Wednesday, 24 May 2017

New SHOF Display Building

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Final Fundraising Push For New Snowmobile Hall Of Fame Display Building

Groundbreaking Ceremony Planned for Classic Sled Roundup Weekend May 27-28

The vision of a beautiful new building that displays historic snowmobiles and memorabilia is almost ready to happen at the Snowmobile Hall of Fame in St. Germain, Wis. With the Classic Sled Roundup weekend festivities just one week away, the SHOF hopes to bridge the final gap to its building fundraising goal in hopes of hosting a groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday, May 27.

“We are so close to our goal of $350,000 that we can taste it,” said Craig Marchbank, SHOF President. “Thanks to so many generous donors, we’re on the cusp of being able to break ground on what will be a magnificent 60 x 100-ft., 2-story building adjacent to our current building.

“With one last push, and a few spare dollars from those who are able, we’ll put shovels in the ground for this important showcase of snowmobile history.”

To get there, the SHOF is asking for your help. A donation to the building fund this week will help ensure that the Hall’s vast collection of snowmobiles, displays, archives and history will be seen in its entirety, free of charge to snowmobile fans who come to see many of the most historic machines from the past five-plus decades.

The 14th Annual Classic Sled Roundup May 27-28, 2017, includes vintage snowmobile displays and premier swap meet in a fun, festive atmosphere in the St. Germain Town Park.

Donations can be made quickly and easily at the SHOF website Building plans can be seen there as well.

“Give what you can this week,” Marchbank encouraged. “If our goal is recognized, then we will host a ground breaking ceremony at 3:00pm on Saturday at the Hall and ask everyone to join us for what will be a historic event.”

About the Snowmobile Hall of Fame

"Dedicated to preserving and showcasing the rich and exciting history of snowmobiling at both the recreational and competitive levels through the operation of a museum, hall of fame and library for the sport. Annual inductions honor the men and women that have played significant roles at the racing venues, design and manufacturing arenas, local clubs, state associations and national organizations."

Vintage Hod-Rod Builders


                             By Olav Aaen For Vintage Snowmobile Magazine February 2017

Call it Hot-Rod Vintage or maybe Resto-Mods to borrow a term that is now popular among car builders. The vintage scene is teeming with activity right now, and it has a lot of long time snowmobilers enthusiastic about the sport again: These builders may have been young racers in the 70’s and 80’sand want to go back and have some fun building the ultimate lightweight lake racer or hot cross country vintage sled. Usually the vintage movement has been divided into racers and restorers, but this third group is creating a lot of new excitement, not just among older enthusiast but also younger sledders that want to ride in the winter but may not have the funds for a new sled. Fortunately, there are now lots of older sleds available for very low prices, and parts are plenty and cheap at the larger swap meets if you search around a little. Popular sleds for modification are mid to late 70’s from the Sno- Pro era , and mid 80’s to mid 90’s “Classic “ IFS style muscle sleds with larger liquid cooled engines. We have seen this develop here at the shop, because the builders often need custom fitted pipes for their new hybrid project. Mixing old and new is not uncommon, like some Yamaha SRX owners do. One customer put a 1999 700 SRX Triple engine in a 1980 SRX chassis while another went a little more subtle with a larger VMAX 600 engine in his 1978 SRX sled. This guy also has seven 1977-78 Yamaha 440 Exciters on his farm, all for use by his kids and their friends. They all have a single performance pipe, after he tried one and liked the extra power and weight saving. John Deere builders have a large following in Iowa and across the grain belt, as a lot of farmers received free sleds with their purchase of tractors or combines. The Deere’s were built strong and quite a lot survived with low mileage and are prime candidates for engine updates. Some like to install Polaris Indy 500 Twins and many updated to newer Kawasaki LTD and Interceptor engines. Polaris and Cat fans are plenty in Minnesota and this weekend at the Waconia 2017 Show they were well represented. We ran into Tommy Zeller, who did a lot of speed run competitions and set many speed records as part of Marlyn Englers Team. Zeller loves his older Polaris sleds but with newer engines and suspensions under older body work. He presently trail rides three of his creations he told us enthusiastically. One of his trail sleds is a 79’ TXL, but with a 500 Indy Twin engine with a single performance pipe and a longer suspension with a 121 inch track. Another TXL with the 500 Twin engine uses a PSI pipe with an original 136 inch suspension extended to have a 151 inch track, with the obvious extension mod to the tunnel. They both have 76 free air hoods, with the free air scoop closed using an aluminum shield, copying the look of the early factory X-country sleds. His hot lake racer is an 80 Centurion but with a Polaris 650 “Red Head” triple tuned with engine mods and triple pipes under a 1977 modified hood. We also ran into John Zeimetz at the race track in Waconia. He had just delivered several project builds to customers and was looking for new candidates to build. He told us that the new trend was towards larger liquid cooled engines for power and reliability, but often installed in earlier and lighter performance sleds. He just finished up a Rupp Magnum with an Arctic 800 ZR twin. We built some custom twin pipes for this customer who according to John spent most of the Eagle River Vintage Weekend on the local St Germaine lakes drag racing and handily beating new and larger turbo equipped sleds. Another builder into this new trend is Bill “Elvis” Stull. Bill is not only into racing his Kohler powered Rupp vintage sleds in the World Series Championship, but his body shop does a lot of chassis mods and he has a line of Rupp hoods and pans available. There are always several projects going at his shop and we get many of them at our shop for custom fitting pipes. The latest example is a Rupp Magnum with a triple 800 Hirth engine installed which required some different routing of the pipes. Since this chassis did not have a secondary shaft, but the older “inboard” clutch with a left side chain case, the wide motor ended up very close to the pan on the right hand side. This meant we could only route one pipe to the right while the other two went to the left around the clutch. It still came out looking kind of racy and trick. With the larger motor in the light chassis this is definitely a Vintage Hot Rod.

