Michigan Snowmobiler - September 2020

Page 1

September 2020



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WHAT’S INSIDE… The Loss of a Writer, and Avid Snowmobiler Pg 8

Watercross Racing Returns to Michigan Pg 14

Vintage Sled of the Month: The Eliason Pg 24

How the Magazine Got Started Pg 36

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COVER PHOTO: by Stephen King

LIKE AND FOLLOW US: MichiganSnowmobilerMagazine


MISORVA’s Fun Activities


The Loss of a Writer, and Avid Snowmobiler


Resolutions...Conflicts And Compromises!


ON THE COVER: Watercross Racing

Returns to Michigan


Remember When


Vintage Sled of the Month: The Eliason


Before the Snow Flies, Enjoy Fall’s Splendor on C-48 The Breezeway…


Haywire Grade Celebrates 50th Anniversary


Copper Harbor: Yes, It Is Only September, But?


Same Workgroup... New Members


How the Magazine Got Started

Visit Our Town Ads for Your Snowmobile Vacation This Winter *THIS CHANGES MONTHLY

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PUBLISHER Peter Farago

EDITOR Ann Drzewiecki





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MISORVA’s Fun Activities

The ORV ride had great weather and near-perfect trails.



ince the restructuring of the Michigan Snowmobile Association (MSA) to include some categories of off-road vehicles and name change to the Michigan Snowmobile and ORV Association (MISORVA), the officers and board members have been working tirelessly to present an equal, unbiased image to those opiniated from the onset that this merger would never be successful and that the two shared nothing in common other than both were motorized recreational vehicles and shared the same trails, just not at the same time. Back in June of 2019, the Recreation Committee reinvented the MSA’s annual Campout, complete with a name change and an agenda of fun activities. The new name is the MISORVA

Summer Campout and ORV Ride. The location was the Headwaters Cabins & Campground near Frederic. More than 60 members and guests enjoyed all this particular event had to offer, including a guided ORV ride, a corn hole tournament, some fun games for both children and adults, and much more. Suffice to say the camaraderie alone was well worth the time, and the event was labeled a huge success. Fast forward to the winter recreational season and, with plenty of snow, most of the same members happily enjoyed all that Mother Nature dished up. During the second weekend in February, the Recreation Committee put together a winter Ride-In package to be envied by all. The facility was Lac View Desert’s Northern Waters Casino & Resort


in Watersmeet. Although it was quite a distance to travel, especially for those living in the southernmost locations of the lower peninsula, more than 60 members and guests made the trip. The itinerary was quite extensive with something to keep everyone busy regardless of whether it was heading out on the trails, doing a bit of sightseeing by vehicle, or

just hanging back at the hotel relaxing or doing a little gambling. Activities began with a Thursday evening get-acquainted reception with a cash bar and a buffet of both hot and cold hors d’oeuvres. There were the usual activities connected with such events, like the silent auction, fifty-fifty drawing and plenty of prizes given to the lucky participants of the drawings, but I believe continued on page 6

Event Chair Don Reed kicks off the morning program with introductions.


L TO R: Groomer Workshop attendees enjoyed breakfast before embarking on a full day of activities. The Recreation Committee: Amy Rottier, Rich Rottier and Karyn Hautamaki. The table snowmobile races at the Winter Ride-In were just one of several fundraisers available.

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one of the games devised by the committee — the miniature snowmobile races — was the most successful of the event. This game kept plenty of folks busy both Thursday evening and Friday evening until dinner. Both Friday and Saturday were filled with fun things to do, whether inside or out. Those who elected to check out the snowmobile trails and participate in the “fun-runs” found most trails very rideable and collecting the stamps a bit of a challenge, but everyone

said they had a great time. From the food and beverages category, the facility went above and beyond expectations and provided some of the best buffet selections to be found anywhere. The Rec Committee selected the menu and the kitchen staff that made it delightful and delicious. Kudos to all that made the 2020 Winter Ride-In a success. In June, again for the second time, the Headwaters Cabins & Campground in the northern lower peninsula was selected for the

2020 Summer ORV Ride and Campout. Hosts Edna and Mike were more than accommodating with the plans and preparations, which began almost immediately upon completion of the winter activities. Unfortunately, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, better known as COVID-19, has caused every planned event of almost every organization in the state to either be postponed or completely canceled. In keeping with the governor’s executive orders, the summer activ-

ities have been rescheduled to take place on the second weekend in September, but even this may be too soon and is still just tentative. But, in keeping with the 2019 agenda, there is another guided ORV ride planned, and several folks have already committed to bringing additional quads and side-by-sides to introduce members and guests who do not own one to the enjoyment of a summer ride through the woods. Snowmobilers are well versed with such

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activities when the landscape is white and in its winter splendor, but the scenery is completely different when the snow has melted away and the green of summer vegetation is in bloom. So, these are just a few of the fun things the Recreation Committee puts together for an annual routine, but the association has many other activities throughout the year, sometimes two or three per month. For example, the Groomer Workshop usually takes place in early March and is an event where the grant sponsors and groomer operators can get the latest information on how best to provide their reports to the program managers and get the best feedback in return. It’s an opportunity to see the newest innovations in equipment, such as tractors and groomer drags, and to meet the manufacturers’ representatives to discuss which best suits each grant sponsor’s needs. But this event isn’t just for the trails grooming folks, it’s open to the public and anyone with a thirst for the knowledge of what goes into making snowmobile trails smooth and safe. And then there are the

meetings… OK, maybe the board meetings, periodic meetings with the legislators or the SAW and MTAC meetings with the DNR don’t sound like much fun, but they are necessary for the communications between users and the regulators to make sure available funding is spent wisely and for the proper projects. Maybe the networking conferences with other states where snowmobiling is a prime source of winter revenue don’t offer much interest to the general public, but the camaraderie and mutual friendship garnered is well worth the time spent — and can last a lifetime. And, finally, maybe the interest isn’t strong enough to be actively engaged in the ever-present conflicts with the anti-everything miscreants who threaten the ability to access public lands by motorized recreationalists, but we should be thankful every day for their passion. Perhaps it is the common belief that becoming a member of a local club, regional or state association places some obligation on its members to perform duties and tasks they may find undesirable, but that myth is false. The truth is that being a


