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Michigan Snowmobiler Magazine
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Print Date: October 3, 2018
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Recently there has been quite a bit of chatter, both positive and negative, on Facebook and other social media sources about the snowmobile programs in Michigan, and why the Iron Belle Trail takes so much precedence over other trail projects. Not just with considerations for easements and developments, but also with what seems to be funding as well. I seem to be on the receiving end of many of these questions and complaints because as I have mentioned previously, I have been selected to serve the citizens of Michigan on The Michigan Trails Advisory Council and the Snowmobile Advisory Workgroup as well as several other councils and committees where I represent Michigan Snowmobile Association and the total snowmobiling community.
It is because of this obligation which I willingly accepted, that I feel it is necessary to share with those who have sent me personal messages and those who have sent queries via other sources, information I have received and /or been privileged to, through attendance at the majority of those meetings. Understandably, most of us are only interested in the happenings here in Michigan, but like most weather patterns, issues that originate in the west have a way of migrating east, and could very well become a concern to snowmobilers and other trail users in our state too.
It is my intent to include for consideration items of interest regardless of where it comes from.
Around the State and Across the Nation
If you spend anytime on the road staying at Hotels, you probably stayed at a Choice Hotel. Choice Hotels is one of the largest and most successful lodging companies in the world. Choice currently franchises more then 6,800 hotels, repressing more then 500,000 rooms, in more then 35 countries and territories. Ranging from limited service to full service hotels in the economy and leisure travelers with a range of high quality, high-value lodging options throughout the United States and internationaly.
The company was started in 1939 as Quality Courts, a referral chain consisting of seven motel owners in the South. It published the names of all properties complying with its standards and referred guests to the member properties. In 1941, the group incorporated as Quality Courts United. Later, the motel chain operated under the name Quality Motels (1963–1971) and Quality Inns International (since 1972).
During its early years, Quality Courts' operations were entirely in areas of the United States east of the Mississippi River and in portions of Canada. The company became Quality International as the company switched to franchising in 1972. A few years later, with the franchising well on its way, about 300 hotels were independently owned and only about 38 were still company-owned.
Spotlight on: Choice Hotel
This month, I have something a wee bit different. This month I am featuring the sled I am talking about. But, I am also featuring a few more similar sled type vehicles. That’s because these things have been around for a while. Actually, I am not sure when the first one was made.
But, probably not long after Armand Bombardier created the recreational snowmobile, somebody else got the idea to take one ski off, make the track a bit narrower, and call it a snow bike.
I did a bit of research and what I came up with was that one of the first snow bikes was the 1936 BMW Schneekrad, which was built by the Nazis, under Hitler. The photo I saw of this thing gave me the shivers. Now, those that know me know that I will climb on just about anything. This one…not so much. It looked like somebody took the back tire off a motor cycle and added a track. Looked totally dangerous. And not in a way that would have your foes trembling in fear. More like those unlucky enough to get drafted to drive it.
That one did not last - thankfully. But the idea stayed. And kept evolving. This brings me to the Clinton. I saw this one at the Antique Snowmobile Club of America’s summer meeting in St. Ignace. It was basically a mini-bike with a ski instead of a wheel. Still, not something I had a desire to hop on and take for a spin. Maybe when I was like ten. Even then, on snowy roads. Not on a trail.
Vintage Sled of the Month: Snow Blazer
The weekend of Friday the 24th and Saturday the 25th of August brought hundreds, if not thousands of spectators, avid snowmobile enthusiasts, and prospective buyers of the many products on display to Greenville, Michigan. For a while it appeared that the weather would not be cooperating with the scheduled events, but old Mother Nature finally relented and gave us a nice day Friday and other than a bit of muddy areas to contend with on Saturday, the show was a huge success, and all planned activities happened right on time.
For more than three decades now, the Michigan Snowmobile Association has been asked for assistance in making this a successful endeavor, and with a corps of active volunteer workers, has always been able to provide the necessary services, including event security at the entrances and exits, personnel to run the Swap Meet efficiently, a parking lot staff to reduce the confusion and keep the traffic flowing into, and out of, the property, and a relief crew to handle any other potential safety concerns as well as staffing the MSA Booths for Membership information and Trail Permit sales.
On Friday sales were brisk for the essentials such as oil, drive belts, hyfax, traction and carbide sets, not to mention the great sale prices offered for new snowmobiles, Recreational Vehicles including ATV’s and Side by Sides, Motorcycles, and Boats of all styles and sizes. There were several vendors available throughout the event with merchandise such as clothing, accessories, and lawnmowers. There was even a chainsaw wood carver making some one of a kind creations for sale.
MSA and Sno-Motion 2018
On the weekend of September 8th, the Antique Snowmobile Club of America held their summer meeting in St. Ignace. This was done in conjunction with the annual Tractor Show in St. Ignace. Also, the event was co-sponsored by the Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum in Naubinway. According to Charlie Valler, Museum Coordinator, “This was a great honor to be part of the Antique Snowmobile Club of America’s summer show. They meet all over the country and to have them here in St. Ignace was fantastic. We are really proud to be able to be part of this.”
Now, personally, I have been to St. Ignace for the Tractor Show a few times. Anyhow, this year, they had well over 1,300 tractors. That is really cool. But, of more interest to me, they also had Antique and Vintage snowmobiles. On this, I met and talked to David Gunther. He is the current President of the Antique Snowmobile Club of America. About the show, David stated, “We have over 70 snowmobiles here for the show.
The people have come from as far away as Montana to the west and from out east. Plus, there are people from all over Michigan. This really says a lot about the quality of this event if people are willing to travel that far for this.” David himself is from Pequot Lake Minnesota.
As for the sleds, of course I was impressed. There were a wide variety of things there. Yes, I said, “Things.” Because, no matter how hard I try, there were some things there that I just could not really call a snowmobile. First, one of my favorites was an old Army vehicle used to travel over snow. It was a 1942 Weasel and it just looked Army strong.
The thing had a set of tracks like a groomer and held a few people. How many? Not sure. But, maybe 8-10. And, according to owner Ted Postula, the Weasel is supposed to float. Ted said he hasn’t tried that yet. But, says, “It really goes over the snow!”
Antique Snowmobile Club Holds Meeting in St. Ignace
TNT's Ride Like a Girl to Save The Girls Bikini Radar Run will be held Sat. Feb. 23rd during the East Jordan Sno-Blast festival. This is a great way to raise money for a great cause and race your snowmobile! Guys are more than welcome to compete in the radar run, they just need to wear a bikini top. All the money raised will be going towards breast cancer treatments. The East Jordan Lioness Club will be getting gas cards for men or women that are going through breast cancer treatments.
Prize packages will be awarded to the person with the fastest time and to the person that raises the most money. She may do something for
the person with the best decorated sled or best costume. All registered riders will receive a free t-shirt (sponsored by Northern MI Custom
Image, East Jordan) Registration form are available by messaging Courtney Fender firstname.lastname@example.org. Or Registration form can
be found here.
If anyone is interested in donating something to go in the prize packages for the winners please contact Courtney. Shirts are available
for purchase with 1/2 the proceeds being donated to the TNT Ride Like a Girl To Save the Girls Event.
TNT's Ride Like A Girl to Save The Girls Bikini Radar Run