History of Longville Minnesota Turtle Races

History of Longville Minnesota Turtle Races

Longville Turtle Races


A Historical Perspective

A tradition for nearly 40 years, the turtle races provide a great family activity for vacationing guests in the Cass County area of northern Minnesota. The turtle races began in 1967 when it dawned on saloon operator Russ Nyvall that the vacationing kids had nothing to do in town. He borrowed an idea he had heard about and adapted it to downtown Longville. That idea turned out to be what is known today as Longville Turtle Races. In the beginning the afternoon was just about racing turtles. In those early days it took from one to two hours to race all of the turtles. Today’s turtle racing experience is much different, but the races themselves haven’t changed much.

Today, 2006, at about 12:30 each Wednesday during the summer, the turtle mobile rumbles out onto main street as members of the Young At Heart Senior Club close off the street to vehicles. Laden with games, equipment and prizes, the turtle mobile resembles a space age monster as it is positioned near the racing circle in preparation for the afternoon of fun. Almost out of nowhere, turtle race helpers appear to unload the equipment and set up the many street games, which the children will play during the afternoon the registration kiosk and souvenir kiosk are also moved into place. The souvenir kiosk contains items which racers can take home as a special memory of their time at the races. When they have finished setting up the games the street resembles the midway of mini-county fair. At the west end of Main Street, the Longville area future entrepreneurs move into place. These youngsters, with the help of their moms and dads, prepare to provide turtles for the racers who have not been able to catch a turtle. The Chamber leases the turtles from the turtle vendors. The vendors will bring out the turtles to the racers as they prepare for each historical race.


The racing announcer presents instructions regarding the afternoon’s activities to the racers. The county fair like games begin as soon as the racers begin to pay their $3.00 registration fee that includes the free use of a turtle and buy their game tickets. The games include Turtle Toss, Turtle Golf, Turtle Hoops, Turtle Touchdown, Turtles on the Fence, Bola Toss and Fishing for Fun. Each game costs a mere 50 cents and all players win prizes regardless of their sport skills. Back at the turtle mobile, racers can win prizes at a several pre-race contests. Racers can win prizes at the chicken dance contest, YMCA dance contest, Hokey Pokey dance contest and Macarena dance contest. Prizes are also given to the best hula hoopers. Moms, dads, and grandparents can even win prizes for the hula hoop skills. Prizes are given to everyone who has a birthday that week, those who have a wedding anniversary, and those who live in a foreign country.


Promptly at 1:45 p.m. the races begin. The first race of the day is the “Resort Turtle Race”. Kids come from many of the area lake resorts from lakes such as Woman Lake and the Woman Lake Chain, Wabedo Lake, Little Boy and Boy Lake, Birch Lake, Pleasant Lake, Ten Mile Lake, Leech Lake as well as many of the other area lakes. Here kids can represent their resort and win big prizes. There is usually just one heat for the resort turtle race and one winner. Then the regular turtle races begin. Run in heats of ten, twelve or fifteen turtles, depending on the number of racers that day and the time remaining, the turtle racers gather in the center circle where the turtle vendors bring out the turtles for each racer. At the moment that the announcer yells “go” and special turtleracing music begins, the racers release their turtles. Instinctively, a majority of the turtles head out from the inner circle across the pavement to cross the outer circle. The fastest turtle to cross the outer circle wins a green ribbon and a turtle buck (worth one dollar at any chamber retail business) and an opportunity to race again for big prizes at the end of the afternoon. The turtle that, for some unknown reason, chooses not to head out of the inner circle or becomes confused staying closest to the letter “A” in the word “START”, is declared the heat’s slow poke champion and wins a white ribbon and a turtle buck and a chance to race again at the end of the afternoon.

After all of the turtles have raced, the fastest turtle race heat winners race off, as well as the “Slowpoke” turtle race heat winners. The grand winners receive a plethora of prizes provided by merchants. Tee shirts, pizza’s, ice cream cones, and memorabilia giftsare among the prizes won by the winners.

Pictures art taken of the Resort Turtle Race winner and the Grand Champion Winners plus the weekly ” Chicken Dance Singers” and submitted to the variousnewspapers. In addition, the turtle racers can reminisce of their fun at turtle races by logging on to the Chamber’s web site www.longville.com where there are pictures of the winners and some of the day’s events.

The 22 race volunteers, who have worked hard during the afternoon to provide a lot of happiness for the children, load up the games and equipment on to the turtle mobile. The kiosks are moved off of reopened and the turtle mobile rumbles back to its lair where it will wait until the next Wednesday’s race.