N 46° 27’ 611” W 87° 26’ 498”

member offers stability to the future of recreational freedoms for everyone by allowing a louder voice to be heard in the halls and chambers where governing decisions are made. Members have no more obligation than they wish to accept, other than to offer financial support through payment of dues. So much for the “soapbox speech” and deviation from the purpose of this article, which is to basically inform readers of the many fun activities available to members and guests of the Michigan

Snowmobile and ORV Association as well as the other — maybe not so fun, but necessary — activities that make up the annual schedule of events. It is also important to mention the benefits of belonging to a club and that the state and national organizations labor continuously for all snowmobilers. Without them, there would be no decent trails, no legal access to public lands and no safe means of recreational freedoms. Just a little food for thought, eh? •


Andy enjoying the sport he loved most.


ith heavy hearts, we had to say goodbye to a longtime writer, friend and avid snowmobiler. Andy Twork passed away on April 21, 2020, after a short battle with cancer. As many of our readers know, Andy had been a writer at the magazine for more than 25 years. His stories always made you feel like he was taking you on a fun-filled adventure. His last story was in our December 2019 issue. It was about a group of people he had met at a truck stop in St. Ignace. That was the type of guy he was. Strike up a conversation with a few people at a truck stop and end up with a very fun and interesting story. After the story came out, the gentleman, who is from Marienville, Pennsylvania, called to thank the magazine and Andy for running a story on them. Andy could be found at many snowmobile events. Whether for the magazine or simply because Andy and his family, Rose and Marianne, LOVED to snowmobile. He loved his trips to Canada and to his second home in Brimley in the Upper Penninsula. He loved to cook. He was always offering up his help at gatherings to show off his cooking skills. I’m sure he even cooked on the muffler of his snowmobile like so


The Loss of a Writer, and Avid Snowmobiler BY PATTI TISRON many people say you can do. Andy loved taking out first-time riders to show them the sport he loved and to watch the smiles and happiness as they got to experience what he loved about snowmobiling. You wilI be missed by many. A celebration of his life will take place at a later date.

OBITUARY Mr. Andrew J. “Andy”

Twork, age 59, of Holton, passed away on Tuesday morning, April 21, 2020, at his home after a short battle with cancer. He was born on January 14, 1961, in Muskegon, Michigan to Leo and Anna (Graham) Twork, Sr. Andy retired as a purchasing agent from the City of Muskegon Department of Public Works after 25 years of employment. He enjoyed camping, cooking and riding ATVs and

snowmobiles. He was a life member of the Michigan Snowmobile Association, and he was a writer for the Michigan Snowmobiler magazine. On October 10, 1981, Andy married Rose M. Newcomb and she survives him, along with two children: Marianne (Kimberly) Twork of Grand Rapids, Andre (Ariana) Marcato of Joinville, Brazil; his loyal dogs, George


ABOVE: The three Tworks, Marianne, Andy and Rose. RIGHT: Andy taking a break at a local pit stop. BOTTOM RIGHT: Zach Herfinadahl and Wes Selby with the I-50 Andy and Rose and one of the many places they loved to visit, Halfway to Heaven. 0 trophy, and the team and crew.

and Henry; one sister, Jean (Ron) Blauwkamp of Grand Rapids; three brothers: Leo Michael (Judy) Twork, Jr. of Cedar Springs, John Twork of Florida, Patrick (Laurel) Twork of Zeeland; brotherin-law, Claud (Linda) Newcomb of Urbana, Indiana; sister-in-law, Sandy (Jim) Mason of Fremont; and by many nieces, nephews and special friends. Andy was preceded in death by his parents; sister-in-law,

Judy Twork; brother-in-law, Richard Allen Newcomb; and nephew, Peter W. Newcomb. According to Andy’s wishes, cremation has taken place and a celebration of his life will take place at a later date. Suggested Memorials: Harbor Hospice or the American Cancer Society. You can sign the online guest book at www.kroeze-wolffis. com. Arrangements are by Kroeze-Wolffis Funeral Home Inc. of Fremont.•

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A safety hazard, an environmental issue… or both? Wheels or tracks, this vehicle should not be on a snowmobile trail.

Resolutions... Conflicts And Compromises! BY JIM DUKE


hat does a snowmobiler do when there is not enough snow to safely and legally operate his snowmobile? This question has been asked more often than I care to guess, but it is a legitimate question, especially in today’s society where the attitude of equality trumps the more realistic one of ownership. I refer, of course, to the trails system throughout the state where seasonal use is predicated by specific dates for a start/stop of legal recreational usage. A case in point is snowmobile use during the firearms deer season, which is limited to specific hours of the day regardless of how much snow may be on the ground or that wheeled vehicle use on the designated trails is prohibited during the recognized


“snowmobile season” and enforceable by law officers for violating those restrictions. But, occasionally, the regulating agency or agencies overseeing a certain section of trail will find themselves involved with conflict between user groups. For example, the designated snowmobile trail utilizes a portion of an unplowed seasonal county road with full cooperation of the county road commission. The local trails sponsor has authority to groom and maintain it as a legally signed snowmobile trail, but it remains a chartered county road as well and, by state law, any registered and licensed street-legal vehicle has the right to drive on that road at any time of the year, whether it is plowed or not. Of course, to do so in the

dead of winter will almost guarantee being stuck somewhere without any hope of being rescued and possibly a long, cold wait until snowmobilers come along. Yep, now comes the conflict! In most cases, however, the conflict can be greatly reduced or eliminated by the authorizing agency, in this case the County Road Commission, by posting signage closing those roads for the season. This doesn’t guarantee some vehicles may still attempt to drive on them, but it does serve to warn of the consequences for doing so. This is but one example of the potential conflicts trail users might encounter regardless of season or time of year. A more common conflict occurs during the specific seasons when one particular group encroaches

on another, even though the first has been specifically prohibited, such as wheeled vehicle use, including ATVs, during the period designated exclusively for snowmobiles. With conflicts such as these, there can be no compromise! There are other conflicts, however, where compromise can be reached if properly orchestrated, and if safety concerns have been properly addressed. An example might be a proposed and approved event where use of a portion of a designated snowmobile trail is necessary. Agreement for such use must always consider what impact that activity might have on snowmobile use during the event, and for how long. Of primary concern is the safety of both snowmobilers and event participants. Occasionally, common ground might be found through regulated and/ or permitted events for a limited period of time. One common example would be where a scheduled mushing activity, such as those held from time to time, where dogsleds might be encountered on snowmobile trails. The compromise would more than likely entail specific caution signage preceding the area and may require a reduction in speed as well as adequate personnel to regulate travel. It may even be necessary to temporarily reroute one of the user groups, but such an event should never close the snowmobile trail to


