40TH ANNIVERSARY – VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION
“Leo and Hazel Zelinski”
Leo has had a passion of snowmobiling from a young age. He became a member of the Alberta Snowmobile Association in the 70’s and started attending their meetings. Through various discussions with folks from the ASA (organized in the Calgary area and by the Alberta Forestry Service) Leo, Glen Kingdon and people from Whitecourt began meeting and formed the Club in 1980. During this time, the Town’s Bylaw of snowmobiles operating in town limits was in jeopardy of being abolished, because of rules not being followed by other sledders. Members met with the Town of Whitecourt Council and advised that a club had been formed and that they were organized and could be responsible. To this day, the By-Law still remains in effect. The Alberta Forestry Service partnered with the Trailblazers and had them take over the old Forestry trails and staging area. There were trails developed in Whitecourt, Swan Hills and Fox Creek. These trails were designated for snowmobilers and as the club expanded, a Golden Triangle was established between the three communities. This trail became a part of the cross-Canada Snowmobile Trail, now known as the Great Canadian Trail. In the early 80’s, the Trailblazers hosted a jamboree that attracted 300 riders and it was recognized as an important sport that had a great economic impact on our community. The Chamber of Commerce loved it, as the club filled hotels in the recession. Leo was involved with many rallies in Whitecourt, jamborees, a hill climb, oval drag races, ice drags on the McLeod River, Grass and snow drags, rides with other clubs, first timed snow race, local winter carnival and Golden Triangle Rallies. He was involved with the Incorporation of the Whitecourt Trailblazers, development of the Golden Triangle and the designation of the “Snowmobile Capital of Alberta”. He served as the President for several years and held other positions in the club. In addition, Leo was Vice President of the ASA and held other Director positions. He has worked with many local and provincial organizations, businesses and government offices.
Leo is still known to volunteer with the club and rides with his family throughout the season. He has his favorite secret trail areas and loves riding across country on ungroomed trails. Still a Trailblazer, Leo is in his mid 70’s and is a very dedicated recreational enthusiast and sledder. Leo’s family – wife Hazel, sons Daryl and Murray have been a part of the Club as well and have passed on their passion to their children.
Leo has been awarded and recognized through his various community involvement with the Chamber of Commerce, the Town of Whitecourt and the Province. Leo has been recognized with awards from the Whitecourt Trailblazers for his valuable services with the club. He was awarded the ASA “Louise Sherren Award” last year.
Hazel has been an extraordinary volunteer as well throughout the past 40 years, volunteering at the events and activities hosted by the Trailblazers. Their dedication to the club has been appreciated. Leo’s collaboration with many organizations locally and provincially has helped shape our club and the sport in our province. Thank you Leo and Hazel!