The Rearview Mirror
The Rearview Mirror is a monthly series that highlights the Sno-Eagles Snowmobile Club from 1965 until the present. The author is Rusty Wolf, President of the Sno-Eagles.
Edition: 1965 to 1969
In September 1965, Doc Doyle and Rudy Spiess feared upcoming legislative action against snowmobiling. They ran an ad in the Vilas County Newspaper to hold an organizational meeting in October 1965, to form a snowmobile club.
The first meeting was held at the Arbutus Inn, which is now the BMO bank. Doc ran the meeting which was attended by only 9 people. The small group set up the next meeting for November 1965 which was attended by 35 people. At this November meeting a snowmobile club was formed. The name of the club would be “The Northwoods Sno-Mo Club”. Junior Ludwig was elected President, Dan Healy elected Vice-President and Suzy Scholwin elected Secretary/Treasurer.
The new club set up monthly meetings, set club dues at $2.00 per member and started discussions concerning trail rides. “Trail Rides” were taken quite frequently to eating establishments by the members.
On October 24,1967 The Eagle River Lions Club asked the Northwoods Sno-Mo club to help at their World Championship Snowmobile Derby at Pleasure Island site. The Lions asked our club to host and organize the first “Torchlight Parade” for Friday January 19,1968. The club will try and get 30 snowmobiles to be in the parade.
On November 8,1967 the Northwoods Sno-Mo club wrote up its first Constitution for the club. The constitution was for the 1967-68 season only. Member dues were set at $2.00 and an additional $3.00 to join the USSA. Club elections were held with Dan Healy elected President, Ed Richter V.P, and Jerrie Van Haverbeke elected Secretary/Treasurer.
At the Dec. 28, 1967 meeting a group from St. Germain volunteered 20 snowmobiles for the Torchlight Parade. The club also set up a trail ride for Sunday to ride to Kelly Brown’s in Phelps for chicken dinner.
In 1967, the first “marked” club trail was blazed to Johnson’s Maple View Resort in Conover. This trail was just over 10 miles long and it would take all night to drive to Conover and back to Eagle River. The trail was marked with small orange blazers. Walt Mayo, the Vilas County Forester, was instrumental in helping the club get land for the trail.
In 1968 the club built a snowmobile park by the airport in Eagle River. They built a 24’x24’ shelter with a fireplace. The park also had a 4 ½ miles of marked trails around the airport, a 1/4 mile drag strip, and a 1/3 mile oval track.
At the November 14, 1968 meeting of the Northwoods Sno-Mo club, elections for the year were held with Dan Healy, President, Ed Richter VP and Jerrie Van Haverbeke Sec/Treas. all re-elected for a second term. The club organized 4 committees to create snowmobile trails from our Park at the airport to St. Germain, to Sayner, to Three Lakes and to the Town of Washington. A member volunteered to investigate writing a monthly newsletter for the club. The club also discussed the need to write up a set of By-laws instead of writing a constitution each year. Bill Sparks was to chair to committee to create By-laws.
In 1969 Dave Everett of Conover (still current member) made our first drag for trails. Jim Ayers (still a current member) designed a second drag made out of iron from an old smoke stack. In 1969 Bombardier donated the use of a very small Bombardier Mustang tracked groomer to pull our drag. Jim Ayers, Leon Kukanich and Dave Birkness were the groomer operators. This machine was nearly impossible to operate and very small.
At the February 1969 meeting the club discussed joining the newly formed AWSC (Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs). The cost was $10 per club per year. Two members were going to Antigo to see if was worth joining. Our club was asked to help St. Germain and Sayner create snowmobile clubs for their communities. Committees formed.