As many have heard, United Way of Northeastern Minnesota (UWNEMN) will no longer present Rampage at the Ridge. The 5K mud run obstacle course had a five-year run and over the course of five years, Rampage raised $218,000! What many people don’t realize is that UWNEMN thought up the idea for Rampage, planned the entire course and event, coordinated hundreds of volunteers and the construction of obstacles, secured thousands of dollars in sponsorships and presented the event itself – all by themselves! We didn’t turn to external companies to pull this off; UWNEMN used Iron Range blood, sweat and perhaps a few tears along the way from staff and hundreds of volunteers.

It has been an incredible event, drawing hundreds of people to scale walls, leap fires and tackle obstacles they never thought they could have completed. We have celebrated as people conquered their fears and pushed through their trepidation, successfully completing the Rampage course and wearing their medals proudly. And, in the process, we have raised a lot of money for our veterans. Money that has gone to providing a home for veterans as they get back on their feet. Money that has gone to Veteran retreats that allowed our Iron Range Vets to build their own networks and communities within our greater community. Money that has supported means and methods to give our veterans additional resources.

Recently, our UWNEMN Board carefully examined the return on investment for Rampage, taking into account the large amount of staff time dedicated to the event and the high expenses related, and decided that it was no longer feasible for UWNEMN to put this event on. That being said, UWNEMN’s United for Veterans program was initiated through funds raised with the first Rampage at the Ridge five years ago. These proceeds started off what is now a critically important resource for local veterans in our region. Though Rampage will no longer be held, we want to let our communities know that the programs of United for Veterans are still needed, UWNEMN will still provide them, and funding needs to be generated from other sources. United for Veterans needs our support, even in the absence of Rampage.

I know that many people are disappointed that Rampage will no longer be around. I loved the event myself and know many who loved it too. I am incredibly proud of UWNEMN for what they accomplished with this event and how they were truly able to pull off such an amazing feat with Rampage.

UWNEMN is looking into new event ideas for 2020 to replace the funding generated by Rampage, and to increase the funding raised for United for Veterans. If you or your place of business would like to support the efforts of United for Veterans, please contact Erin Shay at UWNEMN at 218-254-3329 or mail donations to 608 East Drive, Chisholm MN 55719.

Thanks for the memories, UWNEMN! Rampage will always be one of our greatest successes – but the work done by United for Veterans to create supportive services for local veterans is even more impressive and will go on!

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