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Vintage sleds on display at annual snowmobile club show

PERU Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 309 was the destination of many snowmobile enthusiasts last Sunday, as the Peru Trailfinders Snowmobile Club held their 7th annual Vintage Sled Show. A total of 35 sleds were entered, with about 150 people milled around enjoying the sleds and the balmy weather with temperatures in the mid 40s. While most of the sled owners were local, some came from Vermont and the Albany area. Trophies were awarded to the top three sleds in each class, which were judged by the spectators. Classes and trophy winners were awarded as follows: 66 and older class Larry Chase won with his Alpine sled. Michael Relation was awarded second and third place with his Evinrude and Johnson sleds, respectively. 67 - 69 class Tony Demeris won with his Arctic Cat. Randy Goss took second with his Moto Ski and Mike Relation took third with his Evinrude. 70 - 73 class David Babbie won with his Arctic Cat. Ray Relation took second with his Allovette and Dale Burnett took third with his Silver Bullet. Muscle class Tony Trombley won with his John Deere. Dan Wright took second with his Polaris and Ray Relation took third with his John Deere. Racing class Jonathan Babbie won with his Arctic Cat. Mini class Larry Chase won with his Skipper. D. Widrick took second and third with Kitty Cats. 74 and up class Tony Trombley won with his John Deere. Michael Relation took second with his Evinrude, and Dale Brunette took third with his TNT. Ray Relation won the Favorite D-3 award. Other special awards were two trophies awarded to Perus Caleb Moberhill for participating in his first-ever snowmobile event as a snowmobile attendant, and the Youngest Snowmobiler was awarded to Schuyler Falls Alex Marant, who will be turning three years old in a few days. Michael Relation, who has been president of the Peru Trailfinders Snowmobile Club for about seven years, was pleased with the event. The main purpose of the event is to stir up interest in snowmobiling, he said. We would like the event to be bigger, but it was a nice day and everyone had fun. Keeping vintage sleds operational can be a hobby that takes some time and effort, Mr. Relation further explained. In the 70s there were about 170 snowmobile manufacturers and now there are only about 12, with the four major manufacturers being Polaris, Yamaha, Arctic Cat and Bombardier. Keeping old models working from manufacturers that no longer exist means having to do some searching on the Internet when parts are needed. The hobby is growing in popularity and is becoming a big business, Mr. Relation noted. The variety of ages present at the event was evidence of the fact snowmobiling has become a family sport, something Mr. Relation stresses in the Peru club. If the event had an award for family participation, David Babbie and his teenage sons, Eric and Jonathan, would have won without a contest. The threesome entered 12 sleds which they all drove to and from the event from Davids Schuyler Falls shop about a mile away. With the sport becoming safer every year, more families are becoming involved, Mr. Relation said. There is now a state speed limit of 55 for snowmobiles, and registration, sled insurance, the wearing of helmets and DWI laws are strictly enforced. Young people ages 10 to 17 must pass a course in order to be approved to operate a sled, and even then, the younger ages must be accompanied by an adult. Safety first is a club rule for the 80 members of the Peru Trailfinders. The club maintains 150 miles of trails which they groom eight- to 10-feet wide. All of their new bridges have been built with guard rails, and all Peru trails have a speed limit of 25 miles per hour. The Peru club works closely with the four other Clinton County clubs the Saranac Trailgroomers Snowmobile Club, the Lyon Mountain Lion Mountains Snow Sled Club, the Beekmantown Northern Tier Sno-Runners and the Ellenburg Trailfinders Snowmobile Club. They collaborate to keep their trails connected and safe, and each club has maps of their trails made up each year. This past summer, the clubs got together and had their trails globally positioned by satellite so they will be depicted accurately on the new State Park and Recreation maps. The trails even connect with clubs outside the county, and it is possible to travel across the state on the trail systems maintained by clubs. On Jan. 5, six members of the Peru club took a 153-mile round-trip to Malone. In accordance with promoting family participation in snowmobiling, the Peru club keeps their family membership fee at only $25. For more information about the Peru Trailfinders, call Mr. Relation at 643-8839.

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