By MEGAN ULRICH
Express News Staff
INLET -- The Inlet Barnstormers snowmobile club started 1998 when 13 avid snowmobilers got together at The Ole Barn restaurant here and decided to start a club. The club's name came from the meeting spot with the 'Inlet' added to make them unique, says Dick Rosteck.
"We are the single largest club in New York state, starting up with 13 members and having just over 2,000 members to our credit," he says.
"The purpose of our club is to enhance the riding experience of snowmobilers in our area by clearing and grooming trails on state land," says Rosteck.
The club also offers two free snowmobile safety classes a year. It recently hosted Crew #288, a Boy Scout "Venturing" group from Long Island, Feb. 21. For most of the boys it was their first time snowmobiling. They had a chance to earn New York Snowmobiling Safety Course certificates and experience the sport "on the trails."
JOIN A CLUB, SAVE $
Joining one of the many clubs across the state has financial benefits. The membership dues of $25 each year bring a $55 reduction in sled registration fees per sled.
New York state passed a law in 2006 that raised the snowmobile registration fee to $100, unless one belongs to a club recognized by the New York State Snowmobile Association. The registration fee for members of the 243 clubs registered with NYSSA is $45.
THE SOCIAL SCENE
Barnstormer members participate in social activities both during the winter and the warmer months. The club hosts three family picnics each year, in the Moose River Plains, at intersection 24 on the Town of Webb trail system and one in the fall at a different location.
There are two guided trail rides per week in season, averaging from 75 to 150 miles per day. There is a two-day poker run, a guided overnight trip, a Christmas party with gift exchange and monthly meetings followed by food and camaraderie.
During March the final dinner is a sit-down meal as the snowmobile season draws to a close.
The club also does quite a bit of fundraising. Events range from a snowmobile raffle to a two-day poker run, dinner at Billy's restaurant in Old Forge to the sale of sweatshirts and hats.
"As a club we donate to other not-for-profit groups that support snowmobiling, such as the EMS, fire and rescue squads. Over a 16-year period we have donated over $70,000 to those that support snowmobiling.
"We owe much of our success and growth to the towns of Inlet, Webb and Long Lake. Though we get no funding from these towns, when the club needs help or support they are always there for us," says Rosteck.
To become a member and view events and activities visit www.inletbarnstormers.com.