SOO “I-500”: Its About The Experience

By Ric Federau, Contributing Writer

Well, folks. The ice dust on the track is finally settled. All the anticipation, planning and high-octane excitement can be summed up in one simple phrase…. “ The I-500 experience”. It’s about the experience of the 54th running of the SOO I-500 that made a memory that’ll last a lifetime. For the first time visitor who made attending the I-500 a bucket list objective to the seasoned veteran who has a history of attending, y’all have something to talk about for years to come. For the volunteers, the experience of being a part of the “behind the scenes” aspect of the project is rewarding. Being a volunteer, each year presents a different perspective.  As the I-500 gains in popularity we experience growth and that alone brings new vision and the need for volunteers to help make the vision become a reality.  You feel you have part ownership of something special. You feel good about giving back to the community and doing so in a fun way. You build a resume of sorts and….. you meet and make new friends. Throughout race week, there’s bound to be that one single experience that as a volunteer you’ll remember.  

Each team participating at the SOO I-500 will experience the highs and lows of high-octane track involvement.  For the teams, each race is giving them experience that helps build their own program. They learn from their experiences and carry them well into the future. Their experiences become a reference for future growth and improved performance. And…. for race teams experiences aren’t limited to track time alone. The SOO I-500 race week brings all the race teams together building unparalleled camaraderie.  Every aspect of a race teams’ involvement is an experience they’ll take with them when they leave the SOO and they’ll carry the experiences of the 54th. running for a lifetime.

Here’s something to consider…… how about the experience gained on behalf of all the sponsors of the race and the sponsors of the race teams?  These outstanding supporters expect to experience product recognition.  Fortunately, the SOO I-500 can provide a captured audience at our venue for maximum “ on site” exposure. The media coverage will enhance exposure that creates a positive experience sponsors can benefit from.

The track officials have a totally different perspective. Let me elaborate on the official’s perspective for a moment, if you will. The track officials for the I-500 are a culmination of international flavor consisting of both officials from the United States, as well as from Canada. The officials for the I-500 are governed by a body titled “The Race Committee.” The group is directed by a race director, assistant race director and a body made-up of people from both countries as mentioned. These are seasoned veterans. They’re sanctioned personnel who are educated and trained to provide the safest possible race they can. Obviously, SAFETY is the primary concern at the I-500 track. Officials are stationed throughout various locations of the infamous I-500-mile oval track. One can only imagine the vast number of experiences that each official is subject to each race. Again, it’s the common denominator of the single word “ experience” that each official will remember with each memorable experience certain to become a topic of future discussions.

For the spectators it’s a combination of anticipation and proper planning in hopes of experiencing everything they wanted to experience at the SOO I-500.  It’s about the memories, the sights and sounds and the hoopla of hype.  Knowing each day during race week they will experience something cool and memorable. Each day bringing another day of anticipation that will provide yet another experience we hope will bring y’all back year after year. The 2023, 54th running of the I-500 experiences that each spectator will remember will be rekindled many times over thanks to the modern technology the phones provide.  Each experience and memory will be shared over and over again thus becoming a reason to make attending the I-500 an annual happening.


For the I-500 board of directors. Plans for 2024 commenced February 5th 2023. That’s a fact. We’re already making plans for next year’s 2024, 55th race and race week events. Each race week and main event brings new experiences that we can build on. Experiences that we know can bring improvements to enhance the various aspects that effect everyone’s overall participation. The planning and preparations needed to make an event of this magnitude successful takes invested time on behalf of all those who volunteer in support of the SOO I-500 and sport of snowmobile oval ice endurance racing.  It’s what we experience year after year….. the planning starts now!    

Over the past few months, we’ve tried to express the importance of proper planning when considering attending the SOO I-500. The time for YOU to do that is NOW!  In order to experience all you can during race week 2024, we urge you to consider advance planning and preparations for 2024 now. Don’t wait…….

So, you see my friends, the 54th running of the SOO I-500 is in the books for 2023. It’s history in the making…..  We hope you found your experience of participation at our 54th race week to be what you expected and more…..  

We’re certain that somewhere and at some point, during race week you have some unique or exciting experience to share with others. We anticipate you will return again next year and hopefully many years beyond to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience.

There’s nothing like the SOO I-500 anywhere else in the world. YOU came and you conquered your objective to experience and witness all the SOO I-500 has to offer. Everything you ever heard about the SOO I-500 is based on the positive experience encountered by those who attend and share their experiences.

There you have it folks…. another year of SOO I-500 excitement and fun. On behalf of the SOO I-500 Board of Directors, we wish to express our heartfelt appreciation for being able to share our passion and all the experiences the SOO I-500 can offer.

The pleasure of sharing information about the SOO I-500 has certainly been mine. Everyone associated with the I-500 has an EXPERIENCE of some sort. I hope you’ve gained some knowledge and experienced a vision of what the SOO I-500 is about and how YOU can make the best of your next I-500 visit. But what’s most important about attending an I-500 race week, is for you to have experienced memories that’ll last a lifetime. Take a victory lap……….

It’s on to 2024 at the SOO whereby….. “ It’s all left turns from here…”

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