It was sad to hear we lost our founding father of the Snowmobile Hall of Fame. We just had a board of directors meetings last Saturday where I inquired with his son Bob on how Loren's recovery was going.
I blame / credit Loren for so many of the awesome events in my snowmobiling "life behind bars"
Around 2004 Side Kick Nick, Tim and I where on a hauling trip out west and back where we found ourselves in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. I think it was Nicks idea to see the Hall of Fame, but it was getting late on this winter night. We pulled in around 4:50 pm and found the place closed, lights off. We got out of the truck anyway, and said "maybe next time" and get ready leave when Loren pulled up and said "I was just leaving, but saw your out of state plate on your trailer, so I came back to let you in..."
And sure enough he reopened the place and let us run around, take pictures, check out a few of video's playing, etc. We bought a few things and thanked him for being so generous with his time. We promised to come back and visit again.
In May of 2005 my friend Joe Rachel wanted to attend the Classic Sled Roundup at the HoF, so we made the trip out from NY and had a great time. I attended that show whenever possible. Loren said to make sure to come back next year...and I did...
A fellow Deere collector gave me the heads up that Robert Carlson was being inducted in February of 2007, so I made plans to attend my very first "Ride with the Champs" were I met so many of my Deere hero's my head was spinning. Even with lousy snow conditions, we road our vintage Deere's around Lake Minocqua, being the first large organized group to bring vintage sleds to the HoF RWC. We all had an amazing time...and we kept coming back.
At the 2010 RWC, JRC lead a modern group to Fishtails. Tim, Sidekick Nick and I brought our late model Cat's and picked up our friend Greg in Canada with his Trailfire on the way over from NY. We rode with Greg to Eagle River the first night, and noticed he could keep up just fine on groomed trails as long we didn't ride too hard. That planted one seed for the next years ride. For that year, I got to ride Cats and eat lunch with Roger Skime, Joey Halstrom, Stan Hayes, Jon Carlson, etc. It was a great time, but if I came back, I already knew it was going to be on a vintage sled.
In 2009 Jon Carlson challenged us Deere guys to ride our old iron to the UP, taking the same path as the modern riders for a 150 miles. I called Loren and asked him we could come back and do a separate "Vintage Challenge" ride. He wasn't sure we would have enough vintage riders for two groups, but said, "sure, come on back up" ...and we did. And it was another awesome RWC weekend.
A few years ago Loren emailed me, saying that they had the summer board meeting in a few weeks, and would I mind attending. I confirmed I would and he let me know they had a seat opening up, and would I consider being appointed to finish out a term. After a long talk with Cari Deerest about the commitment I was being asked to fufill, I said I would serve if asked. Once again, at Loren's invitation I came back.
At that meeting Loren retired, as did VP Jon Carlson. I joined the new board and "standing on the shoulders of giants" we have worked hard to build on the success of the Hall of Fame. We are currently constructing a 60 X 100' two story north wing off the new building he opened in 2009. The events are near near capacity, the board is working hard to keep his dream alive and growing.
All because in 1984 Loren, CJ Ramstead, Larry Bosacki and Mike Trapp founded a Hall of Fame to recognize racers, mechanics, organizers and engineers in the world of snowmobiling. For Loren, CJ and Larry, may the ice be smooth, the trails be wide and well groomed...