Brian Erickson, past president of SDSA and a member of the Town & Country Snowmobile Club was named 2021 Snowmobiler of the Year by American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA) at the 53rd International Snowmobile Congress. Brian was also elected as a director at large to the ACSA board while at Congress. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! Pictured are Brian, his wife Tracey, and his parents, Lois & LeRoy. We managed to surprise Brian and sneak his parents into the banquet so they could see him find out he had won the award!
Congratulations to our two scholarship winners! Each will receive $500.
Bradley Heinemann from Egan, SD was the first recipient. Brad plans to attend Dakota State University majoring in Cyber Operations.
Next winner is Caeden Bunde of Garretson, SD. Caeden plans to attend SDSU for ag business.
South Dakota Snowmobile Association (SDSA) is excited to announce that we’ve been awarded a $3000 grant through The International Snowmobile Manufacturer’s Association (ISMA) to help us host a successful Governor’s Ride in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
ISMA is an organization representing the four snowmobile manufacturers (Arctic Cat, Ski-doo, Polaris, & Yamaha). They coordinate committees within the industry to handle concerns such as safety, promoting the lifestyle activity of snowmobiling, document accurate statistics, reporting the growth of the industry and the positive economic impact snowmobiling has throughout the world.
SDSA is host to the annual Governor’s Snowmobile Ride headquartered from Hardy Camp, near Lead, SD which is held on the Saturday of the President’s Day Weekend in February. This year’s ride, the 42nd, will be held on February 13th in honor of South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem and her family, as well as Lt. Governor Larry Rhoden and all South Dakota Senators and Representatives. Invitations have also been extended to US Forest Service, Black Hills Badlands and Lakes Association, and several key people from South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks (GF&P).
The Governor’s Ride is an opportunity for SDSA members to showcase the Black Hills Snowmobile Trail system, one of the finest in the country featuring 350 miles of marked and groomed trails. This annual event continues to grow in legislative attendees and continues to increase the opportunities SDSA has to foster relationships that can be used to secure and maintain the necessary support from the legislators for land access throughout the Black Hills Snowmobile Trail system as well as the 1100+ miles of trail that make up the East River Trail System. Also highlighted throughout the day is the $130 million economic impact that snowmobiling brings to South Dakota on an annual basis.
The Governor’s Ride is a full day event beginning with a brunch breakfast served at Hardy Camp. This year’s breakfast will be served by the Black Hills Snowmobile Club.
A short program allows for dignitary introductions, keynote speakers,extending SDSA’s appreciation to partners and sponsors and an explanation of the rules of the day and safety on the trail. The Black Hills Trails District Supervisor, along with assistance from the SDSA’s Governor’s Ride Committee, is responsible for planning the ride route which will be dependant also upon snow conditions. The route itself is approximately 3 hours with a stopping point mid-way through the route at a scenic campground or meadow area. This spot provides a time for discussing the trail conditions, the fun and excitement of snowmobiling and to answer any questions on snowmobiling the guests may have. The event concludes with an evening social.
Participants are assigned to specific groups which are led by SDSA Board of Directors and Governor’s Advisory Council members. The number and size of groups are determined by actual attendance with the ideal size of group being between 12-15 sleds. Groups are identified by colors with coordinating colored flags on the staging area, on the guest’s sleds, on the breakfast tables and also on the participant’s arm bands. This color coordination has become a vital organizational tool used to gather group members together, putting riders with the assigned sleds at the staging area, keeping groups together and keeping track of the riders throughout the day. Each group has 2-4 red bibbers to lead the group, ride in the middle of the group and bring up the end of the group. This format ensures no rider is left behind and assistance will be readily available if needed.
