David Wells Among 2015 Class For International Snowmobile Hall Of Fame

A long and distinguished career as a snowmobile journalism, marketing specialist, grass roots activist and traveling snowmobiler will be recognized in September when longtime Snow Goer contributor David Wells is inducted into the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame.

Wells of Pittsford, New York, is a part of a star-studded class of four that will join 101 past inductees in cementing their place in the sport’s history at a ceremony in Eagle River, Wisconsin, on September 26. Joining Wells in the Class of 2015 are Paul Crane of New Hampshire, DeLyle Pankratz of Minnesota and Duane Sutton of South Dakota.ishof old logo

With his passion for snowmobiling dating back 1967 and a history of writing articles for snowmobile magazines that reaches back to the early 1970s, Wells has lived and documented the history of the sport. Regular Snow Goer readers would recognize Wells’ work as the author of the famous Flashback (previously called Timeline) articles in every issue as well as his detailed aftermarket product tests, interesting travel features and informative feature stories. His coverage of snowmobile racing in the Northeast dates back just as far for our former sister magazine Snow Week¸and he was the founder of the New York On The Trail magazine. He has also contributed articles to mainstream publications promoting snowmobiling and has written for trade journals within the powersports media world.

Wells is more than just an accomplished snowmobiler journalism, however. He began his career working for an Arctic Cat distributor in 1972, has served as a marketing consultant to many brands, and has fulfilled innumerable other roles in snowmobiling’s grassroots structure over the years – from serving as a longtime local snowmobile club president to being on the New York Governor’s Snowmobile Advisory Council for more than 15 years.

The induction ceremony held in Eagle River on September 26 is open to all snowmobilers to attend. Contact ISHOF at 1521 N. Railroad St. in Eagle River, WI 53521. 715-479-2186 for details.

Here is the full press release from the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame:



 Four new members will be inducted into the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame (ISHOF) on September 26 in Eagle River, WI. They represent dedicated individuals who have worked diligently to promote, foster, develop and build the sport and together have done so for over 135 years. It will be the 26th annual induction for ISHOF.

The four will join the ranks of the past 101 inductees and will have their induction photo plaques displayed on the ISHOF wall at the World Snowmobile Headquarters. They are:

Paul Crane – Lancaster, NH

Paul Crane has the distinction of being the first person to ride a Ski Doo snowmobile in the United States back in 1959. Immediately smitten by the little machines that traveled over snow, he has continued to be involved in promoting and developing the sport ever since.

Paul Crane
Paul Crane

He founded snowmobile clubs, organized many racing events both in winter and summer, served as chairman of numerous snowmobile events and organizations, sold most major brands of snowmobiles from his Crane’s Sporting Goods store, developed a grooming program for his area and now operates a beautiful museum that showcases the history of snowmobiles with over 85 different sleds displayed and another 40 in storage.

Paul Crane, in his mid 70’s, is still as active as always in promoting the sport of snowmobiling. A passion that has now earned him a well deserved membership in the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame.

DeLyle Pankratz – Eveleth, MN

Like most snowmobilers, it only took a few minutes on a new 1967 Evinrude to convince DeLyle that snowmobiling was for him. By 1970 he had his own sled and has been active in the sport and not slowing down in promoting it ever since.

DeLyle Pankratz
DeLyle Pankratz

Living the northeast sector of Minnesota, DeLyle recognized the need to connect several smaller snowmobile trails into the Taconite Trail in the Iron Range area. This ignited his passion for trail development that continues today.

DeLyle has been at the forefront of all aspects of recreational trail development, maintenance and promotion. He enjoys the challenges of working with the grass roots level and up to the county, state and national entities to develop new trails.

His leadership has been seen in many local, state and national offices that have earned him awards on all levels. He now joins the membership of the prestigious International Snowmobile Hall of Fame, on which he has also served as a board member for over 20 years.


Duane Sutton – Aberdeen, SD

Entering ISHOF under the “Volunteer” classification, Duane Sutton personifies the term to the highest degree. Starting in 1966 when his Dad brought home a sled for the family to ride, Duane embraced the fun and

Duane Sutton
Duane Sutton

enjoyment of snowmobiling and strives to bring that same enjoyment to as many as he can.

Once Duane got involved with organized snowmobiling, he jumped in with both feet. He served as president of his local club and soon was moving up to offices in the county. state and national organizations. He has involved his family in the sport and all can be seen at numerous events throughout the state in charity rides, fundraising, safety training, signing and grooming events.

Duane has served eight years in the South Dakota legislature and was a front-line supporter of snowmobiling there. He has served nationally in ACSA as president and chair of the Midwest Chapter.

An unassuming leader who counts result, Sutton will now join the ranks of the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame.

David Wells – Pittsford, NY

For more than 40 years, David Wells has been contributing interesting, accurate, pro-snowmobiling articles to numerous publications covering a variety of topics. His love of the sport started in 1967 when a friend gave him a ride. It kindled a fire that burns to this day. He soon got a job at the Arctic Cat distributorship and immersed himself into all phases of that end of the business for eight years.

David Wells Snow Goer
David Wells

David had a knack for writing and spent the next 35 years with camera and notebook covering snowmobile racing and recreational events in the northeast. David was on the ground floor of several magazines that were developed to promote the sport.

He has held many offices in his local club, county and state levels. David has been a member of the New York Governor’s Snowmobile Advisory Council for more than 15 years.

Numerous companies have hired David to advise them as a freelance marketing consultant, he has ghost written numerous articles for them and has written about the joys of snowmobiling in various non-snowmobile media.

As his 70th birthday approaches, David Wells has earned his membership in the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame.

Club of the Year recognized

Also being recognized as the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame “Club of the Year” is the TC Riders Snowmobile Club from Camden, NY. A very large club that boasts 474 family members and 436 individual members, this club is active year around.

They maintain and groom 50 miles of trail with two Tucker Sno-Cats, provide groomer driving seminars for 12 different clubs, host numerous fund raising events, offer snowmobile safety classes that graduate about 30 new riders each year and work closely with landowners to develop and keep trails open.

The TC Riders are very generous with their talents and management tools, freely sharing them with any club that wishes to improve the operation of their club. The American Council of Snowmobile Associations also recently named the TC Riders as their “Club of the Year”.

Groomer of the Year recognized

Jim Johnson of Westfield, WI has been named the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame “Groomer of the Year” for 2015. Jim started grooming trails with a bedspring pulled behind his snowmobile back in 1968 for his club, the Westfield Whitetrackers. Soon they upgraded to bigger and bigger units, each change orchestrated under Jim’s leadership.

Jim Johnson
Jim Johnson

All the grooming equipment is stored at Jim’s farm including trail maintenance and signing equipment. He also led the movement to obtain a six passenger Track Truck for trail work and to transport senior members who could no longer trail ride.

Jim’s other passions are antique sleds and representing Marquette County as a rep in the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs for over 28 years, he is the Wisconsin Director for the Antique Snowmobile Club of America, currently owns 40+ old sleds and has chaired numerous snowmobile programs for each group for over 45 years. Then add 30+ years as Fire Chief for the local Fire Department speaks for Jim Johnson’s dedication.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *