The Byron Snow Bears held their 22nd Annual Great Southern Grass Drag Nationals, Swap Meet & Vintage Sled Show Saturday Sept.24th 2016 at their Douglas location that is 5 miles NW of Rochester, MN. For those of you that have been at Douglas in the past 21 years are familiar with their 1 day Sunday event. You may think that an advertised Saturday event was a mistake... but it was true, The Snow Bears listened to their racers concern about racing Saturday vs. Sunday, it came down to the racers getting a chance to relaxing after the day of racing vs. getting done at the track then rushing home so they can make it to work on Monday morning, with that said the event will be on Saturdays from this date forward.
Two days before the event we received enough rain to put the race track and swap area under water then with Cloudy sky's with mid 60's temps for the next couple of days the Snow Bears event relied on Mother Nature's wind & field tile to dry up the event area.
Friday some local collectors started dropping off their trailers along with Kent Rundquist on his Minneapolis Moline tractor with 2 trailer loads of sleds, Kent has been bringing his OMC's by tractor for 15 years. New for the show this year was a Rat Class & the "King of the Rats" Brian "Rampage" Montgomery from Las Vegas showed up with a 1928/1970 Ford- Johnson Super Rat that was a true RatSled. Also, new for 2016 was a Metal Flake class that was won by Tom Steven from Northwood, IA. with his 71 Super Stinger. Carson Hienecke of Rome,Wi. brought home 2 - 1st place plaques for his 1965 Arctic Cat 140D & his 1970 Rupp Magnum while Tom & Ronda Wentworth took home 2 plaques back to Kensett,Ia., a 1st place with their 1973 Brut " Make a Wish " sled along with a 2nd place in the Metal Flake Class. The Vintage Show was lucky enough to get a visit from a couple of Minnesota Viking Cheerleaders who showed up for a picture shoot with Tom & Ronda's Viking Vigilante, knowing Tom that meant more to him than any trophy. 3 Lake City, Mn's. vintage sled head's took home 8 trophy plaque's led by Dan Diggins who brought 7 sleds this year & took home 5 Trophy Plaque's, while Brandon Herzig brought home 2 Plaque's & Samantha Henning topped off the run taking 1 Plaque back to Lake City. Brandon's 71 Polaris TX has the best snowmobile accessory...a rear mounted cooler filled with Schmidt Beer scenic cans. Maurice & Renae Behling from Menomonie,Wi. were first time show participants and took home 2 plaques home including a 1st place in the Custom/Clone Class with their 73 Polaris 340 Offset. Other 1st place winner were Chuck Vancanneyt from Zumbrota,Mn. with his 67 Yukon King, Chuck's Yukon King was awarded Best of Show at one of our earliest shows. Kevin Mehus made the drive from Winona,Mn and brought home a 1st Place Plaque for his Original 71 Viking Vigilante & Brian Bronner from Owatonna,Mn.won his class with his restored 76 Polaris TX. Mark Kickoff from Brooten,Mn. won his class with his 75 Scorpion Super Stinger and James Krubsack a first time participant from Prescott,Wi.brought his 77 Arctic Cat Z to the show & brought home the plaque with his 76 AC Sno Pro. James was kind enough to let my 3 years old grandson sit on his Z for a picture shoot, Lucas looks like a natural. Chad Meyer was happy he made the drive up from Dorchester,Ia., he went home with a 1st place plaque and Best of Show with his 73 Polaris Starfire. Locals that took awards were Mitch Miller from Mantorville, Mn., Mitch took home 2 Plaque's for his Alsport in the Twin Track Class and Custom/Clone Class & another Mantorville native Gary Bromley won the Presidents Choice Award with his Scorpion Bullwhip while Gaylen Figy from Douglas won the Classic Class with his 92 Yamaha Vmax 4. I'd like to thank my crew for another job done well...Thank You to my loving wife Jolene for her help with registration and my son Tom Anderson Jr, with Gary Bromley and Dylan Sinnwell for their muscle and ability to sep-up and rope off the show.
The move to Saturday wasn't the only big news for the Douglas event, our Race Promoter Perry Schluter from the NSRA retired from running races and the Snow Bears were lucky enough to have Tony Kruger and his crew from the PSDR take over the grass drags. Another change will be the introduction to vintage racing, Tony and crew have run numerous races in the past on ice and this will be his first shot on grass. Now here's a note about the event from Mr.Kruger " I would like to thank the Byron Snow Bears for all their hard work in getting this event pulled off this year. With Mother Nature dumping a bunch of rain on this site 48 hours before it was scheduled, it went very well. I also would like to thank Wade Schroeder, the race director from the Snow Bears. A great guy to work with, and took care of anything we needed. They even had to tow a few trucks and trailers out Sunday morning as another small shower came through and made it just muddy enough that trucks couldn't get out. A big thanks to the racers that came to the first PSDR event. I had a great time talking with many of you Friday night and Saturday. There were some nice payout received by many racers. Turner Childs had a fantastic day on his 81 E'ltigre 500 sled. He took home over $650.00 in winnings. It just so happened to be the very same sled his Dad built originally over 30 years ago. They were lucky enough to come across it while looking for a vintage sled to build for this grass season. The Rochester paper had a nice article printed in the News Paper about their story. I remember racing against that sled many years ago. Guess that makes me kind of old LOL. Another big shout out to our crew, Charlie & Bree Root, Mark Gruis, Steve Boyer, Wendy Kruger, Larry Spindler, Chad McCosky, Arica Gehloff, Sarah Kruger, Adam, & Chris Hanson.
Hope to see you all on the ice this winter! "
For those of you wonder what it takes to run an event like this the Snow Bears Club and members from other local clubs filling in 170 jobs & shifts. The Snow Bears would like to thank the students from Byron High School for a great job with the parking and we would like to thtank the Stewartville Snowdrifters for the awesome job they do with trash pick-up. Other Clubs that helped were the Faribo Sno-Go Club, bassoon-Mantorville Snowdrifers & the Zumbrota Covered Bridge Riders.
Tom Anderson with contributions from Tony Kruger and Larry Shepherd