snowmobile use. In recent years, it has become more and more evident that there will always be some conflicts among all trail users and, where possible, there must be compromises. With the diminishing acreage of both public and private lands, there is only so much available for trails — and all trail users must learn to share. The biggest cause for conflict comes when it’s time for maintenance and repairs and determining who is responsible to foot the bill. Most regulatory agencies agree that it falls to the motorized recreation communities because only the snowmobilers and, to a slightly lesser degree, the off-road users have a viable funding source while the other (non-motorized) trail users are getting a free pass. While it may be acceptable in the eyes of the state, it’s a bitter pill to swallow when those who have nothing invested in the maintenance of the trails seem to benefit the most. In these situations, it is virtually impossible to find any common ground and the motorized vs. non-motorized users will forever be at odds. Try as they may to arbitrate such differences, the regulating agencies — whether at the state level or on the national stage — usually find themselves stuck in the middle and unable to appease either user group. It can easily become a shooting match where neither side wins and everybody, even those not directly involved, loses out. It behooves all trail users to work in harmony where there is even the slightest amount of compatibility in order to allow all to utilize the trails within their own seasonal


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continued on page 12



continued from page 11

limits without encroachment! With this in mind, it is unrealistic to find wheeled vehicles on the groomed snowmobile trails, including the recently introduced “Fat Tire Bikes.” It is equally unrealistic to allow modified conversions from wheel to track vehicles to share trails in the wintertime, if for no other reason than for safety purposes. Most snowmobile trails are only 8 feet wide and because of this a maximum width imposed on the snowmobile industry is 48 inches. Any wheeled to track conversion will exceed this

width, making it impossible for any opposing units to safely pass. It has also been proven that any converted ATV or UTV cannot achieve a speed considered safe and would be a huge hazard to snowmobiles operating on the same trails. Some may argue that meeting one or more of these conversions on a snowmobile trail is no different than meeting a groomer, but that’s not necessarily true. A grooming tractor is a high-profile vehicle and is well lighted with flashing beacons both front and rear, whereas an ATV or side-by-side is not. Another consideration

is the grooming tractor is painted bright colors while most of the latter are not; in fact, most are usually painted in a camo pattern. Are there any possible resolutions to the conflicts discussed here or even those left unmentioned? Doubtful, to say the least, but that’s not to say they should be dismissed and put out of mind. There are several volunteer organizations continuously working to resolve such conflicts. The recommendations they may offer will most definitely not be acceptable to some, but that doesn’t mean compromise is off

L TO R: Converting an ATV from wheels to tracks does not make it a snowmobile or legal to use snowmobile trails; Meeting Mushers on a snowmobile trail can sometimes be a friendly encounter, and sometimes not!; Imagine rounding a curve on a snowmobile trail and finding this…Injuries apparent.

the table. Progress can only be achieved through a mutual understanding of what is desired, what is necessary and what is best! Thank goodness there are dedicated individuals willing to devote their time to these dilemmas. •





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n the weekend of Aug. 21-23, Watercross Snowmobile Racing made a return to Michigan. The International Watercross Association (IWA) held an event in Lake Linden, about 20 miles north of Houghton/Hancock. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, the event was a huge success, partly because of the location. At the head of Torch Lake, in the middle of the U.P.’s Keweenaw Peninsula, Lake Linden was the perfect spot for a watercross race. Years ago, a race was held in Baraga at a pond especially built for watercross racing. This year, Mother Nature built the track — and she must love watercross racing because this place is perfect. There was plenty of room for a track, with water that was deep enough but not so deep that sleds could not be easily rescued. The pits were positioned perfectly, and viewers had ample space, with enough room for easy social distancing. The overflow of spectators could watch from a park right on the lake. A good number of people floated in on their boats and social distanced on the water. This is the first time an event like this has been held in Michigan in roughly 20 years. Years ago,



promoter Skip Schultz brought watercross racing to Michigan when he promoted races in Baraga, but then that venue was lost. But watercross racing did continue. The IWA kept having events and the sport kept growing. With the recent downturn in snowmobile racing, watercross has risen to be the best summer snowmobile racing around. It’s a good quality circuit with an abundance of quality drivers and events. About a year or so ago, another Yooper, Neil Marietta, had the idea to resurrect watercross racing in the U.P. Back in the day, Neil was a very good watercrosser himself; now his son is the racer. Back in the day, one

of Neil’s best friends was Jeff Moyle, an excellent racer and allaround nice guy. A few years back, he perished in a freak accident. His powered parachute crashed, and he did not survive. “He died doing something he really liked to do,” Denise Moyle said. “When Neil approached us about doing a watercross race in his honor, we had some mixed feelings. First, we didn’t know if the family could handle it. Also, we weren’t sure how the community would react. “But, as a family, we thought this would be a good chance to honor Jeff’s memory; and the community really came out. The whole community took part in this. It seems

like everyone in town contributed in some way. This really says something about this town and how much they liked and respected Jeff. He was the type of guy that would do anything for people, and their appreciation really showed. We sold 500 T-shirts before the race. That’s unbelievable.” She added, “Jeff would have been a bit uneasy about having this race named after him. Calling it the 1st Annual Jeff Moyle Memorial Watercross Race would not have been him. But I really think he would have been touched with the way people reacted to it. He would have been very honored and proud of this. He was all about helping people.”

