The Tombstone Pickerel Sno Club will lead a very big Saturday of events in the Pearson-Pickerel area.
The club, widely recognized as the oldest in the area, was formed in the 1970s through the merger of the Tombstone Sno Riders and Pickerel Sno Riders. Weldon Dryer was the first president.
This Saturday, the club will host one of its major fund-raisers, its annual chili ride-in, running from 3 to 6 p.m. in the tractor and equipment storage building at N9398 Hwy. DD.
There will be hot chili and chili dogs, raffles for guns, baskets, meats and 50-50 and an opportunity to meet 2018 Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Miss Snowflake, Lynsey Burzinski.
The day will also include a pancake breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. in the Pickerel Rescue Squad Station 2 building, hosted by the Pickerel Rescue Squad; and the annual Fun Days and Polar Bear Jump-In at Schuh’s Sportsmen’s Lodge from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Mary A. Schmitzer, secretary for Tombstone Pickerel Sno Club Inc. has compiled a history of the 40-plus year old club, which was formed largely by local business owners who wanted trails leading between their establishments.
“One of the first of three drags built, in approximately 1972 hangs on our building today,” Schmitzer said. “It was donated to the club by Jim and Nancy Maahs. The drag was pulled behind a what may have been only 50 horsepower snowmobiles. With chain saws and a lot of hard physical labor, the trails of the north woods appeared. Many trees had to be cut down, stumps pulled and brush removed. Permission from the county and landowners was obtained. Only a distance of 25 to 50 miles could be created in one direction.”
In subsequent years, Lumberjack Memorial Trail Club the Lily Sno Birds, along with six partnered and formed connecting trails. Today, Langlade County has nine clubs, small and large, part of a vast network of routes across the state.
In 1980 the organization purchased 10 acres including the building from the White Tails Sportsman Club. The club built a metal shed in
2000 through 2002 to store its three high tech New Holland tractors, three drags and pickup truck. Later an addition was added to have a sign room, office and two restrooms.
Today, Tombstone Pickerel Sno Club grooms more than 130 miles of trails between Langlade and Forest County. The club is 100 percent volunteer with 10 groomer drivers, approximately 375 members and a 16-person board.
Other fund-raisers, in addition to Saturday’s ridein, have included ice fishing jamborees, golf outings, sweetheart and harvest dances, radar runs, brunches, picnics, corn roasts, work day cook outs with bon fires, club rides, groomer driver appreciation dinners and the monthly meetings that are currently held by the club on County Road DD, Pickerel.
“Everyone loves to ride a nice groomed trail,” Schmitzer said. “ We have it all. The scenery is beautiful and lots of places to go. Heading to the north woods is what it’s all about. It’s a family sport.”