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Michigan Snowmobiler Magazine
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Print Date: September 5, 2018
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For the past eighteen years delegates from organized snowmobile associations in as many as twenty-four states have gathered in Washington, DC for the annual Fly-In event hosted by the American Council of Snowmobile Associations, the most recent visit beginning on the evening of Saturday, April 14th with the now traditional Reception and finishing late on Tuesday, April 17th when a visit to, and a meeting with, every federal legislator or their senior staff was completed. MSA sent a delegation of three members to take part in this very important event.
Although titled as the ACSA Fly-In, this term may be a bit confusing, since not every delegate actually flew to the Capital City.
The Michigan delegation drove the seven hundred miles from Grand Rapids with an early start Saturday morning, allowing for a stop in Howell to pick up printed materials for the event and a stop enroute for lunch and fuel, arrived at the Marriott Residence Inn in Washington, DC just in time to get checked into our room and attend the reception. Being the Upper Peninsula representative, I drove the additional three hundred & fifty miles from Munising to Grand Rapids a day prior.
Meeting on the Hill
This Month my Spotlight on...is Hackers Yamaha, of Houghton Lake, Michigan.
Hackers Yamaha is working on their 49th year of being in business. And on August 25 2017 long time employee, Kirk Anderson, took the plunge and bought Hackers. When I was talking to Kirk he was pretty excited about the business.
Kirk started working at Hackers in 1995, and was in charge of all the rentals. Since then he has done just about every thing else at the dealership, which makes him a good person to buy this long time business.
I asked Kirk if he had made any changes at the dealership? He told me no, but down the road, maybe. We will have to wait and see. He also stated that Hackers was one of the top 150 Yamaha dealerships in the U.S.A., so why mess with a good thing.
Hackers carries a full line of Yamaha and Honda products such as ATVs, motorcycles, scooters, wave runners, generators, power washers and SXS’s. They also carry a large inventory of genuine Yamaha and Honda parts and accessories, plus all the after market Products as well. Kirk keeps 10 or 11 people working depending on what time of year it is. The show room is a good size and clean with a lot of product to see and checkout. A great work shop as well. And if you go on-line and see what people are saying, you will find it is all positive.
Spotlight on: Hackers
Here we are at the start of another season of fun in the sun and on the Trails. And, as in recent years, one of the things I like to do best is to take that trail down memory lane and talk about some of the old sleds. Once again, I am planning on continuing the column that was started here by the late great Bud Knapp.
Again, I will admit outright that I am not him. I am not the Professor. But I do have a love for old sleds and a lot of memories about riding them. As I am fond of saying, “The first sled I learned to drive had the engine on the back."
So this year, once again, each month I will be choosing an antique or vintage sled to highlight. And, as always, I will again be more than happy to take any requests you readers might have. I can be reached through the Publisher here at firstname.lastname@example.org
For this month, I have chosen a sled that I see everywhere. I see it at shows and swap meets and just about anywhere you might find older sleds. That is because it was one of the first sleds of the modern era. It came along just after Armand Bombardier created the recreational snowmobile. It is the Moto Ski.
One of the first things you notice about the Moto Ski is that it really looks like an early Ski-Doo. It has the same shape. Is about the same size. And, it even had the gas cap in the nose. Amazing coincidence?
Vintage Sled of the Month: Moto Ski
Beginning on Wednesday, the last day of February, Grant Sponsors and Groomer Operators from all around the state began arriving in Sault Ste. Marie for the annual Groomer Workshop, but they weren’t alone… not by a long shot! Many manufacturer and dealership representatives, vendors with various tools, parts, and materials, and personnel from the Parks & Recreation Division of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources were on hand as well. Although the event host is the Michigan Snowmobile Association, and didn’t officially begin until Friday morning, most had arrived early to attend the Snowmobile Advisory Workgroup (SAW) meeting that would take up most of the day on Thursday, March 1st.
It should be noted also, that the host organization for the SAW meeting was the Sault Ste. Marie Snowmobile Association, who graciously opened their clubhouse for the meeting, ordered in a catered lunch for all attendees, and took care of set up, break down, and the cleanup. All in attendance was quite impressed with the facility, and the club members went above & beyond expectations. Thank You to All!
On the agenda for the SAW meeting were such items as updates on the Easement Process; MDOT; the LEAN Process; the Natural Resources Trust Fund; and Consumers Energy. Members also discussed such concerns as backcountry riding violations; loss of trails due to trespassing and noise; and the possibility of incorporating a temporary trail closure sign in the manual for use when trail conditions dictate, and placement of such signs where a viable reroute or temporary trail can be established.