The numbers were not in by press time, but this event raised thousands of dollars for the local fire department. So, even after his passing, Jeff was still working to help others. Personally, I have just a vague memory of Jeff. Way back when, I remember talking to him at one of the Baraga events. He was one of the biggest names there and the center of a lot of attention. So, of course, I had to talk to him. From what I can recall, he was a great guy. But that was then; back to the present. At the race, I saw a lot of people I knew from back in the day. One was Jeff Fischer. He was an exceptional racer — one of the best, if not the best ever. On continued on page 16



continued from page 15

Saturday, I walked into his pit, and he said, “Stephen King!?! What in the world are you doing here?” I replied, “Same old thing. Following the races around, taking pictures and talking to racers. No sense in actually trying to get a real job at this point in my life.” We laughed, shook hands and talked. He was very proud to tell me that his son David had taken up the family tradition. David is one of, if not the best, on the circuit. Hardly losing a race ever. At first, I thought, perhaps, it was a proud dad speaking. Then on Sunday, I watched him race — Dad did not over-exaggerate; David really is that good. He took the win in the Pro Open Class, the fastest class of the weekend. And he did it in style. Then, instead of just taking a victory lap, David put on a show. Around and around the course he went, pulling the sled up to almost verticle. Hopping it. Doing really tight turns. The crowd ate it up and gave him a huge ovation. When he got to shore, I had the chance to visit with him. “This was an awesome track,” he said. “A little bumpy, but awesome. Maybe with the deeper water, the waves got bigger. There were some serious waves out there today. And, the sled ran great. Everything just went perfect. Again, I just cannot say what a great race this was.



The town, the people, the track — it was all excellent. “I want to thank my dad, Jeff Fischer, and the rest of the crew. And I want to thank my sponsors, especially Polaris. This sled is just about ‘out of the box.’ We have to do very little to get it race-ready. Also, I want to thank Klim, MBRP and FX shocks, plus all of my other sponsors. There are too many to list, but I appreciate all of

them.� Along with the win in the Pro Open, he also won the Pro Stock and the Pro Drags. From a personal perspective, David is a lot like his dad — a great allaround guy, someone kidds can look up to and a great ambassador for the sport. On the Women’s side of the pond, it was Karry Simpson taking the win. Like David, she was also expected to win. She is the reigning

World Champion. (More about her next month when she will be featured in our Women of Snowmobiling theme.) She’s also a very nice person, someone the young girls can look up to as a hero. She rides a tricked-out Arctic Cat she lovingly calls “The Jungle Cat.� While she did not do as well as usual racing against the men in the Pro Classes, she did take an easy win in the Women’s Class. She

went from the green light to the checkered and never looked back. She didn’t have to. She could see her other lady racers up ahead of her. She could have lapped them but stayed safe and just rode it out for the win. “I want to thank my team,� she said. “One person cannot win a race; it takes a team. So, thank you Ryan Keith and Mike Darpist. I also want to thank my sponsors, including continued on page 18





continued from page 17

Arctic Cat, Subway, the Pheasant Inn, Blown Concepts (and many others).” Now, along with the Ovals, there were also Drags. As noted, David Fischer also took a win there. Overall, they raced Friday night with a shoot out, all day Saturday with preliminary races, then all day Sunday with the final eliminations, and then the finals. All in all, an excellent weekend of racing. Then, there was Cassie Swanson. She did not win, but she did get the photographer’s attention. On Sunday, during the finals in the Semi-Pro Open Class, apparently the ship started sinking. Following the “any old port in a storm” theory,

she headed for shore. Usually not a bad idea. But my mom’s favorite photographer was watching the race through the camera lens. All of a sudden, I notice out of the corner of my eye, the starter suddenly needed to be elsewhere. So, I take my eye off the camera and what do I see? A snowmobile about 10 yards out coming right at me. The starter guy asked if I was scared. Nope. Happened so fast, I didn’t have time. But, for Cassie: No. 1 rule in racing: Do not run over the photographer! If you do, I promise: No more pics of you! And if you should totally squash me, you have to adopt my dog. There is one more thing

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I have to get in. Along with writing for this fine publication, I also do a lot of outdoor writing, hunting and fishing stuff. One of the things I keep hearing about watercross is the effect it has on the fish. But on Saturday, I was on the rescue boat and professional diver Adam Bryce mentioned something neat. When a sled went down and could not be recovered right away in 30 feet of water, 27 feet of line on the buoy, I joked that by the time we got it back up, it would be home to a few rock bass. Adam looked at me and said, “Don’t laugh. I had one yesterday I had to dive down and hook the line on. It sat there for a bit. And when I got

down there, there were three rock bass already taking up residence in the sled. Thought they had found a new home. “I just wanted to mention that to all of the people worried about the fish. Apparently, this doesn’t bother them at all. Those fish down there looked totally happy. That is, until I tied on the line and took their new home away.” For complete results, visit www.iwaracing. org or go to the IWA Facebook page. Just do a quick search and follow the leads. The next stop on the IWA tour will be in Brainerd, Minnesota, the weekend of Sept. 19 at the BIR Racing complex with the Wet and Wild Weekend 2.0. •


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Snowmobilers trekked more than 75 miles of trails through open land and AuSable State Forest.

Remember When: September 1990 BY BILL TISRON


ere we go again, another year of remembering when and what things were like back 30 years ago. This is my sixth and final year of doing this story. If you haven’t heard, my wife Patti and I have sold this wonderful magazine after 53 years as a family publication. It will continue to be a family publication, just not our family. Patti has been with the magazine since 1974, and I came on board in 2003. The new owners plan to keep thing pretty much the same, with a few changes. One change in the works is a summer ATV/ORV issue. Remember When is a series that we started years ago, and it still amazes me how things


have changed. Our September 1990 issue covered most of what happened since we printed our February issue. The third annual “For Woman Only” snowmobile event was held in Traverse City, Michigan. Again, Polaris teamed up with Easter Seals of Michigan to sponsor this great event. This year 37 women participated and raised more than $37,700 dollars for a great cause. Women came from Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky as well as Michigan. Activities were planned for Friday night, with a meet-andgreet pizza party. This year, the women could bring their husbands or boyfriends. Fred

Egeler, MSA president, and past president Bill Manson hosted a funfilled weekend for the 27 gentlemen who accompanied their gals — with some challenging riding of their own. After a more than 6 - mile ride with a stop for lunch, the women met up with the guys back at the Waterfront Inn. An awards banquet and dinner were held Saturday night. The big winner of the night was Pam Patterson, who raised the most money — $4,404. Pam is from Kentucky and drives to northern Michigan to ride every year. Many other awards were giving out throughout the evening. Winter in West Yellowstone, Montana, is a “magical experience”

never to be forgotten. Karen Holcomb has been a longtime writer at the magazine and one day was asked by Tom McIntyre of Passageways if she would like to come along and do an article about spring riding in West Yellowstone. Karen had to admit she was concerned about her limited snowmobile experience. She learned she could enjoy the same experiences as the rest of my group, just at a slower pace. Passageways took care of it all: airline tickets, lodging, snowmobile rental and guided tours. Makes it simple to take this trip. A unique feature of the Passageways vacation is there is no set agenda. Riders are free to do as they choose.


