The White Thunder Riders Snowmobile club was first organized in 1970.  Originally, only residents of Oma were allowed to join, but soon after interest to join the club built throughout the area, others were allowed in.  The bi-laws were then changed. 

The original grooming units were two Skidoo Alpines pulling 4’ home made drags.  Grooming was a bitter cold chore and often resulted in breakdowns on the trails.  The trails at that time were just being developed and the club along with the County Forestry Department were creating more of a trail system year after year.   By the mid to late 70’s, the club made enough money to purchase an old military surplus vehicle called a “weasel”.  This power unit was a step up and a bit warmer than the Alpines used previously, but was not the most reliable unit on the trail and often broke down.  A basic maintenance nightmare, if you will !!!!!

Ski Doo Alpines

After quite a few years of use, the club decided to make a step up.  In the late 70’s, a “used” Tucker “Sno- Cat” was purchased and life was good.  This definitely was a step up from the weasel and required a lot less maintenance.  Maintenance was never really non-existent though.  Groomers and drags  broke often and had to be welded. Tracks ripped and needed patching and replacement.  Although the power unit was an improvement, the trails still were in the development stages and caused a lot of problems trying to get them flat.

1970’s era Tucker SnoCat

In 1982, the  first “new “ Tucker was purchased .  This power unit was run throughout the 80’s  until it was replaced by “new” 1989 diesel Tucker “Sno-Cat”.  In 1991, an addition to the fleet brought the power unit count to 2. Eight foot drags were used instead of the narrower ones with previous groomers.  By now, the trail system was in good overall condition and mid winter grooming was more enjoyable for operators.  Gone were the nights of burying drags and power equipment. Or so they  thought…….  Until the 1989 Cat ended up buried one night up to the cab…only to come out in 2 more pieces than when it went in.  (back to Trail Maintenance 101)…

After careful consideration, the club decided to purchase a  John Deere 4WD  Tractor in 1993.  This worked well on the RR grades, burning half the fuel and requiring  minimal maintenance.   It worked so well, they  purchased another in 1995, and we have run 4 power units (groomers) ever since.  The club believes in rotating equipment to minimize maintenance and reduce breakdowns.  Tucker “Sno-Cats are run 2 years – then traded for new.  The older John Deere’s have been replaced most recently with a New Holland tractor.  Our last “Green”  (John Deere track  driven tractor) was replaced in 2009 and again in 2016 with “Blue” New Holland tractors.  This unit however, is a “four track” unit similar to the “Sno-Cats”.  Nothing gets in her way…..

Summer maintenance, grading, bulldozing, and  brushing (with help from the Iron County ATV Club) help keep the trails in decent shape throughout the summer months.  Hard Work in the summer helps reduce power unit maintenance in the winter.  Life is good once again……

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