2009-02-19 / Front Page

Homemade Snowmobiles To Be Show Feature

Vintage Sleds To Be Displayed at Naubinway Sat.

Vintage homemade snowmobiles will be featured this weekend at the Antique and Vintage Snowmobile Show in Naubinway, and organizers Charlie and Marilyn Vallier are among those looking forward to their first opportunity to see the creative inventions that will be registered for display Saturday morning at the Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum. The show will begin Friday, February 20, with two snowmobile trail rides. Homemade, custom, and vintage sleds will be displayed by collectors to the public Saturday, February 21, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. along US-2 in Naubinway. Admission to the outdoor show is free, and food vendors and a swap meet will be available.

"One of the sleds to watch for at the show was handmade by a machinist at Port Inland Quarry near Gulliver, a man named Anderson, in the 1950s," said Mr. Vallier. This sled is on display in the snowmobile museum. Mr. Vallier said he first saw the unique sled at a snowmobile show years ago, and later, the son of the machinist, a man then in his 70s, told Mr. Vallier the story of how his father had made the snowmobile.

Another vintage model to be seen at the show is a 1950 Dupras, homemade in Marquette.

Antique and unusual snowmobiles will be displayed all day Saturday, said Mr. Vallier, and show organizers won't see most of the entries until they show up that morning. Last year's show featured 196 snowmobiles, and a similar number is expected this year.

Rare snowmobiles from the 1970s known as Boa Skis will be among those on display. Members of the "Boa Ski Brothers" collectors club will come from seven states and Canada to enjoy the Naubinway show and Friday's trail ride.

"There will also be some custom made, hot rod type deals," Mr. Vallier said. "We have people coming from Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Canada. Some will spend a whole week here, riding the snowmobile trails before the show."

Interest is strong for the 17th annual show, with inquiries coming in daily from new visitors who want to know more about the event.

"Now we have a little competition, because the antique-vintage sport has grown so much," he said, referring to the growing list of antique snowmobile shows in the Midwest. "Now you have those one-lunger races, too, so more and more people are into the vintage stuff."

The Naubinway show, endorsed by the Antique Snowmobile Club of America, begins Friday with a 9 a.m. breakfast ride for antique rubber track sleds. The ride will be from King's Motel to Engadine Town Hall 11 miles away, where a breakfast will be served by American Legion Post 290.

Friday will feature a 1 p.m. ride for all snowmobiles, especially those featuring rear engines, to the Pipeline Bridge for a bonfire. Participants may bring marshmallows and hot dogs to roast. Events for Hus-Skis snowmobiles will take place there.

Saturday's events include free registration at 9 a.m. at the snowmobile museum, followed by a sled display on Main Street along US-2. Foot booths and a swap meet will be set up there.

A banquet for show exhibitors and the public will be from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Garfield Township Hall in Engadine. John McGuirk will give a presentation about homemade snowmobiles, and awards will be announced for show participants. A raffle will take place to benefit the museum.

Snowmobile Museum Open

During Show

The Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum is two blocks south of the blinking light in Naubinway, 42 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge on US-2. The museum features what it calls "the old ones and the odd ones" - antique snowmobiles, snowmobile prototypes, gear, and memorabilia. It features a changing exhibit of more than 60 sleds, including such brand names as Polar, Snowbug, Sno-Jet, Sears, and Skee Whee snowmobiles. It is open Thursdays through Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. Admission to the museum is $5 per person or $10 per family.

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