SDSA is a non-profit corporation comprised of 21 snowmobile clubs across the entire state. Membership includes approximately 1000 families and individual memberships along with over 100 associate (business) memberships in South Dakota. While the 350-mile Black Hills Trails system is marked, groomed and maintained by the SD Game Fish and Parks, there are 15 clubs that mark, groom and maintain over 1100 miles East River and 11 different trail systems as part of the Grant-in-Aid Program through the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. SDSA is dedicated to the preservation of snowmobiling as a safe and organized, Family Sport. The purpose of this association is to promote, protect, and represent snowmobiling in a positive, safe manner, bringing together people who have a common interest and enjoy exciting and constructive snowmobiling activities. Greg Nordstrom of Sioux Falls currently serves as President, with Jon LaFramboise of Rapid City as Past President. Duane Duerr of Brandon is our President – Elect. Each area of the state is served by a District Director: Mike Boock, Rapid City; Kelly Weaver, Aberdeen; Tracey Erickson, Arlington; Pat Hanten-Duerr, Brandon; Jason Shepherd, Watertown; Trace Damm Lake Norden. Kirsten VanDenHemel of Sioux Falls represents the YETIS (Youth Empowerment through Involvement in Snowmobiling), SDSA’s recently organized youth group. Mary Anne Grabow, Gary is Editor and Secretary and Diane Hiles, DeSmet is the Association’s Treasurer.
Pat McCoy of the Aberdeen Driftbusters was named Groomer of the Year at the 51st Annual Convention.
The Pat McCoy’s have been members of the Driftbusters since 2019 but the McCoys have been snowmobiling for 21 years. Dennis & Ann McCoy have been members of MN USA for many years.Pat and Jennifer help the Driftbusters with whatever projects they can. All of them are knowledgeable about snowmobiling and are willing to talk to people to get new people involved. Pat operates the groomer and Pat an dJen help sign 20 miles of trail. Dennis taught snowmobile safety courses in Minnesota.
Larkyn is a very energetic girl that loves everything outdoors. Larkyn likes all animals, especially puppies, cats, and horses.
This past year Larkyn has shown a big interest in snowmobiling. She made it to most club meetings and always asked if she can go back to see her “friends.” Larkyn lives in Tea, South Dakota. There has not been much snow locally, so the only trip she was able to attend, was the Trailbusters Club trip to Mallow Camp in the Black Hills. She rode with her dad every day. She was also able to ride a youth snowmobile that another club member brought with. She was in heaven.
Larkyn is also very willing to help out with the club. In the spring of 2020, Larkyn went along to help remove club signs. After attending the October Trailbusters Club meeting, Larkyn is planning on helping install trail signs on November 1st.
Larkyn has not been able to take a safety course yet. She is planning on taking one next time we have a safety course available locally. Larkyn has had instruction for snowmobile safety. She knows to wear a helmet and goggles. She also knows not to go too fast and knows to use the brakes. She is also aware that two people do not ride the 120 at the same time.
For the past three years, Larkyn has helped pick out toys and clothing to be given to a child need from around the world. This was through the Samaritan’s Purse Shoebox project.
In October, Larkyn received her very own Polaris Indy 120. She was able to ride it after the first snowfall of the season. She also plans on taking it to the Snowy’s in Wyoming, Togwotee Pass in Wyoming, and the Black Hills in South Dakota this coming season.
Club: Town & Country Snowdrifters
Parents: Jamie & Colleen Hohm
Have you participated in a snowmobile safety program?
I have not only participated in snowmobile safety programs as a student, but as a helper as well. I enjoy going along with my dad to help teach the young kids how to be safe. It is fun to see how excited they get when they get their chance to ride on the snowmobile simulator.
What snowmobiling functions have you participated in during the previous snowmobiling season? List local, state, and charity.
Every fall, my family and I mark the snowmobile trail in the Willow Lake area to ensure safe riding for all the snowmobile riders. It is also my job to help take it out every spring. I attend and participate in the monthly meetings for the Town & Country Snowdrifters Snowmobile Club. I enjoyed helping our club with our annual fundraiser drive and UTV/ATV poker run this year. A highlight of this past year was attending the 50th Annual Snowmobile Convention in Watertown, SD with my family and friends. It is a great time for me to meet up with some old friends and meet new ones as well.
What do you foresee for the future of snowmobiling?
I see awesome things for the future of snowmobiling in the state of South Dakota. It is such a great reason for family and friends to get together and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. We discuss some of the obstacles that we have to overcome in our monthly meetings like Fat Tire Bikes, land, money, and decreasing club members. I recently wrote a persuasive and informative essay to help educate the public about the effect Fat Tire Bikers are having on our snowmobile trails. It was my way of helping get the information out there to the people of all ages within my community. As a young member, I am going to remain positive and do whatever I can to help keep our trails open. I continually try and recruit my friends and their families to join our club. Snowmobiling is a great experience for everyone, young and old, and I hope that I can enjoy it for years to come.
