Hello from the new board chair of the SSA. My name is Kim Bisschop and I am from Kelvington, Saskatchewan. I have lived in Kelvington for 25 years and I am originally from Lintlaw, just a few miles down the road.
I started snowmobiling back in the ’80s on a JD 800 440. I am one of the younger board members and started, like most, on trails, helping the local clubs groom trails with old feeder chains and old alpines making 4-foot-wide trails from Lintlaw back into the forest. Oh, how easy it is now compared to back then. Now the chainsaws start, sleds start, clothes are warmer and the list goes on.
I have been on the board of directors for 10 years now and I have seen almost everything that can happen to clubs. I am working hard with my board to get the most possible money out to the clubs. It has been a long, hard road to where we are now. The staff in the office is the best at what they do every day to make sure clubs are in tune with what the government needs from them, so the SSA can pay them for all the hard work they do. If it wasn’t for all the clubs in Saskatchewan making up over 10,000 kilometres of trail, we would all be ditch-banging from town to town. Instead we can go back into the wilderness and go places that only can be reached in the wintertime.
I am taking over from long-time board member Rick Dolezsar from Hudson Bay. Rick and I have known each other since 2001. That year we went up to Hudson Bay to do some snowmobiling and Rick was our tour guide. We pulled into the parking lot of the Norwood Motel and sitting there was a 1996 Ultra SP all shined up and ready to go. I was riding a 1997 Ultra SPX. What are the chances of two guys who are very passionate about snowmobiling having almost the same exact sled? Rick took us on a tour to Moose Range, the Wild Cat Hills and many more places that we still go to today 18 years later.
Rick and I talk at least once a month if not more in the winter, and over the past two years my wife and I and some friends have gone there in the summer to camp, golf and fish.
I have been the vice-president of the Kelvington Trailblazers for 12 years and have seen our club grow tremendously over the last 10 years. We have a very hard working group of people behind us, making our trails and shelters the best they can be. I am also one of the founding members of the KAOS club in Kelvington, called the Kelvington Jr. Trailblazers, along with a great group of parents and kids. You will see my daughter’s report in this issue of the magazine.
By the time you read this, we will be on the heels of the Saskatchewan Snowmobile Show—one of the greatest places to be before the winter season to see all the new sleds and gear. You will also get to visit with the clubs in attendance and make a plan to ride in their area. Most club members are more than happy to talk about their trail system and the best places to ride within their area, as well as what you can experience in their community. It is also a great place to meet with friends and brag about who will be the fastest on the lake this year.
My wife and I, along with our kids, will be working at the show. My wife will be the first responder on scene in case of any emergencies, and I will be working as security along with the other 11 board members. My daughter will be greeting everyone at the entrance to welcome all of you to the show. My son will be checking out every sled in the building, so if you need to find something, just ask and he will gladly show you. Snowmobiling is truly a family passion, so in winter you will find all four of us out on the trail, looking after the trail, looking after our warm-up shacks or just enjoying our beautiful trail system. One thing that we are also passionate about is safety; all four of us wear TEK vests and encourage others to do so too. You can get yours at the show at any vendor that offers them.
I am thinking that this year will also bring challenges for most clubs, from no snow to trees blown down in the forest, but we will still get by and work together to make the best possible decision whether to open the trails or not. Also, please be safe out there when marking, clearing trees or just going out for a ride—anything can happen in a heartbeat. And please remember—don’t drink and ride!