Terry Hutchinson, Prior Lake, Minn. – Volunteer and Club Organizer
In his nearly 50 years of organized snowmobiling, Terry Hutchinson has been involved in all levels of the sport. It all started with the creation of the Prior Lake Snowmobile Association (PLSA) in 1972. Hutchinson served as PLSA president for over 10 years and as trail coordinator for the past 45 years. In 1984, Scott County’s three snowmobile clubs created an alliance called Sno-Trails, Inc. Hutchinson held the office of president and served as trail coordinator for over 40 years for Sno-Trails, Inc., as well.
It didn’t take long and Hutchinson found himself involved at the state level, serving the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association (MnUSA), and he became a Region 8 director. Eventually, Hutchinson became vice president and then president of MnUSA, where he also took on the role as chair of the Trails/DNR Committee. It was then that Hutchinson was instrumental in the implementation of a statewide corridor trail system across Minnesota’s 22,000 miles of snowmobile trails.
In 2008, during his presidency of MnUSA, and as chairperson of the Minnesota Snowmobile Advisory Council (MSAC), Hutchinson played a lead role in implementing funding changes when the club payment systems went from a reimbursement program to a performance-based funding program. Other significant legislation that passed under Hutchinson’s leadership includes the change in statute regarding the use of studs on state asphalt trails and the inclusion of a state trail pass with Minnesota snowmobile registration fees. Presently, Hutchinson is leading discussions with MnUSA and the state’s ATV association regarding joint snowmobile and winter ATV trails.
Hutchinson also represents snowmobiling on the Minnesota Motorized Trail Coalition and the Coalition of the Recreational Trail Users where he has served on their board since its inception in 2007.
Not surprisingly, Hutchinson became involved on a national level as the MnUSA delegate to the Midwest Chapter, American Council of Snowmobile Associations and has attended Washington, D.C., Fly-Ins and several International Snowmobile Congresses (ISCs).
With all that, Hutchinson still remains actively involved in his local snowmobile club and is responsible for marking his own section of trail. His passion for the sport of snowmobiling knows no bounds. He lives it every day of his life and it reflects in his actions and involvement in the snowmobile community.
John Prusak, New Hope, Minn. – Publisher and Journalist
Even though his parents got rid of their snowmobiles when he was young – causing him to miss out on the “golden era” of snowmobiling – John Prusak has fond memories of riding relatives’ and friends’ sleds. Prusak’s background in snowmobiling is fairly recent compared to some of the other International Snowmobile Hall of Fame inductees. Make no mistake, when motorsports are in your blood and you’re from the Midwest, snowmobiles will become a big part of life. Putting his journalist skills to work, Prusak plays a major role in keeping all facets of snowmobiling alive and well.
In 1993, Prusak started at what was then Ehlert Publishing as an associate editor for Snowmobile Magazine, Snow Goer, Snow Week and Snowmobile Business. He was quickly promoted through the ranks and by 1995, was managing editor and then lead editor of all four publications in 1996. Prusak’s enthusiasm and journalistic talents were needed and couldn’t be contained to only snow related motorsports.
In 2002, he was promoted outside of the snowmobile group as associate publisher of other magazines such as Powersports Business, Boating Industry and more. Ultimately everybody who knows Prusak knows that snowmobiling is his passion. So, in 2003, he was once again promoted, this time to publisher of the snowmobile group, and also served for periods of time as editor/publisher of ATV Magazine, ATV Sport, UTV Magazine, Trailer Life and others, concurrently.
In Prusak’s 27-year career, he has participated in 27 Rode Reports/Snow Shoot testing events, 27 consecutive Hay Days events, 25 Eagle River Derby events, 24 of the last 26 Big East Powersports Shows, more than a dozen ISCs and many other major snowmobile events. Wherever people gather at a major snowmobile venue, Prusak will be there covering the story. In addition, he has personally ridden snowmobiles in 23 states and provinces, and has attended events in an additional seven states and provinces where he hasn’t snowmobiled – yet.
Linda Rockwood, Utica, N.Y. – Inventor and Designer
An innovator, a savvy businessperson and most importantly, someone who cared deeply about snowmobiling, Linda Rockwood was a pioneer in the snowmobile trail web map and smartphone app design business. She founded Mohawk Valley GIS (MVGIS) in 2003, which first helped the local snowmobile clubs in New York, before working with other states.
Rockwood knew that there was a need for snowmobilers and snowmobile clubs to have a web map to locate parking, trails, gas, food and lodging. Her vision for a map that could be contained within a person’s cellphone when riding the trails – while not being tied to a paper map – brought industry to where it is today with the technology to allow snowmobile riders to use their smartphones to navigate snowmobile trail systems safely.
She began soliciting the input of several snowmobile clubs to help improve and refine her app so it could be used to assist with volunteer snowmobile club operations and also aid in raising funds. Later versions included functions such as automatic trail conditions, which allowed for refined groomer scheduling and groomer tracking that kept riders informed of grooming activities. She was also able to incorporate a profit-sharing system on the app, which gave participating clubs a simple fundraising platform.
Dozens of riders wrote and shared how helpful the app was in hazardous situations, especially white-out conditions. The GIS technology helped riders confidently explore new trails.
Rockwood’s New York State snowmobile app was way ahead of its time. Soon her app was adopted in other states such as Massachusetts, Vermont, and Wyoming. She set the bar high. It paved the way for other snowmobile apps and remains unchallenged to this day.
Unfortunately, Rockwood had to shut down MVGIS due to serious illness, which she succumbed to in January 2020. Industry lost a true entrepreneur and pioneer who worked and succeeded in making snowmobiling better for many snowmobilers and clubs that were fortunate to employ her technology. Her loss leaves an enormous hole in snowmobile navigation development.
