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Snowmobile Hall of Fame Inductions, Honors Announced

Snow Goer staff

The International Snowmobile Hall of Fame will induct three longtime snowmobile trail volunteers and one industry icon as well as honor two others this fall. The ceremony will be held on September 23 in eagle River, Wisconsin.

The volunteers are Hal Fleischman from Buffalo, New York; Don Schulpius from St. Germain, Wisconsin; and Greg Sorenson from Finlyson, Minnesota, while the industry insider in longtime Polaris official Marlys Knutson from Excelsior, Minnesota. Meanwhile, the Cascade Drift Skippers from Snohomish, Washington, will receive the International Club of the Year award, Bill Spicer from Craig, Colorado, will be honored as the International Snowmobile Groomer of the Year, and Shelly Brandstrom from Bovey, Minnesota, will receive the first-ever Edgar Hetteen Memorial Award of Merit.

Here’s some information one each of the honorees, as provided by the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame (ISHOF), followed by a press release from ISHOF at the bottom announcing the event. Congratulations to all recipient — and our sincere “THANK YOU!” for everything you’ve done to make snowmobiling great! 

The Honorees

Hal Fleischman was introduced to snowmobiling on a 1969 Ski-Doo Nordic and knew immediately his future fun times were to be on a snowmobile. He soon joined his local club and began a long and distinguished career into organized snowmobiling. By 1979 Hal was a New York State Snowmobile Association Director. Hal was elected president of the New York State Snowmobile Association in 2003 and it became a full time job. He tackled three major problems facing the association. An insurance crisis that threatened to shut down the entire trail system, lack of volunteers and creation of a two-tier registration system. All three required his skills and tenacity, but all three were solved under his watch. He also oversaw the organization as it developed a 10,600-mile groomed trail system and traveled all across the Snowbelt explaining the workings to other interested clubs and state associations.

Don Schulpius of Wisconsin

Don Schulpius of Wisconsin

Don Schulpius starting snowmobiling in 1965 but soon became dedicated to promoting the sport through aggressive trail development and grooming programs. He is a true visionary who immediately realized the promise that snowmobiling has as a recreational sport and industry. By 1969 he helped found the Bo Boen Snowmobile Club in St. Germain, Wisconsin and was its first president. Recognizing the need for groomed trails, Don formed Arrowhead Groomers, designing and building the first true trail groomer and introducing Tucker Sno-Cats to the sport. He designed the club’s first snowmobile trail map and continued to make improvements in the grooming operations throughout the Midwest. He also served as a director on the state snowmobile association, was named US Snowmobiler of the Year in 1981 and was an original member of Team Oasis and later the Ambassadors of Snowmobiling that traveled North America’s Snowbelt promoting the sport.

Greg Sorenson of Minnesota.

Greg Sorenson of Minnesota.

Greg Sorenson was first hooked into the sport of snowmobiling by a 10 HP FoxTrac in 1966 and the sport has dominated all of his free time ever since. In 1987, he took on the task of developing a 24 mile loop around the city of Duluth, MN. It took three years to accomplish. During that time Sorenson became the local club president and served for 10 years before serving 28 years as Region 7 Director for the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association (MnUSA) before moving onto larger roles, including President of MnUSA, American Council of Snowmobile Associations Midwest Council Board of Directors and International Snowmobile Counsel member. He was a Youth Safety Training Instructor for 16 years, rewrote the Minnesota Safety Rules for Snowmobiles and ATVs, redesigned the Minnesota Grant In Aid System and a long list of other offices and accomplishments.

Marlys Knutson of Minnesota.

Marlys Knutson of Minnesota.

Marly Knutson’s entry to snowmobiling came when she left Tonka Toys to join Polaris in 1983. She quickly learned the business and sport of snowmobiling. And putting her keen marketing and communications skills to work established herself as a valued asset to the company and the sport. She was elected to the Minnesota Snowmobile Trail Task Force in 1990 and served as Pits president from 1991-1995; served 12 years as a representative on the Polaris Advisory Board; was named the SnoWest Man (Woman) of the Year in 1994 and has represented Polaris on the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association board for many years. She has coordinated of the last 6 Polaris Anniversary Celebrations as well as the reenactment of the 1960 ride from Bethel to Fairbanks, Alaska, and was inducted into the Polaris Hall of Fame in 2009. 