SAW and Groomer Workshop
Every year my wife Patti and I plan a ride as soon as we print our last issue of the season. This year was no different. It seems that about every three or four years we head out west for some mountain ride or do a saddle bag trip in the U.P. of Michigan. This year was the U.P. trip.
With the way this past winter went, we were not sure if it would happen, with a ton of snow early and very cold. Then came the January thaw, that lasted most of the month, and most of the snow was gone in the Lower Peninsula. We knew we would have to travel a ways to find snow, so we just drove to the Western U.P.
On Wednesday, February 21st, we drove to Christmas, just to the West of Munising, and stoped at White Pine Lodge and made reservations for the following Friday. We then unloaded the sleds, put on our saddle bags and headed west towards Baraga. It was about 1:00 pm and it would be about 130 miles to get there. The trails were great, only a few sleds were on the trail ahead of us, which made the trail great, with good lube for the hifax and cooling for our two Yamahas. We saw about 30 sleds all afternoon. On a Wednesday that’s a lot. But with the way last winter was everybody was trying to ride when they could.
We arrived at the casino in Baraga about 7:00 pm, the place was packed. We went inside to see if there was a room to be had. The girl at the desk said no rooms but let me talk to my boss. Lucky for us there was one room that was reserved that had been cancelled and they gave it to us, whew!
As we were standing at the desk to check in I saw a familar face, it was Jeff Goss past president of M.S.A. He was there with a group from Michcanska. They were in the middle of their latest adventure to raise money for Diabetes. We talked awhile then headed out to get our bags and headed to our room.
Saddlebagging Around The UP
On Saturday, February 3rd, the 50th running of the I-500 snowmobile race took place in the Soo. That day, there were 38 sleds that made the cut and 36 on the starting line when the race began.
Almost nine and a half hours later, and it was the #17 Arctic Cat, of Christian Brothers Racing, with drivers Wes Selby and Zach Herfinadahl on the sled, crossing the finish line first in his very first I-500 win. For Selby, this was his second I-500 win and for Herfinadahl it was his first.
But, right on his tail, finishing just over 3 seconds back, were a trio of drivers who have all taken wins at the I-500. They were Cory Davidson, Gabe Berke, and Troy DeWald, who combined have over a dozen wins to their credit. However, on this night, it was Herfinadahl and back Co-Driver Wes Selby who became part of an elite group in all of snowmobile racing, by beating the best of the best for the win at the 50th running of the I-500.
This year, the Pole Sitters were Troy DeWald, Ryan Spencer, and Bill Wilkes. They were able to finish in 4th on their #21 Caderatte Collision Arctic Cat.
Talking about the win, just after the race, Wes Selby stated, “We had just an awesome day. Zach rode awesome. Couldn’t ask for a better team. Everyone supported us. Be back next year.”
Christian Brothers Racing Takes Win in 50th Running of I-500
For the past several years now, attendance at the Michigan Snowmobile Association’s Annual Convention and General Membership Meetings has been in serious decline, so much so that at the 2016 event, held at the Garland Resort near Lewiston, the Board of Directors discussed the concerns and made the decision to monitor the activity for 2017, review the findings, and then determine whether to continue with the decades old tradition of hosting an annual meeting for the general membership, where the members would have a voice in the overall management and operations of their association, as well as the election of the officers who would lead the board of directors for the ensuing year. To this, the committee sprinkles in just enough fun and games to resemble a convention complete with awards to the members who have distinguished themselves in some manner since the previous event. Sound like an activity to be a part of…you bet!
So why then, isn’t the members taking advantage of this offer, created as a member benefit where all members can join in the fun, rekindle old friendships and create new ones, where all members can discover what others are doing to better enjoy the winter seasons without the worry of getting any more involved than they, themselves decide on. The event traditionally is held in late October, begins Friday evening with an Ice-Breaker Reception, usually with some fun-filled games, hors d’oeuvres and adult beverages, plenty of stories about past snowmobiling adventures and plans for future ones. Lodging accommodations are arranged at discounted rates, meals are selected to satisfy even the most picky eaters, and enough activities are planned to keep those not interested in attending the meetings content all day long. The committee is committed to providing the best available in all these endeavors.
MSA Convention On Hold!