Let’s ride old vintage sleds!

Photo courtesy of Skip Schulz The cold weather didn’t stop these members of the MTU Sledheads!

The segment of snowmobiling that continues to grow is vintage snowmobiling. Different groups and businesses throughout the Copper Country will once again have vintage snowmobile rides this winter.

Scott Collins of Baraga County and the Michigan Tech Sledheads will once again bring the old sleds out and ride the snow — snow we have all been waiting for.

For years, a group of vintage snowmobilers, based out of Copper Harbor, went for a monthly ride. That group asked the Boondock Inn of Twin Lakes to take over the ride. Paul Kotchon states, “The group that put the rides on in Copper Harbor approached me about moving it to Twin Lakes. We have three rides planned, all leaving the Boondock Inn.”

The first ride will be on Feb 29. This is called the Iron Butt ride. It is a 50-mile ride that departs the Boondock Inn at 10 a.m. EST.

Fifty miles with an old vintage sled? Back in 1968 when I first started riding our Polaris Charger 398, we would be happy to go 15 miles!

Hopefully everyone knows their machine well enough to know what to bring along. Recovery machines will be available to assist if something goes wrong.

I would have to have extra drive belts and a box of spark plugs. However, those that partake in vintage sled rides take special care of their old sled! It’s not just those 50 and older that have a vintage sled. Just ask any of the Michigan Tech Sledheads.

“I think we see them start about mid 40s, starting to see some of the younger riders show some interest in the vintage iron,” Kotchon states. “My first sled was a Evinrude Bobcat, but my first freedom machine was a ’73 Rupp sport. Current vintage ride is a ’77 Polaris 440 Cobra and looking for the right Rupp to add.”

For the upcoming Daily Mining Gazette “Snowmobile Frenzy” tab we are asking people to let us know what their first snowmobile was. We would love to have you tell us your memories of that first sled. If possible, send us a picture with your comments. We’ll have it in the Snowmobile Frenzy! Email it to: clerk@mininggazette.com.

What makes vintage snowmobilers so special is how some of them are even decked out in the same snowmobile suits they wore back in the ’60s and ’70s!

“Yes, we see more of the vintage Arctic Cat suits. Cat had some really cool gear back in the day,” Kotchon comments with a smile.

I posed the question to Kotchon as to why he thinks there has been a resurgence in the interest in Vintage Snowmobile’s? “Price of new equipment and for most of us it is what we grew up riding so there is that part of it looking back with fond memories and sleds we loved.”

The other vintage snowmobile rides to leave the Boondock Inn of Twin Lakes will be on March 1, when they will ride to the Bill Nichols Trestles, then on to Pat’s Motorsports. The next day, March 2, they will have a short ride and a cookout.

“Everyone with a vintage sled is invited. We get riders from all over the Midwest,” concluded Kotchon.

Contact Paul at the Boondock Inn of Twin Lakes for more Information. The Boondock Inn was formerly Wyandotte,

Whether you’re riding that old Rupp, or your grandparents’ Ski-Daddler, vintage riders are a close-knit fraternity. They would love to meet you! So Let’s Ride!


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