Shelly Cone

Shelly Cone

Shelly Cone will be honored as the first recipient of the iniaugural Edgar Hetteen Memorial Award of Merit. She is the daughter of ISHOF founder Elmer Cone who served as the Hall’s office manager and person behind the scenes that was as much, if not more so, the foundation and guiding hands that made the program a success. She was instrumental in organizing the progress of the ISHOF, keeping all business records, locating funds, setting budgets, formulating a business plan, writing all promotional pieces and press releases, organizing the annual induction program, and all the other behind the scenes, but so very important, administrative details that have allowed ISHOF to achieve and sustain its goals. 

 

Bill Spicer of Colorado

Bill Spicer of Colorado

Groomer award winner Bill Spicer has been snowmobiling since 1972 and became involved with his Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club and its grooming after retiring in 1996. As a certified welder and top notch mechanic, he’s been instrumental in maintaining and operating the groomers and groomer program. At 82 years young, and while most people that age are relaxing, Bill is still very active in snowmobiling, club activities, volunteering for many club and local civic events and training new groomer operators. 

 
The Snowmobile Club winner Cascade Drift Skippers has a great recent accomplishment: It has grown its membership almost 600 percent in five years — from 65 members in 2013 to more than 350 now. Many are new snowmobilers who got started because of the club’s activities and programs. Programs such as: continuous community involvement, monthly seminary style club meetings, numerous club sponsored rides based on three levels of skill and experience, informative special educational seminars, fund raising efforts, positive media relations, inviting press releases, avalanche safety training classes, search & rescues programs, Wounded Warriors rides and ladies only rides. Their “Backcountry Assender Program” has been nationally acclaimed and copied by many states.

 

Press release from ISHOF: 

FOUR TO BE INDUCTED INTO THE INTERNATIONAL SNOWMOBILE HALL OF FAME

EAGLE RIVER, WI: Celebrating its 28th year, the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame (ISHOF) will induct four outstanding and worthy snowmobilers into the prestigious International Snowmobile Hall of Fame, on Saturday, September 23, 2017 at the Eagle Water Resort, in Eagle River, Wisconsin. If you want to be a part of snowmobile history, Induction Ceremony banquet tickets are available to the public. Please visit www.ishof.com for additional information.

“This night represents the dedicated individuals who have worked diligently to promote, foster, develop and build the sport of snowmobiling,” states Tom Anderson, secretary of ISHOF.

The Class of 2017 includes: Harold (Hal) Fleischman from Buffalo, New York inducted as a Volunteer; Marlys Knutson from Excelsior, Minnesota, inducted from the Industry category;  Don Schulpius from St. Germain, Wisconsin, inducted as a Volunteer; and Greg Sorenson from Finlyson, Minnesota, inducted as a Volunteer. Also inducted will be Shelly Brandstrom from Bovey, Minnesota, as the first recipient of the Edgar Hetteen Memorial Award of Merit. Shelly was on the ground level of the Hall of Fame and is a major reason why the organization is what it is today.

Also honored will be the Cascade Drift Skippers from Snohomish, Washington, as the International Club of the Year and Bill Spicer from Craig, Colorado, as the International Snowmobile Groomer of the Year.

The Induction weekend festivities begin Friday, September 22 at the World Snowmobile Headquarters, located at 1521 North Railroad Street, Eagle River, WI 54521. Open House (at the WSHQ) times are Friday 9-4 and Saturday 9-3. Other fun events include Pirate Ship rides and tours of area attractions. The weekend concludes with the Induction Ceremony, Saturday evening.

The International Snowmobile Hall of Fame was founded to provide a place for the snowmobiling community, governments and related business organizations to recognize the dedicated individuals related to the world wide sport of snowmobiling.

For additional information on the ISHOF Induction Weekend or the World Snowmobile Headquarters please call 715-479-2186 or visit www.ishof.com or www.worldsnowmobilehq.com

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