Vintage snowmobile show returns

Daily Press file photo Vintage snowmobiles travel in Rapid River during a past Relic Riders Vintage Antique Snowmobile Show and Swap. This year’s event returns Friday and Saturday in Rapid River.

RAPID RIVER — Rapid River will host the 14th Annual Rapid River Relic Riders’ Vintage Antique Snowmobile Show and Swap Friday and Saturday.

David Shope, president of the Relic Riders’ Club, is excited about this year’s event.

“Members of the Antique Snowmobile Club of America (ASCOA) are attending the festivities this year. Everyone should come out and see the ride demonstrations and the kind of work club members have done to their snowmobiles,” said Shope.

Starting noon Friday, riders will leave Quality Plumbing and Heating, located at 7986 Highway US 2, Rapid River, and travel to the Perkins Lions Club. There will be a fly-over and playing of the National Anthem before they leave.

“We take trail head number two, ride the pipeline to Perkins and then ride along side M-35. We have a permit to do so, and have to … there isn’t an easy trail to Perkins. We also cross US 41 and US 2 at some point,” said Shope.

According to Shope, owners of snowmobiles 25 years or older do not need a permit to ride on the trail Friday. Cost to ride is a donation given to the club.

“It costs nothing for the ride. We just ask for canned food or a cash donation,” said Shope. “Donations will be distributed to churches and St. Vincent de Paul.”

Lunch will be provided to the riders at the Perkins Lions Club before the trip back to Rapid River.

“Last year, there were 217 riders. The year before, we had almost 400,” Shope said. “This year we plan to have almost 300 riders. The temperature should be around 28 degrees Fahrenheit.”

A bonfire will be lit around 4:30 p.m. behind the starting point upon returning from Perkins. At Jack’s Restaurant at 6:30 p.m., club members will hold a ‘cracker barrel run’.

“There will be riders from Canada, Minnesota, everywhere for the meeting,” said Shope. “The meeting is open to the public if they would like to attend. They don’t have to be a club member.”

Saturday’s festivities will start at 8 a.m. on Main Street and last until 6 p.m. Owners who want to show their snowmobile need to register by 11:30 a.m. at the Rapid River Lions Club. Shope said there will be over 150 sleds in the show.

“There will be many kids games, rides on sleds and raffles through the day,” said Shope.

The ASCOA will have driving demonstrations at the baseball fields a block off main street.

Saturday night there will be a banquet at the Terrace Bay Inn. The public is invited.

Each year, the Relic Riders use funds from the show and swap to provide scholarships to schools in the area.

“Our biggest scholarship goes to the Rapid River school,” said Shope. “Five hundred dollars to a boy and a girl. We give out at least $3,500 in scholarships.”

The club members donate through the year to those in need, according to Shope. As soon as the show ends, planning starts immediately for the next year’s show.

“We give everything we receive back to the community and keep enough money to start working on the next show,” said Shope. “Our show is the go to show … we meet quite a bit to plan for each show.”

Each year, Shope wants to grow the popular event, and noted many younger members joined last year.

The 2020 show will feature John Deere, and a 74 Arctic Cat Lynx, with a Wankel engine, will be raffled off.

Seven awards will be given out — the rider that traveled the furthest, oldest sled, the sled considered a ‘diamond in the rough’, club’s choice, classic sled, vintage sled, and the Troy Lee Nieuwenkamp Memorial trophy. Nieuwenkamp was Shope’s brother-in-law and an avid snowmobiler. The classic award is new this year and is to acknowledge newer sleds.

“I love this event,” said Shope. “This show is a family-friendly event that encourages people to keep older sleds running by preserving them.”