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    RECAP: 2017 Snowmobile Hall of Fame Classic Sled Roundup

    Posted by Emily Hare
    on Monday, June 12, 2017

    By late morning, the sun and swappers were out in full force at the SHOF Classic Sled Roundup.
    Vintage snowmobile enthusiasts are highly dedicated. They are a hardy bunch of folks that bear weather on both ends of the extremes to attend a good show. Some will drive hours and hours over thousands miles to attend a swap meet, hoping to find that vintage treasure. Weather reports be damned; they will make it!

    This past Memorial Day weekend, a changing “touch-and-go” weather forecast was no reason to miss the “Classic Sled Roundup” hosted by the Snowmobile Hall of Fame (SHOF) in St. Germain, Wis. The festivities kicked off on Saturday, May 27, at 3:00 p.m., when the Hall of Fame hosted a cookout the evening before the show. A press release that came out a few days before the show hinted that the Board of Directors hoped to have a groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion announced last year, providing their fundraising goals stayed on track. 

    (Left to right) Craig Marchbank, Helen Marchbank, Jim Warning and Bernice Warning wield golden shovels to officially break ground on the new SHOF expansion. Thanks to donors large and small, this new expansion will be a built in about a year.
    SHOF President, Craig Marchbank, announced to the gathered crowed that the necessary fundraising thresholds had been met, and the groundbreaking ceremony would indeed take place for the 60x100-foot, two-story addition. Taking part in the ceremony were Craig and Helene Marchbank and Jim and Bernice Warning. The SHOF hopes to open the new wing in about a year. 

    After the groundbreaking, the cookout gave sledheads a chance to meet up and shoot the bull a day before the show. Parts and sleds started changing hands in the parking lot of the SHOF to prime the pump for the main event starting the next morning. And you never know what snowmobiling celebrity you might run into at the cookout. You could be standing next to one of the legendary racers in attendance, or bump into one of the members of the SHOF Board of Directors, who are always circulating around.

    'Sidekick Nick' Freatman drove all the way from Lockport, N.Y., to grab this retired racer Liquifire that had been delivered from Texas.
    The show and swap meet officially started at the town park when the gates opened at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. Unlike Saturday, however, it was not off to a sunny start. Swappers were allowed to enter before 6:00 a.m., but there was concern that the rain would keep attendance down. Still the swappers trickled in, and kept coming over the next few hours. Eventually, the soccer field was filled to capacity, as were the gravel parking areas. An updated parking layout allowed for just as many swappers as last year, with more free space available for growth.

    Even as the rain continued, the pavilion was packed with sleds, and the display field was covered in some of the finest show machines in the North Woods and surrounding states. Then the snowmobile gods smiled down on the event, and the rainy, 50-degree morning was replaced by a sunny, 70-degree afternoon. More people came out of the woodwork, and the show revved up even more!

    (Left to right) John Deere sled collectors Jed Rayls, Chris Holt and Brian Brown came from far and wide to get an early start on swapping sleds, parts and stories.
    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 the original classes up to 1990 model years. There was even a 1991-96 original class this year to include recent classics. A vintage 1984 Arctic Cat El Tigre was raffled off by the SHOF to a lucky winner from Connecticut, and next year’s vintage raffle sled (1986 Yamaha Vmax) was also unveiled. 

    There is something for nearly every sledhead to enjoy at this weekend event. Even a little rain can’t dampen the spirts of these dedicated show goers. The Board of Directors was pleased to welcome back Arctic Cat as the title sponsor, and the SHOF hopes to see you there next year (May 28, 2018)!

    For up-to-date info on the expansion and upcoming Ride with the Champs (Feb. 2018), visit

    Story & photos by Joe Rainville

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