The International Snowmobile Hall of Fame has just announced its 2019 inductees.
Christine Jourdain Barker
Program Developer & Club Organizer
Born into a snowmobiling family has given Christine Jourdain Barker from Howell, MI, a lifetime of involvement in the sport. In 1995, the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ASCA) was formed and she was chosen as its executive director, a position she continues to hold 24 years later.
During that time Barker provided dedicated and tireless leadership to the advancement of snowmobiling through the state associations, development of leadership skills, advocating land use and access and the creation of national partnerships with numerous other outdoor land use groups. She has created and organizes the "ASCA Fly-In" in Washington, D.C. that each year brings snowmobilers from across the nation to meet, face-to-face, with more than 250 of their legislators. She schedules all of these meetings, along with additional seminars with U.S. government agency officials to educate snowmobile association attendees. Another of her programs is the "Enlightenment Rides" that take members of the U.S. Forest Service on rides to educate them about snowmobile issues affecting the national forests.
There are numerous other programs she manages along with her skillful management of the daily duties of managing ACSA. Whatever they are, Barker can be found not only "in the middle" but also "front and center" of the action. ASCA has since grown to become known as the "Voice of U.S. snowmobiling."
For her tireless devotion to the snowmobilers of ACSA, Christine Jourdain Barker is being inducted into the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame, Class of 2019.
Trail & Program Developer
Grand Rapids, MN
One of the brightest lights in Minnesota's trail development and building is Les Ollila. The Grand Rapids native spent 36 years in the DNR before retiring in 2011. A lifetime advocate for trails, Ollila continues to push for improved trail systems in the state even in his retirement.
As a staunch advocate for trails, he was a major player right from the start in the development of the 165-mile long Taconite State Trail that took several years to finish. Other trails he was instrumental in developing are the Arrowhead and C.J. Ramstad North Shore State Trails that are premier trails in the state.
Today Minnesota offers more than 22,000 miles of funded trails, many of which Ollila had a hand in developing. While he worked mainly in the MN DNR Region 2 of Northeast Minnesota, his influence on trail programs can be seen throughout the state. In addition, Ollila organized groomer demos which have grown to statewide proportions, along with Governor Rides with legislators, Innkeeper Rides and support of other rides to educate non-snowmobilers about the sport and its influence on the economy.
While he is retired from active duty with the MN DNR, Ollila continues his efforts to improve the state's snowmobile trail systems by still serving on many committees and snowmobile trail building organizations. This dedication to the sport has seen him being the recipient of numerous awards honoring his service.
Now Les Ollila can add one more award as he is being inducted into the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame for the Class of 2019.
Don & Diane Reed
Snowmobiling started for this couple while they were stationed at the KI Sawyer Air Force Base in the UP of Michigan. What has followed is a 21-year commitment by both of them to promote and expand the sport in the Seney area of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Following their military retirement, they have taken this very small and almost unnoticed town and turned it into a mecca for snowmobilers. Don has worked his way up through the local club and regional levels to having served the Michigan Snowmobile Association as president. During all this time, Diane has been at his side with her knowledge of computers and a special talent for coordinating the numerous events they have created. Diane many times is behind the scenes but still front and center of the action.
Just one of their numerous events is the Snowmobile Veterans Ride, which in 14 years has grown to more than 350 participants and is now the largest such event in the U.S. Both Don and Diane spearhead this event. They also run the annual Groomer's Ball and groomer show. Don is the area Trail Boss and has trained 25 groomer operators, served 10 years on the BOD of MSA, rewrote the DNR Grant-in-Aid Handbook, served as vice-chair of the Midwest Chapter of the American Council of Snowmobile Associations and served many other numerous snowmobile organizations with his skilled knowledge and dedication to the sport. Diane and Don live and breathe snowmobiling 24/7/52 with an infectious enthusiasm that they are quick to share. They work as a well organized and very talented team in all their endeavors.
It is for this reason they are being inducted together into the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame, Class of 2019
As a loyal employee of Mercury Marine when it made its first snowmobiles back in 1968, Wally Thill bought his first snowmobile. He soon became involved in organized snowmobiling and became a director for the newly formed Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs (AWSC).
