Truly a Labor Of Love (Brad Stafford)
Published on Tuesday, January 15, 2013 in Guest Columns, News & Updates
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I can’t remember who actually invited me to my first snowmobile club meeting, what year it was or even why I actually went. But I do know that it was quite a few winters ago, and that it changed the way I looked at the sport that I have loved since my first ride on a Kitty Kat.

Sitting there looking around the room there were a dozen or so familiar “older” faces of gentleman that I had seen around town. I remember the conversations about landowners getting ready to close trails because of snowmobilers ignoring the stay on trail signs. They were wondering where they could possibly scrounge up materials for bridges and trail signs. They also talked about different personally owned sleds they used as groomers, as there were no club-owned machines at that time.

By the end of the night there were lots of plans, hopes and “what-ifs” that were thoroughly discussed. There was also a work bee scheduled for next Sunday that I agreed to help out with. The plan was to repair a bridge and trim back a trail that Mother Nature had spent all summer trying to take back. On the way home that day, I remember asking out loud “what I had gotten myself into.”

Where that trail went doesn’t matter, where it took me does. I expected to go out there, bust my back, dull my saw and listen to a bunch of guys talk about nothing, and I wasn’t disappointed. But I also lost track of time… before I knew it the day was over. I found myself laughing with my fellow trailblazers and best of all at myself. I got a new appreciation for the trails that I had ridden for years and really never thought about how they got there or stayed open. I saw the trails, our trails, in a different light then I ever had before. I walked back to the truck that day with a feeling of pride and accomplishment. I also realized that I had been right, my back was sore, my saw was dull and the last conversation we had was, “Where are we going next week?”

Since then I have continued to sit alongside my fellow club members at monthly meetings where we plan for the future, hope for new trails and groomers and dream of the “what-ifs.” We are still cutting trails, building bridges and working with landowners all for the mere love of the sport and so others can enjoy it with us.

I constantly get asked, “Why do you it?” The real answer is way too long for this column but if you ask me in person I will tell you. The short version is, “I love it.” I love taking a walk and clearing trails with friends that I will ride together with when the snow flies. I love to help make a bridge safe so we won’t have to dig our sleds out of a brook. I love the smiles on the faces that enjoy our clubs trails. Yes, that’s the short version.

So yet again, I invite you all to join a club, not just by buying a trail pass, but in spirit, by volunteering for a work-bee, helping out at a function or going to a meeting. Show your support and appreciation. If you love snowmobiling, then you will love doing this, too! Ride safe, respect others and keep the rubber side down!

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