Happenings from the Winter Rendezvous
Greetings to you all from east-central Minnesota. I just got home from the MnUSA Winter Rendezvous that was held at the Grand Casino Hinckley and what an amazing event it was. It started with the Veterans ride on Thursday where over 55 veterans showed up at the Pine City VFW to sign in, borrow a snowmobile from one of the four manufacturers if they did not have one of their own to ride, receive instructions and get ready to ride.
We headed to Pokegama Lake and up to the trail to the Hinckley Pine City Flames club house in Beroun for a lunch of sloppy joes, chips, potato salad and baked beans put on by the Flames. After lunch we left for a loop through the Chengwatana State Forest then back to the Pine City American Legion Post for a roast beef and mashed potato dinner. The trails were in great shape and I think all the vets had a great experience with many asking if there is going to be another ride next year. Thank you all who donated to make this ride happen and to be able to do it all at no cost to our vets.
Friday was the governor’s ride. Governor Tim Pawlenty arrived at about 8 a.m. and gave a talk to everyone at breakfast before doing his Friday morning radio show from Hinckley. Our president Keith Twombly was asked to participate in the radio show and maybe you got to hear him. As soon as the radio show was over we hurried out to the snowmobiles that were already lined up and ready to head out. I was honored by being asked to lead Governor Pawlenty’s group for the ride. The ride was only about 45 miles because the governor had to leave at noon for a meeting. The trails were in great shape and every one had a great time.
February 2010 - Great Early Season Riding
Greetings from east-central Minnesota. We have snow and the trails are being groomed in our area and are open thanks to the December snowstorms. It is really great to be out and riding again. I have been lucky enough to ride in three different areas of our state including the Brainerd area with the MnUSA executive board and State Senator Mary Olson, whom met up with us at the Merrifield Marathoners clubhouse open house. The trails were in great shape and all had fun and we talked about snowmobile tourism in Minnesota.
I had the great opportunity to ride with Gerard Karpik of Fast M-10 snowmobile suspensions. Gerard used to race cross-country snowmobiles including the Winnipeg to St. Paul I-500, which he finished as high as 2nd. Gerard had two customers in from Indiana and I was lucky enough to be invited to go along for a short ride that turned out to be 125 miles. We stopped for dinner and were treated to numerous racing stories as well as learning about new found snowmobile friends.
I was also able to take part in an impromptu club ride on the trails in my own backyard. The MnUSA office has been getting calls from snowmobilers to say how good of condition the snowmobile trails are in. I want to thank all of the grooming clubs out there on what a great job they are doing to keep the 20,000 plus miles of Grant-In-Aid trails ready for all of the snowmobiles in Minnesota as well as the visitors from other states.
A great job has been done by some of our members in getting trail funding from all available sources. A great example is Gordy Gudvangen of Fertile, Minnesota, and his work on the 53-mile Agassiz Trail located in Norman, Polk and Clay counties. The trail requires three bridges, two of which are 170 feet long and 12 feet wide while the third is 300 feet long, 12 feet wide and will end up being 55 feet above the Wild Rice River. This will improve safety on the trail so users will not have to use the shoulder of the highway bridge for the river crossing.
The funding for this multi-use trail project for snowmobile, ATV, hikers, bikers and horseback riders has come from multiple sources including the Federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP), Minnesota DNR Grant-In-Aid capital improvement grant from the snowmobile and ATV clubs as well as from the Minnesota state legislature with the help from State Senators Keith Langseth and Rod Skoie.
The Fertile Snowcruisers snowmobile club also built a shelter resembling a historic log cabin near the intersection of Highway 102 and Polk County Road 41, and the club has purchased the abandoned railway to establish a new 17.4 miles of multi-purpose trail from Beltrami to Ada, Minnesota. The grants are available on the Minnesota DNR Web site and if you or anyone from your club have questions on how to apply for any of these grants please call the MnUSA office, and remember the Legacy grant applications are due by March 31; RTP are due February 26.
Stay safe, ride right and see you at the Rendezvous and at the legislative reception on February 24 at the St. Paul Kelly Inn.
January 2010 - Ride Right Spreads Right Message
I hope you and your families had a wonderful holiday season and that the coming year will bring joy, happiness, a better economy and lots of snow.
