This past weekend was full of tragedy for the snowmobile racing industry. Cross-country racer Hunter Houle and oval racer Billy-Joe Travis were both killed Friday in unrelated racing accidents.
Hunter, the son of snowmobile racing legend Steve Houle, was involved in a fatal crash on Pine Lake (near Gonvick, Minn.) while preparing for the weekend's series of USXC cross country races. There were no witnesses, but USXC officials responded to a report of a rider down on the course, and they reportedly found the 18-year-old unconscious. Hunter was transported by air to the Twin Cities, but he could not be revived. Hunter was a member of the Christian Brothers Racing team.
On the same day, 30-year-old Billy-Joe Travis of Hillman, Mich., was racing at the No Bull Triple Crown event in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., when he fell from his machine and was struck by two other snowmobiles. The crash happened on the fourth turn of the track at Isabella County Fairgrounds. Officials who witnessed the accident say Travis lost control and flipped, then was hit by two different racers before the yellow caution flag could be placed. He sustained severe injuries to his head and the left side of his body. Travis was not breathing and had no pulse when medical officials got to him less than a minute later, and he was pronounced dead at the scene. There was a total of 13 racers on the track, and Travis was wearing a helmet at the time. The incident remains under investigation.
Hunter Houle’s funeral will be held 11 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, at Hosanna Lutheran Church in Forest Lake (9300 Scandia Trail). Visitation will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 10, and one hour prior to the funeral service at the church. Click here for the full obituary.
Funeral services for Billy-Joe Travis will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 10, at the Hillman Community Center at 2 p.m.. Visitation hours will be held on Tuesday at the community center from 11 a.m. until time of service. Get the full obituary here.
Our thoughts go out to the Houle and Travis families during this difficult time.