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Snodeo canceled due to warm temps

Organizers canceled Snodeo for the second year in a row due to dangerous ice conditions. File Photo

Vintage snowmobile show planned for Feb. 17

By Emily Conroy

For the second year in a row the greatest show on the snow was canceled due to dangerous ice conditions.

Organizers for the 2024 Snodeo announced the cancellation on Facebook.

Last year was the first time that they had to cancel the event since it started in 2007, said Debbie Sarna, who has been with the Snodeo since the beginning.

Debbie said in order to obtain the appropriate insurance to hold all of the racing, the ice must be at least 12 inches thick.

“Let me try to summarize the overall attitude, it really sucks to have to cancel two years in a row,” said Dave Sarna, executive director of the Manawa Snodeo. “Putting together an event of this size doesn’t take days or weeks, it is many months in advance that preparation takes place.”

Dave said the decision to cancel was a difficult one to make, as more than 50 people from Manawa and surrounding areas show up to help plan the big event.

At the meeting where the decision to cancel was made, organizers showed an outpouring of support for one another.

“It is extremely touching when most everybody in our following knows we have to cancel, and I look at the faces of people I have known for years or have gotten to know that attend an inevitable meeting who are all there for support,” Dave said, adding that the show of support is what keeps him going.

The Manawa Snodeo is among many racing events that have been cancelled this year due to lack of snow and ice, leaving many organizations without income, Dave said. For some of the permanent tracks, the lack of income has hurt their ability to pay things like taxes, heat and electricity all year long.

The cancellation last year came within days of the event, and did not allow time to plan for much more other than the vintage snowmobile show.

With this winter’s projected mild temperatures, organizers decided to cancel sooner, which gave them time to plan activities in place of the racing.

Organizers sat down with Bob and Sarah Kahlscheuer, owners of Bear Lake Resort and Campground, and together they put together a day of activities in place of the races.

Vintage snowmobiles

The 2024 vintage snowmobile show, which is run by the Twin County Snowmobile club, will be happening on Saturday, Feb. 17, at Bear Lake.

The two classes considered for judging will be 1985 and older for vintage and 1986 to 1999 for open class. There is an entry fee of $5 per sled for up to five sleds. There is no additional fee for more than five sleds.

Registration to participate in the vintage show runs from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. The judging and awards is slated at 3 p.m.

The event will include a meet and greet with racers. Dave said two of the racers scheduled to make an appearance are modified drivers Matt Bennett and Bill Stahl, who will be appearing with some of their machines.

Also included will be a bags tournament, beer pong, 50/50 raffles, paddle wheel and basket raffles.
The bags tournament begins at noon and is 100% payout to players.

The Snodeo Queen and Princess will be there to assist with the paddle wheel.

The beer pong will take place after the judging and awards for the vintage snowmobiles.

The Manawa Snodeo will also sell merchandise such as sweatshirts and hats.

Children can also meet Stanley the Snowmobile, the Manawa Snodeo mascot, as well as participate in a coloring contest.

“While we are definitely disappointed that there won’t be any racing on the ice, we cannot control the weather,” Kahlscheuer said. “It will still be a fun day for families, neighbors and friends to come and spend the day at Bear Lake.”

Next year’s Snodeo is planned for Feb. 15-16.

“We may have some surprise guests for next year and we would simply be happy if we can just hold the event,” Debbie Sarna said.

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