International Groomer of the Year Award Sponsored by Arctic Cat
Hermanson - 2016 Award
West Yellowstone, Montana
Born and raised in West Yellowstone, Montana, Robbie grew up
playing in the snow that dominates winters there in the
mountains. With a natural and artistic ability to work with
snow, Robbie soon became the "go-to" person when it came to
creating the area's snowmobile trail system. For over 20 years,
his exemplary work ethic, service on the Trail Grooming
Committee, mechanic, groomer driver, instructor, supervisor,
relief driver, search & rescue and event designer have earned
him national acclaim. Each year he volunteers hundreds of hours
to the grooming program in West Yellowstone and the surrounding
area. A local business owner, Robbie is now the 2016
International Groomer of the Year awarded to him by the
International Snowmobile Hall of Fame.
Johnson - 2015 Award
Jim Johnson of Westfield, Wisconsin has been named the International
Snowmobile Hall of Fame "Groomer of the Year" for 2015. Jim
started grooming trails with a bedspring pulled behind his
snowmobile back in 1968 for his club, the Westfield
Whitetrackers. Soon they upgraded to bigger and bigger units,
each change orchestrated under Jim's leadership. All the grooming equipment
is stored at Jim's farm including
trail maintenance and signing equipment. He also led the
movement to obtain a six passenger Track Truck for trail work
and to transport senior members who could no longer trail ride.
Jim's other passions are antique sleds and representing
Marquette County as a rep in the Association of Wisconsin
Snowmobile Clubs (AWSC) for over 28 years, he is the Wisconsin Director
for the Antique Snowmobile Club of America, currently owns 40+
old sleds and has chaired numerous snowmobile programs for each
group for over 45 years. Add 30+ years as Fire Chief for
the local Fire Department and that truly speaks for Jim Johnson's dedication.
Willey - 2014 Award
Chris has served his local club, county and state in numerous
officer positions with emphasis on trail grooming. He developed
and is the head of the Groomer Operator Training Program for the
state of Iowa. He earned the honor of being named Groomer of the
Year for the State of Iowa in 2012. On the state level, Chris
created an educational program for new groomer operators and a
recertification program for experienced operators. He has
trained and now oversees a team of eight (8) groomer operator trainers across
the state, maintains the database of certified operators
statewide and works with the Iowa DNR to manage every aspect of
the State Groomer Operator Program. Chris has perfected the art
of snow grooming and shared his skill with hundreds of others.
He dedicates his time and skills to his passion for the sport of
snowmobiling and grooming.
Stanley Wolf - 2013 Award
Stanley has been a devoted club member and volunteer for 40 years. During this time he has served in numerous offices of his local club, the Iowa State Snowmobile Association and
as developer of the Five Star Snow Trails Association. Stanley coordinates grooming operations of the Five Star Snow Trails Association and heads up the groomer
maintenance program for the groups groomers. In 2010, Stanley was awarded the Iowa State Snowmobiler Association Groomer of the Year award.
Jerry Emery - 2012 Award
Building his own groomer, Jerry started his grooming career back in 1976. After 35 years of planning, building and developing the trails around Mille Lacs,
Minnesota, the club now has 130 miles of trails, 90% of which were "Jerry built". For Jerry, grooming is a year round passion that he is dedicated to.
Wayne Aune - 2011 Award
Fairdale, North Dakota
Ron Benson - 2011 Award
Gary Hilgendorf - 2011 Award
David Carmichael - 2009 Award
David Carmichael has been involved in all working posts of
the Iowa's State Snowmobile Associations, holding office
positions including President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Board
of Directors, member and many important committee assignments.
He has always paid serious attention to the trail system and
operations which included all aspects of grooming and equipment.
The implementation of maintenance and procurement of the right
equipment fit right in with David's background which included
many years with John Deere, his employer. It's been over
years of building the groomer program to what it is today in
Iowa. Leading by example has brought many young people into the
snowmobile program, teaching others to respect
landowners, the environment, wildlife and snowmobile rules and
David has received many awards for his overall snowmobile
contributions which include his induction into the International
Snowmobile Hall of Fame in 2005. (more
info) Since his induction, he has
continued to focus on the snowmobile trail system, grooming equipment and grooming
operations. David continues to take the steps needed to make sure
snowmobiling is carried on for future generations to enjoy.
Harold A. Butschke - 2008 Award
Harold has worn many hats in his long time career in
Wisconsin with the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs
(AWSC), County alliances and
individual clubs. He has been a groomer instructor to first time operators
and has shared his expertise in maintaining the grooming units they drive.
Harold has over 25 years experience in grooming trails and many more years in the
development of his local trail system. Some of the newest members of his
team have dubbed him "Father Tucker." He has been a
snowmobile safety instructor for
many years for both the Club and County and a long time Membership
Chairman for the AWSC, all of which have continued to keep him in
the loop with young and older members alike.
Frank Ellis - 2007 Award
Frank was nominated by the Oregon State Snowmobile Association (OSSA) along with his clubs, the Moon Country Sno-mobiles, the Sisters Sno-Go-Fers, and the La Pine Lodgepole Dodgers, of which Frank and his wife Mary Ann are charter members.
Much has changed in the last 37 years that Frank has been grooming trails. He started out with a snowmobile pulling a large tire then to a bedspring to form a trail. Through those
early years, Frank progressed to trying out all kinds of equipment
to groom trails. The one thing that hasn't changed over the
years is that he is still a volunteer and grooming several times a week.
