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July 20, 2019

Jacob friede/lakeland timesThere are sleds galore and every type of snowmobiling memorabilia imaginable inside the new addition of the Snowmobile Hall of Fame.
Jacob friede/lakeland times

There are sleds galore and every type of snowmobiling memorabilia imaginable inside the new addition of the Snowmobile Hall of Fame.

6/1/2019 7:26:00 AM
Snowmobile Hall of Fame gets a tune-up
New addition of museum now open
Jacob Friede
Of the Lakeland Times

On the side of the road leading to the Snowmobile Hall of Fame (SHOF) in St. Germain a sign reminds visitors the fist snowmobile race took place the day the second snowmobile was built. And while there is no memorabilia from that mythic race at a the SHOF, there is seemingly some from every race thereafter.

Thanks to a brand new 60-foot-by-100-foot two-story addition, the hall has the space to display it all.

Last Saturday, a ribbon cutting ceremony took place to celebrate the new addition to the Snowmobile Hall of Fame, and Craig Marchbank, of the board of directors, said it was a long time coming.

"This journey started 36 years ago with Loren Anderson, CJ Ramstad, Mike Trapp, and Larry Bosacki," Marchbank said. "They had an idea to start a Hall of Fame. In 1983 they started that idea."

Anderson and Trap were champion riders in snowmobiling, Ramstad was a photographer of the sport, and Bosacki owned Bosacki's Boathouse restaurant in Minocqua. The four men began fundraising that year for a Hall of Fame by creating an event, headquartered out of the Boathouse, called Ride With the Champs, where riders from anywhere could spend a day on the trails with snowmobile champions.

After a decade of Ride with the Champs, and after moving between temporary locations in Eagle River and Minocqua, funding was achieved and the original building of the Snowmobile Hall of Fame was built at the current location in St. Germain in 1993.

The original portion of the SHOF houses some of the earliest memorabilia attained by the hall, as well as a wall of fame with plaques commemorating each member of the Hall of Fame. There has been a class inducted every year since 1988.

But since the construction of the original building, snowmobiling has remained as popular as ever, and so has the sport of racing them. Each year produces a new class of champions and more memories from the frozen track, so by 2013, the board members of the Hall of Fame realized in order to keep preserving the history of snowmobiling, they would need more room to house it. They began planning an expansion, and like the original building, the new addition, which cost approximately $400,000, was the product of donations and fund raising, with events like Ride with the Champs, which has carried on since 1983.

"We raised enough money to build this building debt-free," Marchbank said. "They come to our events. Some give us $5 some give us $5,000. It all means the same to us."

And it all went to great use. The two-story addition is immense, nearly tripling the size of the museum, and it allows for more than 50 more snowmobiles to be on display, and those sleds go back to the 1950s. John Deeres, Yamahas, Ski-Doos, Skee-Horses, Moto Skis, Moto Jets, Harley Davidson's, Scorpions, and Arctic Cats are all on the floor. Decades worth of different designs, all with distinct shapes and colors, are on display, but the one thing they share is they were all the fastest machines of their time.

With speed comes championship memorabilia. The trophies, jackets, bibs, and helmets of snowmobile racing's past champions adorn the new addition of the SHOF.

No one appreciated being able to display it all more than the Hall's curator, Jamie Zeller, who delighted in the space she was given to organize so many items.

"There's room for plenty of displays and it's just a lot of fun to have so much room," Zeller said. "It's a dream."

Snowmobile enthusiasts who visit the new addition will undoubtedly say the same.

The Snowmobile Hall of Fame is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. To schedule an off hour tour, call 715-542-4463 or for more information visit snowmobilehalloffame.com. The museum is located at 8481 Highway 70 West in St. Germain.

Jacob Friede may be reached at jacob@lakelandtimes.com or outdoors@lakelandtimes.com.





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