EGANVILLE – Snowmobile enthusiasts, sled heads as some preferred to be called, gathered at the Snodrifters ice oval in Eganville on January 9 to attend the 16th annual Old Snowmobile Show.
Despite the patchy rain, an impressive variety of lovingly preserved sleds from the 1960s and later were on display in front of the clubhouse.
The Old Snowmobile Show is one of the largest of it’s kind, combining old snowmobiles and a swap meet of sleds and parts in all states of repair.
Daryl Fiebig, a member of Old Sledheads Club in Eganville, and one of the show’s organizers, said eight to 10 hours is nothing to travel to come to this show.
“It’s definitely one of the better ones,” he said.
In terms of the highlights of the show, Fiebig said, “Apparently, in the early ‘70s there were 130-140 manufacturer’s [of sleds], so there’s names of snowmobiles out there you would probably never of heard of and you’ll probably never hear of again and some unusual and rare stuff.”
HOW THE SHOW STARTED
Mark Childerhose, or Sauce as he is known, explained how the Old Snowmobile Show started. Four friends, Childerhose, Brent Loback, Shawn Davidson and Gerry Bimm all enjoyed old sleds and thought they would form a club.
People asked them about repairs and how to get parts so they decided to hold a show, said Childerhose.
He has been rebuilding sleds for 25 years. It started as a hobby, he had no job and no income. Since he couldn’t get a job, he thought of buying a couple of machines, fixing them and then selling them. He keeps investing in more sleds.
Childerhose said it’s not so much a business, “It’s more trying to help people because, it might take five machines to make one good one up with all the parts because the parts have been taken off. It’s so hard to find the parts now, and in the last 25 years, it’s gotten harder.”
Childerhose’s own favourite sled is one he bought in Philadelphia, it was a Rupp built in 1966. There were only 600 made, and were never sold in Canada.
Mickey Rupp was an Indy race driver and when he first tried a snowmobile, he was disappointed with the performance, so he started building his own.
“It was a very superior machine,” Childerhose said. “The technology in those machines is very superior to anything around at that time.”
Get your January 13, 2016 edition of The Valley Gazette to read the full story.