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Few businesses insulated

from Derby’s big boost

Few people ever imagined the event would make a half-century and here we are, bringing you detailed coverage of the 51st annual AMSOIL World Championship Snowmobile Derby — still drawing tens of thousands of race fans and the best snowmobile racers from the United States and Canada.

 

A year after the hoopla of the 50th event, the oldest snowmobile racing event on the planet moved forward in traditional style. Attendees included Gov. Scott Walker, former champions and many dignitaries from the motorsports industry.

 

The weekend started with Friday Night Thunder and the most massive fireworks display in Derby history, a big feat following last year’s golden ceremonies. The variety of the night show did not disappoint — Sno-Cross, vintage, ice bikes, Outlaw sleds, oval sprints and the Sweet Sixteen shootout for the right to sit the pole in Sunday’s big event.

 

Fans saw Malcolm Chartier of Fair Haven,?Mich., make history by becoming just the eighth racer to win back-to-back world championships. His flawless race on Sunday afternoon, where he lead all 30 laps, capped a perfect weekend where he reigned as the fastest in qualifying and the winner of every heat race and final he entered.

 

Derby goers saw some great racing from former champion Matt Schulz of Wausau, who finished second, a Canadian hopeful Travis McDonald of Manitoba, who came from the back row to finish third in the 12-sled field.

 

Local, state and international media coverage will again propel the historic Derby and little Eagle River into the international spotlight — which is one of the reasons this newspaper covers the event with such depth and passion. It’s a big deal.

 

Many businesses are helped directly by the Derby and most others are helped indirectly, for the millions of dollars spent here enable local workers as the economy gets a boost.

Great snomo systems

a privilege, not a right

While snowmobile trail officials are working hard to keep safe and well-designed systems intact, enduring everything from funding challenges to changes in private ownership and public forest policies, those efforts can be quickly thwarted by snowmobilers who don’t follow the rules.

 

Snowmobilers have proven in some cases to be their own worst enemy, especially when they veer off trails, damage property and downright annoy the very landowners who have generously provided easements that allow trails across their private lands.

 

The sign we’d like to see erected on every trail segment is one that reminds snowmobilers that the trail on which they are riding represents a privilege, not a right. It is a privilege that requires respect for private property, public resources, the rights of others and the volunteer trail officials who give their all for the sport.

 

Lest anyone forget, it is the snowmobiling industry that fuels a year-round economy in a land that was once a ghost town in winter.

Behind the editorial ‘we’

 

Members of the Vilas County News-Review editorial board include Publisher Kurt Krueger, Editor Gary Ridderbusch and Assistant Editor Anthony Drew.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014 11:44 AM
 

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