Chris and Jeannie Brewer from Regina Beach, Saskatchewan, live, eat and breathe snowmobiling. Both were bitten by the sledding bug at a young age, and after they met and fell in love, it seemed only natural for the couple to get married on sleds.
A informal “Formula” wedding
“It was (Jeannie’s) idea to get married on snowmobiles,” said Chris. “A whole group of us had always ridden to a really nice ravine along the valley here, so Jeannie said that’s the spot.”
Ski-Doo corporate caught wind of their wedding plans and company officials decided to send them matching snowmobile suits that bore the insignia of Ski-Doo's newly released Formula line of sleds. So on January 6, 1990, in the middle of winter, Chris and Jeannie donned their Formula snowmobile suits and rode in a cutter while their best man and maid of honour drove them to the wedding ceremony in a double-seated, Ski-Doo Elite snowmobile.
“It was a day the temperature rose to about 14 degrees,” said Chris. “The skies were clear, there was lots of snow and it was a beautiful day.”
The Brewers are active members of the Last Mountain Lake Drifters Snowmobile Club in Regina Beach. Chris also serves as the president and CEO of the Saskatchewan Snowmobile Association (SSA), and Jeannie has one more season to go before she retires from her position as a financial officer with the SSA.
Among their accomplishments, Chris was successful in starting a uniform trail signage system and a trails inspection program in Saskatchewan—while Jeannie, who is a breast cancer survivor, helped to get the Prairie Women On Snowmobiles (PWOS) organization up and running. To date, the PWOS's annual 2,200-kilometre ride has generated more than $1.8 million in donations to the Canadian Cancer Society.
The couple's work has not gone unnoticed. The same year they were wed, Chris won the International Snowmobile Industry Association’s Snowmobiler of the Year Award, and then in 1997, he won International Snowmobile Groomer of the Year. In 2008, Jeannie was named Snowmobiler of the Year by the Canadian Council of Snowmobile Organizations.
The Brewers' latest recognition, and quite possibly the most humbling one of all, is their induction as volunteers into the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame Class of 2012.
The inductions took place at the World Snowmobile Headquarters in Eagle River, Wisconsin, on September 14 and 15, 2012. It was the Brewers' first visit to Eagle River, and Chris said it didn’t take him long to see why it’s officially called the Snowmobile Capital of the World.
“You have the world headquarters there, the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame, and the world racing headquarters hall of fame is there—they share a museum,” said Chris, “And right next door to all of this is the World Derby snowmobile track where the world finals are held every year.”
The Brewers, along with the other inductees, enjoyed two full days of activity. It all began with a boat cruise and a dinner on Friday, and then on Saturday, they attended a vintage snowmobile display and swap meet, and watched grass drags at the World Derby track. Chris said the inductees got the royal treatment at the races, with VIP seating and a formal introduction to the crowd of spectators.
The event wrapped up on Saturday evening with dinner at the Eagle River Inn and Resort, followed by the official induction ceremony. According to Jeannie, the ceremony was the best part of the entire weekend because she and Chris were being recognized as a couple, united in their passion for snowmobiling.
“It was neat that he and I were together,” she said. “That might have been the highlight—that we share this. It’s something we both understand and something we both like to do.”