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Don Cummings Memeorial Show

Saturday May 17, 2014

Perry, NY

Story and Photos by David Wells

      Rainy weather and some localized flooding leading up to the 6th annual Don Cummings Memorial Antique and Vintage Snowmobile Show didn’t scare off many exhibitors, but it did alter use of the facilities at the Charcoal Corral Restaurant and Silver Lake Drive-In just south of Perry, NY. Wet grounds meant that this year’s show had to be confined to the drive-in parking lot instead of the inviting grass field. But no matter, there was more than enough room for the solid turnout of exhibitors drawn from three states and two provinces.

      This participant-judged event is presented by the Oatka Valley Snowmobile Association with help from numerous mostly local sponsors. Yamaha was this year’s featured brand. Mini-bikes and ATVs were a late addition to the show but aside from one large display of mostly Yamaha trikes, didn’t account for many entries.

      Best of Show went to Ralph Sonkey of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, for his original 1974 Kohler Sno Pro 650 triple. Sonkey is a serious three-cylinder collector, and got a chance to add this very rare machine to his collection. He says it contains a lot of Bombardier parts, which isn’t a surprise because the machine was one of a batch of just five sleds initially built for Kohler of Canada to compete in the new Sno Pro racing concept in the 1974 season.

      Best of Featured Brand went to veteran Vintage sled restoration artist Mark Elwell of Arkport, NY, for his beautifully rebuilt 1971 Yamaha SS 433, one of several Yammies from the 70s and 80s that he entered.

      The new Oatka Valley Snowmobile Association Choice Award went to James Blunden of Sherburne, NY, for his beautifully restored 1973 Chaparral Firebird 250 which was shown with a Chaparral suit, helmet, banner, and various other supporting materials that created a great display for the red sled.

      The nicest and maybe the most historic trio of sleds on exhibition was in the substantial Yamaha exhibit put together by Elwell, Jan Lesterhuis, and Gerry Murphy. A 1974 GPX 433 shown by Lesterhuiswas next to Murphy’s 1975 GPX 433 that was next to the derivative 1977 Exciter 440 also owned by Lesterhuis. Other notable Yamaha entries included Murphy’s grass racer replica 1972 GP 292 with a GYT kit, Elwell’s very clean and all original 1984 Phazer SE, and Murphy’s clean original 1986 Vmax 540.

      Other entries of note included a seldom-seen Arctic Cat House Cat shown by Pennsylvanian Bill Sowers. The bottom end (sub-Kitty Cat model) of the 1972 Arctic Cat line was an inflatable “snowmobile” styled after the big Cats and powered by the leg muscles of the rug rats it was made to carry. Henry Briscoe’s Arctic Cat competition sled display included Turf Tiger grass racer, a 1971 EXT Special, a King Cat 800,and a Sno Pro. He also exhibited a beautifully restored Cat Ramrod mini-bike. Steve Eichman brought a really nicely done 1972 EXT 650. Doug and Bob Crandell had their usual display of super clean Cats. And Adam Leubner showed a 1982 Arctic Cat Puma prototype with direct drive and a huge driven clutch mounted directly to the drive shaft. This model was never produced because Arctic Enterprises was forced into bankruptcy very soon after this rare prototype was constructed.

      Jeff Goole exhibited his 1995 Lynx 440 race sled from Finland, another very rare sight in North America. Richard Kepler showed a pair of 1974 Sno*Jet Sabre Jets, the commonly seen model with the 440 Yamaha engine and the rare one with theHirth 281RO 650 engine. Pete Kemp had his usual superlative line-up of Polaris and Polaris-built beauties. And Bruce Lindsley showed his georgeous 1972 Polaris Starfire 650 that is now dedicated to the memory of Gail Barber from nearby Bliss, NY. Barber was the biggest Polaris dealer in New York State for a time, and tireless promoter of the sport even after he left the dealer business. Tom Dickerson showed his usual nice group of Scorpions including a custom pinstriped 1980 Sting. First time show entrant Jim Van Wormer showed a pair of nicely restored John Deere green machines, and took home first place in class F with his 1974 model 300.

