The Byron Snow Bears Snowmobile Club was established in 1973. Most of the members names have changed over time but the purpose still is to have fun and enjoy the sport of snowmobiling.
Currently we have around 70 families in our club. The club maintains approximately 30 miles of grant-in-aid snowmobile trail which is the main link around the west side of Rochester between Stewartville and Oronoco. This section of trail receives tremendous traffic due to the multiple areas to launch from. This in turn can make it challenging for club to keep it in good shape, but we do it. We also groom the Douglas Snowmobile trail for the DNR which is 13 miles, going from the Head of Douglas trail in Rochester to Pine Island. The Douglas Snowmobile Trail connects with grant-in-aid trails in multiple locations between Rochester and Pine Island.
In addition to maintaining snowmobile trails, the Byron Snow Bears host “The Great Southern Minnesota Grass Drags Swap & Vintage Show” annually. The event began in the early 1980’s. However, it was not known by this name until years later.
In the beginning, the Snow Bears wanted to do something to kick off the season in the fall so we started to have what we called “Winter Expos” which consisted of getting some of the local dealers together at a location in Byron and showing off the newest snowmobiles and having some pop and hot dogs to talk about how great a winter we will have since the last one was not that good...as if we knew what we were talking about.
The club advertised the “Winter Expos” free to the local public, which was a way for us to advertise our club and try to get new memberships. Well, the event kept growing a little each year so around 1990 we moved the event to the Rochester Fair grounds and invited more vendors and added a swap meet. This was a good move and the event started to get the club some real exposure and we began picking up members from a wider circle than just the Byron area. After several years of growth, the event leveled off and that is when we talk about expanding the event. We needed something that would spark more interest and enthusiasm in the club and general public. In addition we needed an avenue to raise funds to purchase a newer groomer; hence, the idea of the Grass Drags started to get more focus.
Our biggest obstacle was locating a site large enough for such an event. Fortunately, one of our club member’s parents had just the right property. The next hurdle was to learn “how” to run a race event. The club reached out to a past president of the Minneapolis SNO-Barons and organizer of Hay Days to give us some insight in running an event like a Grass Drag. He was a great help and it showed itself in our first event in 1995, which by any means was a real success!
The result was membership, interest, and enthusiasm was back; and we began generating enough revenue to upgrade our trails and upgrade to a newer used groomer after that 1st event. Then in 2001 we traded our groomer for a new Tucker 2000 & years later again traded up to a new 2009 Tucker.
Today the Byron Snow Bears still hosts the Grass Drags each year and the event continues to be fun & exciting. In addition the club organizes snowmobiling trips to Northern Minnesota & Wisconsin areas. Club members also have been known to organize trips into Canada. We have weekly club rides scheduled around our SE MN area, check out our calendar for details at www.byronsnowbears.com.