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…The Midwest 4 Wheel Drive Association was founded on May 27, 1972. It is comprised of concerned 4 WHEEL DRIVE CLUBS, INDIVIDUALS, and BUSINESS FIRMS untied for the betterment of four-wheeling…

The Midwest 4 Wheel Drive Association (MW4WDA) covers a 7 state area with approximately 30 member clubs ranging in size from 10 to 100 family memberships. On the logo those states are: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. There currently are no member clubs in North Dakota, South Dakota or Nebraska. With the area boundaries of the MW4WDA being so large, states involved have found it necessary to form “Associations within the Association” to more effectively deal with problems that can only be handled on a state level.


  • To accomplish through a united effort, the following:
  • Promote a more responsible attitude toward the vehicle use of public lands.
  • Prevent legislation which would impose undue restrictions on off-road use.
  • Institute programs of conservation, education, and safety.
  • To encourage State and Federal land managing agencies to develop areas and trails for outdoor recreation.
  • To disseminate information of interest to vehicle orientated recreationalists.
  • To promote statewide activities for the enjoyment of the members.

Unlike our friends in the west, Midwest four wheelers do not have access to the vast areas of public land in which to enjoy our sport. Undaunted by these problems, clubs have found unique solutions which allow them access to private land. It’s no surprise then, that many clubs are very secretive about the areas they use. Most clubs will deal with a private landowner on a trade-off system. If an individual or company owns a tract of land, the club will attempt to trade services for the use of that land. These may include repair or clean-up services.


  • Gained the recognition and respect of State and Federal agencies.
  • Promoted legislation beneficial to vehicle recreation.
  • Obtained more realistic and workable regulations reguarding vehicle use.
  • Detoured many unwanted and unjustified land closures.
  • Represented not only vehicle recreationalists but all outdoor recreation at public hearings and meetings reguarding wilderness areas, county ordinances, Vehicle Control areas and all matters pertaining to outdoor recreation.

The Midwest, like all other areas in the United States suffered during the early eighties. Club memberships dropped drastically due mainly to the economy. The clubs who remained active during those lean years have noticed the beginning of a recovery. Many clubs in high unemployment areas have found that the four wheel drive vehicle was temporarily replaced by an energy efficient model, at least for street use. To alleviate this problem, some clubs changed their by-laws to admit persons who didn’t own a four wheel drive vehicle. In those clubs, long time members tried to keep the social aspect of the sport alive until better days came along. The clubs that took these steps are the ones who are now experiencing a rebirth.

The MW4WDA holds two full delegate meetings each calendar year. The spring convention is hosted by a Midwest club or a group of clubs in the city of their choice. There is a strong emphasis on family involvement at that convention. Although no four wheeling actually takes place clubs will plan skating parties, movies, and luncheons for the kids while their parents are involved in the meetings. One club simply hired a lifeguard for the pool. The kids had a great time, even though they looked like prunes by the end of the weekend.

The Midwest Fall Meeting is mainly devoted to rule changes for the following year’s rule book and state level meetings. The delegate’s still get together on the Sunday of that weekend to conduct the business of the association. The Fall meeting is also the annual Awards Banquet. Top Eliminators are honored while individual awards are also presented, including the coveted Four Wheeler of the Year Award. Top Eliminators are the competitors who’ve earned points based on their finishing position at each Midwest sanctioned race during the previous summer. Those who received the most points in each class are given an award to honor their achievement.

Unlike other associations in United, Midwest does not actually conduct these events that take place during the summer. The clubs handle this on their own. To hold a sanctioned event, the club must agree to follow Midwest camping, safety, and competitive rules to the letter. They are also responsible for tabulating points for the competitors in each event. In exchange for these agreements, sanctioned events are able to purchase event insurance at a reasonable group rate, plus experience a large draw of competitors and their families hope to accumulate those all important points toward the top eliminator trophy.

Clubs themselves decide which of many events they want to offer, which may include sand drag racing, mud runs on up drags, hill climbing, enduro, obstacle, rallies, or trail riding, in any combination. The location of the event is at the discretion of the club, usually in an area near their home town.

Sanctioning levels vary depending on the needs of the hosting clubs. A club wishing to host a trail ride can apply for an “A” event simply for the purpose of obtaining insurance. Most clubs holding a competitive event will purchase the “AA” sanctioning package. With this type, competitors are guaranteed double points and a guaranteed amount of money in the pay back schedule for each event offered.

When not trail riding or racing in the winter, clubs choose this time to get involved with local disaster service agencies. Most of these services are needed in the winter months during snow emergencies. Food is delivered to shut-ins, doctors and nurses are transported to and from hospitals and stranded motorists are delivered to safe havens until the weather clears up. During the summer months, clubs have been involved in search and rescue operations during plane crashes. Clean-up projects following tornadoes also brings the clubs out in force, while other clubs have aided in finding children lost in forest areas. Each club chooses which agency it wants to affiliate with. The Red Cross, Civil Defense, State Patrol, and DNR have all benefited from the four wheeler’s help.

The association’s greatest achievement was earning the Jack Edward’s Award in Ouray Colorado. Four Wheelers as a group never look for much in the way of recognition for the work they do. When that recognition does come, they simply walk a little taller for a while.

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