Dedication to any hobby requires a certain level of commitment. If that hobby is vintage snowmobiles, that level of commitment can be as rational as riding and maintaining a few classic sleds, or as crazy as driving 1,000 miles to your favorite show or swap meet. In this case, relocating to Texas was no reason to miss a weekend as fun as the “Classic Sled Roundup,” hosted by the Snowmobile Hall of Fame in St. Germain, Wis., over Memorial Day weekend.
The excitement kicked off on Saturday, May 28, at 5:00 p.m., when the Hall of Fame hosted an open house and cookout as a warm-up event before the show. This gives sledheads a chance to meet up and shoot the bull a day early. Parts changed hands, and sled finds were unveiled in the HOF parking lot, priming the pump for the main event starting the next morning. And you never know what world-of-snowmobiling celebrity you'll run into at the cookout. You could be standing next to one of the legendary Hayes brothers while waiting in line for food, or bump into Herb Howe, the winner of the first Winnipeg-to-St. Paul I-500 from 1966. Additionally, the HOF Board of Directors are always circulating around to meet people and answer questions.
The show and swap meet officially started at the town park when the gates opened at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday. This year, there was a capacity crowd in the swap area, the pavilion was packed with displays, and the field of display sleds was covered in some of the finest show machines in the country. A classic 1979 Polaris TXL 340 was raffled off by the Hall of Fame to one lucky winner from Wisconsin.
The guest judges had 17 classes of sleds to comb over, including specialty classes like “Best of Show,” “Best Overall Display,” “Custom” and “Non-Snowmobile Manufacturer” for other products built by snowmobile manufacturers. The show has also invited classic sled models by opening up the 1981+ restored and original classes up to 1990 model years, and it even had a 1991-96 original class this year to include recent classics.
There is something for nearly every sledhead to enjoy at this weekend event. It was worth every one of the 1,200 miles from Texas just for the memories of baby RJ’s first vintage sled show and swap meet. Maybe next year he can help load the Liquidator …
The HOF announced plans for a 60x100-foot two-story expansion wing for displaying the vast and varied collection of machines and memorabilia the Hall has amassed over the years. A fundraising drive is underway to make this dream become a reality. The Board of Directors was pleased to again welcome back Arctic Cat as the title sponsor for next year, and they hope to see you there on May 28, 2017. For up-to-date info and events, check out www.snowmobilehalloffame.com.
Story and photos by Joe Rainville. For a full gallery of images from the event, click here.