      One of the more interesting machines on display was an original 1974 Alsport Tri-Sport three wheeler powered by a Kohler 340 sled engine exhibited by show co-organizer Tim Rosenberg. Snowmobile engines like this K340-2AX axial fan twin represented a major power upgrade for the three wheelers of the early 70s that were more typically powered by four-cycle lawn mower engines or small industrial engines, so these vehicles certainly have a legitimate claim to be seen at snowmobile shows.

      Throw in a bunch of parts swappers, souvenir t-shirts and other apparel on sale, an excellent chicken barbecue, and other attractions, and the 6th annual Don Cummings Show was a complete vintage snowmobile experience. This show continues to improve every year, and we are already looking forward to next spring’s event.

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The Rat Sled

Submitted by Zach and Lyz Ohman

I wanted to go to a snowmobiling show but I wanted something that no one has ever seen before so I started walking around my bone yard of cars, and snowmobile stuff and just started gathering things and bring them to the garage. Before I new it is had a garage full of stuff I, Then I went to work doing the fabrication just picking through all the stuff, The tunnel is a Polaris, the shell of a car is a model a, and the engine is a Polaris 600.
the rat sled came about from other projects I was building, different types of snowmobiles, a 1972 scorpion super stinger that I altered with kawasaki at arms in the front, and skidoo chain case and cluch, and a Polaris 121 track and the rear skid, and a bikeman performance mod engine from judnick motor sport. Than I built a 1971 skidoo Olympic that I clipped two tracks together and stretched out the tunnel and made a seat that was 10' long. Than the next year I got the idea of taking two 1968 skidoo Olympics and putting them back to back, they than could go wich way, both engine worked this sled always made it back home. Than came the rat sled this just kind of fell into place with some of the left over parts from rat rod I built, and the cannibalized left overs sled parts from out in my bone yard, and than just started welding and the rat sled came about.

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2014 Ragle River

2013 Eagle River Reunion

Show, Swap. Race

The 13th Annual World Championship Vintage Snowmobile Show & Reunion was held on the 14th and 15th of September at the Eagle River Derby Track in Eagle River Wisconsin. The Reunion was somewhat different this year. In the past the Reunion was Friday and Saturday. This year’s event was Saturday and Sunday. With the Drag races to be held on Sunday morning only, starting at 10:00 am. The weather was not perfect to say the least. With heavy rain falling Sunday morning forcing the track to cancel the Drag races. The show on the other hand produced some very nice sleds, along with some very nice brand sled and memorabilia displays. One can only guess at how much time it takes to put together these displays. The very nice Yamaha displays won Joey Niewolny a 1st place and Lein and Penne Koch a 3rd place. 2nd place in the display category went to Jim Nadler’s Moto-Ski display. The quality of the sleds was top notch. With so many great restorations it is getting harder every year to pick a “Best of Show winner. This year it was the Emrick’s, Al and Cathy with their 1976 TX Super Mod 340.

The Derby track has made some great improvements to the Derby Hall. The new Saloon is a great place to enjoy your favorite refreshments. The food menu is also offering a much wide selection of entrée’s.

Stay tuned to the site for some very exciting news for next years Reunion


Joseph Armand Bombardier

                                                                Joseph Armand Bombardier
By; Nicholas Durst

Joseph Armand Bombardier was the grandfather of snowmobiling.  Joseph Armand Bombardier was born April 16, 1907 in Quebec, Canada to Alfred and Anna Bombardier (Armand).  Joseph Armand had a good childhood.  His parents were happily married. He grew up on a farm in a farming community as the oldest of eight children, four additional siblings died as children (Lacasse, 1988).  As a child he earned money for serving Catholic mass on Sundays. He went to church every Sunday with his family. Church kept him close to his family, later as was tradition in Quebec, Canada his father wanted Joseph as his oldest son to become a Catholic Priest.  Joseph Armand studied to be a priest in St. Charles, Canada, Barrel Mount, Canada, and finally Sherbrooke, Canada.   Joseph never wanted to be a priest (Lacasse, 1988).    He always liked machines and anything to do with mechanics.  His father let him work in their little machine shed on the farm.  Joseph was the farm mechanic if anything was ever broken, he fixed it.  Joseph was also responsible for several inventions on the farm to make life easier, including a water trap in the barn to get rid of the rats (Lacasse, 1988).