Riders on the trailThe first decade of the 21st Century has not been kind to snowmobile enthusiasts in Pierce County.
By: Sean Scallon, Pierce County Herald
The first decade of the 21st Century has not been kind to snowmobile enthusiasts in Pierce County.
A series of mild winters left trails closed and sleds parked on front lawns with for sale signs on them. To find groomed trails, one had to pop the sleds on trailers and head north.
But as the decade nears its close, the winds have changed. Last winter and the present one have seen more snow, colder temperatures and, with them, open trails for Pierce County’s snowmobile clubs to enjoy.
Thus, it was the perfect time last weekend for snowmobile dealers to see if they could get riders to upgrade their older sleds for newer ones. That was the purpose behind the Explore Snowmobiling Test Drive Event at Bendilly’s Bar and Grill just outside Ellsworth. Riders came all afternoon despite below zero temperatures to ride the ’09 Artic Cats, Polarises, Ski-Doos and Yamahas provided by River Valley Power and Sport in Red Wing, West Side Sports and Equipment, also of Red Wing, and St. Croix Sport and Power Equipment of River Falls. Riders tested their machines and specially groomed trails just behind the bar.
“The snowmobile clubs in the Red Wing area held a similar kind of event a few weeks ago that some of with the local clubs attended and thought it would be a good thing to have right here in Pierce County,” Jennifer Prissel, treasurer of the Pierce County Snowmobile Council, said.
Riders rode the sled or waited by a large outdoor fire or went inside the bar for food and beverages. Participants brought items to benefit the Pierce County Food Shelf and participated in a raffle for the grooming fund that had prizes such as a new snowmobile, ATV and cash.
“The turnout has been excellent,” Bay City’s Roger Spindler said. “With the weather right and trails open, people are thinking snowmobiling once again.”
If so, this will help to strengthen the county’s nine snowmobiling clubs, such as the Bay City Bluff Busters, Beldenville, East Side Renegades, Plum Creek Ridgerunners, Prescott Snowbees, River Falls, Rush River, Snow Valley Riders and the Trimbelle club, which helped to set up Saturday’s event.
Todd Prissel is new president of the Pierce County Snowmobile Council and surely hopes more snowmobiling riders will help to make events sponsored by the clubs’ successes. The next event, a vintage snowmobile trail ride, is scheduled for Feb. 7 at the Rush River Clubhouse just off Hwy. 72. One of the club’s big fundraisers is SnoBash, which this year takes place on Sept. 19 at the Gas-Lite Bar and Grill on Hwy. 10.