It was snowmobile heaven for thousands of people who attended the Waconia 2013 Ride In event held at Lake Waconia Regional Park Jan. 26-27. The annual event, which is hosted by Midwest Vintage Snowmobile Shows (MVSS) and celebrated its 23rd year in 2013, is billed as “the world’s largest vintage and antique snowmobile event.”
According to Valdi Stefanson, president of the Antique Snowmobile Club of America and secretary and webmaster for the Waconia Ride-In Committee, about 5,000 people attended the Ride In this year.
“This is down, modestly, from previous years,” he noted. “We were surprised how many people showed up, despite the poor snow conditions and rain forecast on Sunday. To our delight, many traditional attendees showed up both days, but brought their car instead of their truck, trailer and vintage snowmobiles. They still wanted to see the events, visit with fellow sled-heads and experience the featured snowmobiles.”
The featured sleds were Scorpion and Brut this year. In 2014, Yamaha and Yamaha powered other sleds will be the featured snowmobiles.
Stefanson reported that the formal trail ride, one of the favorite activities of the Ride In, had to be cancelled because of lack of snow on the lake.
“All the snow was blown up on the south shore, and there was a band on snow about one mile in length that certainly got used a lot both days,” he said. “That is, those that brought sleds certainly used them. The narrow patch of snow one mile long got chewed up by those there!”
The judged snowmobile show on Sunday attracted 442 participants.
“Typically, we would see 500 participants,” Stefanson said. “Most participants said that they had their trailers loaded already and came to the judged show ‘hell or high water,’ despite the scary weather report.”
As for Sunday’s scary weather, it started with rain which soon turned to snow.
“About 1 p.m., the rain started to fall on the machines lined up for judging — too bad,” Stefanson said. “However, it did turn to snow rather quickly. Nonetheless, many participants loaded up and headed home early because they worried about their commute home. Still, the judging was done by then. We have a lot of plaques to mail out — people who didn’t stick around for the awards ceremony at 3 p.m.”
All in all, however, Stefanson said the Ride In was a success, outside of the trail ride cancellation.
“We are proud of the grit of our vintage snowmobile aficionados,” he said.
For more information, including results from the judged show, visit MVSS at www.mwvss.com.
Contact Todd Moen at [email protected]