At the January 9, 2014 Sno-Eagles Board meeting held at the Walter Olson Library, the club VP Steve Linn held the meeting with President Ken Storms being in the hospital recovering from his fall on the ice in the Trackside parking lot. Treasurer Fred Rockafellow reported the club having 154 paid members as of the meeting. The treasurer’s report showed the club has nearly $113,000 in various accounts.
Bob Stencil reported an automobile accident on the Highway 45 bridge destroyed part of the wood snowmobile fencing. He is working with Dale Mayo on the replacement fence. Trail Boss Tom reported purchasing six batteries and new chains for the tractor. VP Steve Linn suggested to the board to look at bylaw changes to address a succession strategy if both the President and VP are unable to perform their duties. Bugs Mathieu suggested this issue should be discussed at the January membership meeting. VP Steve Linn announced that Jessica Roach, a senior at Northland Pines High School, will be Miss Sno-Eagle 2014. Jessica is a student athlete at Northern Pines, congratulations Jessica. Jessica was also selected to be this year’s Derby Queen.
At the Vilas County Snowmobile Alliance meeting in January, Dale Mayo discussed the possibility of Vilas county being a test site for the WDNR to have GPS groomer tracking in all the groomers. More to follow on this subject. As we now know, this initiative finally comes full circle and all the clubs within the state will be required to have GPS tracking installed and operational by November 2021.
Bugs and Dick Matkin sold $1000 worth of Take Pride and Ride raffle tickets at the derby hall. The club guided rides on Tuesday are led by Dennis Wick and on Wednesday by Ron Engels with both days attracting a good number of riders.
Trail Boss Tom reported in February that he and his crew are doing 8-12 hour shifts to keep the trails groomed. Ken Storms suffered an accident earlier this winter and missed a few meetings. Ken was back on the job as president for the February board meeting, however he will miss the March meetings. Ken suffered a fall which resulted in a skull fracture. Get well Ken.
The weekend away in February to the Four Seasons resort in Pembine was great fun. The toilet bowl award was given to Brian Scheid, the Stinker award to Jim Fabish, the weekend Queen was Cheryl Storms, and Jim Bowman got a little too personal with a pine tree. Howard (Rusty) and Cheryl Wolf joined the Sno-Eagles in Feb. 2014.
Trail Boss Tom reported we had tons of snow this season, however all three groomers broke down around President’s Day. Repairs are underway. The Prinoth was transported to Madison for approximately $30,000 in repairs, the MTX tractor had the front axle replaced for $3375, and the BR 180 had a fuel pump problem and blown head gasket for about $7000 of repairs. It was a bad year for equipment maintenance in the club. The Governor’s Recreation Council voted in March to increase the maintenance payment from $250 per mile to $300 per mile.
At the March membership meeting a committee was created to look at the club’s three groomers and at the possibility of replacing one or more. Tom looked at Pisten Bully in Minnesota and New Holland tractors at Lulich in Wisconsin. Tom favors a tractor, but the tractor has issues with weight and not being able to go into swamps in the early season. It was reported by Trail Boss Tom that again all three groomers are broken down as of March 20.
Annual elections were held at the March meeting. Ken Storms elected President, Cheryl Storms Secretary, and Bugs Mathieu and Dick Matkin were elected Directors. At the March membership meeting President Ken thanked Trail Boss Tom for keeping the trails well groomed. However, during the meeting it was reported that all three groomers were broke down with Prinoth Husky in Madison for repairs, the BR 180 needing an engine, and the tractor having the front axle fixed locally and may need an engine rebuild. Tom T. recommended trading in the tractor on a new tractor.
At the April meeting Treasurer Fred Rockafellow reported the club has already spent $38,040 on the BR 180 and Husky. He does not have the invoices yet for the tractor. Tom is in discussion with Lulich Implement about purchasing a New Holland tractor with Soucy tracks.