The Longville Turtle races have become so important over the years that theMinnesota House of Representatives, on March 2, 1989, passed a resolution, declaringLongville, Minnesota, the Turtle Racing Capital of the World.


Many people from all over the world enjoy their lake home or lake cabin in the Longville Minnesota area and with 514 lakes, over 250,000 acres of water in Cass Coounty and miles of sand shoreline, including Woman Lake and Woman Lake Chain of Lakes, Wabedo Lake, Little Boy Lake, Boy Lake, Man Lake, Ten Mile Lake, Birch Lake, Pleasant Lake, Long Lake and the 3rd largest lake in Minnesota Leech Lake it is no wonder that Longville, MN is named the turtle race capital of the world.


Below is a list of some of the most popular lakes in the Longville Minnesota Area. When looking for lake property for sale Longville has some great lakes to choose from for lake homes for sale, lake cabins for sale, lake cottages for sale and even lake lots for sale. Please let us know if you would like more information about any of these lakes or a current list of lake property for sale on any of these premier lakes.




The majority of the Longville Real Estate is wooded with many meandering logging trails through out the land making this area of North Central Minnesota a popular destination for those seeking a place for recreation, hunting, bird watching, snowmobiling, etc. There is plenty of Longville hunting land for sale and recreation land for sale in the area in addition to all of the Longville lake property for sale.





Blackwater Lake


Blackwater Lake, Longville, Minnesota is a 722-acre lake that has 7.5 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 67 feet. Many northern pike, walleye, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, bluegill, black crappie, yellow perch call Blackwater Lake home. Centrally located betweenHackensack and Longville, Blackwater Lake is a popular destination. Lake homes and lake cabins on Blackwater Lake range from a classic lake cabin to exquisite lake homes. For those looking for sandy shoreline, there is no shortage on Blackwater Lake. There are also a few tucked away bays offering private lake lots and lake property with a more natural setting.




Boy Lake


Boy Lake, Longville, Minnesota is a 3,186-acre lake that has 20.9 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 45 feet. Here’s what Minneapolis Star Tribune writer, Ron Schara, says of Boy Lake in his listing of little known walleye hot spots: “Oh boy, here’s one that  ought to be good.” In addition to excellent walleye fishing Boy Lake is home to several musky, northern pike, black crappie and large bluegill.





Cedar Lake


Cedar Lake, Longville, Minnesota is a 98-acre lake with a maximum depth of 42 feet. Clear spring fed water surrounded by towering pines and hardwoods is the best way to describe CedarLake just out of Longville. Panfish fishing is wonderful on this gem of a lake. With a handful of lake owners on the lake, lake property for sale is hard to come by and sought after.




Island Lake


Island Lake, Longville, Minnesota is a 277-acre that has 4.44 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 45 feet. Several walleye, bass, northern pike and panfish are found on Island Lake.




Lake Inguadona


Lake Inguadona, Longville, Minnesota is a 1,116-acre lake that has 11.10 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 79 feet. From Lake Inguadona you can canoe up the Boy River all the way toLeech Lake. Much of the shoreline on Lake Inguadona is in a natural state. You can enjoy taking a boat from your lake property and dock at The Anchorage restaurant for dinner.




Lake Winnibigoshish


Lake Winnibigoshish, Bena, Minnesota.  Located in the Chippewa National Forest and surrounded by hundreds of square miles of lush marshlands, gently rolling hills and diverse woodlands, LakeWinnie is comprised of 67,000 acres of clear, cool water. It’s the fifth largest lake in Minnesota, and 95 percent of its more than 140 shoreline miles are undeveloped. What’s more, Lake Winnie is surrounded by other lakes such as Cut Foot Sioux, Little Cut Foot, Dixon Lake and Little Winnie. These lakes add diversity and beauty to this spectacular area. Lake Winnie is known for its world class northern, muskie, perch, crappie, walleye and bass Minnesota fishing. Miles of excellent sand shoreline surrounding Lake Winnibigoshish. Most of the lake homes, lake cabins and lake cottages on Lake Winnie offer great privacy.

