Timberman History

 1985: The first Timberman Triathlon was organized by John McCoy, a forester for Blandin Paper Company, through the Itasca County YMCA, as part of the Tall Timber Days festival. The event was run at Sugar Lake Resort located 15 miles southwest of Grand Rapids on Siseebakwet Lake (Sugar Lake) 

1987:  Sugar Lake Resort burned to the ground only 1 week prior to the 3rd Timberman Triathlon and the race had to be cancelled. But, “out of the ashes” as they say, enthusiastic organizers including “die hard” committee members, Ron Childs and Mary Donnellan (still with the Timberman!), put together a new plan for the following year and moved the race to Tioga Beach Park on neighboring Pokegama Lake. 

1991: The focus of the Timberman Triathlon intensified under the direction of Sue Herboldt. As a businesswoman and an avid athlete, she developed a successful race committee. 

1993:  Sue turned the reins over to Tom & Diane Nelson. Prior to 1993, a new resort was built on Siseebakwet Lake (Sugar Lake), named Ruttger’s Sugar Lake Lodge, and the 9th Timberman Triathlon was brought back to its original site. 

1994: Timberman becomes an officially sanctioned race with the Triathlon Federation/USA, now USA Triathlon. 

1999: Timberman Triathlon was invited to participate in the inaugural Midwest Multi-Sport Series, which allowed athletes to compete for Grand Prix points and awards.

2000: Timberman Triathlon was voted “Race of the Year”. 

2002:  Timberman Triathlon was voted “Race of the Year”.

2007: Race management changed to Jill & Lloyd Ehalt and Kathy & David Kooda. Tom & Diane Nelson gave the Timberman 14 years of wonderful leadership. Thank you!  

2016: Race management changed hands to Alan and Amy Dettmer.  In 2014, 2015, and 2016 the Timberman was named a Top-5 Minnesota Triathlete’s Choice Race of the Year. 

2017: Timberman finished Top-3 in the Minnesota Triathlete’s Choice Race of the Year. 

2018: Timberman finished 2nd in the Minnesota Triathlete’s Choice Race of the Year.

2019: Timberman placed in the top-5 Minnesota Triathlete’s Choice Race of the Year. 

2020: Sadly, due to the Covid-19 crisis, the Race Committee voted to cancel the race. Onward and upward to 2021!


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