Winter Fun Day with Spina Bifida Planned for Jan. 10 at Huxley

Despite the predicted cold weather and minimal trail conditions, the Saylorville Dam Snowmobile Club in Region 7, in conjunction with the ISSA, will host the 10th Annual Winter Fun Day for families of the Spina Bifida Association of Iowa (SBAI), the ISSA's official charity, on Sunday, Jan. 10.

Preceded by the ISSA's monthly board meeting at 9 a.m., the festivities begin around 11 a.m. at the Safe Room in Huxley, a multi-use complex that also houses the middle school, park and rec division, and the police department.

Held at various locations within Huxley, the charity event began in 2007 as a way for families of children with spina bifida to interact on a personal level with the ISSA members whose generous donations have benefited their organization. The afternoon is filled with a meal, entertainment and, weather and trail permitting, a short snowmobile trip on the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail. If conditions do not warrant a cutter ride, back-up plans are to rely on utility vehicles (UTV) on city streets.

"With this being our 10th anniversary, it is a pretty significant event for our organization and for our friends with spina bifida," explained Past ISSA President Bruno Andreini, who serves as a liaison on the SBAI board. "We would love a great turnout of snowmobilers there, and if the snow doesn't arrive by then, we have other arrangements planned."

The ISSA has supported the SBAI since 1982. Spina bifida families rely on donations to help with travel and lodging costs associated with doctors'  visits; crutches and wheelchairs for mobility; and promotional material to educate families on the spinal cord condition.

For more information on the fun day or if you are able to provide a cutter, two-up sled or UTV, please contact Andreini at (515) 240-3858.

International Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week Jan. 16-24

The ISSA is joining the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA) in observance of Jan. 16-24 as International Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week. A safety proclamation has been requested from Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, and club-related activities and safety classes are being encouraged at the local level.

"The purpose of International Snowmobile Safety Week is to expose people to safe snowmobiling practices and to demonstrate how operating safely can prevent mishaps," explained ISMA President Ed Klim. "Snowmobiling is a fun and exciting family activity enjoyed by over four million people across the United States and Canada. The sport is a safe and enjoyable form of recreation if done properly and with respect."

In Iowa, snowmobiles are operated by men, women and children of all ages. Depending on weather conditions, approximately 8,000 miles of snow-covered trails are maintained and groomed by snowmobile club volunteers across the state and enjoyed by a variety of winter recreationists. Activities and events held during Snowmobile Safety Awareness Week will promote responsible attitudes and actions that will foster the safe, family image of snowmobiling.

"Safe Snowmobiling means riding within your own capabilities, operating at safe and appropriate speeds for the terrain and never drinking alcoholic beverages before or while driving," explained ISSA President Merv Hoermann. "Always wear a helmet and adequate clothing, stay within designated riding areas and always snowmobile with another person, never alone."

For the third year in a row, a member of the Sac County Snow Lovers of Region 6 has won the $10,000 grand prize toward the purchase of a new snowmobile in the ISSA's annual Grand Raffle drawing. ISSA Region 6 Director and Sac County club member Gene Gerdes' name was drawn at the ISSA's annual convention in Storm Lake Nov. 21. Presenting the check to Gerdes, a mechanic at Black Hawk Marine in Lake View, is ISSA Raffle Committee Chair Gary McVicker.

Jack Race Postponed to February

A mild December and an inconsistent start to January have forced officials with the Jack Helgren Memorial Race to postpone its seventh annual event from Jan. 15-16 to its back-up dates of Feb. 12-13.

"We have decided to postpone our race until February due to inadequate ice on Clear Lake," explained race organizer Gary McVicker Jan. 5. "We haven't missed a year yet, and we didn't want to start now. Hopefully, the ice will be thick enough in a month."

If conditions do permit, the race will be held on the lake next to Clear Lake State Park, the host site for the event for the past four years. The two-day event begins Friday night, Feb. 12, with pre-registration and a vintage cruise around the lake. Radar runs kick off the following morning at 9 a.m. with racing commencing at 10 a.m.

Once again boasting $4,000 in prize money, this year's competition will feature up to 20 classes of snowmobile racing. In true LeMans style, each race will begin with the rider separated from his or her sled and then running to start the engine after race officials drop their arms. Racers then snake their way around an unmanicured, mile-long course with electronic lap-counters keeping track of their progress.

Now in its seventh year, the race weekend honors the memory of Jack Helgren, a snowmobile dealer from Mason City who passed away in 2009. McVicker was a close family friend and wanted to commemorate Helgren's contributions to the sport locally.

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Plans Underway for Second Annual David Carmichael Memorial Ride

After getting snakebit by last winter’s inconsistent snowfall and poor trails, friends and family of the late David Carmichael are attempting another memorial ride this winter, conditions permitting.

Instead of a three-day ride across Iowa, organizers are planning a two-day event in the Cresco area the last weekend in February. Base camp will be the Super 8 motel, and there is a $25 minimum donation to ride. Additional sponsorships are encouraged.

Held Feb. 26-27, the two-day ride is intended to commemorate the contributions of Carmichael and to honor his legacy to organized snowmobiling in Iowa. He served as ISSA President from 1994 to 1995 and remained active in the association for 40 years.

Carmichael, a charter member of the Cedar Falls Sno Hawks snowmobile club of Region 4, passed away Dec. 23, 2013, at his rural Tripoli home following a short battle with ALS. He was 70 years old. Carmichael’s son and current Sno Hawks President Brian Carmichael is spearheading the ride along with other Sno Hawks members and close family friends and ISSA officers Scott and Dennis Nauman.

Proceeds from the ride will benefit the ISSA Education and Scholarship Foundation. Funds raised from last year’s event went toward the Iowa ALS Chapter. While the ride did not take place last year, participants still met in Osage for an evening meal and fellowship, thus making the 2016 attempt the Second Annual David Carmichael Memorial Ride.        

For more information on this year’s event, contact Brian Carmichael at (319) 215-5006, Scott Nauman at (641) 425-9898 or Dennis Nauman at (641) 425-4141.