By Chris Fiore
Mammoth Lakes, Calif. - Bruce Capitan, "The Ambassador of Snowmobiling," died from injuries sustained in a truck accident on Oct. 6, 2009.
The first time I met Bruce was just after I had written in the Mammoth Times, condemning the mapping and design of the trail system in Mammoth. I was verbally attacked by him and others at the local snowmobile meeting, in defense of their beloved riding area.
It took two months for Bruce to admit that he agreed with me and from then on we were great friends. After attending my wedding 11 years ago, we planned our first of many trips to Afton, WY, where his wild story telling became legend.
Bruce, and his friends John Mueller, Jerry Hallum, Tico Pena and I, ventured into the world of big bore snowmobiles and we had PSI 995-based Polaris chassis and loved wrestling them in the mountains of Wyoming and Utah, as well as here in California. He was a great rider—who refused to wear a helmet—and was supposedly the only person without a helmet who rode with the Seven Devils Lodge crew.
Whenever there was a political or media ride in Mammoth Lakes, Bruce and his girlfriend Kelsey would offer to lead the ride, showing visitors the deepest and hardest riding Mammoth Lakes had to offer.
While never holding office in his local club, he still organized such great rides as his Champagne Brunch ride. A total of 44 snowmobiles made the 70-mile trek from Mammoth to the Mono Inn for a specially prepared brunch that left everyone wondering why we didn't do that every Sunday.
He was always ready to take a newcomer under his wing.
There is a hole in Mammoth Lakes that only time and good snow will heal.