Someone recently asked if we ever hot-rodded a Mercury. You won’t see many of those even though the light chassis would be ideal, because they are very sought after vintage race sleds. Most of them are still to be found on the race tracks winning vintage championships. Quite a few older racers came by the Vintage Snowmobiler booth at Waconia, often in company with a young grandson. They were still enthusiastic about the sport and busy building sleds with their sons and grandchildren.” I never get tired of working on projects”, one builder told me. “It was so exciting in the 70’s when we raced and now I still have new ideas for projects I do with my grandson”, he said. I guess once you are caught in this exciting hobby it is still an amazing playground for new and exciting projects and creations!


22nd Great Southern Grass drag Nationals

  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

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Ride With The Chumps

A Ride with the Chumps!


Yes, you read the title correctly. This is not to be confused with the Ride with the Champs, a long ride with well-known dignitaries of the snowmobile racing community's past, which takes place in Wisconsin each year.

This was a ride undertaken by some highly non-dignified unknowns in Minnesota. And man, was it fun!

Back in February of 2015 I had a spare Monday on my trip to Minnesota, and found my friend Swede up in Pine River wanted to guide me on a bit of a back country ride on old leafers. My friend Goose, purveyor of all things vintage Ski Doo, was game as well, and drove up from Cambridge, MN to come along.

We had an awesome time that Monday! Highlights of the day included my John Deere 300 seizing the engine half a mile from Swede's place; Swede's Yamaha powered Scorpion Super Stinger shearing the bolts in the drive sprockets a mile or two back on the trail; and Goose and I having a lovely sunset ride, two upping on a '72 TNT as Swede became the pilot of the 335 Oly Goose had been riding.

 Naturally, the ride had to go on for the 2016 year, as well! Both Swede and Goose were in, and word was put out on a couple sled sites around the world wide web to see if anyone else wanted to come along.

 A Monday ride isn't for everyone. But we found that if you want the trails and the back country to yourselves, it's the icing on the cake.

 Monday after the Waconia, MN show, we met at Swede's just north of Pine River, MN. I was right behind Goose with his trailer load of yellow machines, my own trusty '73 Oly in the bed of my Dad's rusty S10.

 Shortly, Chris arrived from Brianerd, his '63 and '65 four stroke powered Ski Doos in his trailer, then Duane showed up with his '71 634 Cat.

 We exchanged greetings, insults, and off-color jokes before enjoying a short tour of Swede's pole barn of sleds, and had a warm up in his wood-stove-heated shed/workshop as we suited up to ride.

Goose had brought along four yellow machines. Last year, I rode a nice '72 TNT single he had, and decided I would ride that this year, too. Chris determined his '65 Ski Doo with the single digit horsepower Kohler four stroke was not speedy enough for this crowd, so he took Goose's offer of a '72 399 Ski Doo Olympic. Swede, of course, was on his Super Stinger with Yamaha liquid power, and Duane's Montana-piped '71 Panther let us know where he was at all times!

