40TH ANNIVERSARY SLED INVASION - FEBRUARY 14-16, 2020

Thank You Don Howey

Jul26

Thank you to Mr. Don Howey, as he was President of the Club in the 1984/1985 season. Don had been involved for a couple of years prior to becoming President as a trail boss.

The newly formed Club, was very busy this season. To start the season, they held an Open House in November, which brought in new members followed by A Swap Shop later that month. The Trailblazers hosted a Christmas Party for members and their families. A Cross Country Rally was also held in December. The Millet Club came and rode with some folks from the Trailblazers in December and the Edmonton Snowmobile Club rode later with members in February. In January, the Snowarama was held with Don organizing it. The Sowarama was sponsored by the Alberta Snowmobile Association and a few ASA members from the Club and area rode to Fox Creek and raised $4000.00 for the Disabled Children. Various Clubs held their own ACC fundraising events in support. Trailblazer members also attended the Jamboree in Stettler. In 1984, it was the Town of Whitecourt’s 25th Anniversary and the community and club held a Winter Carnival in celebration. The Trailblazers held their poker rally on this weekend. In addition to the Anniversary, Whitecourt also held the Yellowhead Winter Games and the Trailblazers held a Drag Race on the River. The Trailblazer members also volunteered annually at the Whitecourt Trade Fair. In the summer, the Trailblazers organized a Trike Rally that brought out many of the same folks as snowmobiling did. Very busy season.

In 1985/86, Don stayed on as Past President. The Trailblazers had a busy year again with a Poker Rally February 22/23 and they used the Eagle Lake Trail for the rally. The Rally was Saturday and the Snowarama was held on the Sunday where they raised $5100.00 for Easter Seals. They also held an Ice Oval Drag and Endurance Race the first weekend in March.

Don was very much a part of all the events, activities, volunteering and snowmobiling that happened in the Club during the 80’s. The Club was very community oriented. They were also very ambitious with the rallies, races and fundraising for the Club, Easter Seals and the Disabled Children’s Organization. The Club was busy, but seemed to have a great social atmosphere. The Trailblazers in 1983/84 had about 70 members and in 1984/85 season they had approximately 85 members. The Club was growing every year, thanks to the efforts of the members and the Club. We have always been known to give back to our community, but also provide Tourism and an opportunity for families to get out and enjoy the great outdoors. That was definitely shown by the members of the new Club.

Thank you Don and Pat Howey for your efforts with the Club and the community. Don doesn’t ride anymore, but he is involved in other community volunteer efforts with the Wolverines and the Whitecourt Airshow.

THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR HISTORIANS & COLLECTORS

Jul19

This is a thank you to all of our historians and collectors from the past 40 years that have collected items – pins, jackets, vests, badges, trophies, plaques, kept newspaper and magazine articles, made scrapbooks, gave us pictures, made photo albums, built a website, added pictures and information to the website, kept copies of the minutes and housed past records. It’s because people have taken the time to ensure that we have historical information, recorded information and memorabilia from the past, that we are able to share some stories with you all.

It’s our 40th Anniversary this upcoming season and we want to remember the amazing trails our volunteers built, but also we want to remember the people who made the club what it is today. We are able to share those stories from our preserved history, so thank you to so many people.

Edith Vanberg who was a volunteer, started collecting club items, awards, articles and pictures in the 80’s and 90’s. Not only was she the Historian, but she was a big part of the volunteer base for the rallies, parades, races, fundraisers and other events that the Trailblazers hosted. Thank you to Karen and Alex Manweiler, Leo and Hazel Zelinski, Ken Linford, Dan Guenette and Elaine Gunderson who collected and kept records, minutes and pictures. Thank you Aaron Munro for housing the boxes for so many years. Thanks to Elaine Gunderson and Leroy Roth for spending a summer scanning everything into our website. Thank you to Malinda Brewster who set up the website and still maintains it. Thanks to the guys for going out every year delivering and collecting our Cabin Guestbooks that we have for visitor stats and some great riding comments. We love hearing about your experiences on the trails.

The Trailblazers website has a “History” tab that we have pictures, newspaper articles, trophies/awards, guest books and other great information from the past 40 years. Check it out. In the “About” section we have our current information about our Executive, ASA Membership Pass Info and a condensed timeline. In addition, in the book published by the Whitecourt & District Heritage “Whitecourt, A History – 1975 to 2010”, we have a huge section in there with Trailblazer History – thanks to all the people that gathered the information for that. At Adrenaline Powersports, we have a Trailblazer Memorial Cabinet with many Club treasures in it.