Wow, I just got back from taking the first test ride on my sled on the lake it is 3 degrees out and might get to 7 or 8 today. Our trails will open as soon as we have enough snow. There is only about 1.5 to 2 inches here, but southern Minnesota got 6 to 8 inches, according to the news, so trails will be opening soon. I can hardly wait.
MnUSA is always looking for new committee volunteers and new ideas. Safety is on the top of the list for MnUSA and our Safety Committee is one that has benefited from contributions from members. On December 1, a new “Ride Right” safety campaign, which is a co-operative program with MnUSA and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, was introduced. Perhaps you have seen the new billboards located on I-35, Highways 10 and 169 and in the December issue of Minnesota Snowmobiling on page 12.
This year the campaign, “Ride Right, Stay Right,” is focusing on the suggestion of member Tom Gille from Cromwell, who is concerned with snowmobilers that don’t seem to remember that nearly all of our trails are two way trails, thus creating the possibility of meeting a sled on the trail if you don’t stay on your own side of the trail – the right side. Other suggestions are being made for future “Ride Right” messages. If you have any suggestions please contact the committee chair, but better yet why not volunteer to serve on the committee and help out on a continual basis. We can always use the help. Our trails are shared by everyone – families, children and grandchildren, young and old – so be courteous on the trails and ride responsibly for your safety and the safety of the other riders on the trail.
Our club is busy getting the trail system ready for the upcoming season with brushing, clearing, packing and some trail relocating. We will be going back out to do some more work on the swamps. Preparations are coming along for the Winter Rendezvous by all the clubs and committees involved. I am sure that it will be a great success and that we will have snow to ride. Why not be a Mud Dog and ride your sled to the Rendezvous and have a chance to win the traveling Mud Dog trophy. There have been many great stories about exciting rides.
Don’t forget to renew your membership with your club and MnUSA, as this will get you into the drawing for the new C.J. Ramstad memorial custom sled. Everyone who is a current MnUSA member will be in the drawing, which will be held at the Rendezvous. Members get additional entries for each new member they get to join the association.
I am looking forward to seeing you at the Rendezvous and doing some great riding. Until then, get and out enjoy our great winter and take someone who has never snowmobiled with you. And, as always, Ride Right.
December 2009 - Mark Steinmueller: New MnUSA Vice President
Hi, if you don’t recognize my picture my name is Mark Steinmueller and I would first of all like to thank everyone who supported me in my bid for vice president at the Fall Workshop that was held October 23-25 in Baudette.
I also would like to thank Region 1 for the great job they did in putting on the event. There were many great sessions, such as Safety Instructor Training, Facebook, how to use your GPS while snowmobiling, grants and law enforcement as well as a legislative committee meeting. On Saturday night Joel Hallstrom gave a presentation on snowmobiling with the Inuit people of northern Canada. They use snowmobiles as a mode of transportation, not for fun in very severe conditions. It was a very interesting talk.
As I am writing this article, it does not seem like winter is just around the corner. It was 60 degrees today in November, but at least most of the pre-winter chores are done, such as getting the dock out and most of the wood cut, split and stacked. But the most important thing is that the sleds are greased and checked out and gassed up just waiting for snow. One of the clubs that I belong to, the Hinckley Pine City Flames, is already busy getting ready for the up coming snowmobile season and has started trail work brushing, signing, mowing and we are working on getting two new bridges in before the Winter Rendezvous February 11-14, 2010, that we will be hosting.
We have had a number of Rendezvous meetings with the other clubs in our area that are helping us put on the Rendezvous and things are coming along, so save that date and bring your sweetheart along for Valentine’s Day and don’t forget to register by January 2, 2010, to get your early bird discount. We have also completed a youth snowmobile safety training class and
One of the things that I would like to focus on this year is increasing our membership numbers. The greater our numbers, the more influence we hold with our state legislators. We all know someone that rides with us that does not belong to a MnUSA club, so get them to join and even get them out and do some trail work. It will help the club, MnUSA and they will have fun doing it and meeting new friends while getting some exercise. The local clubs really need new members, especially ones that are willing to help work on the trails so that we can have the best trail system in the states.
Before we know it, the snow will be flying and the trails will open December 1 and we will be able to get our favorite ride out on the snow. I’m looking forward to meeting you out on the trails and get in some of the best riding ever. Take someone you know who has never been on a snowmobile and see if they end up being one of your new best riding buddies. Be safe, have fun and don’t forget to Ride Right.