Sports

Snowmobile clubs to host ‘bigger, better’ grass drags

ASHLAND, Maine — As snowmobile clubs around the state 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 joined forces in 2018 to rejuvenate the grass drags after a 23-year hiatus, and have announced a return and expansion of the event this year.

The two-day drags will take place on Saturday, Sept. 21, and Sunday, Sept. 22 at the Ashland track, located next to the Dalton Inn on Route 11, across the road from the Trotting Park.

“The inaugural Big Woods event was even more successful then we could have ever imagined,” said Jen Buckingham, co-chair of the event. “We had over 750 people in attendance and 55 racers that travelled to Ashland from as far as New Brunswick and Connecticut.” 

The event benefits not only the snowmobile clubs, but many other non-profits such as FFA, Project Grad, Scouts of America, Ashland Fire Department, Susan G. Komen For The Cure group, and other area snowmobile and ATV clubs who will sell food in the food court area.  

Also set up for the weekend are other vendors promoting snowmobiling, ATVing, race fuel and other booths such as antler carvings.  

Saturday, Sept. 21 is the main race day, with gates opening at 7 a.m., registration from   7 to 9 a.m. and racing beginning at 10 a.m.  

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

There are 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 a $1,000 prize to the first-place winners of 600 improved and 800 stock races, and race purse monies will be awarded to second- and third-place winners.   The shootouts were set up in memory of two former snowmobile race enthusiasts, Joey Clark and Adam Michalka.  

Also being held on Saturday is the Maine Snowmobile Association Swap Meet.  Booth renters will have parts, sleds and anything snowmobile related for sale. This additional activity will give spectators lots to do and will benefit the MSA through their booth rentals.  Contact John Monk at monksdoomopars@hermon.net for more information.

Sunday, Sept. 22 will be another fun filled day with gates opening at 8 a.m. “Race Your Neighbor”-style racing is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Lendell Buckingham said, “We’re excited to see that friendly banter between racers has already begun.  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.”  

Also on Sunday will be a family fun day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., including a bounce house and sawdust pile hunt. The vintage sled show will also be held Sunday; judges will determine the winner and award the $250 cash prize and a People’s Choice Award.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available and can be mailed to BWGD, P.O. Box 149, Portage, ME 04768.  Details on rules, fees, vendors and lodging are on the event website at www.bigwoodsdrags.com and on Facebook at Big Woods Grass Drags @theBigWoods. Clips from last year’s event are available on YouTube by searching Big Woods Grass Drags.  

For more information, contact Jen Buckingham at 227-0045 or email portagelakerstreasurer@gmail.com.  

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