Peggy Spieger, LaPine, Ore. – Trail Program Developer and Volunteer
Starting to ride snowmobiles over four decades ago with her husband, John, and family, the Spiegers became involved with their local snowmobile club and the Oregon State Snowmobile Association (OSSA). Peggy Spieger has worked tirelessly to represent Oregon’s snowmobilers as well as snowmobilers throughout the western snowbelt. During 40 years of distinguished service to the sport of snowmobiling, Spieger has made contributions as a trail and program developer and volunteer leader at the club, state, national and international levels.
For the past 32 years, Spieger has provided unprecedented service for OSSA where she served as secretary, administrative coordinator and executive director. She has also been active with the American Council of Snowmobile Associations (ACSA), the International Association of Snowmobile Administrators (IASA) and the Western Chapter of Snowmobile Associations, and is a long-time, very active member of the Iron Dog Brigade and her local snowmobile club.
As OSSA’s executive director, Spieger has played a leading role in efforts to keep snowmobiling access open across Oregon. She has worked diligently with the U.S. Forest Service to maintain the rights of snowmobilers to access national parks such as Crater Lake National Park, the Newberry National Volcanic Monument and development of the Kapka Butte Sno-Park. Spieger works with the Oregon Department of Transportation to administer and operate Oregon’s 6,410 miles of snowmobile trails. She has played a key role in overseeing OSSA’s daily association business, along with coordinating annual snowmobile trail operations.
In conjunction with her oversight of the trail administrations, Spieger has served as Oregon’s representative to IASA and has played a key role in every ISC since 1988. She has also regularly participated in ACSA meetings and functions since it was created in 2005. She has been a voice for snowmobiling in Washington, D.C., by attending ACSA Fly-In meetings every year to work towards protecting the rights of people who use public lands respectfully.
Spieger has represented OSSA with a very high level of honesty and integrity, always keeping a focus on doing what is best for the sport of snowmobiling.
Special Award Recipients
2020 International Snowmobile Club of the Year – Sno-Trails Snowmobile Club, Hayward, Wis.
The Sno-Trails Snowmobile Club began in 1969, and is very active in the Sawyer County Snowmobile/ATV Alliance and Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs. They maintain 175 miles of trail and have logged 850 volunteer grooming hours in a single season. They utilize over 1,000 wooden stakes to mark safe passage across eight lakes and are always researching new easements for new and improved trail relocations. Sno-Trails consistently rosters over 200 family members annually, with 40 percent being local residents and the remainder of members simply choose to ride the trails and support the club.
Sno-Trails holds three major fundraising events every year with proceeds going to county-wide trail maintenance: the Vintage Ride for American Cancer Society, a Poker Run and a Spring Bash. Sno-Trails also publishes a monthly newsletter with safety tips, trail updates and a calendar of events. They use social media as well as the local newspaper and radio to promote the club, their trails and snowmobile safety. Sno-Trails Snowmobile Club adopted their youth program called Youth Excited & Interested in Snowmobiles (YETIS) in 2015.
2020 International Snowmobile Dealer of the Year – Day’s Powersports, Bloomer, Wis.
At just 11 years old, Day’s Powersports has built a distinguished reputation. It’s a family-owned business that believes in treating customers the way they like to be treated – like friends. The staff is top-notch, very knowledgeable and treats every customer like an old friend. Business owner Jamison Day has been with the Bloomer Sno-Hawks Snowmobile Club for over two decades and has always been active in supporting and growing the sport of snowmobiling in Chippewa County. They provide a snowmobile for classroom studies during DNR Snowmobile Safety Courses. They open their shop space for club members to work on trail signs. Their shop and mechanics are readily available to help with repairs to groomers when needed and they provide storage for the grooming equipment.
2020 International Groomer of the Year – Don Wild, Antigo, Wis.
Don Wild started grooming snowmobile trails in 1968, when the Antigo Sno-Drifters club was formed. Back then he did it with only a snowmobile and built a homemade drag with parts and pieces of old farm machinery. Today, Wild still grooms at least three days a week on some of the most modern, commercially-made grooming units.
Wild is an excellent mechanic on heavy equipment and keeps the club’s groomers and drags in top condition. He has been trail boss for the Antigo Sno-Drifters for over 40 years. He coordinates with the groomer operators on when and where to groom as snow conditions warrant. Wild has developed several grooming techniques, one his club calls “Snow Management,” a unique way for holding snow in open areas which helps establish a solid deep base in the flats where grooming is often difficult. Wild puts in countless hours so snowmobilers can have a fun, safe and memorable ride.
2020 Edgar Hetteen Memorial Award of Merit – James Lewis, Springfield, Mo.
James Lewis graduated in 1958 from the engineering program at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas. In 1962, he took a job with Dayco Corporation in Springfield as an applications engineer. In his career with Dayco, Lewis shared the honor of having six U.S. patents, including an asymmetric belt transmission. Then he was granted patents on design applications built for snowmobile testing and patents for the design of several types of snowmobile belts.
By 1964, during his time with Dayco, Lewis was working with Polaris Industries testing and evaluating variable speed drive belts on their snowmobiles and in 1991, did the same with Bombardier. Lewis was the first engineer to design “Top Cog” belts for snowmobiles which are today’s standard. Lewis retired from Dayco in 1992.
Throughout his 30 years at Dayco, Lewis worked with iconic snowmobile legends from Polaris and Arctic Cat, such as Edgar Hetteen, Allen Hetteen, Bob Eastman, Leroy Lindblad, Larry Rugland, Roger Skime and Charlie Lofton.