The Minnesota Go-4 Wheelers, named after the Minnesota gopher, was shortened to Go-4 and now represents the oldest and largest four-wheel drive club in Minnesota and the entire Midwest. We are a non-profit four-wheel drive club organized for the advancement of all aspects of four-wheeling, and for the social betterment of it’s members.
The Minnesota Go-4s have donated Christmas gift certificates to the children on the Iron Range, donated to the Minnesota Make-A-Wish Foundation, donated to North Country R.I.D.E., donated to the St. Croix Falls Food Shelf, annually to the Allied Emergency Services in Dresser, Rochester Rough Riders Toys For Tots, and we take great pride in annually donating to Polk County Operation Christmas for the children of Polk County, Wisconsin.
In June of 1966, a group of people with seven 4-wheel drive vehicles gathered together to organize a 4-wheel drive club; the first such club in Minnesota. This is an account of how this club has grown and it’s accomplishments while growing.
On September 14, 1966, the Minnesota Go-4 Wheelers Inc was incorporated as a non-profit organization. The Articles of Incorporation state that “The general purpose of this corporation shall be to advance and promote the general welfare, and to advance and promote recreational, educational, civic and community welfare in relation to 4-wheel drive automotive vehicles”. That is what the Go-4’s were about in September 1966 and that is what we are still about today.
The Go-4’s have grown from that original seven members to 143 family memberships in fall of 2011. In the fall of 1968, we began to expand from a Minneapolis/St Paul area club to more of a state-wide organization when a few of our members from the Rochester area formed a “patrol”. A patrol is a separately located division of the Go-4s’. On February 9, 1969, the “Rochester Patrol” held their first meeting. Then on May 5, 1970 they elected to change their name from the Rochester Patrol to the “Giddy-Up Go-4’s”. Today they are a separate group of active 4-wheelers named “Rochester Rough Riders”. Our current membership ranges from Cloquet, to Delano, to Hastings, to River Falls, Wisconsin, but the majority is still in the Twin Cities metro.
On August 1, 1973, racing enthusiasts within the club formed a Minnesota Go-4 Racing Team with the intent of promoting more off-road racing competition.
We of the Go-4’s pride ourselves on our sense of responsibility and our high regard for safety in everything we do. We have always insisted on good responsible behavior from all of our members and anyone else who attends a Go-4 event. Our club has a safety committee to enforce our safety regulations almost since the clubs inception.
We have done a good share of volunteer work on a various number of civic projects. One of our first projects was helping to raise funds to purchase a Jeep for the An Du Lac Orphanage. We have also worked many Aquatennial Parades as float tows and assisting in communications as well as float tows for many other parades throughout the state. We have always concerned ourselves with the environment and have worked to keep the outdoors free of litter. Our first project of this nature came in 1969 with a clean-up at Peck’s woods where we spent the day hauling out litter. We have also worked with conservation officers on a brushing project in the Superior National Forest. Early in 1977, we were involved in a clean-up at the Sherburne Wildlife Area. Another of our past projects was co-sponsoring an on/off road timed precision driving rally for the March of Dimes. Other projects such as emergency services at Brainerd International Raceway and several years of volunteer work for the St Paul Winter Carnival Ice Races are also a part of the Go-4 history.
In 1970, as a result of land closures, a committee was formed to establish a four-wheel drive association. In March 1972, the constitution and by-laws were completed. Four-wheel drive clubs in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Iowa were contacted. Realizing the need for such an organization, these clubs in the five state area agreed to hold the first association meeting in Tomah, Wisconsin. The Midwest 4 Wheel Drive Association (MW4WDA) has since continued to grow. The MW4WDA’s purpose is to promote four-wheeling events between clubs and to coordinate, set regulations, and sanction these events. Most important is to unite the efforts of the clubs to oppose land closures and to have more voice in any legislation concerning four-wheel drive vehicles. Off roaders will be seeing more and more land closures and will face more problems finding areas in which to enjoy their sport. The Go-4’s have enjoyed many years of growth and success since 1966, but the continuation of clubs such as ours may well depend on how much effort we put in and how much success we can have as an organization such as the MW4WDA.
In 1976, members of the Go’4’s, the Midwest, and other regional associations met to form the United Four Wheel Drive Association. This was done to unite four-wheelers across the US and Canada and help promote a good image of four-wheelers, in general.