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.