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The very first snowmobile race

The Pas, Manitoba, was a unique wintertime gathering place for large crowds to celebrate the bountiful harvest of fur pelts, and to frolic in the snow. There were dozens of contests and games, with sled dog racing one of the featured attractions.

It was a natural showplace for Polaris to demonstrate its Sno-Travelers, and for Harry Paul to attempt to sell his new Polaris-built Canadian-brand "Autoboggans." In February of 1958, a contingent of representatives from Polaris, Paul's Winnipeg distributorship and a shipment of snowmobiles arrived at The Pas.

They unloaded their machines once again on Grace Lake to show how well they would work compared to the sled dog teams. Driving around the lake, the natural urge to test one machine against another got the best of the snowmobilers. Racing for victory's sake wasn't the biggest concern at the moment, however. More important was drawing attention to the machines.. .and besides, there wasn't anything formal about it. So the first "snowmobile races" were rigged to make them look exciting.

"We tried to rig them a little bit so we had a zig-zag effect," David Johnson confessed. "One guy ahead, and then the other, and so on. At a terrific speed of about 20 miles per hour."

When the snowmobile enthusiasts left The Pas in 1958, however, plans were brewing in the back of their minds for something more organized. And more at stake than pride.



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the very first snowmobile race 1958-1960


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