Snowmobile enthusiasts unable to wait for winter pulled their sleds out of the garage, revved up their engines and took to the grass this past weekend during the Ohio Ridge Riders’ annual Snow Bash at the Town of Ohio Recreational Park.
The ground is still bare and the leaves haven’t changed color yet, but that didn’t matter to the estimated 8,000 people who were expected to pass through the gates to watch amateur and professional riders compete for bragging rights and a share of the winner’s purse.
“If someone hasn’t been to Snow Bash they have no idea the number of people who turn out for it each year,” said Ohio Ridge Riders President John Bates. “The park is usually packed, and this year we have more riders than we ever had before, so we’re expecting an even larger crowd. People are looking forward to winter and snowmobile season.”
The grass drags had four snowmobile riders at a time racing down a 500-foot track at speeds that reach 120 miles per hour in a variety of different classes.
Bates said competitors and spectators come from across the country and Canada.
“It’s a big weekend not only for our snowmobile club, but for the entire town. This event is our club’s largest fundraiser of the year, and a major moneymaker for a number of other organizations like the senior citizen’s club and the Methodist church,” he said.
Bates said the Ridge Riders Snowmobile Club uses the money it makes from Snow Bash to purchase fuel and equipment to maintain its snowmobile trails throughout winter.
“We also use some of the money to improve the park and track,” he said. “Our club is always thinking of ways we can make the track and park better, and every year we try to complete one or two projects to make it better for riders and spectators. We get a lot of positive reviews each year, including one that said this is the best-run grass drag in the Northeast. Our club takes that seriously and wants to keep the good reviews coming in.”
Bates said he believes the positive word of mouth Snow Bash receives is what attracts riders from as far as the Midwest and Canada annually.
“They know it’s a quality event and the level of competition is usually pretty good,” he said. “It’s a great two days. There’s always a lot to see and do.”
The 22nd annual Snow Bash also featured a flea market and swap meet, as well as vendors selling snowmobile equipment, new and used, and other outdoor items
Page 2 of 2 - Steve Chruscicki, owner of Countryside Stoves and Chimney of Marcy, said he usually attends the event to make contacts and promote his business.
“It’s an opportunity to reach a large number of people during the course of two days,” he said. “It’s good promotion for my business, since many of the people who own snowmobiles also own camps and are interested in wood or pellet stoves and fireplaces.”
Chruscicki recommended businesses looking to reach thousands of people in 48 hours give Snow Bash a try. “If your product is marketed toward people who enjoy the outdoors, then I would definitely think about attending,” he said. “There’s always a large crowd and it’s something I continue to come back to year after year.”
“It’s a warm-up for winter,” said Bates. “It’s also a chance to see people you normally wouldn’t until snowmobile season. The people here are looking forward to the snow.”