The COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting restrictions on crowds has claimed another snowmobile event: This one being the Race Into Winter NH Grass Drags and Watercross — or “Epping” as many longtime attendees refer to it.
The well-run event — the largest gathering of snowmobilers annually in New Hampshire — is an eastern Haydays of sorts, with a swap meet, large vendor area and all sorts of racing and activities to entertain the crowd evern October. Like many outdoor events, some years it is affected by the whims of Mother Nature (including some recent soggy Columbus Day weekends), but it has always persevered.
Aside from being a cool event, though, the Race into Winter is also a major fund raiser for local snowmobile clubs and the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association, so the bite of the cancellation cuts on two levels.
At this point, other major fall snowmobiling event like the Haydays Grass Drags in Minnesota, the Big East Powersports Show in New York, the Rocky Mountain Snowmobile Expo in Colorado and the two Snowmobile USA shows in Wisconsin and Michigan are still scheduled to proceed. Major championship-level events cancelled so far this year include but are not limited to the Jackson Hole Snowmobile Hillclimb, the last two weekends of racing on the ISOC Amsoil Championship Series and the Grantsburg World Championship Snowmobile Watercross.
Below is the full press release from the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association.
2020 NH Grass Drags Canceled
Despite all-out efforts by New Hampshire Snowmobile Association volunteers, the 2020 Race Into Winter, NH Grass Drags and Watercross, scheduled for October 9-11, is canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
NHSA’s Grass Drags Committee met with the town of Fremont Select Board and Emergency Services personnel to discuss the annual three-day snowmobile event. Town officials expressed concerns that holding the event would not be in the best interest of the community. The New Hampshire Snowmobile Association fully supports the decision-making process and appreciates the need to safeguard the health of the town and surrounding communities.
Town officials made it clear that they support the NH grass drags and club volunteers, and look forward to continue the snowmobile tradition in 2021.
The fiscal role and economic impact that Race Into Winter event plays in funding local clubs, the Association, local businesses and the snowmobile manufacturers makes canceling all the more difficult.
Many local snowmobile clubs in NH depend on the income from the event which allows volunteers to maintain upwards of 7,000 miles of trails throughout the state. This is the single largest fundraiser for snowmobiling in NH and the impact to club budgets will be substantial.
We wish to express our sincere gratitude to everyone for their unwavering support. The snowmobile community, town officials, emergency responders, vendors, competitors, volunteers and residents have been instrumental in the success the NH Grass Drags and Watercross. The NHSA volunteers thank you and are already planning for an exciting return in 2021.
About Race Into Winter
The NH Grass Drags and Watercross is a three-day powersports extravaganza held annually by the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association on Columbus Day weekend in October. Also known in the snowmobile world as “The Grass Drags” or “Epping,” the Race Into Winter Grass Drags and Watercross is the premiere event for snowmobile enthusiast and competitors.
The biggest, baddest snowmobile event in the world. Considered the start of New England’s snowmobile season, over 40,000 snowmobile and outdoor enthusiasts turn out each year to watch some of the fastest snowmobile racers from the United States and Canada. The event starts on Friday at 2pm and doesn’t end until 6pm Sunday at Brookvale Pines Farm, 152 Martin Road, Fremont, NH.