The American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA) annually awards those leading within the snowmobile industry in various categories. Below are those who have been recognized by the 49th International Snowmobile Congress.
2017 Club of the Year: Cascade Drift Skippers
Since it’s inception 48 years ago, the Cascade Drift Skippers have been a club that encourages its members to be involved, better themselves and better the sport.
Located in Snohomish, Washington with over 300 members, patrons get involved in all levels, not just as attendees, but also as leaders. The club attends and participates in events ranging from club meetings, to regional meetings, to Washington State Snowmobile Association and ACSA events. They also partner with many organizations, including the Wounded Warrior Project, The U.S. Forest Service, and the Northwest Avalanche Center.
Because of their location, avalanche training is extremely important. Through partnerships, they are able to obtain, permit and set up the first Avalanche Transceiver Checker Station. The signage of this check station promotes snowmobiling, and has hundreds of motorized and non-motorized users pass it every day. The club is heavily committed to safety and education, including Companion Rescue and Level 1 Avalanche Certification.
“The Cascade Drift Skippers are leading the way in what is expected of a modern, capable and safe snowmobiler,” said Club President Chris Mayer. “Our membership is growing at an astronomical rate. I look forward to seeing where our club goes next.”
2017 Snowmobile Dealer of the Year: J&K Snowmobiles
J&K Snowmobiles from Estherville, Iowa, opened in 1969 and has been active in organized snowmobiling ever since.
Besides being the oldest Arctic Cat Dealer in Iowa, J&K Snowmobiles believes that promoting the sport is their primary business because it sustains the sport.
Kenny and Cory have hosted membership events in the dealership, participated in city council meetings to discuss trail development and have hauled sleds for display at many events through the years. They have also volunteered in railroad bed clean up and other trail functions with manpower and equipment.
Introducing snowmobiling to new riders is very important to them and their business. They supply new sleds to club events for demo riders and also promote club and state functions with publicity through their dealership.
“J&K Snowmobiles cares about snowmobiling not only in their area, but in their state and neighboring states as well,” said Iowa State Snowmobile Association President Chris Willey. “They know no boundaries when it comes to supporting the sport and work even harder at making sure clubs and members are working together.”
2017 Young Snowmobiler of the Year
Starting at a young age, Emma Granger from Tomah, Wisconsin became involved in Snowmobile Club fundraisers and has progressed to fundraising for Kids and Adults Out Snowmobling (KAOS).
Emma grew up snowmobiling thanks to her parents and grandparents. Emma’s grandparents owned a snowmobile dealership, so snowmobiling was a natural. In fact, she is often seen riding her own vintage sled in events.
In addition to attending club and county meetings, she also helps with trail maintenance and signage. She also enjoys riding along in the groomer.
“Having youth involvement like Emma in promoting snowmobiling has been just great,” said AWSC President Dave Newman. “Our future lies in the hands of our youth. With involvement and leadership like we are seeing from Emma, the future of snowmobiling is bright!”
2017 Snowmobiler of the Year
Kirk Polhill from Lena, Illinois has been an active snowmobiler for over 40 years. Polhill has served in a number of positions from the club to the national level. He encourages snowmobiling at all levels and promotes different ways to get involved and is constantly sharing information to promote membership, meeting attendance and fundraising.
Polhill has been actively involved in all phases of snowmobiling. He helps sell map ads, contacts land owners for permission, marks and unmarks trails, grooms trails, encourages safe riding, promotes club membership and ensures everyone’s voices are heard at the local club, region, and state level.
The Polhill family has regularly been in attendance at events. The “family” includes his riding companion and father-in-law, a nephew that started to ride with him as soon as he was old enough, as well as his wife and kids. He has learned to keep loved ones and things you love to do close to the heart, with snowmobiling being one of them.
“Kirk has been a mentor to our younger members and children,” said Illinois Association of Snowmobile Clubs President Brian Fradkin. “Snowmobiling isn’t just a sport to Kirk, it is a time to make new friends and tell old stories with fellow riders.”
2017 Snowmobile Family of the Year
Involved in organized snowmobiling since the early ‘70s, Mike and Claudia Irwin from Hartford, New York regularly participate in club and county association events, as well as the New York State Snowmobile Association Annual Forum. They are also very involved in the club trails – from securing land owner permission to re-routes and trail maintenance. Together, the Irwins can often be found in a groomer – smoothing out the trails for other riders.
Gettingg youth involved and educated has also been a priority for the Irwins. For over 20 years, they have taught tomorrow’s riders. Among those riders have been their children, grandchildren and their great-grandson.
“Promoting safe and responsible snowmobiling has always been the first mission for the Irwins,” said New York State Snowmobile Association President Rosanna Warner. “They attended the first NY Snowmobile Workshop and have attended nearly every one since. They are faithful supporters for all ideas and actions that benefit snowmobiling”.