The annual Jakob Hohm Off-Road Adventures was held in Willow Lake on July 30, 2022. With almost two hundred side-by-sides and ATVs on the ride, it was the biggest attendance ever.
For those who are unfamiliar with Jakob Hohm Off-Road Adventures (JHORA), this event was created in honor of Jakob Hohm, son of Jamie and Colleen Hohm of Willow Lake, who died suddenly at the age of 9 in December of 2016.
Jakob loved to snowmobile and ride his blue and black Polaris 700. He also enjoyed hunting and spending time with his family. He was an amazing child with a zest for life and a love for anything outdoors and off-roads.
“We wanted to help other kids be able to enjoy those same things that Jakob enjoyed,” said Colleen Hohm. “We wanted to offer more kids the opportunity to get outdoors and try some off-road activities.”
On March 4, 2017, the first annual JHORA was held in Willow Lake. There were over 100 ATV's and more than 20 vehicles that took part in the ride. Following the ride, a beef brisket meal was served and youth and adult games were played. Numerous prizes, including helmets, gloves, toys and coats, were given away.
“The first couple years of doing the ride, we had a list of people and businesses to call and ask for donations for the silent or live auction,” said Colleen Hohm. “Now, they come to us!”
The current JHORA board consists of Doug Gerke, James Arthur, Trevor Nelson, Chelsea Hildebrandt, Chris Arthur, Chanda Nelson and Bobbie Schmidt. Jamie and Colleen Hohm attend every meeting and play a huge role in the events.
The mission statement for JHORA is keeping Jakob’s dream alive by lifting the spirits of today’s youth through his love of off-road adventures.
The annual family event begins with a gathering at the park in Willow Lake Saturday morning to get families registered for the ride. Then, everyone rides together making a few stops along the way.
At each stop a trailer is opened, and the youth swarm to get freezies and refreshments. They also draw prizes at each stop, giving away customized Jakob Hohm Edition helmets.
At one of the stops, a pole-bending course is set up for the kids to try with the youth side by sides. The top two times get prizes, and then everyone heads back to the park in Willow Lake for a free-will meal, live music by Weston Frank, silent and live auction and bounce houses for the youth.
Two youth Rangers are given away during the event. One is raffled, and the other is drawn from the names of every young person who attends the ride. This year, Harley Davies of Webster won the raffle, and Chloe Hagstrom of Clark won the free Ranger.
Along with the ride, JHORA also awards scholarships to two area seniors each year and holds safety courses for youth to learn about safe riding practices. Students who attend partake in a short classroom-type session and then ride youth side by sides, practicing their skills.
The biggest accomplishment of JHORA is the donations they are able to make each year to area families experiencing hardships such as Jakob’s family did when he passed. When they hear of a family who might be going through a tough time, the group is quick to send a monetary donation.
Since JHORA started, they’ve been able to donate $70,000 to families, youth and seniors.
“It’s amazing the willingness and generosity of people to donate and pitch in,” Colleen Hohm stated. “It takes a lot of people to make the event go smoothly. Willow Lake and surrounding communities are truly amazing in their support of this event.”
“We can’t list all the helpers individually because the list goes on and on, but we are truly thankful for each and every person willing to help out in any way, whether it’s an auction item, helping with food or volunteering for the day,” said Hohm.
The next annual JHORA is scheduled for July 29, 2023. Mark the calendar now to attend this great family event.
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