special guests are expected to include State Sen. Mary Felzkowski, State Rep. Rob Swearingen, Eagle River City Administrator Robin Ginner, U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany, Jeff Anderson and Drew Nussbaum of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, Miss Sno-Eagle Olivia Hunter and Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs Miss Snowflake AJ Kreager.