That was 50 years ago and he remains a director today. With his 50 years of service to the AWSC, Thill has championed the sport from the grass roots of its formation and early struggles through its many legislative victories and has been at the front of each effort. In the early days of the AWSC, Thill was instrumental in the forming of many area clubs. Always promoting safe and responsible snowmobiling, he recognized the importance and value of clubs and organized snowmobilers.
Thill has served many years as chairman of the AWSC Legislative Committee, Insurance Committee and also Audit Committee where his financial skills are utilized. A realtor by vocation, Thill is also active in politics and the betterment of his community. He started an EMS service in the county, became an EMT and served as commissioner of the service. Noted as man of extreme character, Thill is well respected by his peers and associates.
Along with his wife, Mary Ann, Thill is a tireless worker for his community and the promotion of the sport of snowmobiling. His 50 years of dedicated service prove this attribute.
For this, Wally Thill is now being inducted into the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame, Class of 2019.
ISHOF Snowmobile Club of the Year 2019
Barnstormers of Sayner, Inc.
Born in 1967 in Henry Sayner's barn—thus the name Barnstormers—and chartered in 1969, this club now celebrates 50 years of life. Its original 37 members have now grown to more than 280. They come from all over the snowbelt and four states. The club grooms 80 miles of trails, 95 percent of which are located on DNR land.
Their location is central to six different towns giving them the name "The Hub of Vilas County" as their trails all interconnect with these towns. Grooming funds come from five yearly fundraisers with some of the proceeds also being donated to six different local charities. A website keeps members and snowmobilers informed of the club's activities. Being located in Sayner, home of the Eliason snowmobile, the first personal sized snowmobile built in 1924 and on display there, helps the club bring many visitors to their trails. The Sayner Barnstormers are the International Snowmobile Club of the Year for 2019.
For more information on the Sayner Barnstormers, visit www.saynerbarnstormers.com
ISHOF Dealer of the Year 2019 - sponsored by Snow Goer
Rob's Performance Motorsports
Johnson Creek, WI
This Ski-Doo dealership can count 35 years of award winning sales and service to its customers. Located in the small town of Johnson Creek in southern Wisconsin, its reputation for quality spreads throughout the state.
Rob Strauss, owner, strongly believes in the value of clubs as being necessary for the sport to grow, prosper and survive. More than 90 percent of the dealership's many team members are members of area snowmobile clubs. More than 40 area clubs and associations have benefited from his generosity to the tune of more than $10,000 in contributions for support this past year alone. The dealership has won 17 Ski-Doo District, 7 Ski-Doo Regional and 4 Ski-Doo National Dealer of the Year awards.
Now Strauss can add one more award, the International Snowmobile Dealer of the Year for 2019 to this amazing dealership's success story.
For more information on Rob's Performance Motorsports. Visit www.robsperformance.com.
The International Snowmobile Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Induction Ceremony Weekend celebrates and honors those involved in the sport of snowmobiling, recognizing a new class inducted into the Hall.
You can join this year's ISHOF Induction Weekend with fun activities of interest in Eagle River, WI, beginning on Friday, Sept. 20, with a private group fish fry or chicken (your choice) and a silent auction. This was a big hit last year with lots of time for socializing with old friends and making new ones. The formal sit down prime rib or chicken dinner (your choice) to officially honor the Class of 2019 as they're inducted into the Hall is on Saturday, Sept. 21 (4:30 p.m. cocktails; 5:45 p.m. dinner; 7 p.m. induction ceremonies).
Show your support for the newly inducted Hall of Fame Class of 2019 and all special award recipients by registering online now to attend. All major credit cards and PayPal are accepted for secure online payment with immediate receipt and event info provided to you via e-mail with your paid registration.
NOTE: Registration REQUIRED for ALL guests and supporters to attend. We invite all industry representatives, dealership personnel, club members, motorsports enthusiasts, friends, fans and supporters alike to attend this ISHOF annual special event in full honor and recognition of the inductees.
For more information visit www.ishof.com.