What Snowmobiling Means to Me
By: Jalen Rose Hohm
Snowmobiling holds a very special place in my heart. Not only is it a hobby that I share with my family and friends, but it is a way for me to keep my brother’s memory alive. He absolutely loved to ride! We would spend hours in the yard riding and pulling each other on the sled behind. Those were the best days!!
My brother and I still ride together, just in a different way. As I ride on the freshly groomed trails that I help mark, or out in the beautiful Black Hills, he watches me from above making sure I do “everything right”. Snowmobiling is a great way for us to stay connected.
Snowmobiling is a big part of my family’s life and I can’t wait to teach my little sister how to ride safely. We are going to create some amazing memories!! I hope she loves it as much as I do. It is a time to experience the beauty of God’s country and enjoy the peace that it gives. I forget the stress of being a teenager and just ride. Being a teenager is a busy time, but I drop everything when my dad asks if I want to ride with him.
As you can see, snowmobiling has been a part of my life since I was little. I wouldn’t have it any other way! My dad says “a family that snowmobiles together, stays together”. May we all “Forever Ride Together”.
Tracey is an active member of the local club since joining. She attends regular club meetings and state SDSA meetings, and state events such as the State Convention and Governors ride every year, since joining the club and SDSA. Her participation and leadership includes the following:
Local Club Leadership:
Tracey has been serving as the Town & Country Snowdrifters Club Secretary since fall of 2015.
Part of the organizing committee that hosted the 2013 SDSA Convention.
She also helps her husband, Brian sign 12 miles of trail from Arlington to Lake Preston presently and now an additional 19 miles of trail from Bryant to Hwy 81, for the trails that are maintained by Town and Country Snowdrifters. In the past they also signed the trail from Oldham to Ramona to Highway 81 for a total of 16 miles.
Outside of participating in club and state meetings she has coordinated many activities at the club level such as club poker runs, serving on the organizing committee for the first JHORA kickoff event, co-coordinating the club summer campout in fall of 2017 and the club snowmobile ride in the Black Hills in 2018.
Co-coordinated the recent ATV/UTV Poker run, Membership Drive and Fundraiser Event in fall of 2020.
Served as club delegate at the State Convention
She has organized selling\tracking of state association fundraising football books, 50\50 tickets, and Everyone Wins tickets at the club level.
State Level Leadership:
Helped host Governor’s Ride either via the local club breakfast or helping SDSA leadership, Tracey from 2013 – 2018.
State Convention in 2013 organizing and contacting the vendors along with helping with the registration table for the convention.
Developed SD State Report & Economic Impact Report for legislators and dignitaries for the DC-Fly-in packets for 3 years: 2015, 2016, 2017
Served on organizing committee for High Marker Fundraiser Event at SDSA Convention since 2018 – 2020
2017 ISMA Grant co-writer for $4,000 for promotional purposes of SDSA
Served on SDSA Membership & Marketing Committee 2017-2018
Advisor to YETIS from 2017-2019
Developed New Awards T-shirts & Design for SDSA 2019
Developed Design and Koozie order for SnoCross 2020
SDSA SOP’s revisions in 2016, helped President Brian Erickson re-write/type them
SnoCross event committee participant 2018-2020
National Level Leadership:
Attended DC-Fly-in for 3 years, helped facilitate Strategic Planning Session in 2017 at ACSA mtg in 2017.
Participated in 2-ISC Conventions
2016 International Snowmobile Convention (ISC), served on organizing committee as treasurer/accountant, served as co-MC for event with Brian Erickson, helped produce the Morning News Report each day, helped with coordination of FOSPAC event.
