Spring like weather fails to stop Snowfest

February 25, 2016

Dave Swiler lines vintage racers up in front of the historic Marion Fairgrounds Grandstand, while racers wait in anticipation for the green flag start.

Dave Swiler lines vintage racers up in front of the historic Marion Fairgrounds Grandstand, while racers wait in anticipation for the green flag start.

By Steve Landon
Correspondent

In 2015 weeks of subzero temperatures and biting cold wind proved great for building the ice oval at the Marion Fairgrounds/Veterans Memorial Park. Fortunately old Mother Nature released her icy grip in time to make last year’s event a total success. Fast-forward one year later when temperatures near 50 degree’s, poor snow cover and plenty of water laying around would make the Eighth Annual Marion Snowfest feel like a summer day at the beach.

Presented by the Marion Snowmobile Club, Snowfest has become one of the biggest winter events in Northern Lower Michigan drawing snowmobilers from across the region and beyond. Packed into one exciting day the festival features a snowmobile swap meet, vintage show and the always ever popular vintage snowmobile races on the iced fairground oval.

Faced with an El Nino weather pattern and competition from several Michigan events, some figured attendance and entries would be down, however, once again the veteran group held their own. Several vendor’s kept shoppers busy looking for late season deals. In the vintage show corral a good selection of vintage sleds unique and common kept history buffs busy. Due to the weather related cancellation of a downstate vintage race entries were better than expected, in fact over over 244 race sleds took the green flag on the oval. Beyond the expected slush and water the ice held up surprisingly well much to everyone’s amazement.

While there were a few spills all were minor, in fact drivers ran a bit slower than in past years when good hard ice made for higher speeds.

Veteran Bob Lockhart of Leroy, Mich., was once again the top local winner posting victories in 1975 & Older Vintage Pro and 1980 & Older Trail Stock Fan. Other area winners were; Bailey Lockhart, Joseph Stewart – Marion, Todd Cole – Cadillac, Aaron Laughlin – Marion, Colton Rawson – Leroy, Ken VanPolen – Marion, James Gibel – Lake City, Greg Helsel – Lake City and Ryan Blain of Lake, MI.

Colton Rawson is the Grandson of former Team Highland driver Allen McQuestion. Marion was his third ever oval race. He won 340 Twin Stock Free Air, took Second in 440 Twin Stock Free Air and fourth in 340 Twin Improved Free Air.

In the vintage show Al Putman had a great day taking home awards for “Best Twin Track” Feature Sled – 1971 LVI Roamer and “Best Original” -1970 Wheel Horse Safari. Austin Stamper took “Best Restored Odd Ball” with his 1964 Wolverine Mini, “Best Restored” honors went to Scott Schepers 1970 ski doo Olympic 335. “Best Display” went to Jim Blain’s beautiful Polaris display. “Best Race sled” was presented to Ron Kuripola’s 1977 Yamaha, Terry Church won “Best of Show with his 1968 Sno-Jet. Kelly Defrain captured The Don Niver Memorial Award with a 1972 Arctic Cat kitty Cat.

Thanks to hard working volunteers, contributing sponsors, and the best racers and winter sports fans in Michigan the Marion Snowfest was a huge success. Next up on the clubs agenda is the Marion Snowmobile Swap Meet in October of 2016.

The Marion Snowmobile Club is an all volunteer organization whose efforts and hard work make the Snowfest happen without them the event would not be possible. They are always in need of volunteers, to get involved contact Rich at 231-878-2746 • Todd at 231-846-1928 or Kelly at 231-825-0166.

Lexi Schepers, #23 slides past #14, Seth Duncan in the 8-12 year old HR Single Stock class. The end result of the race was Lexi took 3rd place while Seth took second.

Lexi Schepers, #23 slides past #14, Seth Duncan in the 8-12 year old HR Single Stock class. The end result of the race was Lexi took 3rd place while Seth took second.

Hot Rod Macy Lloyd took 2nd place in 120 stock.

Hot Rod Macy Lloyd took 2nd place in 120 stock.

#666 James Gibel powers past his competion in racing action during Saturday’s vintage racing event.

#666 James Gibel powers past his competion in racing action during Saturday’s vintage racing event.

A couple of vintage swappers check out a suspension and other goodies available for sale at Snowfest.

A couple of vintage swappers check out a suspension and other goodies available for sale at Snowfest.

This years featured sled, Twin Tracks, drew a lot of  attention at this year’s vintage show.

This years featured sled, Twin Tracks, drew a lot of
attention at this year’s vintage show.

#72, Corey Defraine gets a little coaching before the Kitty Cat races while #45, Lincoln Furman listens to get some added tips.

#72, Corey Defraine gets a little coaching before the Kitty Cat races while #45, Lincoln Furman listens to get some added tips.





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