2024 Intl Snowmobile Hall Of Fame Class Honorees Named

The International Snowmobile Hall of Fame is living up to its “international” name with its recently announced Class of 2024. A group of Canadians is joined by big names from Minnesota and Wisconsin to make another star-studded cast for 2024.

Not to be confused with the racing-focused Snowmobile Hall of Fame, the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame (ISHOF) focuses on grass roots leaders, trail supporters, inventors, explorers and media, among others. The actual induction ceremony will be in Eagle River, Wisconsin, in September. The new members of the each class, though, are typically announced early each summer.

Let’s jump right into the honorees. We’ll recap some of the reasons they are being inducted below, but click through if you want the for the official/full ISHOF writeups.

Ross Antworth of Lower Kingsclear, New Brunswick

Ross Antworth
Ross Antworth

Ross Antworth is listed first because of alphabetical order, but he also just happens to be our favorite. When we’ve see him at International Snowmobile Congress events over the past 25-plus years, the longtime general manager of the New Brunswick Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (NBFSC) is eminently friendly, knowledgeable and engaging. Antworth’s snowmobiling journey began in 1972. He soon became involved in leadership roles in his local snowmobile club, and eventually to the top job at the provincial federation by 1997. He held that role for 24 years before retiring in 2021.

Under his leadership, NBFSC funding grew by a factor of 10, which of course is reflected in the support for the province’s trails. Antworth was also instrumental in countless nuts-and-bolts things – like liability insurance, trail permits, enforcement programs and more – that most sledheads never think about, but that make the trail network possible. Simultaneous to that work, he also became very active in leadership roles in the the country-wide Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO) and the International Association of Snowmobile Administrators. It all led to his receiving recognition and awards from many national organizations. Click through to see the list.

“His keen insights and hands-on approach have led to the development of major enhancements to the New Brunswick trail system and trail systems internationally,” the ISHOF announcement reads. “His remarkable achievements and profound impact on the snowmobile community make Ross Antworth an obvious choice for induction into the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame, Class of 2024.”

Mike Hetteen of Roseau, Minnesota

Mike Hetteen
Mike Hetteen

Informed snowmobile historians will recognize the Hetteen last name. Yes, Mike Hetteen is the son of Polaris pioneer Allen Hetteen and nephew of the famed Edgar Hetteen. That gave him a front row seat to the snowmobile world and its incredible growth and challenges over the years. A 36-year professional career at Polaris, where he held various positions in sales and purchasing, gave him further insight.

But he isn’t just some corporate suit. Indeed, Mike Hetteen also earned his stripes by helping to form and lead the Roseau County Trailblazers snowmobile organization way back in 1987. Among his many accomplishments as a club organizer and trail developer, he spearheaded the creation of a cutting-edge international snowmobile trail.

“Mike has always felt the continuing need to be involved in snowmobile organizations on a local, state, national and international level,” his ISHOF bio says. “His lifelong commitment to the snowmobile industry places him squarely in the 2024 Class of the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame.”

Mark & Kent Lester of Minden, Ontario

Mark and Kent Lester
Mark and Kent Lester

The snowmobiling history of brothers Mark and Kent Lester dates back to the late 1970s. Their passion for the sport led them to launch Supertrax Magazine starting in 1989. It was exclusively focused on Canada at first, but after the duo partnered with CJ Ramstad, it became Supertrax International in 1991.

The Lesters’ reach then expanded to TV and video in 2009 when they purchased Snow Trax TV after the passing of its founder, John Massingberg. The resulting Trax Media Inc. empire is a family business, with Mark and Kent’s sons often front and center in what has now mostly become an online video company covering snowmobile and ATV/off-road products.

“For more than four decades, Mark & Kent Lester have been North American media leaders, making an iconic contribution to the snowmobile industry, to winter tourism, to snowmobilers and to organized snowmobiling,” their Hall of Fame bio states. 

Dave Newman of Unity, Wisconsin

Dave Newman
Dave Newman

What started as a teenage love of riding a 1972 John Deere snowmobile on a family farm has culminated in Hall of Fame honors for Dave Newman. In between those points, Newman made a major impact on the sport on a local, regional, statewide and national level.

Newman followed the path of many grassroots inductees. He first got involved in leadership positions of his local club. That led to involvement on the county level and eventually his state association. What makes Newman’s story different is his many accomplishment while being the longest-tentured president of the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs (AWSC). He served in that role from 2014 until 2023. He’s also held national roles, including being the vice president of the American Council of Snowmobile Associations.

“He spent endless hours at the state capitol testifying on legislation for funding increases, trail rule changes, GPS trackers in groomers and worked with the DNR on snowmobile safety training,” Newman’s ISHOF bio says. “Dave, working with AWSC lobbyists, also testified on issues to protect snowmobilers’ interests in the state budget every year. Perhaps Dave’s most significant legacy as Vice President and President was his tireless pursuit in getting Wisconsin’s Snowmobile Trail Pass legislation passed and implemented. This took many years but resulted in significant increases in club membership as well as more funding for existing trail infrastructure and new miles of trail funding.”

Brenda Welsh of Huntsville, Ontario

Brenda Welsh
Brenda Welsh

Dubbed by some as the “Canada’s first lady of snowmobiling,” Brenda Welsh made a major impact in her 34 years of snowmobiling volunteerism. She started as a club volunteer in Huntsville, Ontario, in 1987. She then held leadership positions in the Muskoka Snowmobile Region. That led to leadership roles in the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC), the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSO) and the National Trails Coalition.

In fact, in 2010 Welsh became the first female president of the OFSC, and in 2012 was honored with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for two decades of volunteering for organized snowmobiling in Canada.

“She always set a positive, creative example by thinking ‘outside of the box’ rather than the typical status-quo,” her Hall of Fame bio reads. “Brenda showed that there was a sense of community and belonging to be found within a snowmobile club. Her passion for volunteering paved the way for many others to follow in her footsteps. The entire Canadian snowmobile community lost a major visionary and devoted friend on August 22, 2021, with the untimely passing of Brenda Welsh… Her unconditional dedication to the sport of snowmobiling is what made Brenda Welsh an obvious choice for posthumous induction in the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame, Class of 2024.”

Editor’s Note: Every Snow Goer issue includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more. Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive print and/or digital issues.

   

      

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