2019 Chaired ACSA National Awards Committee and co-produced / narrated awards video
Tracey has been active in fundraising for the club and SDSA at different levels. Within the club she has coordinated poker runs selling pre-poker run hands, registering participants, collecting food donations, in addition, she helps sell club football books. In 2013 she organized and contacted the vendors for the state convention hosted by the club, proceeds went to help defray convention expenses. Most recently, she co-coordinated the ATV/UTV Poker Run which raised over $1,885.05 in donations to offset Medical expenses for Clay Misar (youth battling cancer), along with collecting 2 large boxes of food for the Kingsbury County Food Pantry.
At the SDSA level Tracey was one of the core organizers of the High Marker Fundraiser Event for SDSA since 2018 which has raised over $1,768.05 in the two years since establishment for SDSA. She has also helped sell 50\50 tickets, state football books, and Everyone Wins tickets. The Erickson’s have donated silent auction via 2 Gift Baskets loaded with various male or female items to the State Convention and also has purchased items at the Fundraising Auctions during the State Convention on a regular basis.
Tracey helps with numerous club and SDSA sponsored events such as the State Conventions and Governors Rides. At the national level she has stepped up and volunteered on the organizing committee for ISC which the state hosted in 2016, along with coordination of the ACSA awards in 2019 and representing the state at the DC-Fly-ins for three years. She has attended various open house events at snowmobile dealers promoting membership in the State Association. Safe riding and teaching others how to ride safely is important to Tracey. She takes the time to help new and beginning riders understand the basics of snowmobiling enabling them to become lifelong snowmobiling enthusiasts. She has helped at the clubs youth Snowmobile Safety Training in 2015 and overseeing the youth snowmobile rides at the 2020 SnoCross in Deadwood.
Tracey also helped initiate the start-up of the YETIS youth snowmobile group and helped recruit Johnny & Audrey Rider as club Coordinators. Tracey served as a YETIS advisor from 2017-2019.
Tracey’s involvement at all levels local, state and national has not went unnoticed. Her attendance at National functions such as ISC, DC-Fly-ins, local club and state meetings, ours and other clubs poker runs, the State Convention or Governor’s Ride is duly noted. Outside of state and club meetings or events, Tracey enjoys taking snowmobiling trips with her family to destinations such as the Big Horns, West Yellowstone, and the Black Hills of SD, as well as riding the local trails in eastern South Dakota.
Describe how the snowmobiler promotes club membership:
Tracey continues to reach out to friends, colleagues and even people she barely knows to encourage them to join SDSA. She has helped her husband at the SnoCross event for 3 years working to recruit new members to SDSA and promote the organization. She has gotten Extension co-workers to become more active in SDSA or join SDSA. The recent ATV/UTV Poker run held by the Town & Country Snowdrifters co-chaired by Brian and Tracey Erickson was initiated as a way to grow club membership. They were able to obtain eight new memberships that day.
Outside of snowmobiling, Tracey enjoys being outdoors participating in, riding ATV’s and motorcycles, camping, fishing, horseback riding and hunting on a regular basis with family members and friends. The Larsen family (maiden name and family) has hosted an annual Duck Feed for 81 years; Tracey has played an integral role in organizing the Duck Feed for the past 21 years for the family. She also helped coordinate the Larsen family reunion in 2013, which is held every three years and hosts over 150 people throughout the three-day event. Helping the Erickson family around the farm planting and harvesting is something
she looks forward too as it allows her time “out of the office” and instead she gets to work alongside her husband Brian.
Additionally, she is passionate about the next generation of young agricultural producers. Encouraging many young people to consider careers in agriculture, by talking to incoming college freshmen and various groups such as Rotary and Kiwanis. In addition, she is an avid promoter of agriculture to urban populations both young and adults informing them about agriculture and where there food comes from. Hoping they will gain a better understanding of the people and practices behind the food products consumed in daily life. She has also been a life-long promoter and trainer of ATV safe riding principles and safe farming principles. Teaching at numerous SOFY (Save Our Farm Youth) camps throughout her career. In addition, she has been a coach and instructor of 4-H youth teaching them the basics of Dairy Cattle Judging and evaluation, which increases self-confidence, decision making and public speaking abilities of the youth, while simultaneously selecting appropriate type dairy cattle. Presently, she serves as the coach for the SD Dairy Ambassador program. She continues to be an active board member on the Central Plains Dairy Foundation Board, the SD Dairy Field Representatives Association, the Dairy Fest organizing Committee, advisor to the SD Dairy Producers Association along with serving on the Trinity Lutheran Church of Arlington Board of Trustees.
