Some of the most important people in snowmobiling aren’t high-profile backcountry heroes, snowmobile manufacturer officials or high-flying racers: Instead they are regular, everyday folks who have dedicated their life to the trails and public lands on which we ride and make recreational snowmobile riding possible.
These people annually have a light shined one them and their accomplishments annually at the International Snowmobile Congress, where the American Council of Snowmobile Association (ACSA) and Canadian Counsel of Snowmobile Organizations (CCSA) hand out annual awards.
These are the winners of the top ACSA awards, announced earlier this month at the snowmobile congress held in Nova Scotia this year. Photos provided by Mary Anne Grabow of Grabow Photography. Our highest regards and a hearty “THANK YOU!” goes out to the honorees!
Snowmobiler of the Year
The 2018 ACSA Snowmobiler Of The Year award was given to Arlyn Baumgarten of Kenosha, Wisconsin, for his decades of work and commitment to snowmobiling in the southern end of the Badger state and neighboring Illinois.
According to the ACSA presentation, Baumgarten is an active member of the Prairie Riders Snowmobile Club and the Kenosha County Snowmobile Alliance. He has held positions as the president, vice president, trail master, county rep and county director over the years and currently is on the Governor’s Snowmobile Recreation Council. Baumgarten is involved in all aspects of fund raising, from securing prizes to selling the tickets. He is in constant contact with local legislators, the DNR and the county sheriff’s department over snowmobiling issues. Baumgerten also keeps the Kenosha Tourism as well as Travel Wisconsin website updated with the latest snowmobile conditions and has been very instrumental in gaining landowner permissions for trail access as well as making and maintaining the local trails, and is an essential liaison between the club and local land owners. He was also instrumental in converting a local trail into a state trail for a connection to the Illinois state trail system.
Snowmobile Family of the Year
Bill and Diana Rexford of Timnath, Colorado, were honored together for their work in Colorado when named the 2018 ACSA Snowmobile Family Of The Year.
According to the ACSA presentation, Bill and Diana are currently members of three different snowmobile clubs in Colorado. They have been active in organized snowmobiling for over 20 years. They have held positions from district representative to secretary to newspaper and raffle committee chair. They attend club meetings, state meetings and have made several International Snowmobile Congress events. The Rexfords have also been active in trail maintenance, advocated for trail parking and always promote a positive snowmobile image. They are constantly recruiting new members and see that change is necessary for the growth of snowmobiling. They enjoy getting youth involved and have involved their children as well and their grandchildren into club membership.
Snowmobile Club of the Year
The Iowa Snow Drifters of Coralville, Iowa, was named the 2018 ACSA Snowmobile Club Of The Year.
The club was started in the early 1970s and presently has 111 members, according to the ACSA presentation. The club did a promotion with the DNR to offer memberships with a trail passes, and then mailed the trail passes directly to the snowmobilers’ homes, which kept their membership up in this last low-snow year.
The club members have developed over 220 miles of trails connecting 12 cities together. Through their web and Facebook pages, they keep all members updated on trails and important issues in the area as well as happenings with their state association. The club supports the Iowa State Snowmobile Association (ISSA), ACSA, Spina Bifida and a legal defense fund. The club’s major fund raiser is hosting the Big Town Showdown Track and Tractor Pull at the state fair grounds. The club’s ability to look outside the box and come up with events and fundraisers that give back to the communities has gone a long way to introduce snowmobiling to the non-snowmobiler.
Young Snowmobiler Of The Year
The hyper-active Rachel Watkins of Beresford, South Dakota, was honored at the 2018 Young Snowmobiler Of The Year.
Watkins is the current president of the South Dakota Youth Empowerment Through Involvement In Snowmobiling – Y.E.T.I.S. for short. Shel has been involved in organized snowmobiling for 12 years. She has helped serve breakfast at numerous governor’s rides, has attended many club meetings and even South Dakota Snowmobile Association (SDSA) board meetings. Watkins participated in International Snowmobile Congress in Rapid City, South Dakota, in 2016 and helped run the safety simulator at the Polaris 20th Anniversary Open House in South Dakota. She has made Y.E.T.I.S. presentations to the SDSA board of directors and attended the Y.E.T.I.S. winter retreat at the Governor’s Games. Rachel in the future sees herself working hard to seek out and encourage others her age to get involved so all can enjoy snowmobiling well into adulthood.
Snowmobile Dealer of the Year
Pioneer Motorsports — a Ski-Doo, Polaris and Yamaha dealership in Chaffee, New York — earned top honors at the 2018 ACSA Snowmobile Dealer Of The Year.
The dealership has been in business since 1964 when it started selling Hus-Ski snowmobiles, according to the ACSA presentation. As time more forward the dealership-opening Armstrong family has grown Pioneer Motorsports into an elite multi-line snowmobile, parts, service and accessories dealership.
Pioneer Motorsports opened up its customer lounge to host the monthly meetings of the Pioneer Snow Surfers snowmobile club. The Snow Surfers also hold many of its fund raisers at the dealership. Pioneer Motorsports also does its best to help and contribute to all of the other four clubs in the area. Pioneer Motorsports promotes club membership to all of its customers and offers memberships in the surrounding clubs. Owner Terry Armstrong can be seen on many of his days off operating heavy equipment to clear and reroute trails in the area. Pioneer Motorsports takes pride in their education of organized snowmobiling to their existing and new customers and stresses the importance of clubs and the state association.
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