Thanks to everyone who has helped preserve our history!! Look for scrapbooks, photo albums and other Trailblazer memories at our upcoming 40th Anniversary Sled Invasion, Family Day Weekend, 2020. We hope to see some of our past Executive and members come help us celebrate 40 great years of sledding!

Edith Vandberg, Club Historian

Thank you Mr. Doug Hay

Jul12

Doug Hay moved to Whitecourt from Cranbrook/Ponoka in the early 1980s. He came with his family Debra, Sean and Shayne. They became Trailblazer members shortly after that and are still to this day. Doug has been on the Executive in almost every position – President (1988/89), Trailboss, Snowarama Co-Ordinator, Rally Co-Ordinator, Safety and others. Deb was always there as well helping out with the events, projects and his positions. Doug has worked on many Trailblazer projects throughout the years and thank you for that.

Doug and the boys have been very involved in trail cleaning. Many years ago, he and a group of fellows cleared the trail around town and to the Athabasca. They built a few bridges and provided access for folks to get out of town. Later the town took over some of those trails (Centennial Park). Doug has adopted a trail south of town and is still known to go out and clear trails.

In the 80’s/90’s, Doug was involved in a group called the “Wild Ones”, AKA Spiced Rum Group. They liked to get together and shoot the breeze and just have a good time. They use to love to work at a checkpoint for the rally; they served chili and beverages for a few years.

Doug rides an Arctic Cat 800 and rides at least 1500 kms a season. He can be found mostly on the trails around Whitecourt, but in the past, he use to go to the Mountains and he really liked to go to Yellowstone.

Doug, Deb, Sean and Shayne are all still involved with the Trailblazers. Doug still comes to meetings and it is always a pleasure to see him. Doug comes to the meetings with history and knowledge of what works and what doesn’t and his input is greatly appreciated. Thanks Doug for your work throughout the 40 years and your continued work on the trails and participation/input at the meetings. Happy riding this upcoming season!

Working at the Rally – 80’s
George Vanberg, Doug and Deb

40th Anniversary – Randy Matthews – Thanks!!

Jul05

The next extraordinary volunteer is Randy Matthews. Randy always goes above and beyond helping someone to fix their sled at all hours of the night, dragging a broken down sled back to the shop, or being involved with the Trailblazers in some way or another. Randy has been a member for well over 20 years.

Randy has been riding sleds for most of his life. On weekends when he was a kid, they would ride out their back door as a family – Roy, Robyn, Kelcy, Carolynn and Randy out to the Shiningbank Lookout or just ride all day in their backyard. He had is own sled at a very young age and went hard then. The family was instrumental in helping us to locate and develop the location of our trails on the south side.

Randy was involved with the Trailblazers as a young man; Roy would also come to the meetings. Randy held many positions on the Executive, Vice President, Seargent at Arms, Trailboss and President. He was President from 2001 to 2005 and was a part of the group that obtained our first Snow Cat in 2003. The group decided it was time to get our own cat, as renting one throughout the season was not an easy task. In one summer, Trailblazer members raised enough funds to match the Alberta Grant to purchase the cat. They also made the necessary arrangements to house the cat at the Town Yard. Randy was a part of many projects that the Trailblazers have done in the past.

Randy started RPM Powersports in 2001 and has always been a major supporter of the Trailblazers. He and his staff are very informative about snowmobiling on our trails, the club and repairs of sleds. RPM Powersports is a major stop for many sledders to pick up parts, equipment, ASA Trail or Day passes, Raffle Tickets or just to chat about sledding. RPM has been hosting a checkpoint for many years and they always seem to have more fun than the participants. Thanks Randy for always providing food and drinks at the stop. RPM Powersports has won Rider’s Choice Awards.

Randy goes hard! That is his motto “go as fast as I can”!! It is hard to keep up with him. He unfortunately doesn’t sled much anymore, but can be found on the trails on his KTM Bike with a Timbersled kit. He is always on the go and has guided and taught so many people how to ride, fix and have fun. He is a super guy to hang around!

Randy is also involved in the local ATV Club, which he helped to re-establish with other fellows. In addition, Randy is a part of the Vega Harescramble annually. Thanks for your community involvement and support Randy.

Randy, AKA BIG RED, Thanks for everything RPM Powersports does but also thank you and your staff for the great service, smiles and support you give the Trailblazers!

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