Big numbers at 13th annual show
Steve Newman, Renfrew Mercury
Made for trappers and loggers.
Chalk River resident Justin Blimkie displays his 1963 Sno Traveller at Eganville's Old Snowmobile Show and Swap. The Sno (with no 'w') Traveller was originally used to transport chainsaws into the bush for trappers and loggers.
Steve Newman, Renfrew Mercury
January 17, 2013
There was nothing unlucky about the 13th annual Old Snowmobile Show and Swap in Eganville.
Weather was warmer than some snowmobilers would like, but the above-zero temperatures were ideal for displaying some of the most interesting snow machines around.
Snowmobiling is like hockey and many other sports; there are always stories to share who those who are passionate about their pastime.
Last Saturday’s event, hosted by the Ottawa Valley Old Sledheads and the Eganville Sno-Drifters, was no exception, as guys and gals of all ages were at the Sno-Drifters club base to see 79 machines on display and to see the machine parts available for sale or swapping.
The show, in a way, is all about history, since several of the awards are for original machines that haven’t been restored.
“I think a lot of guys get into the hobby because they grew up on a certain snowmobile. You feel young again, and it’s a fun sport and hobby,” said one of the organizers, Almonte resident Kevin Percy of the Old Sledheads.
The quality of snow sleds was exceptional at the show, said Percy, noting this was probably the best-ever buy-and-swap show. Parts vendors occupied corners three and four and the backstraight of the track that will be home to next month’s Bonnechere Cup.
Four machines were Bombardiers on display by Terry Herbison of Brockville. He brought his 1970 Olympique 399, 1965 Olympique 247, 1963 R8 247 and 1964 Bombardier Rotax.
They’re not flying machines, but they’re all about history and evolution of the sport, said Herbison. For example, the manual says the 1964 snowmobile can drive 35 mph, but Herbison says it starts to shake when it reaches 25 mph.
The look and shape of the machines has captivated Herbison since he was a young teenager and saw Brockville motel owner Roy Jones drive the 1965 Olympic 247 around the yard. “It was just fascinating to watch,” recalls Herbison, who now owns that machine. “It just gets in your blood. We haven’t had much snow the last few years, but this (show) gives me my snowmobile fix and the chance to talk to others about their machines.”
Herbison, who has attended 12 of the 13 shows in Eganville, says he’ll be back again.
Two other snowmobilers at the show were Mathew Vanderbraak, 14, of Kemptville and his dad, Glenn. They were showing one of the show’s most original machines, a 1971 Ben Angus Caribou, that the teenager got from an Edmonton owner after an Internet search.
The Caribou functions more like a bulldozer, with two rubber tracks, and is referred to as an all-season vehicle that doesn’t need snow to run.
Father and son have a collection of more than 20 snowmobiles. And they ride them all, including a 1973 Rollo-Flex 434 GT Wild One.
Another snowmobiler happy to be attending the show again was Justin Blimkie of Chalk River. He was showing a 1963 Sno Traveller that was originally used to transport chainsaws into the bush for trappers and loggers.
“The tracks are forward, with the skis behind,” said Blimkie, son of Wayne Blimkie and Joan Schruder. “It’s not the fastest, but it’s probably the most agile. You can turn it on a dime.”
Blimkie, who has strong Eganville roots, used the same machine to win the award as the best modified machine at Husky’s 50th anniversary celebrations in Allison, Ont., in 2011.
The wide variety of visitors to the show included parts vendor Dave Lemenchick of Renfrew and seven-year-old spectator Tarryn Trahan of Pembroke who enjoys snowmobiling with her grandparents.
“I love it,” says Lemenchick of the show. “I come here pretty much every year. It’s just the chance to talk to people with snowmobiles. You meet a lot of people you haven’t seen in a long time, and you get to see a lot of old machines.”
The award winners were:
• Pre-1970 Original – Allan Jewell, Callander, Ont., 1965 Polaris L’il Andy and Pre-1970 Restored – Terry Leonard, Lanark, 1968 Bolens Diablo Rouge;
• 1970-75 Original – Gary Lafreniere, Sturgeon Falls, 1974 Ski-Doo Elan Deluxe and 1970-75 Restored – Terry Herbison Brockville, 1970 Ski-Doo Olympique 399;
• 1976-80 Original – Mark Trahan, Petawawa, 1978 Arctic Cat Panther 4000 and 1976-80 Restored – Paul Crouter, Sterling, Ont., 1979 Yamaha SRX 440;
• Best Mini Sled Original – Dan Hewitt, Pembroke, 1972 Arctic Cat Kitty Kat and Best Mini Sled Restored – Cecilia Buelow, Eganville, 1972 Sportcraft Swinger;
• Best Race Sled – Rob Buelow, Eganville, 1973 Rupp 3rd Dimension;
• Best Rare Iron – Dan Michaelis, Eganville, 1975 Manta;
• Best of Show – Allan Jewell, Callander, Ont., 1965 Polaris L’il Andy.
The Long Distance Award, sponsored by Rob and Cecilia Buelow, went to Pierre Bellanger of Hearst, Ont., who was showing a 1982 Ski-Doo Elite.
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