ORR - The smell of two-stroke exhaust filled the air over Elephant Lake on Saturday as several dozen vintage snow machines and their owners took part in the annual antique snowmobile races at …
ORR - The smell of two-stroke exhaust filled the air over Elephant Lake on Saturday as several dozen vintage snow machines and their owners took part in the annual antique snowmobile races at Melgeorge’s Resort.
About 80 riders, ranging in age from seven to 83, had come from across the Midwest to show off their skills and their old snow machines to a crowd of around 400 spectators.
One of those riders was Danny Peterson of Macintosh.
“I came across the races by accident about 10 years ago,” he said. “I knew I needed to come back.”
Peterson proudly showed off his 1980 TXL Indy Polaris. He said his ’68 Skiddadler was still on its way to the resort.
“My dad bought us a ’65 Polaris back in ’67,” he said. “I’ve been with it (snowmobiling) since then. You can get places on a snowmobile you can’t anyway else.”
Peterson said whether it was crossing frozen lakes or seeing wildlife on trails in the back woods, the thrill of riding his snow machine has never worn off.
And now his grandkids have all joined him on the trails.
While 2019 marked the thirty-third year of the races at Melgeorge’s, the actual event goes back much longer.
“It began more than 33 years ago with my dad (Ted Melgeorge) and his friend Elmer Smith,” resort owner Carla Koch said. “The race was originally named for Elmer and was on Pelican Lake.”
As the years progressed, Koch said, her family gradually took over the races and 33 years ago, the event made its move to its current location on Elephant Lake.
While Elmer’s name dropped off the billing many years ago, his legacy still lives on with an award named in his honor for the best unrestored sled.
The snowmobiles themselves haven’t changed much, Koch said, but the size of the event has, going from around a dozen racers and only about 30 spectators in the early years to hundreds of spectators and many dozens of racers.
“We also changed the style,” Koch said. “Everyone used to race on the same track, now there are different divisions.”
What is defined as “vintage” has also changed with various national organizations adding new years that can be called antiques for the sake of racing.
Koch said the event at Melgeorge’s is different from other antique snowmobile races. She said most places have a race and a party eventually breaks out. On Elephant Lake, she says, it’s a party where a race breaks out.
Aside from racing, the event also raises money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Koch said this year the event raised just over $2,100 for the foundation.
Antique Division Winners
(listed first; then second (where applicable)
Rear engine 8 HP and under: Terry Smith, Mora, 1964 Polaris K800; Jeff Udell, Mound, Polaris Sno Traveler.
Rear engine 9 HP and over: Ryan Holman, Orr, 1968 Snowbug; Ryan Rolman, Orr, 1969 Autoboggin.
2 Cycle 9 HP and under: Jack Carlson, Alborn, 1965 Polaris Snow Trailer; Jim Amundson, Chatfield, 1965 Ski-doo Chalet.
2 Cycle 10 HP and over: Lee Carlson, Macintosh, 1966 Mustang; Danny Peterson, Macintosh, 1968 Skidoddler.
4 Cycle 9 HP and under: Terry Smith, Cedar, 1965 Arctic Cat D 100.
Classic Division Winners
250-300 CC’s - Stock Air Cooler: Casey Fenske, Ely, 1971 Arctic Lynx; Todd Carlson, Duluth, 1972 Arctic Cat Lynx.
250-300 CC’s - Modified Air Cooled: Tyler Kehoe, Cook, 1974 Polaris Colt; Wall Holm, Detroit Lakes, 1970 Skiroule.
340-400 CC’s - Stock Air Cooled: Austin Schelde, Cook, 1977 Polaris TX; Nels Gabrielson, Orr, 1973 Skidoo TNT.
340-400 CC’s - Modified Air Cooled: Dale Brunner, Cook, 1973 TXL Polaris; Clint Metz, Isanti, 1976 Polaris Colt.
340-400 CC’s - Stock Liquid Cooled: Drew Alberts, Virginia, 1979 TXL Polaris.
440-500 CCs Stock Liquid Cooled: Tom Deere, Elko 1977 John Deere Liquid Fire; Matt Prebarich, Eveleth, 1976 Arctic Cat Z.
440 -500 CC’s - Stock Air Cooled: Tom Long, Orr, 1976 Arctic Cat El Tigre; Carey Moore, Onalaska, Wis., 1975 Suzuki 440 Fury.
440-500 CC’s - Modified Air Cooled: Jesse Brunner, Cook, 1977 Arctic Cat El Tigre; Jim Lafavor, Hibbing, 1974 Am GPX 440.
500 CC’s and up - Stock Liquid Cooled - Tom Deer, Elko, 1977 John Deere Liquid Fire.
500 CC’s and up - Stock Air Cooled - Carey Moore, Onalaska, Wis., 1975 Suzuki Fury; Jacob Holman, Orr, 1976 Pantera.
500 CC’s and up - Modified Air Cooled: Tom Deer, Elko, 1975 Rupp Nitro.
250-300 CC’s Stock: Sawyer Smith, Mora, 1981 Yamaha Exciter 250; Val Megeorge, Superior, Wis., 1980 Yamaha Enticer.
250-300 CC’s Modified: Melody Wald, Elko, 1980 Arctic Cat Lynx.
340-400 CC’s modified: Harrison Lafavour, Hibbing.
340 - 400 CC’s stock: Scott Gilette, Stacy, 1980 TX Polaris; Danny Peterson, Macintosh, 1980 Polaris TXL.
440-500 CC’s stock: Wayne Schlauderoff, Detroit, 1980 Skidoo Everest.
440-500 CC’s modified: Tom Deer, Elko, 1979 Arctic Cat Pantera; Andy Brunner, Cook, 1980 Yamaha.