Kick back and relax or hit the snow all day and use the guides that are provided. There are several different day trips you can also do. Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Mammoth Hot Springs, Two Top Mountain, Big Springs and Black Bear Canyon, to name a few. West Yellowstone is fantastic, especially in the winter. The beauty is breathtaking around every turn and hill you climb. As a first- timer to the mountains, this was an awesome sight to see. To stand and look in nearly every direction and see those majestic, towering white mountain peaks silhouetted against the brilliant blue sky — priceless. The 1990 MSA Campout was wet, cloudy and cold at the Mackinaw Mill Creek Campgrounds. But that didn’t stop the more than 160 campers who came out for a fun-filled weekend. The general consensus was that the MSA 1990 summer campout was a success despite the uncooperative weather. MSA campers are resilient; they did not let the damp weather dampen their spirits. Ogemaw Hills Snowmobile Club held its annual Poker Run on Feb. 24, with more than 200 people in attendance. The snowmobilers braved sub-zero wind chills and blowing snow as they blazed 75 miles of trails during the run. The trail wound through Au Sable

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continued from page 21

CLOCKWISE: Honorary Chefs at the MSA campout, Richard Krupp, Fred Egler and Bill Manson. Jim Chader and Gary Beaudion of Polaris with Pam Pattern from Kentucky, the winner of the 1991 Polaris Inn Sport. 1990 “For Women Only” Snowmobile Riders. 37 women raised $37,727 for Easter Seals.

State Forest, where trees were covered with snow and riders met up with club members at five checkpoints. One checkpoint had hot bean soup, hot dogs and hot coco for the riders. All who attended agreed it was a great time. ISIA recognized the outstanding contributions to snowmobiling made by snowmobilers in Michigan, New York and Saskatchewan, Canada, as it presented its annual Snowmobiler Of the Year awards. Bill Manson, immediate MSA past president, was named U.S. Snowmobiler

of the Year. His work as MSA president in building both the association’s membership and attendance at the the annual convention, and streamlining the association’s records was cited, along with his successful efforts on behalf of trail funding legislation in state. Welldeserved, Bill. The Muskegon Pro Enduro 400 was held Feb. 16-18. From a field of 29 of the Midwest’s and Canada’s most competitive drivers, Troy Pierce of Greenbush, Minnesota, and co-driver Duane Baur won this

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race that was shortened after 201 laps due to deterioration of the ice on turns 3 and 4. Commending Michigan for carrying on the Enduro Program, Pierce stated, “If it wasn’t for Michigan and the MIRA program, this could very well be a lost circuit. Overall, a great weekend of racing held in Muskegon, Michigan. 500 Miler is NOT a race at all, it is simply a test of rider stamina, fuel management, navigation, riding skill and machine reliability. The 4th annual 500 Miler was held Jan. 18-20 in the Grand Marais area. 24 hours, 500 miles. 127 started the run and 79 finished. No bad at all. Despite breakdowns, blown tracks and engine failures, we think it was a great success. Fun stuff happing 30 years ago. Remember When… •

Lori Brown and Tom McIntyre are awed by the beauty of snowmobiling in Montana.





The Eliason. The first “powered toboggan.”

Vintage Sled of the Month:



ell, here we are. Another season here at Michigan Snowmobiler magazine. And, there have been a few changes here. First, after 53 years, the magazine has been sold. Now, on that, I am sad to see the end of an era. Lyle Shipe built this magazine into the finest snowmobile magazine in the country. He turned it into the

icon of snowmobile publications. But he went and got old and had to get out of the business. From there, his daughter Patti and son-inlaw Bill Tisron took over. They kept up the tradition of excellence. Then, it came time for them to call it quits. Now, a new company has taken over. Farago and Associates. They are

a small company. But much bigger than we were. And, with their staff and resources, I see them taking this publication to the next level. So, I am very optimistic about the change. As for this column, as you may know, it was started many years ago by my old friend and mentor Bud “The Professor” Knapp. Then, he went and

got old. And a few years back, after he passed away, I took over. Now, I am not “The Professor,” but the first sled I drove had the engine in the back. Not even a real “snowmobile.” More of a “powered toboggan.” So, I have a bit of history behind me as well. And, I have done my best to continue the tradition that Lyle and Bud started.


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The “power plant.”

This month, with all the changes, I decided to go back to the beginning. What many are calling the first real snowmobile. Again, actually more of a “powered toboggan” than a “snowmobile” as we know it today. This is what many call the beginning of the modern snowmobile. The Eliason. Now, if you ever have

through the snow. I fooled around with a Model T Ford and adapted it to skis, but it was to cumbersome and unworkable in our deep snow and unplowed roads. In those days, a lot of inventors were trying to devise a powered snow vehicle. My brother-in-law worked on a machine that would get its power from a wind propeller. “In the winter of 1924, I started working on my ‘Motor Toboggan.’ In sleds, or even heavier. the chance to see one — my mind, this would be It looks like what it is. one is displayed at the Top the most practical means Basically, Carl Eliason of the Lake Snowmobile of transportation over the Museum in Naubinway — figured out how to put snow. The endless cleated a motor on a toboggan. you will be amazed. track, the slide rails and First, a bit from Carl It just barely resembles the liquid-cooled power himself: “I was raised in the snow sleds of today. unit would prove to set a the northwoods and like It looks like the name standard for the future. My to hunt, fish and trap as suggests, a powered much as any outdoorsman. machine would be granted toboggan. And it is big. a patent in 1927. Because of my crippled About 10 feet long. And “With this machine, I relatively heavy. At least as foot, I could not keep was able to turn the tables up with my pals on treks heavy as most of today’s continued on page 26


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on my hunting comrades, as long as there was snow on the ground. While they hoofed it on foot, I would ride and get to our hunting destination an hour ahead of them.” OK, now, I am getting old. But not “that old.” I never knew Carl. Got this bit off a website hosted by the museum, dedicated to Carl and his invention. The website is simply “Eliason Snowmobiles.” Now, those first machines had power. But not that much power. The first one had as a power unit a 2.5 hp outboard motor engine. For cooling, it had part of a Ford radiator. But his real invention was the endless track and the slide rails. This allowed the thing to move along over the snow. As big and heavy as it was, it was still designed to go over the snow. With the size of the

toboggan part of it, it tended to float on the snow. The cleated track propelled it forward. And there you were, scooting along over the snow. Years later, another inventor would downsize this beast into what we now think of as a real snowmobile. That was J. Armand Bombardier. He took Carl’s invention and redesigned it into a recreational ride. But that is another story for another month. And about that “airplane propeller thing.” That, too, was actually made. Seen them. They became the ancestors of today’s air sleds. A most cool version I have seen flying about on the lakes. Also, the old Model T Ford. That got some traction as well. Some postal workers used to use them to deliver the mail.

