PERENNIAL. The annual Vintage Snowmobile Ride at Palmer Town Hall would not be complete without the "Pink Panther", an annual participant in the event. A group of 150 riders took part this year, organizers estimated.

Local vintage sleds hit the trail

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Contributing Writer
David Hannula
Snowmobile club members from around the area converged on the Palmer Town Hall last Saturday morning for the annual Vintage Snowmobile Ride.  Club members from Big Lake, Elk Lake and Elk River joined forces for the ride, which followed a recently-groomed trail from Palmer to The Brickyard Bar & Grill in Clear Lake, where participants took lunch before retracing their tracks back to Palmer at the end of the ride.
Numbers of “pure vintage” sleds were down a little this year, club members commented, but an infusion of the more modern sleds kept the overall numbers in the 150 range, according to organizer Larry Gallus.  Those vintage sleds in attendance provided a good cross-section of the machines produced in the “Golden Age” of snowmobiling in the mid- to late-70’s, when 176 manufacturers were building sleds in the U.S. and Canada.
Machines on the ride included examples of old-time Sno-Jet, Evinrude, Ski-Doo, Arctic Cat, Polaris, Rupp, Scorpion, Yamaha and John Deere hardware, and a Bolens Huskee or “Diablo Rouge”-style sled, which had a unique arrangement with the tracks in the front of the machine and a small, pull-behind sled for the rider attached.
The event also brought out a good number of family groups, with parents and kids riding in company during the day.