Off we went! You have to ditch bang about a half mile from Swede's driveway to reach the main trail on the old rail road bed. Well, the TNT was not running well, four-stroking intermittently and bogging. Then something flew past my head! It was the rewind handle.... Fearing the worst, (I had a recoil explode on me a couple years back, taking out the starter cup), I turned back to Swede's.

My next unintended victim was “Thor,” the '71 Ski Doo Elan Goose had brought along, with a swapped-in 335 in place of the standard 12 horse my '71 Elan had in high school, and Thor had electric start!  

A twist of the key and off we went.   However...something was not right with Thor. His secondary clutch was sticking open, stuck in high gear. On the railroad grade one has to stop for road crossings and drive ways. Each stop meant having to coax poor Thor up to speed. Once up to speed it was just fine.

A mile down the trail we stopped again. Duane's Cat had some electrical problem. Some wires had gotten hot and his lights were inoperable. This wasn't of immediate concern, but the loss of spark on the PTO side was. Nothing a little fiddling couldn't solve, and we all needed a beverage break, anyhow.

Once the Hirth in the Panther was cracking out both pipes, we rode on. I was following behind our host and guide Swede. The plan was to run the 5 ½ miles on the railroad grade to the town of Backus for an early lunch before heading in to the back country.

Swede stopped at a crossing, then immediately past it hooked right onto a little side trail which was not thin and icy like the railroad grade. I followed right along, it was less than a quarter mile of detour and we were out on the main grade again. We stopped and waited....Chris came along on the 72, but where were Duane and Goose? We figured they would catch up and we hit our throttles and went on, not far to go now. With Backus in sight, Thor suddenly lost power and came to a halt....

I popped open the hood – the engine had lots of steam coming off of it, and would NOT turn over. Uh-Oh! Well, that was the end for Thor the Elan that day. I looked the machine over while we waited, and noted the plastic drive sprockets were disintegrating, as well. Good thing he died right on the trail near a road crossing in sight of town!

I hopped on back of the 72 Oly with Chris and we followed Swede right in to town. Still no sign of the other two. I called, and Goose said that he thought Duane wanted to turn back and Duane thought Goose wanted to turn back. So Duane had headed back to Swede's and Goose followed... good thing! We had them put the Cat and my Ski Doo from the bed of my truck on to Goose's trailer, and drive up to Backus, where we would be waiting in Willard's bar. Burger baskets were ordered along with some warming beverages. The missing two arrived, and the party was complete again.

We decided to get going. Once outside, we unloaded the Cat and my Ski Doo, and picked up the dead Thor. Then I noted a chunk of rubber on the ground near the Oly that Chris was riding. A bogie tire piece! Investigation showed the rubber had come apart on two of the back tires, so now the metal flanges were riding right on the track. Thus poor Thor was robbed of a bogie set, and his gas tank was pulled out and the gas donated to my Oly, which was low. See, I am so cheap, I wait for another machine to break down, then take its gas...We FINALLY got rollin', all of us together! We turned off the railroad grade, crossed frozen Pine Mountain Lake, and headed in to the Foot Hills state forest and miles of unbroken trail. Now this is the kind of riding we all the old days, just boondocking through the ATV and horse trails where nobody had laid a track. About 8” to a foot of snow, plenty to ride over and cover any boo boos in the route, but not enough so we all got stuck! Yes, a low snow year, but if there had been 2 feet plus back there on those unbroken routes, we would have just been burying one machine after another, as the trails were tight. The 72 Oly that Chris was riding was having a really hard time on the hills, just spinning. Goose stopped and tightened the track some, but it persisted. We reached a spot with a fairly short, steep climb, and the machine just would not make the grade. I was in back, and stopped while Goose got off the sled he was riding, and grabbed a ski along with Chris and pulled/dragged it the last few feet to the summit.

I recalled riding with a friend of mine years back, his Elan was doing the same thing. Broken bogie suspension springs! The track just was not being held against the ground. I got off my machine and walked up the hill, as the wounded Oly was blocking the summit. Both the Scorpion and the Cat had easily made it to the top, but then discovered there was no place to turn around, and had to manhandle the machines 180*.

