Each year at the International Snowmobile Congress event in June, the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA) honors people and businesses in the grass roots side of snowmobiling that make our great sport possible. This year was no different, as a Snowmobiler, Snowmobile Family and Youth Snowmobiler of the Year were honored at the event in Iowa.
In addition, ACSA also honors a Dealer Of The Year and Club Of The Year, but we’ve already told you about them, as their honors are shared with the International Snowmobile Hall Of Fame. Click through to read what makes the Track Side dealership and Rome Sno-Badits special.
As per usual in recent years, the awards were largely dominated by folks in a couple of states – Wisconsin and Illinois in this case. The key: The ACSA awards committee can only choose between the nominations that are brought forward by their member states. So, if you know a person, family, club, dealership or young rider who deserves to be honored, start by working with your state snowmobile association to raise their profile.
Here are this year’s ACSA honorees (below). The words shown are those spoken during the presentation of the awards at the International Snowmobile Congress event on June 11.
Snowmobiler of the Year: Bill Brown
For over 40 years, this enthusiast has been snowmobiling in Illinois and Wisconsin. He has served as a Trail Advisor for over 15 years for the IASC [Illinois Association of Snowmobile Clubs] as well as serving as a Regional Director for many years. He continues to be a Safety Instructor, something he has done for over 3 decades.
Bill Brown is also a member of snowmobile clubs in Illinois and Wisconsin. He often does the research and takes the time to write grants for the snowmobile clubs to cover costs for projects as well as selling raffle tickets for clubs and the IASC.
Working with the Department of Natural Resources is one of Bill’s areas of expertise. From negotiating the piles of papers to knowing the procedures and ordering the needed equipment, Bill is the guy in the know!
Bill can always be found helping and talking snowmobiles at any and all events. He is a regular at Hay Days and the International Snowmobile Congress. Bill is a veteran, having served in the U.S. Navy and served in a submarine in Scotland. He now is active in the Knights of Columbus as well as the American Legion.
Thank you Bill for your service and thank you for the hundreds of hours of volunteering for snowmobiling!
Snowmobile Family of the Year: Steward Family
The Steward Family has been involved in organized snowmobiling for 15 years. They belong to the Illinois Association of Snowmobile Clubs and Associations of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs, as well as clubs in both Illinois and Wisconsin.
Kai Steward currently serves as an officer of his local club as well as the tri-county alliance, where he has served as officers in the past as well. Kai is also a Vice President in the IASC.
Stephanie Steward is no different, she currently serves as the Scholarship Chairman for the IASC and has served as officers for their club and the alliance.
And their son, Ray Steward will tell you he is the club assistant and junior groomer operator.
The Stewards work festivals and events for the club, raising money for their club activities. You can always find the Stewards at local snow show and swap, from signing up vendors to directing traffic.
The Steward family is always working on fundraisers, selling tickets to drawing the winners. They can also be found working on the trails, from trail work to trail grooming. In fact, Stephanie is trying to organize activities for the spouses to become more involved in club trail work and events.
Stephanie helped implement some changes to their club ride – which is now a family ride. The participation has increased, and not just from the wives and kids, but additional families now participate that did not prior to the changes.
Ironic that Stephanie initiated the changes to the club ride….since she and Kai were serving on the club board when they got married – and since they have had Ray, he is now involved and attends all of the snowmobile events, meetings and rides.
Youth Snowmobiler Of The Year: Rachyl Burzinski
This year’s Youth of the Year has been involved in snowmobiling for 15 years. She is an active member of four clubs. She continually provides insight and assistance at all levels, the club, county and state association. She spends countless hours helping with marking the trails and is also helpful at re-decking bridges.
This year’s Youth of the Year is a familiar face at ISC. Rachyl Burzinski helps to manage the social media and creates flyers for all of the upcoming events. Rachyl is the go-to coordinator and helps to keep things organized. She helps organize meetings and fundraisers as well as designing logos and coordinating the club “bling.”
Rachyl is very involved with the KAOS [Kids And Adults On Snowmobiles] program, where she currently serves as President, and regularly reports back to the AWSC on KAOS activities and to KAOS on what’s going on at the AWSC [Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs] level. She regularly attends the AWSC conventions, workshops, directors meetings, and KAOS Leadership meetings. She has been active with the Magazine Committee and is in the process of becoming the next chair of the Magazine Committee.
Her dad took her on her first ride at 4 months – and at age 3 she was driving and racing her 120! By age 11 she was racing full size sleds and became a member of KAOS at age 13. She loves to ride – on the racetrack and on the trails!
Rachyl believes if you provide food and fun – the youth will come and so far that seems to be working. She has also found that if you let the youth take charge and have ownership of an activity or event, they will be successful. She also sees a benefit to providing copies of the snowmobile magazines to high schools and libraries.
Rachyl is a great role model and mentor. She is a joy to be around, always has a smile and is respectful and kind to all. The Burzinski family has a tradition of inviting people up north to ride with them – so they get a feel for what the sport is like. Rachyl was recently quoted, “I’ve made so many friends out on the trails, and when you introduce new people into the sport, only good things can come of it.”
Young snowmobilers are the future of snowmobiling – and Rachyl is a great ambassador.
Editor’s Note: Every issue of Snow Goer magazine includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more! This story is from the November 2021 issue’s Cold Tested department. Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive issues delivered to your door or your computer for a low cost.