Celebrating together since the mid-1970s, the McKean Snow Riders of McKean, Pennsylvania, are a group of snowmobiling enthusiasts who live to educate and participate in the sport that has brought them all together. From groomer rides to picnics and poker runs – this snowmobile club has some fun for everyone.
What’s the best in-season club event or activity that makes membership fun?
For the last 23 years we have held an annual poker run. We hold it on the first Sunday in January, or the first Sunday with sufficient snow! It’s a great time, and we have had as many as 225 sleds participate.
We encourage everyone to participate: young, old, families, all riding levels and styles. We split up into groups based on riding skills and individual preferences. We have a lead-rider and a tail-rider that makes sure everyone is safe, and also have a support vehicle available in case someone has problems.
We have members bake cookies and also collect door prizes from local business sponsors to make it a major, all-day event. We have breakfast food available and when the ride is completed, we have a meal, 50/50 drawing, door prizes and of course announce the winner of the best poker hand.
We involve the community and our more than 50 business sponsors. We usually have our groomer onsite so that members and families can climb inside and check it out.
The poker run is our main fundraiser for the year and also our biggest membership drive.
What’s the best off-season club event?
Each year we have a club member summer picnic event. We get together and fry fish, grill hot dogs and hamburgers, swim, fish and many games and activities. This is a family event and we have a great time.
Sometimes we bring our groomer and drag to the picnic and give rides to anyone interested. This is a great way to get the club members together during the offseason – swap stories about the past riding season, and dream about the snow for the upcoming riding season.
What’s the best way to find new members?
In addition to making sure that they are involved in our Poker Run, we encourage them to help out on our trail work parties. We have solicited a local boy scout to design and construct a bridge on our trail. This project helped him achieve his Eagle Scout level. We always have lots of younger members (and their parents) participate in our trail work parties, the help move brush, cut trees, clear trails, etc.
Besides safety training, does the club do anything to get and keep youth involved?
In addition to making sure that they are involved in our poker run, we encourage them to help out on our trail-work parties. We have solicited a local boy scout to design and construct a bridge on our trail. This project helped him achieve his Eagle Scout level. We always have lots of younger members (and their parents) participate in work parties, help move brush, cut trees, clear trails and more.
One interesting thing the club does for the good of the sport is…
Our Club helps educate our local community about the snowmobiling sport. Every year we set up a booth and display at our local Community Days event. This is a community-wide event that has a parade, car shows, food, games, music, a pie baking contest and more. It draws the entire community together. We set up a booth with sleds on display and membership forms available, we educate the community members about the sport and thank our private landowners for their help.
Total Members: 175
Miles of Trails Maintained: 60
Editor’s note: We’re creating a new feature on snowmobile clubs for both our magazine and website. If you think your club is an interesting one that we should consider, please read more about the program here and then submit your information.