Dear friends and MSA faithful members,
I can’t believe it’s been two years already since I was elected to be your MSA president! It’s with bitter sweet emotions that this is my last column as president. It’s been a humbling and gratifying experience. I have met so many new friends along this journey.
Starting the first of the year we will be privileged to have two new leaders — President Jim Kelts and Vice President Dave Campo. These two individuals have the experience and passion for MSA, which will continue to strengthen and improve our great organization. If you haven’t attended a MSA meeting lately, please consider joining us and introduce yourself to the group! We have new officers this year joining us, who would enjoy shaking your hand!
Interesting Conversations with Both Members and Non-Members
Recently, several of us had the opportunity to meet many new members and friends of MSA while working behind the MSA booth in Novi, Mich. The Snowmobile USA Show & Sales event was held on Nov. 2-4 this year. It is always a great way for us to have some interesting conversations with MSA members and non-members.
The general feeling that I walked away with this year was that most folks are finally getting the message that it takes all of us together to support our state programs. We had so many visitors just walk up to our booth and want to join MSA! That was not necessarily the case in the past few years that I’ve been attending the show.
Of course you had your typical person who owns five sleds and complains about how expensive the $48 trail permit is. And then there are the non-members insisting that we need to do a better job at grooming and signing. However, for the most part, all of us had great conversations and felt appreciated for all of the hard work that our volunteers do every year.
Who’s Ready for a Great Michigan Winter?
One topic of course that dominated many of the conversations was concerning our Michigan winters. I’ve never seen so many meteorologists and fortune tellers in all my life! It seems like everyone had a theory based on their sources on how this winter will unfold.
As I walked around the convention hall meeting the vendors and watching the crowd, I was quickly reminded of how crucial the snowfall actually is to our sport. Just think for a moment of just some of the organizations that are keeping their fingers crossed this year for an abundant snowfall:
- Charity groups such as the Easter Seals FWO Ride, Pink Ribbon Rider Snow Run and Multiple Scoliosis Fun Run just to name a few
- I-500 Race and Sno-cross races throughout the state
- Vintage snowmobile races and shows
- MSA/ISA Ride-In
- MSA legislature & congressional rides
- Council and snowmobile club rides
- Snowmobile dealerships that depend on new snowmobile sales and service
- Aftermarket and parts retail stores
- Local motels, restaurants, and gas stations along major snowmobile trails throughout the state
- Trail permit sales that associations like MSA and local clubs depend on for survival
And then there are tens of thousands of snowmobilers who are just looking forward to another memorable get-a-way with family and friends this winter.
From all accounts though, I really feel that the general feeling overall was optimistic. I must say that we all had a great time this year interacting with fellow riders.
Looking Forward to Some Snow Stories
Because I am not a fortune teller or a meteorologist, by the time this article is edited, proofed, and printed and you are sitting in your favorite chair reading this December issue, I have no way of predicting what the weather will be where you are weeks from now. I am however looking out of the window here in western Michigan on a mid-November afternoon watching the new snow accumulate on the many leaf covered lawns in my area. Seems like it certainly got colder this fall early and people have been scrambling to get the lawn sprinklers blown out, leaves picked up, campers and boats winterized, and lawn furniture put away before it’s too late!
Maybe this is the year that we will all be talking about to our grandchildren. I think everyone needs a real good “snow story” to share with others at some point in their lives! When my kids were young and they started to complain, I often told them that when I was a kid I used to get bit by sand fleas while walking to school in Florida. Somehow they were not impressed with my version. They much preferred the walking miles in snow drifts to school tales told by other parents.
My wife and I moved here more than 20 years ago, and still (well at least I do) look forward to the “big one” like Michiganders experienced in the 1970s & 1980s.These last several years have been special to me, and I look forward to watching our leadership continue to make progress. Snowmobilers are passionate about their sport! That is one thing that I definitely learned early on. The good news is that there are so many worthy organizations like MSA, American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA), and countless other charitable organizations that embrace your passion and will be depending on you this winter for your support.
Please be careful on the trails this season — stay right! Also, please consider joining me and thousands others who have taken the pledge to NOT drink alcohol during the ride. One life lost is too many, and we want ALL who ride with us this season to be able to tell their grandchildren “snow stories” for years to come.
Blessings to all!