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Osceola snowmobile record attempt falls short


OSCEOLA — At 20 minutes to noon, Todd W. Lederhouse, Rochester, surveyed the snowmobile lineup and knew there were not enough sleds to break the world record.

“I think people wait until the end to do it because they don’t want to stand here. That’s what I’ve heard the most excuses were,” Mr. Lederhouse said.

He was one of 524 snowmobilers to turn out for the Osceola Snowmobile Association’s attempt to break the world record for largest parade of snowmobiles. After the attempt, the record remains at 820, set in 2004 in Roseau, Minn.

I can’t believe all the turnout,” event organizer Douglas Nichols said to the anxiously awaiting crowd. “Next year let’s go for 821 sleds!”

There was some question of why the event had such a low turnout. Mr. Nichols said the word had been spread as far south as Florida. Articles had been featured all over the news, including in the Wall Street Journal.

“We had a lot going on this weekend, too,” he said.

The attempt was arranged as a fundraising effort for the snowmobile club, which Mr. Nichols said starts each winter with a $13,000 deficit.

“A lot of people take for granted the work from clubs,” he said. “The money — it’s unbelievable what it takes a volunteer club to do for grooming and maintenance.”

He had hoped the event would bring 1,000 snowmobilers and about $10,000. Instead, he said, the event likely brought in about $5,000.

One stipulation to which the club had to adhere, according to Guinness World Records, was a single-file ride through a fenced-in area. The anticipated 2.8-mile ride would start out at and return to Cedar Pines Restaurant and Campground, 1132 Comins Road. Upon learning it was short about 300 riders, Mr. Nichols announced that snowmobilers could branch off on their own. Some riders left the lineup, but most remained.

“I was glad to see the majority stuck around,” club President Paul Valcore said. “We appreciate any help and positive feedback.”

Participants are welcome to leave comments at the club’s Facebook page under Osceola Snowmobile Association Inc.

The turnout may have been smaller than anticipated, but for Osceola resident Cheryl A. Davis, it was nonetheless a big event.

“I think it’s kind of cool just to try this in Osceola, and I think if we don’t get it today, we can try it again another time,” said Ms. Davis, who volunteered as a steward at the event.

She was supposed to be in charge of checking in 50 snowmobiles in her line; however, at last count, she had only 24 riders.

Mr. Nichols said a second attempt is not outside the realm of possibility, but club members would have to evaluate the first attempt.

“Our local sponsors did great for us,” Mr. Nichols said. “It’s just been great working with everyone; everyone’s been so supportive.”

Organizers gave out about $2,000 in donated goods.

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