Jon LaFramboise has been associated with and riding snowmobiles for over 32 years, riding both in Minnesota and Wisconsin before he carried his passion for the sport west to the Black Hills and took that passion far beyond just riding.
When purchasing his first “new to him” sled, part of the purchase agreement was to join the Black Hills Snowmobile Club. In time Jon took on many leadership roles and ensured everything ran smoothly for the club’s involvement with their Radar Runs, Ski for Light, Story Book Island and hosting the SDSA Convention in 2010 and 2020. Jon served two separate terms as Vice President and two separate terms as President of the Black Hills Snowmobile Club.
In August 2009, Jon was first appointed to the position of District 2 Director to complete the term of Ken Steiner. At the 2009 Convention, Jon was elected District 2 Director and continued to serve in that capacity until 2016. As Director, Jon’s committee work involved planning and organizing the annual Governor’s Ride as well as SDSA’s involvement with the Sno Cross races in Deadwood. He also worked with Government Relations, Bylaws and Right to Ride, Fundraising and Raffles, Investments, Awards and Snowmobilers for Snowmobilers. Jon was named Man Snowmobiler of the Year in 2010. Jon also served on SDSA’s Planning Committee when SDSA hosted ISC 2016 in Rapid City. Jon was also a member of the Task Force for Youth when the YETIS organization was created and strongly supported the effort to give young snowmobilers a leadership experience and encourage their continued involvement in the sport. After at least 3 unsuccessful bidding attempts, it was at the 2020 Convention he finally had the high bid and took home an original John Green painting!
In 2015, Jon was elected to the position of President-Elect, serving two years, before being elected President of SDSA in 2017. During his 2-year time span as president, Jon was motivated to visit as many clubs as he could, whether it was for a monthly meeting, a poker run or to ride on their snowmobile trail. Best recollection is he met with the Sturgis Sno Drifters, Mile High Club, Aberdeen Driftbusters, Great Plains Snowtrailers, Town and Country Snowdrifters, Trailbusters, Whetstone Valley, Watertown Snowmobile Club, Northeast Trailblazers, Dakota Trail Blazers and Poinsett Pounders. At least 3 of these visits included a ride on the trail or in a poker run.
His motivation to be an informed and involved leader, also took him to 3 ACSA/DC Fly-ins and to 6 ISCs in Niagara Falls, Rapid City, Winnipeg, Halifax, Grand Rapids and Omaha. No doubt had COVID not cancelled the 2020 events, we could have said 4 Fly-ins and 7 ISCs. Jon finished his 2-year term as Past President in November 2021.
Once meeting Jon, it would not take long to realize that Jon worked hard, and he played hard. He donated tons of time, and some serious dollar amounts in his travels across the state and country for the benefit of SDSA and the sport of snowmobiling. His dedication to the sport was deep rooted as was his desire to maintain access to public lands, advocate safe snowmobiling and to promote the fun of snowmobiling with family and friends. When riding with groups of people Jon was always one of the leaders counting to make sure everyone was present and accounted for. Whenever someone got into a tight spot or got stuck, Jon was usually the first on the scene. He enjoyed helping others enjoy snowmobiling and made sure the new-to-the-sled ridders were comfortable and having fun.
To us, as SDSA members, his leadership abilities showed us that his convictions were strong and his explanations of why were clear. He was quick to wit and with one simple question or comment, he could take the conversation in a completely different direction, leaving us in a robust round of laughter. Yet at a tender moment, his voice may have cracked, and he probably paused for a tear before composing himself to carry on with the task at hand.
With all of that said and with so much more that could be said, and because he was a person dedicated to the continued success of SDSA, it is most appropriate that SDSA honor and recognize Jon LaFramboise by naming him to the SDSA Hall of Fame.
May we all find peace knowing he will still be our group leader whether it be on a snowmobile ride or on a buggy ride. He will still be our mentor, our teacher. We know he now has the best of the dusty roads, lakes, rivers and snow-covered mountains to enjoy and he will always be guiding and watching over us until we can join him on the other side of God’s wonderful creation that Jon so enjoyed.
With this honorarium, we challenge each and everyone of SDSA’s members to work hard to carry with us from this day forward for years to come, Jon’s work ethic, his play ethic, his dedication to SDSA and his passion for snowmobiling, fun, family and friends.