Antique Snowmobile Rendezvous Drives Into Pequot Lakes
Over 100 antique snowmobiles of all shapes and sizes were buzzing throughout Pequot Lakes this afternoon for the Antique Snowmobile Rendezvous.
“For me the big kick is finding something out in the woods or in a barn, and putting the life back into it again,” Dave Guenther, Antique Snowmobile Club of America’s President, said. “Just taking it out for that first ride and hearing the clatter.”
People from all walks of life are in Pequot Lakes this weekend for the 25th annual snowmobile rendezvous.
“The first year we had 30 snowmobiles show up, but those 30 people had a good time,” Guenther said. “They went back and told other people, and next year it doubled, and every year it’s gotten bigger.”
What started as a one-day event has now turned into a three-day event, drawing more than 200 people to Central Minnesota to show off their antique snowmobiles.
“Lots of these shows you go to it’s go-go-go and then everybody leaves,” Guenther said. “Here, we go out onto the trail, we will stop along the way and visit.”
Today the 200 plus riders drove their antique snowmobiles two miles to Timberjack Smokehouse, and then they went up the Paul Bunyan trail to have a bonfire. The ride is no easy task when you are dealing with snowmobiles that are 50 plus years old.
“You can jump on a new sled and go from point A to point B, but to jump on one of these things at four below…” Guenther said. “We are the Antique Snowmobile Club of America, but sometimes I think we are more of a therapy group for ourselves than anything.”
Snowmobiles of all types were at the trail ride this afternoon, but none were as special as one snowmobile that made a cross-country journey 50 years ago.
“Ski-Doo was going to go to the North Pole, and I said, they are going to get a lot of publicity out of this, and we outta do something so we get some publicity,” Jim Langley, former cross-country snowmobiler, said. “I said, how about we cross the North American continent.”
And they did, in 1966 Jim Langley and his friend went from Vancouver, Canada to Portland, Maine, a 4,030-mile journey that took 21 days. The stunt raised publicity for Polaris, and thanks to a family in Roseau, 50 years later Jim was reconnected with his sled. The chassis was found in the woods, and the family from Roseau reconstructed it, so Jim had to come see it.
“The people that put my original sled back together, I told them I would be here,” Langley said.
And it’s people like that that make snowmobiling such a unique culture.
Saturday is the final day of the event, and all of the antique sleds will be on display in Pequot Lakes doing demonstrations throughout the day.