Gotta love a sled that come with a pair of snowshoes. In the days before cell phones, this was the “self rescue” option.

But, for the moment, if you get a chance, stop in at the Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum in Naubinway and check out the Eliason. Plus, a lot of other cool old rides. Or take a trip over to Wisconsin and go to Sayner and check out the birthplace of snowmobiling. •

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Before the Snow Flies, Enjoy Fall’s Splendor on C-48 The Breezeway…




f you have snowmobiled in the Jordan Valley or around the towns of East Jordan, Ellsworth, Atwood or Boyne Falls, you already know how beautiful these communities are in the winter. Have you visited them during the colorful fall season? If not, you are missing out on some of the country’s most spectacular fall “leaf peeping” experiences. The rolling drumlins, rivers, lakes, valleys, nature preserves and vistas along the 26-mile corridor known as The Breezeway (C48), along with the splendid Jordan Valley and Jordan River, provide some of nature’s finest and most breathtaking overlooks, views and photos. This fall, more than ever, is the perfect time to make this region your fall experience


destination. We feel we “own the fall” with the finest scenic overlooks, best hiking trails and nature preserves (six along The Breezeway), fishing, paddling, golfing, hunting and disc golf opportunities. We have farm markets, pumpkin patches and corn mazes for all ages to enjoy. The 12th Annual Breezeway Fall Cruises will take place Sept. 26, Oct. 3 and Oct. 10. Pick up your “goodie bags” between 10 a.m. and noon at Royal Farms in Atwood. The bags contain coupons, tokens and a trip tip sheet, along with a fall color tour route map. Proceed at your own pace and discover all The Breezeway has to offer. From great restaurants, quaint shops, artists, resale shops and recreational opportunities galore, we have the perfect fall

experience awaiting you! With the warm lake water temperatures, forecasters are predicting a lot of lake-effect snow for the upcoming winter. Our local snowmobile club and snow-related businesses are gearing up for a busy snowmobile season. Be sure to include East Jordan and the gorgeous Jordan Valley Snowmobile Trail on your 20202021 winter riding list. Please contact the East Jordan Area Chamber of Commerce for your maps, trip ideas, lodging, camping, dining and recreational information. Visit our website at www.eastjordanchamber.org, email us at info@ejchamber.org or call us at (231) 536-7351. Our office is open at 100 Main St., Suite B, downtown East Jordan. •


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Haywire Grade Celebrates 50th Anniversary BY STEPHEN KING


ow, you guys all know me. So, you have to know that I just could not write a story about a trail called the “Haywire Grade” without making some type of wise-guy comment. So, here goes: “The Haywire Grade” has “haywired” a trail system together that has become one of the best multi-use trail systems in the nation. Baffled? Good. I try. For those who have never heard of it, the “Haywire Grade” runs from about Manistique and then up about 32 miles to Shingleton. What is unique about it is that it was the first “Rails to Trails” project in Michigan. Perhaps one of the first in the entire country. This year marks its 50th anniversary. A railroad ran this route, a throwback to the logging days of old, when


trains were the “modern technology.” Trains were used to move timber from the woods to the coast and to towns like Manistique, where the logs were then processed and shipped by boat around the Great Lakes and beyond. During the “Lumber Boom” of the late 1800s, I have heard that the lumber harvested was worth more in value than the gold from the California Gold Rush. Think about it. The U.P. and even Lower Michigan were covered in trees. A lot of big white pines that could be sawn into lumber and used to build entire cities. For example, when the Great Fire toasted Chicago, the lumber to rebuild came out of the U.P., from places like Manistique. So, the railroad was vital. Then, as time moved

on, the industry changed. Now, a good portion of the trees harvested today still are shipped via rail. But a lot are now moved by semi-truck, as anyone traveling the U.P. has probably noticed. So, the railways soon became a thing of the past. And some were no longer needed and then abandoned — including the railroad between Manistique and Shingleton. This was owned by the Manistique and Lake Superior Railroad Company. Then, the state took over the old railroad grade, resulting in many court challenges over the years. Some property owners along the various grades had the idea that the property had reverted back to them. However, in most cases, the court

ruled in favor of the state. Basically, the rights did not go back to the adjacent landowners. (I actually followed some of these cases and can give you the long version, if you so desire.) Also, the states are actually “land banking” the grades so, if the need ever arises again, they can readily be converted back to railroad use. That being said, in 1970, the Haywire Grade was born. Or, more exactly, turned into a snowmobile trail. According to Paul E. Gaberdiel, EUP DNR trails coordinator, “This was perfect for a snowmobile trail. The route already existed. The bridges were in. The grade level. We did have to do some brushing. But, other than that, we had to do very little work to get the trail ready for use.” Then, after much success



as a snowmobile trail, something else happened. The powers that be noticed that a lot of other people were using this trail. In the off season — horse riders, hikers, ATV riders and others. So, the decision was soon made to make this a multi-use trail. The associated paperwork was done, and the current form of the trail started to come to life. This was truly a year-round trail a lot of users could enjoy. Gerry Reese, one of the key people involved for many years in both the snowmobile program as well as the ORV program in the Manistique area, said, “It was not unusual to see people on horses, people out walking and motorized users on the same trail. A lot of people were making use of this trail and enjoying it.” Gerry also pointed out something else. He noted, “There are also 11 kiosks along the route. These are covered buildings that house information stations. These kiosks tell different portions of the history of the program and are named after various stops

along the old railroad. “They also talk about such things as the history of logging, the various stops along the trail and even some of the history of the local Native Americans who lived here long before the European people came over.” Originally, there were four separate events planned for the year. The first was a snowmobile ride that took place on Feb. 29. At that time, riders went from Manistique to the Jack Pine, a local bar and eatery about 19 miles north of Manistique. The other three — a bike ride on Aug. 22, an equestrian ride on Sept. 19 and an ORV ride on Oct. 3 — were all canceled by the Michigan DNR due to concerns about COVID-19. However, the Haywire Grade is still open, and users of all types are always welcome. For more information about the Haywire Grade, Reese suggested people visit www. visitmanistique.com. The site is produced by a local TV producer and has a lot of information about the Haywire Grade and the entire Manistique area. •