Leech Lake


Leech Lake, Walker, Minnesota.  Leech Lake is the third largest lake entirely within Minnesota’s boundaries and covers approximately 112,000 surface acres and over 500 miles of shoreline. The lake is geographically located in three glacial zones and has an irregular shape with many large and small bays. The deepest area of the lake is located in Walker Bay where depths reach around 150 feet deep. Leech Lake is well known among anglers for its walleye, northern pike, and muskellunge fishing. Leech Lake also provides quality angling opportunities for largemouth bass, black crappie, and sunfishes in shallow, vegetated bays. Some of the best sand beaches in northern Minnesota are found on Leech Lake. You will find lake homes ranging from the classic lake cottages to the most extravagant lake homes on Leech Lake.


Leech Lake Lake Homes For Sale 

Leech Lake Property For Sale 



Little Boy Lake


Little Boy Lake, Longville, Minnesota is a 1,372-acre lake. Little Boy Lake is connected toWabedo Lake by a navigable channel. Little Boy Lake is one of the most popular lakes in the area for people looking for a premier fishing lake for their lake home or lake cottage find their way to Little Boy Lake. The north end of the lake as well as many other areas of the lake offers excellent sand shoreline beaches with gradual slopes offering a great place for kids and grandkids to play in the water. Many of the lake cabins on Little Boy Lake were established years ago and can be found only a few feet from the waters edge. Many  walleye, musky, northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and panfish call  Little Boy Lake home.. Little Boy Lake has been written up in several fishing magazines as a premier fishing lake in the state of Minnesota.


Little Boy Lake Homes For Sale 

Little Boy Lake Property For Sale 




Long Lake


Long Lake, Longville, Minnesota is a 926-acre lake that has 13.7 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 115 feet. There are several Long Lakes in the area and Long Lake is one of the most lake names in Minnesota. This Long Lake is by far the most popular Long Lakein the area. Much of the 13 plus miles of shoreline on Long Lake is great sand and sand beaches. With water clarity over 20 feet, Long Lake is one of the clearest lakes in the state of Minnesota. Many lake homes and lake cabins on Long Lake enjoy the recreation that the lake offers. There are several fish that call Long Lake home, however with the excellent water clarity getting these fish to bite can be tricky.




Mule Lake


Mule Lake, Longville, Minnesota is a 456-acre lake that has 7.3 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 76 feet. The great fishing for walleye, largemouth and smallmouth bass and panfish on Mule Lake has been featured in sporting magazines. Mule Lake is located about 5 miles from Longville and is quality lake for those looking for a lake with good water clarity, fishing and sand shoreline. One of the special things with Mule Lake is that over 8000 feet of shoreline has been purchased by the Mule Lake Association and Minnesota DNR and places into a preserve to be left untouched from waterfront homes and waterfront cabins.




Ponto Lake


Ponto Lake, Longville, Minnesota is a 347-acre lake with 17 foot water clarity. Sand shoreline is a common thing to find on Ponto Lake. Couple that with great water clarity andPonto Lake is defiantly a lake many consider for their lake home and lake cabin




Three Island Lake


Three Island Lake, Longville, Minnesota is a 173-acre lake. The lake has 7.52 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 13 feet. 90 % of this lake is undeveloped offering great privacy and seclusion for a lake cabin. There is excellent panfish fishing available on this gem of a lake.



Thunder Lake


Thunder Lake, Longville, Minnesota is a 1346 acre spring fed lake with depths of 95 feet and over 16 foot water clarity. Much of the waterfront property on Thunder Lake offers excellent sand shoreline. Many looking for waterfront property for sale in Longville considerThunder Lake to be a top lake for consideration.


Thunder Lake Lake Homes for Sale 

Thunder Lake Property For Sale 




Wabedo Lake


Wabedo Lake, Longville, Minnesota is a 1,185-acre lake. It is connected to Little Boy Lake by a navigable channel offering over 2500 acres of premier water for walleye, musky, largemouth and smallmouth bass and panfish to call Wabedo Lake home. Lake homes and lake cabins on Wabedo Lake range from a classic lake cabin to exquisite lake homes. Although Wabedo Lake does not offer as many excellent sand beaches as Little Boy Lake does, excellent sand shoreline is definitely not in short supply on Wabedo Lake. Many Looking for lake lots for sale or lake homes for sale in Longville put Wabedo Lake and Little Boy Lake towards the top of the list.