Meanwhile, we had to do something about the tractionless 399 Ski Doo. Goose whipped out his tools from the cavernous Swiss Army backpack he wears, and got to it. The center set of bogies was borrowed from the '70 Oly (“Trusty Rusty” as his daughter has named it) and put in the rear on the 399, and the front bogie set from the 399 which was still good, was moved back down from the raised set of holes to the stock position. The bogie set with the broken springs was safety wired (more tricks from the bag of Goose!) and put in the center spot on Trusty...follow so far? Machines were manhandled around, and back we went. Ahhh it was sweet! Wending our way around the trees, up the hills and down, around a couple ponds, and down the logging roads. Following Goose, we went around one or another deadfall in the trail, and bored through the brush. This is not the ride for you if you don't want branches scraping your hood, for sure. We stopped for a break and decided to cut back in to the town of Hackensack, top up fuel as needed, and head on up the railroad grade. Why? So we could go past the place we broke down LAST year, so we could say we went farther, that's why!

We headed out of the Foothills forest and ditchbanged our way to Hackensack. Now THAT takes me back....I don't recall any actual marked trails back in the early 80's as a teenager, but I do remember lots of road shoulders, driveway approaches, and crossing frequently as the “ditch” ran out on one side or the other. Duane started sidehilling on some of the steeper parts along MN371, and we all followed suit to a degree- I stayed back from that Cat, as that combination of a cleated track and a big Hirth under the hood could sure throw the snow chunks out the back! I can describe the visual, but unfortunately, words just cannot convey how sweet the music was coming from those Montana pipes. And while I am at it, the smell of what ever oil Swede was running in that Scorpion was fine enough to be marketed as ladies perfume.  

As always, the 1970's iron get lots of second looks when you roll up into a gas station, even one right off the trail that gets snowmobiles pulling to the pumps regularly. People are always surprised that we actually ride them for distance. After this we stopped at the Hackensack beverage store for some “cough syrup” for the road. We then headed back down the trail, and this time made the turn off we wanted to, where last year we were thwarted by sheared driveshaft bolts! That little spur route unfortunately ended up to be in rough shape, with lots of bare spots as there is an uphill section facing south, and it had gotten some traffic the previous two days. We regrouped at the next road crossing. It was getting dark, Duane had no headlight, and we all decided to head on back out to the route we came in on.

We started to get spread out- Duane was intermittently losing spark on one side with the Cat, and then we lost the Goose. Yep, 'Ol Trusty Rusty let out a puff of smoke and died along the way. Goose had to hop on with Swede and make it to where I was waiting with Duane, who would quickly swap his 634's PTO side plug with the non-firing magneto side plug, which would then pick up spark and run on two (for a few miles!) For the second year in a row, Goose and I had a nice, cozy ride together on a vintage Ski Doo. Swede's Scorpion had something wrong in the suspension. And when we reached Backus, it was obvious – a bearing had gone in one of his rear idlers on the “para rail” suspension! The Scorpion went on the trailer with the wounded Elan. The 399 Ski Doo Chris was riding was loaded, as well – and I was told one ski was nearly cracked in half at a spring saddle! This left Duane, with no headlight, to follow me on his Cat the remaining five miles back to Swede's manse, while the rest of the party piled in Goose's pickup to do a search and rescue on the dead Olympic back on the trail a few miles. Oh! My tail light was now dead. Still had a brake light though...but shoot, Duane like myself is from Todd county, where we don't need no steenking lights!   Duane did not seem to have a problem following me, but I kept trying to look back and make sure he was there. I would slow down until I heard the RAP RAP RAP of his pipes, then go again. All was well until the turn off from the railroad grade to run the ditch over to Swede's. The ditch was tight, several driveway crossings, having to cross from the left side to the right and back when it got steep or ran out of snow. Finally Duane gave up, I saw sparks as he had to slowly take the shoulder for a few hundred feet.

Mrs. Swede came out and met us, Duane loaded up, and we said our goodbyes as he had to get going. I lit a fire in Swede's warming shack. The rest of the gang showed up, and we had a warm up and a few laughs about the day. I had heard someone refer to this as “Eric's ride” and to me, that seems wrong...then I said this was more like “Ride with the Chumps!”

I can't wait to continue the tradition next year. Until then, keep those bogies greased and the track side down.

Eric Rylander

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Clearing brush Ski Doo styleDuanes Cat with electrical meltdownOne spreader on the left its the latest handling fadSwapping parts in the woodsUh oh

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