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opper Harbor is part of the largest trail system in Michigan, comprised of 250 miles of groomed trails. Trails open Dec. 1 and close April 1, weather permitting, of course. With an average of 270 inches of snowfall, the trails are often blanketed in white. So, while we are all waiting for the snow, come and check out the fall beauty of Copper Harbor. The fall color season in the Copper Harbor area rivals anywhere else in the country! Our mixed woodlands, featuring a variety of deciduous trees blended with an abundance of coniferous species, deliver a stunning color show in autumn. The “Tree Tunnel” (US-41) coming into Copper Harbor is liter-

ally jaw-dropping in the fall. Because Copper Harbor is located on the Keweenaw Peninsula, which juts out into Lake Superior, it keeps its own “microclimate.” The weather can be very different from just 30 miles south. We also enjoy less severe temperatures, thanks to Superior. The important thing to remember is that the fall colors are later than those south of us. This area can peak two weeks later than Baraga, which is less than 100 miles south. Northern Wisconsin and the northern Lower Peninsula often lose leaves before Copper Harbor. Every fall is different in timing but, typically, colors start to change toward the end of September and peak around the middle of October. •

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Same Workgroup... New Members BY JIM DUKE


t’s been said by several different orators “the more things change the more they remain the same” and so it seems it will be with the Snowmobile Advisory Workgroup (SAW) as many of the previous members either resigned or elected not to seek reappointment when their terms expired. Depending on how you look at it or, better yet, just what your opinion may be, this can be considered good or not so good for the overall future of the snowmobile program. While the replacement members maybe well versed in snowmobiling activities in their own geographical area and possibly in other areas as well, it usually takes a bit

funding formula for the maintenance and development of the statewide designated trails systems — replacing seasoned SAW members might have been premature. Maybe at of a “breaking in” period progress may cease or least some effort to retain before they are prepared lose priority. It is not the those retiring members to jump in and deal with intent of this article to should have been made. the state’s snowmobile imply this is the case with Perhaps, for those program. That being said, the newest members and, not familiar with the the three new members as previously mentioned, Snowmobile Advisory have blended in quite all three are certainly Workgroup a quick well, and we can expect qualified to sit at the table summary of duties and to continue moving of this workgroup. a brief history is in forward with business as What was meant is order; in fact, it might be usual. that with the continuous beneficial as a review It is true to some degree restructuring within the for those who have that change is needed Department of Natural long been involved. The occasionally to gain Resources (DNR), the exact dates are not as fresh visions of where the frequent moving of the important as the reasons snowmobile program from for the implementation program is and where one division to another it should be. The other and progression of where side of the coin is that by and the rapid turnover and why it all started, losing seasoned members of pertinent personnel where we are now within the DNR — more and replacing them with and where we see the new ones — who may or specifically within the program several years Parks & Recreation may not be familiar with out. Because of concerns the history and long-range Division that currently from the organized manages the majority goals of the program — snowmobile clubs and of trails programs and could be damaging to the state association, a has responsibility for its success. At the very “Steering Committee” was providing a viable least, projects already in selected back in the midcontinued on page 34

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1980s to advise the DNR on development of a trails system, a research program on how best to maintain it and some reasonable method for a revenue base to fund it all. A few years after it was implemented, the committee morphed into the Snowmobile Advisory Committee (SAC). Although the snowmobile program remained under DNR control, SAC members were charged with offering recommendations for long-range goals to create new trails and make the existing ones better. Through efforts of the SAC and supporting state lawmakers, legislation was introduced to make the SAC a permanent committee, protected by law and established into the state’s Public Acts. A productive relationship between this advisory committee and DNR personnel wasn’t always amicable. Generally, mutual respect was the main ingredient in the partnership that produced the statewide designated snowmobile trails system and a grooming program to maintain it, but all was not well within the ranks. It was about this time that some of the

governor’s appointed DNR leadership and SAC members were at a stalemate over perceived methods of improper administration of the program, with plenty of unrest throughout the snowmobiling community. Then, during under the reign of Gov. Jennifer Granholm, an executive order was issued to abolish all advisory boards, panels, councils and committees under the guise of reducing the state deficit and working to balance a budget. However, most believed it was an effort to “clear the air” and re-establish order within the various departments and agencies of state government. As explained at the time, it was determined in short order that the state could not

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kayaks and canoes, a representative for water trails also has been included to the council and is part of NAW. SAW consists of seven members: three MISORVA representatives, one for the three regions; two members-at-large, one for the Upper Peninsula and one for the Lower Peninsula; and two sponsor representatives, again one each for the Upper and Lower. Throughout the past few decades, many improvements to the program have been implemented, and most SAW recommendations have been accepted and at least partially implemented. However, inadequate funding has

proved to be a huge obstacle in some cases where catastrophic equipment failures and massive trail deteriorations have repeatedly occurred, causing criticism of the program’s inability to respond. Somewhere along the line, a misconception arose that because the snowmobile program operates on a user pay concept, the Snowmobile Advisory Workgroup and the state association own the program and that the DNR has only been contracted to manage it, to handle the financial transactions, and to distribute annually allocated funds to the various clubs, councils

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the state’s program administrators in efforts to have the snowmobile trails ready and the grooming sponsors on board to keep them smooth and safe. A major funding source to do so comes from the sale of snowmobile trail permits, which some reports say has been in slight decline for the past few years even though some parts of the state have witnessed record amounts of snow. We can only hope the coronavirus pandemic ends soon and wintertime recreational activities can resume with a full head of steam. Our season is just around the corner, so start doing that snow dance and Think Snow! •



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and other entities for services rendered. This could not be further from the truth, In reality, it’s quite the opposite. The snowmobile program and most other recreational programs in the state are, by state statute, under direct DNR control, and the SAW is the recognized group to officially advise them on snowmobile concerns. This doesn’t necessarily mean the DNR must accept or take action on that advice — and as pointed out many times over the years, the “A” is just advisory, not mandatory. As we enter the 20202021 snowmobile season, the SAW will continue to work with

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Marshall and Wilma Sayles

Lyle and Nancy Shipe

Patti and Bill Tisron

How the Magazine Got Started BY PATTI TISRON


s most of our readers know by now, over the summer the magazine was sold. I wanted to give a little insite on the beginning of the magazine and the 3 couples that have ran it over the 53 years. Marshall and Wilma Sayles, Lyle and Nancy Shipe and Patti and Bill Tisron. This article was written by Wilma Sayles in 1990.

