When I was a kid my dad came home with a brand new 1971 Mercury 250E. I was hooked!! We would ride with him to Bluemound Marine in Milwaukee when we'd either drop off or pick up the Merc from having repairs done to it. While waiting we'd watch the guys shuffle all the sleds around in the shop. There were Merc's all over the place. There was a Merc 250ER sitting there. I wondered what the R stood for (I was just a kid), a guy come over and started it and it went backward. WOW! That was the neatest thing I ever saw. A few years passed by and we made a trip back to the dealership and there it was...a brand new 1974 400 Sno-Twister! I had gotten my ass kicked in school for having a big black slow Mercury and now this...low, sleek, white, and man did that thing look fast...just sitting there! Lord knows I didn't sleep for a couple weeks.
Keifers Yamaha was a really cool dealership in Franklin Wisconsin. I bought a three year old '74 GPX 338 from my neighbor and when it came time for parts I would go down to Keifers. You walk in and all those new 1978 SRX's would be all lined up in a row and I'd just sit there and drool. (There was a left over brand new '77 SRX sitting there that I questioned and was told it was finally sold and awaiting for pick up). Didn't have the $1499.00 to buy it anyway...oh well. It always smelled like brand new tracks in there. Hence all the motorcycles that were stacked side by side with the sleds, lots of new rubber in the air.
My dad took me to the local Evinrude dealership when the ol' Merc bit the dust and to my surprise bought a brand new 1976 440 Evinrude Skimmer with bogies. For the life of me why he didn't go buy a new Trail-Twister instead is beyond me but I have come to conclude that had he bought one, I would've killed myself on that thing. Sooo much faster and cooler than the Skimmer. Oh well, a few years later I got my own Trail-Twister.
Yes, times have changed. It's memories like these that we all recall and cherish that have a strong hand in keeping the sport of vintage sledding and collecting alive. It's unfortunate that the younger generation are unable to enjoy some of these events. I do what I can to relay as many of these memories to the younger folks and I hope they can catch just a glimmer of what I remember and at least encourage them to get out and enjoy the sport of sledding as we all did back in our younger days.