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Snowmobile,michigan snow show,suburban showplace

Snowmobile – USA Snow Show

The largest snowmobile trade show in the Midwest

By Jim Duke, Contributing Writer

After being cancelled last year due to coronavirus concerns, the largest snowmobile trade show in the Midwest opened it’s doors promptly at 5:00pm (EST) on Friday 5 November 2021 at the Suburban Showplace in Novi, Michigan, and although only slightly compressed from those in years past, enthusiasts were lined up early in anticipation, anxious to see what’s new in the wonderful world of snowmobiling.

I say the show was slightly compressed, not because of attendance which, by the way, was as strong as ever, but due to a slight decrease in vendor participation. Why?? Those I’ve been able to reach that normally were present at previous shows have said it was due to lack of product to sell or display and no other reason. In fact, I did see some of my dealer acquaintances in the  crowd during Saturday’s opening and had a chance to chat a bit about inventory shortfalls, not only for snowmobiles and equipment but for apparel and accessories as well.

For those vendors that did participate, most had after-market products and safety equipment that doesn’t go out of style year by year, and it’s always great to have the factory reps on hand to discuss the technological advances. I had occasion to do just that with Mr. Ron Pattyn, owner of Stud-Boy traction products and was amazed at how far that industry has come over the years, remembering the cleated tracks and “star cleats” from back in the good old days to the newest in carbide-tipped studs and shaper bars in use on today’s sleds.

Snowmobile,michigan snow show,suburban showplace

Snowmobile,michigan snow show,suburban showplace
These attendees in the snowmobile safety class took the Snowmobiler’s Pledge. Tom Anderson, Show Manager said the show was very successful.
Snowmobile,michigan snow show,suburban showplace
First time club attendee, SOTVA of Alger County promoting Munising Trails.

The folks at the Amsoil booth, although always a busy place, took time to explain the newest innovations in synthetic oil products and how best to protect the newer high-performance sleds.  It’s always great to look over the vintage and antique snowmobiles on display too, and take a walk down memory lane, at least for those of us that have been involved in snowmobiling from days long past.

I enjoyed a few minutes with Charlie & Marilyn Vallier at the Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum booth, looked over the wide variety of items they always have for the antique sled enthusiasts, and commented on their recent induction into the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame. In fact, throughout the three-day show, there were several ISHOF inductees in attendance, and on Sunday six of us got together for a quick photo-op.

The Snomads Snofari Club did another outstanding job of hosting the Snowmobile Safety Course and certified about forty students. The course is sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources and all young riders ages 12 to 17 must complete the course prior to being legal for solo operation of a snowmobile. As part of the program Christine Jourdan, Executive Director of the American Council of Snowmobile Associations administered the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association’s “Take the Pledge Campaign” pledge to the group.

Snowmobile,michigan snow show,suburban showplace
Six prior inductees of ISHOF were at the show. (L-R back row) Tom Anderson and John Prusak) (L-R Front row) Marilyn Vallier, Charlie Vallier, Christine Jourdain, & Jim Duke.
Snowmobile,michigan snow show,suburban showplace
International 500 pageant crew.
Snowmobile,michigan snow show,suburban showplace
Stephanie Sprecker at the Kewadin booth, just one of several favorite snowmobile destinations.

Briefly, in four parts, those taking the pledge 1) promises to ride off-trail only where it’s legal and accepted; 2) to check before going off-trail if unsure; 3) to protect access for future generations by doing the right thing; and 4) to protect access by encouraging riding companions to take the pledge also.

As I visited the several booths and vendors at this year’s show, it was gratifying to see more clubs present as well as several Chambers of Commerce, Visitors Bureaus, Resorts & Lodging facilities from both Michigan and our neighboring states but at the same time I was saddened that none of our Canadian friends were able to attend and be part of the show. Hopefully, the border restrictions will lighten up soon and interaction with our northern friends can resume.

Although I am a member of multiple clubs in both Michigan and several other snowmobiling friendly states, many of which embrace both snowmobile and ORV activities, I’m most active with SORVA of Alger County (my local club) and (ACSA) the American Council of Snowmobile Associations at the national level, and both organizations were present at this year’s show.

Snowmobile,michigan snow show,suburban showplace

In my discussions with the show promoters, I learned that the other shows on their schedule were also slightly down in both vendor participation and attendance, but they were very happy with the turnout considering current conditions and expect the future shows to return to a normal average in post-pandemic times.

I was unable to visit with every vendor at the show but of those I did make contact with, not one had anything negative to say. In fact, they all said that of all the shows and other venues they attend annually, the Snowmobile-USA show has always produced the best sales and profitability, and this year’s show was no different.

So with that I will add my own observations and say to those folks that stayed away for whatever reasons, you missed a great show. Thanks to Leisure Features owner & entrepreneur Tom Anderson and the Anderson family for a fantastic kick off event to the 2021-22 snowmobile season, and thanks to the vendors, clubs, and snowmobile enthusiasts for your support. It’s a winning combination and what makes this winter recreational activity so great!

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