HOW MICHIGAN SNOWMOBILER STARTED It was a cold mid-winter day, January or February 1967, when the idea for Michigan Snowmobiler magazine was born. The Michigan Snowmobile Association (MSA) at the time was about a year old and was holding a safari in the Jordan Valley very near East Jordan, where we published a weekly town newspaper. My husband, Marshall Sayles, was an excellent newspaperman with a “nose” for news. This “new” sport of snowmobiling excited him. He attended the safari withTom


Galmore, a member of the association and a Ski-Doo dealer in East Jordan, Ken and Myra Crawford, both avid snowmobilers, and Basil Crawford, Ken’s dad. There was a big bonfire, food, drinks and conversation. At one point, Marshall was talking to John Fulbright, state distributor for Sno-Jet snowmobiles out of Rockford, Michigan. John was lamenting the fact that there was no statewide medium for advertising and the idea clicked into place in Marshall’s mind. He started to talk to MSA people and attend their meetings. There were Jean and Jerry Payne of Traverse City, John Apfel of Bellaire, Ray Frieberg of Marquette and many, many others. He came into the office one evening when he was dead tired, explained the whole idea and asked, “What do you think?” I said, “Go,” without hesitation. And off he went. We had a building, the equipment and the staff. Nancy Shipe was in this from the word go. She was working with us at the town newspaper and agreed to stay on. Lyle

Shipe joined the staff later. We made up a sample copy and Marshall spent the summer going from dealer to dealer, meeting to meeting. Leslie “Red” Sheridan joined us for a while and was a stockholder. We sold the weekly, East Jordan News Herald, to Gregg Smith of Boyne City in late summer and the first issue of the Michigan Snowmobiler was published in October 1967. Marshall and I were both active in the business until his heart attack in 1971 slowed us down. Lyle and Nancy Shipe were then carrying the ball. Their daughter, Patti, joined them, and they have been doing an excellent job ever since. It is rare in the publishing business for a new publication to last more than a year or two. We are now in our 22nd year and looking forward to the 23rd. Marshall has been always interested, always involved. At the time of his fourth and last heart attack on Jan. 9, 1990, he was still president of Michigan Snowmobiler magazine, and he had had a lengthy and avid


Lyle and Nancy shipe Grand Marshall of the Sno-Blast parade in East Jordan.

Lyle Shipe covering the I-500 back in the day

Nancy Shipe riding over the Big Mack.

part-time office help. Learning about he had, and bring it back to the conversation with Lyle the previous the magazine and the ever-changoffice. He did most of the ad sales evening. He was so proud of that ing technology that happened in magazine. He had every right to be. for the next few years until 1974, the next 30 years, Patti stayed when Marshall had his first heart attack. Lyle took on more of the day- on to learn how to do the layout So, that was the start of the magand design when computers were to-day duties after that. In 1977, azine. Marshall and Wilma Sayles brought into the office and things Lyle became editor. In 1980, Lyle began this great magazine more really started to change. Some became editor and publisher and than 53 years ago. I believe he things were easier and some things hoped for it to continue for this long, then, along with his wife Nancy, not so much. took over ownership. Marshall but I bet he never believed it would The office moved from its Main passed away in 1990, and Wilma last and still be going strong. Street location to the basement of stayed in touch with the magazine Marshall knew he could get stoLyle and Nancy house, where they from her home. ries for the magazine because East ran it until 2006, when it moved Things stayed the same, for the Jordan was right in the middle of back downtown to a location off most part, by staying with the logo snow country. Covering racing, ridMain Street. and ideas Marshall had for the ing and snow events, which wasn’t In 2003, Bill Tisron, Patti’s husmagazine, covering snowmobiling as many as today, but starting out in the great state of Michigan. More band, joined the staff and became his first issue in November 1967 an ad salesman to help out Lyle. writers and ad salespeople were with only 28 pages. The magazine has been as small as 20 pages and brought on to help with the growing He started writing stories and learning about the snowmobile magamagazine. as big as 108 pages. zine business, which he had been In 1975, Patti Shipe, Lyle and Lyle Shipe, Nancy’s husband, was Nancy’s daughter, joined the staff as involved with over the years because in between jobs and was asked to travel around the continued on page 38 state selling advertising for the new For information about snowmobiling magazine. As Lyle tells it, he was given in the Eastern U.P. area call: $5 a day for meals CEDARVILLE ........................906-297-3060 NEWBERRY...........................906-293-5562 and mileage was CURTIS ..................................906-586-9533 PARADISE .............................906-492-3538 determined by the DETOUR VILLAGE.................906-297-3060 SAULT STE. MARIE ............800-MI-SAULT ad sales. He would sell ads and make DRUMMOND ISLAND ...........833-817-7851 SENEY ...................................906-499-3332 them up on a napGRAND MARAIS ...................906-250-7985 ST. IGNACE ...........................906-643-8717 kin, if that was all NAUBINWAY...........................906-477-6298




GRAND TRAVERSE Patti and Bill riding the Keweenaw Peninsula

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Nancy and Lyle Shipe and Patti and Bill Tisron at the office.

To Advertise Here!

continued from page 37

he was family. Lyle and Nancy started to step back and enjoy the golden years, but came into the office at least a couple of times a week. Patti and Bill took over all the responsibilities of running the magazine the past few years after the passing of both Nancy and Lyle in 2017. From going to festivals and some kiddy races, going to snow shows and meetings, we did it all. With help from our writers and supporters, we were able to keep the magazine going, as Marshall always dreamed. As a new season begins, we look forward to seeing the magazine grow under the new leadership of Farago & Associates and Scott Drzewiecki. Farago is also a family-owned business and they have some wonderful ideas to keep this magazine going, hopefully for another 53 years. Thanks for all the great years. Snowmobiling is a great sport that has changed in so many ways over the years and that has been wonderful to see. Patti and Bill Tisron


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