Brian Erickson’s tenure in snowmobiling started at the local club level and he has worked his way up the ranks from the local Club, to the State Level, to serving at various levels at the National level with ACSA.
At the local club level, Brians accomplishments include the following:
Town & Country Snowdrifters Club past President
Town & Country Snowdrifters past & present Vice President
Club Youth Safety Course Instructor 3 times and even sacrificed a snowmobile in 2011 for the cause (ask him about this, it is a great story ).
Four Lakes Trail System, responsible for trail section from Oldham to Ramona to Hwy 81 (16 miles) and now the Arlington to Lake Preston section (12 miles) and now part of the Bryant to Hwy 81 trail system (15 miles). Instrumental in helping connecting Four Lakes Trail System with other club trails in Eastern South Dakota.
T&C Snowdrifters Snowmobile Poker Run Chair and participant.
Co-chair the UTV/ATV Membership/Fundraiser Poker Run in 2020
Voting Delegate for Town & Country Snowdrifters numerous times
Co-chair Club & SDSA Promotion by exhibits in local town parades
At the State Level with SDSA, his leadership is noteworthy as the following:
SDSA Past – President 2017, 2018
SDSA President 2015, 2016
SDSA President – Elect 2013,2014
SDSA District 4 Delegate 2009 – 2012
Initiated as SDSA President, the development of the YETIS and helped recruit Johnny & Audrey Rider to serve as YETIS Coordinators
Governor’s Ride Group Leader from 2006 – 2018
SDSA Safety Committee Chair, while chair worked to receive a RTP Grant to fund the purchase of a safety simulator to help teach snowmobile safety to the youth.
SnoCross Committee Chair 2016-2020
Served on Main organizing Committee for South Dakota as host of 2016
Helped with Governor’s Ride coordination from 2014-2018
At the National Level with ACSA / ISC events Brian has contributed the following:
Attended ACSA DC-Fly-in for 5 years and SDSA Leadership Delegate at DC Fly-in for 3 years
MC’s 2016 National ISC Convention with Tracey Erickson
Coordinated Morning News and Recorded Narrative for each Day at 2016 ISC
2015 Attended ISC in New York, helped host SD Invitation Event
Recorded Narrative for ACSA Public Service Announcements
Co-recorded narrative for ACSA National award winners in 2019
Served as SDSA Voting delegate at ACSA Annual Meeting at ISC 2015 & 2016
Fundraising not only happens at all levels as a snowmobiler. It is essential to help keep the organization funded enabling the sport of snowmobiling to be represented and to help keep riding areas open.
As a club member Brian has supported efforts by selling poker hands, facilitating poker runs, collecting donations, selling club Football Books for scholarship funding, purchasing club sponsored tickets and auction items for SDSA fundraisers, and applying for grants to put in the trail system.
At the SDSA level Brian has helped garner auction items for the annual SDSA Silent and Live auctions at the convention from various businesses. He has sold numerous Everyone Wins Tickets, Football Fundraiser Books and 50\50 tickets throughout his tenure as a SDSA member. Brian has made personal donations to the Right to Ride Legal Defense Fund, Snowmobiler for Snowmobiler fund and also to ACSA for national issues. He has donated personal time, equipment and supplies in support of the SDSA organization. Such as hauling the SDSA trailer to various places and events across South Dakota, development and organization of the SnoCross Event booth, and personal use of sleds at the Governor’s Ride Events. Erickson Farms has also personally sponsored 2 gift baskets for the SDSA auction for the last two years and obtained gift certificates from Bear Lodge for the Auction. In addition, he has also financially supported the SDSA fundraisers by purchasing tickets and auction items along with personal out of pocket contributions as a representative of SDSA as their representative at various events while serving on the SDSA Board.
Additionally, as a volunteer Fireman for the Ramona Fire Department, he also continues to help fundraise for this organization by helping with their annual Rocky Mountain Oyster Feed and 4th of July celebration events each year. This involves not only cooking and prepping the meal, serving as MC, selling 50\50 tickets and clean-up after each event.
