By Curtis Tate
The 2009 SnoWest Vintage Snowmobile Show, held during the Intermountain Snowmobile Show in South Jordan, UT, Oct. 23-24, was a great success. Twelve participants from three western states brought a total of 37 antique and vintage snowmobiles to display. Twelve different makes with models ranging from 1963 to 1989 gave show attendees a wonderful glimpse of their favorite snowmobile's history.
Participants were: Tony Crnkovich (Afton, WY), Darren DeGraw (Farr West, UT), Kent Egley (Mink Creek, ID), Jeffrey Fuller (Farr West, UT), Perry Hesteness (Hailey, ID), Bill Moss (Tooele, UT), Curtis Tate (Layton, UT) and Paul and Mary Joyce Tate (Roy, UT), Rex Whitaker (Ogden, UT), Tom Whitaker (North Ogden, UT), Fred and Shirley Lindsey (Montpelier, ID) and Dan and Tamara Fisher from the Clover Creek Inn (Monteplier, ID).
The original class consisted of 17 snowmobiles. Jeffrey Fuller received the 1st place award for the original class with his 1969 Sears Snow Cruiser. Fuller purchased this snowmobile earlier this year from its original owner. The story behind this sled is it was purchased from the Sears department store in Missoula, MT, in late 1969. Due to a certain turn in events, the owner never got to ride it, in fact, it has never been ridden. The owner retired to the warmer climate of southern Utah where this snowmobile had been in storage ever since. It is still "brand new." The front of the snowmobile features the image and signature of the famous mountain climber Sir Edmund Hillary of all things. Congratulations Jeffrey for such a nice find.
Other notable original sleds included the Whitaker family collection, which consists of top shelf Arctic Cats-a Lynx, Panther and El Tigre Z. The Whitaker's also displayed an Arctic Cat Kitty Cat which sported a custom made light blue Polaris hood displaying the name of "Allowance Operated," indicating that it may have once been ridden by a young boy using his allowance money. Tom Whitaker mentioned he picked up this snowmobile from the Lake Tahoe, NV, area. This sled has all of us now looking at how we can make mod sleds out of our Kitty Cats.
Bill Moss' original 1970 Sno Jet 399 was a real crowd pleaser once again. It was displayed with two good-sized tree branches wedged in the front bumper. This snowmobile was rescued from a tree which had grown up through its bumper. Talk about show `em how you found `em. Moss also displayed his MSV Hustler which won a restored award in 2008 and a 1989 Ski-Doo Formula Plus with only 99 miles on the odometer among others.
Next, Fred Lindsay and Dan Fisher displayed their original 1969 Yamaha SL351, which they had just picked up a week prior to the show. All they had done to it was wash it off. This 1969 snowmobile is quite a find considering 1968 was the first year of the Yamaha snowmobile. Yamaha's first snowmobile, the SL350 (2-stroke, twin cylinder), was introduced in 1968 and was the first snowmobile with slide valve carburetors.
Then there was the restored class. Twenty snowmobiles were in this category showing off some serious muscle, chrome and hard work. Perry Hesteness displayed his 1981 Ski-Doo Sno Pro which made its debut earlier this summer at the Racer's Reunion at the Northwest Museum of Vintage Snowmobiles in Spokane, WA. This fast sled sported a "go chrome or go home" look and had spectators looking it over all weekend long. Not to be overlooked, however, was Hesteness' 1979 Polaris RXL 250. This snowmobile is one of three know to currently exist. It hails from the dominant Midnight Blue Express era of the late 70s where the Polaris factory race team finished on top in 1977 and early 1978 racing seasons before the unfortunate and untimely death of Polaris racer Jerry Bunke on a Canadian race track in March 1978 led to Polaris discontinuing its factory oval race team.
Shiny, clean and chrome describes Tony Crnkovich's pair of Yamaha SRXs, one being a super-fast Sno Pro and the other being the 2008 Editor's Choice top award winner. Crnkovich also displayed his 1985 Yamaha Phazer. The Phazer was a very cool sled in its day and I am sure you all remember when it hit the market.
The Lindsey and Fisher families displayed their premiere restoration in a 1973 Yamaha GP433B as well. Spectacular paint and upholstery work made this restoration look very well done. Congratulation and thanks for making the show. You will find these and other snowmobiles at the Clover Creek Inn snowmobile show this coming Feb. 13-14, 2010 in Montpelier, ID.
Darren DeGraw's 1973 Rupp 440 was back, too. This Rupp was observed all weekend by spectators commenting how fast the Rupp machines were back in the early 1970s. This snowmobile has also been displayed in West Yellowstone during Expo weekend at the vintage snowmobile display. Thanks Darren for bringing it to the show.
Curtis Tate displayed his 1972 John Deere 500, 1973 Polaris TX 340 and 1975 Polaris Colt 340, along with his two Arctic Cat Kitty Cats and other select sleds from his Polaris collection. New this year was his 1966 Polaris Colt, complete with a reproduction sleigh from the 1967 and 1968 Polaris sales brochures. The 1966 Colt received the 2nd place restored award. Look for Tate's complete 60s Polaris Colt collection to be displayed next year. His 1966 and 1968 Polaris Colts will be joined by his 1967 and 1969 Colts, which will be completely restored by the fall of 2010.
Kent Egley's 1963 Polaris Sno Traveler L-60 was displayed by Paul and Curtis Tate who worked to restore this snowmobile in early 2009. The Sno Traveler received the 1st place restored award. It also won an award at the Clover Creek Inn snowmobile show last February in Montpelier, ID, and it received the People's Choice Award at the 6th Annual Vintage Snowmobile Round-Up in West Yellowstone, MT, last March.
SnoWest chose Hesteness' restored 1981 Ski-Doo Sno Pro as the Editor's Choice Award winner. Paul Tate's 1973 Polaris Colt S/S 340 received second place for Editor's Choice.
Thank you to SnoWest for allowing antique and vintage snowmobiles to be on display at this year's Intermountain Snowmobile Show.
Watch for other vintage snowmobile shows to be held throughout the year at an event near you. We invite you to visit the Western States Vintage Snowmobile Association's website at www.wsvsa.comfor more information and an event calendar.
2009 SnoWest Vintage Snowmobile Show Winners
Editor's Choice Award:
1st Place Perry Hesteness 1981 Ski-Doo Sno Pro
2nd Place Paul Tate 1973 Polaris Colt S/S 340
1st Place (62 votes) Jeffrey Fuller 1969 Sears Snow Cruiser 399
2nd Place (45 votes) Tom Whitaker 1975 Arctic Cat El Tigre "Z" 440
1st Place (178 votes) Kent Egley 1963 Polaris Sno Traveler L-60
2nd Place (70 votes) Curtis Tate 1966 Polaris Colt