"And there isn't anything you can't succeed in if you just show up on time, and you play."
Photos by Megan Monday
"We used to be involved in stock car racing locally, at Slinger Speedway. Through that we knew a family whose kids raced snowmobiles, too. Our son has always loved cars and trains...anything that went fast. So three or four years ago, we went with them just to see if he would like it.
-Shannon (3rd generation)| Mequon, WI
"Before my first race, I had my friend teach me how to do everything. How to get off of the line, how to lean on the sled to make sure that it doesn't tip over in the corners...I just followed exactly what he said. When I did, I won my first race. My dad said, 'Huh... maybe we should keep doing this.'"
-TJ (4th generation) | Mequon, WI
“If you're going to enjoy Wisconsin, you're going to have to figure out how to enjoy the winters. I own a real estate company, so when I'm bringing somebody in for relocation to Wisconsin, I tell them, 'First thing, if you have kids, get them outside in the winter. Forget the computer games, forget the TV. There's so much to do outside!' And snowmobiling has been so good. It teaches sportsmanship, how to win and how to lose. It's great to see all of the grandparents and parents all supporting the kids. It's like a big family.”
-Grandma Dawn (5th generation) | Neenah, WI
“My grandparents had the first snowmobiles by Oshkosh. They bought a great big 50 Evinrude, and an old Red Rupp. They were huge, just monster machines. They didn't go very fast, but it was such a big deal—all of the neighbors would come down and do laps and take turns. That's how my brother and I got into snowmobiling. We were pretty little, and it just stayed with us. It was just in our blood. My son has a farm now and it’s the same way there, too. All of the kids come over and take turns."
"My great, great grandparents on my mom's side came from Germany, and on my dad’s side we are related to the Coats & Clark Thread Company. My mom and dad had a 100-acre farm back by Omro; my grandparents and my uncles were all farmers, too. In all of our family we don't have anybody that went very far away. Some of the cousins went for school and what have you, but they're all pretty much back by Omro. Winneconne, Borth, Poygan, Berlin, Waukau, and Neenah, Minnechaug and Appleton. We're all pretty much in the area. I've visited other places of course, but this place is home.”
-Great Grandma Rosie (4th generation) | Omro, WI
"This is Kitty Kat racing. It's a snowmobile for younger kids. The sleds are smaller; they don't go as fast. But it's exciting, and this sport is great because it's something to look forward to in the wintertime. I'm from a pretty small town, and it's cool to have something outdoors—you're not just sitting on the couch watching TV all winter. This is fun! It's challenging! You can get out and see other people!"
-Zoey | Markesan, WI
"I got into snowmobiling at eight years old. My cousin wanted to try it out, and so we just did it together. We're very competitive. Whenever we're in the same race, it's like it's just us two. We don't worry about the other people. All we do is bump and bang each other. I used to win all the time. He wins quite a bit...it's a friendly rivalry."
"At the start of the race, everyone is close together and they start bumping and banging to try and get into the lead. One time someone bumped into me and I flew, just flew right up the snowbank. I flipped, but you have knee pads and all your gear on. So really...it was pretty fun, actually."
"I'm from Wausau, Wisconsin, and I fell in love with this hat many years ago at Baeseman Clothing in town. My husband splurged and bought it for me. Foxes are gorgeous. They're just so cool. They're good at hunting, they do their own thing. I just fell in love with it."
-Cheryl (4th generation) | Wausau, WI
"I'm the executive director for the Wausau/Central Wisconsin Convention & Visitors Bureau, Badger State games, and the Sports Authority. What's really exciting is the passion. You know, everybody just LOVES their sport. And there isn't anything you can't succeed in if you just show up on time, and you play. Plain and simple."
-Richard (4th generation) | Rothschild, WI
"My kids were in sports. My oldest daughter, she ran track, and the next two played softball. I got really involved with the associations, the booster clubs, stuff like that. To me, the best part was seeing the joy sports brought my kids. And it was way more fun watching my kids succeed than when I participate in them myself; I think every parent will tell you that."