In January, snowmobilers from all over the state will converge in Harney County to celebrate the OSSA’s 40th anniversary
By Randy Parks
Over the hills and through the woods…
Thanks to the efforts of the Harney County Snowmobile Club, the Oregon State Snowmobile Association (OSSA) will be holding their 40th anniversary celebration in Harney County this coming January.
Local club president Darrell Williams stated that the OSSA holds their convention in a different spot around the state, and this year the Harney County club won the bid.
Williams said they are expecting around 300 snowmobile enthusiasts to attend the week-long event.
Jan. 16-19, there will be organized rides to designated areas (depending on the snow) and nightly get-togethers at local establishments.
The convention itself will begin at 9 a.m., Friday, Jan. 20, with registration and exhibits at the Harney County Fairgrounds.
Registration is $33, $12 for kids 12 and under, and that includes a free pizza party Friday night and a buffet dinner Saturday night. Breakfast and lunch will be available on Saturday at an additional cost.
A safety seminar for snowmobile certification for those 18 and under will be held at 1 p.m. Friday.
The event will also include live and silent auctions, drawings, contests, vendors and prizes.
Williams pointed out that a portion of the money raised from the event will go toward legal fees incurred to those fighting to keep trails open for snowmobilers.
Williams said that the convention is open to everyone, and the Harney County club is accepting new members at this time. The club encourages everybody to not only attend the convention, but sign up and become a member if you love the sport of snowmobiling.
In order to be a member in the Harney County Snowmobile Club, you also have to be a member of the Oregon State Snowmobilers Association, so new members would sign up for both organizations at the same time.
For those wondering what the OSSA is all about, Williams provided the following information:
The Oregon State Snowmobile Association is an organization of individuals, snowmobile clubs and businesses working together to preserve, protect and enhance the sport of snowmobiling. OSSA was formed in 1972 by a small group of snowmobilers concerned about the sport. The association saw a need for better, safer and more scenic trails, and recognized the public demand for a better trail system.
OSSA has grown to 30 snowmobile clubs, 25 of which are grooming clubs. OSSA manages the grooming program under agreement with the Oregon Department of Transportation, and in cooperation with local snowmobile clubs. Last season dedicated snowmobilers volunteered more than 28,000 hours maintaining a 6,000-mile trail system. The groomer operators logged more than 31,000 miles of groomed trails. All clubs participate in trail clearing and trail maintenance. Oregon’s snowmobile program is recognized throughout North America as a model of volunteer accomplishment.
OSSA snowmobilers participate in many diverse activities. An organization they are proud to be involved with is the Candlelighters. OSSA contributes to a co-op law-enforcement program with eight county sheriff’s departments. Safety Certification classes are scheduled throughout the state to promote safe snowmobiling. Snowmobilers build snow shelters for the enjoyment of all winter recreationists, and provide representation for legislative issues at the state and national level. OSSA promotes safe, responsible snowmobiling and proper recreational land use.
According to OSSA, thousands of acres of prime snowmobiling are lost to “wilderness” designation. The support and vigilance of all snowmobilers is needed to stop this growing expansion.
Registration forms are available online at www.oregonsnow.org, at Burns Garage, or by calling Mike Choate at 541-573-6598, or Williams at 541-589-0187.