Summer’s still in full swing, but some in the region aren’t giving up the snow.
Snow machines, that is, the old sleds, and their passion for them has led several North Country men and one from across the river to nab top awards during the 14th annual Vintage Snowmobile Club of America’s national show last weekend in Lowville, New York.
“It’s a huge show, it has the top sleds,” Ed “Midge” Rosebrook, of Lancaster, said Thursday. “This is very exciting for North Country men to come away with trophies against the finest vintage snowmobiles in the country, including Canada.”
Rosebrook’s 1975 Polaris 440 Sno Pro PDC (Professional Driver’s Circuit) Clone race sled, restored by Marc Belanger, of Whitefield, took third-place trophy.
Also grabbing third place was the 1975 Arctic Cat 440 El Tigre sled owned by Bruce Beaurivage, formerly of Pittsburg.
Paul Bellefeuille, who restored the Northeastern Speedway race track in Waterford, came away with three first-place trophies and one second place.
Rosebrook, who runs the Eastern Snowmobile Racing Hall of Fame with Paul Crane, owner of Crane’s Snowmobile Museum, in Lancaster, where the hall of fame is based, sent Bellefeuille a note of congratulation.
The awards are quite a feat considering there were more than 440 entries last weekend, out of which 419 were judged, said Rosebrook.
Rosebrook’s sled began life as a 1977 Polaris 440 TX.
“It was given to me as a going away gift when I retired from North Country Ford in 2016,” he said.
When he was younger, Rosebrook worked with his uncle at a local Polaris dealership, and everyone in town knew he was a Polaris man.
He had a deal with Belanger - if Belanger were to convert Rosebrook’s 1977 sled into the 1975 PDC, Rosebrook would give Belanger his 1975 GMC Beau James truck, one of just 3,000 made, that Rosebrook bought from Belanger’s grandfather and that Belanger had always wanted.
Belanger agreed, and spent five to six months as well as a good chunk of money converting the machine.
“I was quite surprised by the win,” Belanger said. “The class they placed me in was the custom sled class and there were about 30 sleds in that class.”
Belanger’s father, Raymond, helped with the engine and mechanics, and his son, Benjamin, did the gas tank. A friend, Jerry McGee, helped Belanger with the fabrication work.
“It was a group effort,” said Belanger. “It was a fun project and I’m glad I did it. My passion is vintage snowmobiles.”