President Ken will organize a summer picnic at Riverside Park this summer. Steve Linn will chair the committee to organize the July 4th parade.
In AWSC news, Dave Newman was elected as President of AWSC in April. The April Board of Directors meeting was held at the Olson Library and the major topic of discussion was purchase of a new groomer. Trail Boss Tom has contacted Lulich for a price on a slightly used New Holland tractor with Soucy Tracks and has contacted John Deere on a FWD tractor. Tom recommends going with New Holland as Lulich is also the Soucy track dealer.
This past season was great in having tons of snow; however, it was hard on the club’s equipment with a 2004 McCormick tractor, a 2005 BR 180 and a 2008 Prinoth Husky. The club had nearly $40,000 in repairs, and all three machines broke down at the same time mid-season. Fred has approached the bank regarding an equipment loan. Our tractor trade-in would be the down payment and the club would have a $2,225 monthly payment for 7 years. This means when the new tractor is paid off, the club will have 2 groomers that are 20 years old and in need of replacement. Additionally, the club now has only $6,500 in the checking account and another $26,000 in savings. The club can make the payments but will not have much money for other repairs. Chuck Bodie formerly from California has now joined the club. Fred found 99 poker chips inside of a trail map box. The Board had a big laugh about the poker chips.
The July 4th parade was great with Miss Sno-Eagle, Jessica Roach, on our float. The Summer Picnic was held in August at Riverside Park with about two dozen members participating. Scott Linn and Chris Kloiber announced they will again host the Snowmobile Safety School as this year was a huge success.
In August, the Sno-Eagles Board approved a budget for the next season. A few changes are evident. Due to the club spending nearly $80,000 on grooming in 2014, it was determined to temporarily stop paying for food at our membership meetings to save money.
The radio station decided to stop sponsorship of the Take Pride and Ride raffle. Trackside decided to sponsor the raffle and change the name slightly to Ride with Pride.
The Sportsmen’s Chalet Pig Roast and raffle is set for September. President Ken suggested to the board of directors to separate Miss Sno-Eagle from the Derby Queen selection process. This is the way it was done prior to about 4 years ago.
The club installed a Groomer Replacement Fund “Thermometer” sign in the park showing we are on our way to solicit $50,000 for the groomer replacement. We had two club members donate $2,500 and $5,000, respectively. The fund is growing.
At the October membership meeting secretary Cheryl Storms made a comment that four members quit because the club is no longer serving food at the meetings. Cheryl suggested changing the meetings to again serve food. Motion was tabled.
Trail Brushing under the supervision of Bob Stencil started again in September and October. The Ride with Pride fundraiser is off and running with Butch Grenier from Trackside donating a Ski-Doo 600 MXZ as grand prize. Eagle River, Conover, Three Lakes and Phelps clubs are all involved in the fundraiser.
The Snowmobile Safety class under the supervision of Scott Linn, Chris Kloiber, Bob Dow, Dan Vladic, and Scott Flores got 40 new snowmobilers successfully through the school.
The toilet bowl award was given to long time member and volunteer Ron Engels for getting his truck stuck in the mud while brushing. It turned out to be quite the event as another truck, a tractor and Otto Towing all got stuck trying to pull Ron out. After using 100 feet of cable, a mountain of nylon straps and many volunteers, all the vehicles got out and all went to lunch at Donna’s.
Kathy Rockafellow has set the Weekend Away to be held at Lac du Flambeau Casino January 30 – February 1, 2015. Laurie Wick is organizing the Christmas Party at Lanny’s for December 6, 2014.
At the November Board meeting, Dale Mayo asked the Sno-Eagles to consider becoming a dual-sport club, both snowmobiles and ATV/UTV club. The advantage is receiving an additional $600 per mile for maintenance. The board decided to consider this issue and discuss with the membership in November. At the November membership meeting half of the members liked the idea of a dual-sport club and half did not. The Sno-Eagles did not take action.