Snowmobile clubs unite for grass drags

ASHLAND, Maine — As snowmobile clubs around the state of Maine struggle with cash flow and finances, fundraising efforts throughout the year are a must.  The Ashland Sno-mobile Club and the Portage Lakers Snowmobile Club have joined forces to host what they expect to be an epic event on Oct. 14: the Big Woods Grass Drags.

Ashland and Portage Lake are approximately 15 miles apart and collaborate on many issues, including snowmobiling.  Twenty-three years ago the clubs hosted a grass drag event in memory of Butch Jimmo, a sled enthusiast and local racer.  The clubs have discussed reviving the event, and each pledged to donate to the cause.

Club members Barry and Glori Baranowski donated the use of their field located next to the Dalton Inn on Route 11, south of Ashland.  

“We’re working to build a premier event for racers, vendors and spectators, and give all snowmobile enthusiasts a way to kick off the upcoming snowmobile season,” stated Glori Baranowski, event co-chair.  

The race committee researched similar events and sought guidance from members of the Caribou Snowmobile Club.  

“This event welcomes racers of all levels, from amateurs to the pros,” explained Lendell Buckingham, race director.  “The track committee has developed a 500-foot grass drag area with a 100-foot clay start plus 1,000-foot shutdown area, all of which is standard in the grass drag circuit.”  

There will be two racing lanes with a Christmas tree starting/timing system.  Race classes available will be mini, junior, vintage, stock, improved stock, pro-stock and turbo improved.  Awards will consist of 100 percent cash payback for all classes except mini and junior classes, which will be awarded trophies.  

In addition, two shootout competitions will provide an additional $1,000 purse for the 600 improved and 800 stock races.   The shootouts were set up in memory of two former snowmobile race enthusiasts, Joey Clark and Adam Michalka.

“We’re excited to see that friendly banter between racers has already begun,” said Buckingham. “Racing sleds head to head at speeds in excess of 100 mph is an adrenaline rush.  This is an event you are not going to want to miss.”

There will be general admission, pit passes, and limited trackside tailgate parking.  Gates will open at 7 a.m. with registration from 7:30 to 10:30. Racing will begin at 11am.  

For those interested in the history of snowmobiling, vintage sleds will be on display during the event and spectators will have the opportunity to select the Vintage People’s Choice Award.  The owner of the selected vintage sled will receive a $250 cash prize.

Other nonprofit organizations, such as the Ashland and Mars Hill FFA groups, the Class of 2019, the Portage ATV Club, the Oxbow/Marsardis Snowmobile Club, the Ashland Fire Department and the Susan G. Komen For The Cure group, will assist with the event.  These vendors will be on site offering options for food, non-alcoholic beverages and souvenirs.

The Town of Ashland will allow primitive camping (no bonfires) at the Ashland Trotting Park located directly across the road from the race.  For camping information, contact Tammy Curran at (207) 227-0449.

For more information, visit the event website at or follow them on Facebook at Big Woods Grass Drags @theBigWoods.

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