The Ericksons have also sponsored numerous other fundraisers including Snowmobiler’s for Snowmobilers fundraisers, other club Poker Runs Charity Events and other State Snowmobile Raffle Fundraisers and ISC Fundraisers.
Brian continues to represent the sport of snowmobiling and by promoting the sport and the organization to the public. A prime example is the club’s hosting of the recent ATV/UTV Poker Run. This event was co-chaired by Brian and Tracey Erickson. Brian personally spent many hours laying out the best route, for the trail, talking with others about the event and helping to organize it. It served multiple purposes, a membership drive, a fundraiser for a local youth with cancer and food drive for the Kingsbury County Food pantry. It was a successful day with over $1,885.05 raised for donations for Clay Misar, 2 large boxes of food for the Kingsbury County Food Pantry and 8 new memberships were obtained for the club and SDSA.
Brian also has taken great pride in chairing the SDSA Booth at the SnoCross event in Deadwood for the past five years. While coordinating SDSA’s presence at this event he has helped create greater awareness of attendees at the event by promoting SDSA as an organization. This event is nationally publicized and Brian has provided exposure about the organization through interviews, one on one conversations with attendees, add placements and helping with give snowmobile rides to youth at this event.
Nationally, Brian keeps abreast of snowmobiling issues facing our sport through various magazines and from SDSA and ASCA updates. He has called and written to Senators and Representatives to voice his opinion and to encourage their favorable vote on snowmobile issues at both the State and Federal Level. While a member of the SDSA leadership team, Brian participated in five DC-Fly In’s. Three of those years, he was the lead elected officer for SDSA, conversing with our Federal Representatives, first hand about the pertinent issues of the time. Most recently, he has provided comment at the Federal Level on the proposed Shoshone National Forest access revisions along with multiple others over the years. Brian also attended a meeting with Senator John Thune in Sioux Falls early on in regards to trail access in national forests.
Safety and assistance to others are important to Brian so he is always willing to help another snowmobiler on and off the trail. Brian has enjoyed mentoring many new and upcoming young riders of snowmobiling inspiring them to ride and enjoy the sport of snowmobiling as much as he does. Please ask a Hojer youth, a Hiles daughter or now a Cooper child about their riding experiences with Brian Erickson. They all have a fun story to tell.
He and his wife, Tracey continue to enjoy numerous snowmobile trips throughout the years, which have contributed in making many new acquaintances across the country as they see the country via snowmobile. Many of which have now become life-long friends.
Most note worthy are his annual “Guys” trip to the Big Horns in Wyoming each year. Where many memories have been created with friends from Minnesota and Eastern and Western South Dakota. Additionally, each year several yearly trips are made to the Black Hills snowmobiling. One of Governor’s ride stands out in particular when he proceeded to have a State Representative’s Wife from Rapid City participate in the group he was leading, who had never been on a snowmobile before, follow him like a little puppy everywhere. Fortunately, when he went over a little snow jump and she followed, catching air, she came down with a huge smile on her face and a “can we do that again” reaction!
Positive communication about snowmobiling and what our club is all about comes natural for Brian. Invitations are extended for club meetings and group snowmobile rides to members and non-members alike. He has attended many open houses over the years at
various dealerships in the region, promoting SDSA and the Town & Country Snowdrifters. He has continued to recruit members by membership drives, talking to fellow snowmobilers about the need for organized snowmobiling as it provides access to trails and through posts on social media.
As vice-president of our local club, he is presently involved in helping assume grooming responsibilities for the club as our present groomer retires. He is also helping to host a groomer training school at Erickson Farms shop for area clubs to get groomers trained, since there is not an official training school being offered through G,F & P this year. He and his wife, Tracey have also stepped up to take on trail signing an additional trail section that they normally would not sign.
Outside of snowmobiling, Brian is always willing to help out with various events. This includes his volunteer work on the Ramona Fire Department and also helping his wife with Agricultural promotion events through their annual Dairy Fest, where he serves as MC and the MooCow Dance Leader for the day.
Trent Damm, a member of the Poinsett Pounders, was inducted into the SDSA Hall of Fame at the awards Banquet December 5th in Rapid City. A full story will be in the Sno Plainsman.