Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Walters wheels his way to help others September 29, 2017


HEADING SOUTH FROM HACKENSACK along Minnesota State Highway 371 on a recent Sunday, I spotted a colorful, over-sized wheel rolling along an adjacent trail. I fired off three frames with my camera—none of them particularly good images—and wondered.

I need wonder no more. Recent Twin Cities media coverage of Gary Walters’ fundraising efforts revealed the story behind what I’d seen and photographed in that fleeting on-the-road moment.



This Brainerd area insurance and finance man and the star of “That Guy Adventures aka Walters Wacky Adventures” today completes a 200-mile, 14-day round trip hamster wheel walk along the Paul Bunyan Trail from Brainerd to Bemidji and back. He’s raising monies for three charities—Kids Against Hunger—Brainerd Lakes Area; Confidence Learning Center; and Brainerd Public School Foundation.

I admire the efforts of this father of four and grandfather of five. It takes someone with creative ideas, a passion for helping others, an engaging personality, a sense of humor, physical stamina and more to pull off something like this.


The historic Brainerd water tower where Gary Walters once lived for nine days.


But this isn’t the first time Walters has challenged himself. Among his other adventures—living on the Brainerd water tower for nine straight days, 24/7; losing 100 pounds; and unicycling for 24 hours around the Brainerd High School track.

Yup, that Gary Walters, he’s quite a guy.


TELL ME: I’d like to hear about any especially creative charity fundraising efforts you’ve encountered through the years. Maybe even your own idea.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


10 Responses to “Walters wheels his way to help others”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Well that is a new one. Very creative way to bring attention to causes that are important. I have zero creative ideas this morning. 🙂

  2. Unicycling to Hamster Wheel – Genius Walter – Love a fellow Adventurer and one that is doing it for a good cause too! Thanks so much for sharing. Happy Weekend – Enjoy 🙂

  3. Jackie Says:

    It’s amazing that you got that shot Audrey, pretty good for traveling at highway speeds. This man is very creative, such a unique Idea for a fundraiser. Something tell me this man doesn’t do much sitting around!

  4. Valerie Says:

    Very clever…it amazes me what people think up and carry out.

  5. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    Very interesting

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