Wabedo Lake Homes For Sale 

Wabedo Lake Property For Sale 




Woman Lake Chain


Woman Lake Chain is located between Longville and Hackensack, Minnesota and encompasses 5496 acres of some of the best water in northern Minnesota. Woman LakeChain is comprised of 4 different lakes, all connected by the Boy River. Each Lake offers something different for people who have lake homes and lake cottages on the Woman Lake Chain. People with lake homes on the Woman Lake chain can navigate to all of the lakes by boat. One popular thing to do after spending a day out on the water is to boat to 1 of 2 restaurants on the Woman Lake Chain for a meal. You can boat to Patrick’s Fine Dining onGirl Lake in Longville or McGuire’s Inn on Little Woman Lake, Hackensack, both offer free dock service. The Woman Lake Chain, Longville is a world class fishery for those looking to pursue a variety of fish. Walleye, northern pike, largemouth and smallmouth bass, and panfish like to call the Woman Lake Chain home. The surrounding area around the womanLake chain offers a lot of vast wilderness including the Chippewa National Forest. Those looking for hunting land, hunting acreage or recreational acreage near the Woman Lake Chain will find plenty of areas to look.  The lakes on the Woman Lake Chain have several bays and points making this chain of lakes a popular lake for those who have lake homes and lake cabins on Woman Lake Chain to go out for a long quit boat ride. Below is some information on Child Lake, Little Woman Lake (Squaw Lake), Woman Lake, BroadwaterBay, and Girl Lake which make up the Woman Lake Chain.




            Child Lake


            Child Lake, Hackensack, Minnesota is a 316-acre lake that has 3.7 miles of shoreline and a maximum depth of 29 feet. There is not as much sand shoreline to be found on ChildLake as there is on Woman Lake, however there are some areas that do offer excellent sand shoreline. Child Lake is on the West end of the Woman Lake Chain and is a popular lake to go catch a basket full of big bluegills. Child Lake and Little Woman Lake are the least populated lakes on the Woman Lake Chain, those looking for a lake cabin or lake home for sale on the Woman Lake chain with a little more privacy may wish to considerChild Lake.

            Little Woman Lake


            Little Woman Lake, Hackensack, Minnesota is also known as Squaw Lake and is the smallest lake on the Woman Lake Chain totaling 30 acres in size. There are just a handful of lake homes and lake cottages to be found on Little Woman Lake of the Woman Lake Chain.

            Woman Lake


            Woman Lake, Hackensack and Longville, Minnesota. Woman Lake is the largest lake on the Woman Lake Chain. Comprising 4782 acre lake with a maximum depth of 54 feet. Rumor has it that Woman Lake was named one of the ten most beautiful lakes in the world by National Geographic. Weather this is fact or fiction, ask anyone who has a lake home or lake cottage on Woman Lake and they will tell you that Woman Lake by Longville,MN is a beautiful lake and worth anyone’s time to launch a boat and explore.  Lake homes and lake cabins on Woman Lake range from a classic lake cabin to exquisite lake homes. Excellent sand shoreline is easy to find on the main part of Woman Lake. There are several waterfront properties on Woman Lake located just a few feet from some of the best sand shoreline to be found in northern Minnesota. Many of these lake cabins and lake cottages have been around since the early 1900’s and offer a rustic cabin feel that is second to none. When looking for Lakeshore property for sale in Hackensack and Longville Minnesota area you may want to consider the world renowned Woman Lake Chain.

            Broadwater Bay


            Broadwater Bay is actually a bay of Woman Lake however many consider this a lake of its own. The Minnesota DNR actually classifies it as its own lake. Broadwater bay is 714 acres in size and has a maximum depth of 45 feet. Many of the lake home and lake cabin owners on Broadwater Bay of Woman Lake appreciate the size and beauty of BroadwaterBay and the easy access to Woman Lake which is just around the corner.

            Girl Lake


            Girl Lake, Longville, Minnesota is 406-acres in size. Girl Lake has 9.36 miles of shoreline, and a maximum depth of 81 feet. Girl Lake is the farthest lake to the East of the lakes that make up the Woman Lake Chain. Girl Lake comes right into downtown Longville, which is where the city docks are located.  Those that have lake cabins and lake homes on Woman Lake Chain will come into town by boat and shop the local stores, grab an ice cream cone or a bag of groceries. There are not many places in the world that offer this luxury. Most of the waterfront property on Girl Lake does not have the excellent sand shoreline that Woman Lake offers, however there are some places on the lake that do offer excellent sand shoreline. If you look around while boating on Girl Lake you will still notice some lake cottages and lake cabins from the early days when Longville was first established. Many of these waterfront properties are located just a few feet from the waters edge.


Woman Lake Lake Homes For Sale 

Woman Lake Property For Sale 



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Cabins Up North

Annie Hanson
Longville, Mn. 218.507.0470