Frank has mapped, cleared and marked most of the 1000 miles of trails in the central Oregon area. He was involved in the formation of the OSSA in 1972
and has held many offices including being the President from
1981-1983. He was a leader in the formation of the Oregon's grooming program allowing registration fees and gas
tax revenue to be dedicated funds for maintaining and grooming snowmobile trails.
This program continues today and is administrated by OSSA.
When not grooming, Frank is busy helping out the clubs and assisting where he can,
however his first choice would be in the cab of the Bombardier - BR250
groomer doing what he loves so much to do; Grooming and maintaining
Ross Garrett - 2006 Award
Burk's Falls, Ontario
Ross entered the work of snowmobiling in 1969 and has been dedicated to the sport since then.
He is a member of the Magnetawan Ridge Runner Snowmobile Club, part of the Parry Sound Snowmobile District in Northern Ontario.
A master trail groomer is only part of what he has one and is doing, having built two groomers from directions he
received from a U.S. club.
In 1989, Ross decided to build a snowmobile trail from the Sundridge Trail to Horn Lake so residents
there could connect to the trail system. Trying to find the best route, friends bought him an airplane ride for his 65th birthday. He used that ride to take
aerial photos to map out the new trail and "Trail 708" was born. All
year long, Ross and his helper packed, brushed and fine tuned
the trail to perfection.
Ross helps out the club in many other ways such as selling trail permits and making sure trails are
properly signed and smooth so friends, members and visitors have access to the Province-wide
William Dudgeon - 2005 Award
Bill Dudgeon is the primary groomer and current President of the Hardwood Trailblazers Snowmobile Club. He is responsible for
grooming 42 miles of snowmobile trails while grooming another 50 mile section of trail for the neighboring Nay Tan Waush
Night Riders Club. Bill has attended state "Trails and Signs"
and "Recreation Design & Trail Construction" schools on his own time and
at his own expense. He then organized club members to double the trail signage to increase rider safety and visitor direction. The grooming training he instructed for other volunteers has brought others to help with trail grooming and maintenance. This has given Bill some time to devote his energy to help teach youth snowmobile safety classes and trail guide for local resorts.
Bill's work with the club to foster respect for landowners who give permission to the clubs to route their trails through their land has taught others how important these people are to snowmobiling, and to respect them and the natural resources they provide.
Leading by example, Bill has groomed selflessly working not only for the clubs, but
for all snowmobilers. He has been called a
"Groomers' Groomer Operator" by other operators.
Joe Tonso - 2004 Award
A charter member of the Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club,
Joe has served as Grooming Chairman since 1988. He was appointed
Grooming Chairman of the Colorado Snowmobile Association (CSA)
in 1990 and continues in that position today.
As chairman of the grooming program, Joe has developed a funding
allocation formula which makes for equitable distribution of
funds. This formula has been accepted by the state and
snowmobile clubs. Adopted by the State Legislature, funding comes from the
machine registration fee in Colorado. It is administered by the
state parks and recreation program who disperses the funds to
the clubs that groom trails. Joe has also established a training
program for groomer operators. It not only teaches operational
techniques, but also the maintenance and mechanics of the
equipment. Since the majority of operators are volunteers, the program has been very
Joe Tonso and his wife Jenn are avid snowmobilers, hosting many
state functions and serving on various committees in CSA and as Club officers.
They were recognized as Colorado's Snowmobile Family of the
Year in 2003. A 28-year member of the Moffat County Search and
Rescue team has given Joe the opportunity to work with local,
state and federal entities to promote the values of
Francis Pelkey - 2003 Award
A member of the Greenway Snowmobile Club since 1968, Francis
designed and built the clubs' first 144 miles of snowmobile trails which may have been the first Grand-In-Aid Trail System in Minnesota. He then went out to be trail boss, groomer trainer, bridge construction crew chief, maintenance manager as well as being involved and coordinator of March of Dimes and MS Charity Rides. Arranging for rides for developmentally disabled riders and training people for Youth Safety Certificate Snowmobile Classes are among some of his special projects.
Involved locally with the snowmobile club and with the Itasca County Alliance, MnUSA
functions, meetings and seminars keep his schedule full.
Curly Crosson - 2002 Award
Brackendaje, British Columbia
Curly Crosson first received national recognition as being chosen the Groomer Operator of the Year for the Western Chapter of the American Council of Snowmobile Associations
in addition to this 2002 award. At 81 years old (as of 2002),
Curly is the Black Tusk Snowmobile Club's (BTSC) oldest member since it was formed over 30 years ago
and has now been given a lifetime membership for his profound contributions to the BTSC.
Other nominees for this prestigious 2002 award were: Vernon
Robichand from Maine (representing the Eastern Chapter of ACSA)
and John Arnold from Minnesota (representing the Mid-Western
William Wanta, Sr. - 2001 Award
Bill Wanta received national recognition at the International Snowmobile Congress in Nashua,
NH and is recognized as the International award recipient.
Bill was a founding member of the Shanty-Town Snowmobile Club in 1968
which gave him the opportunity to plan and lay out 50 miles of trails, that the club maintains,
much of which he still grooms 33 years later. He is assisted by his wife Elise, who is an avid club member and officer. Club groomer operators include two sons, which he personally trained and instructed. Building his own drags, maintaining the groomers, supervising and doing all trail maintenance, has rubbed off on club members and gained the club such pride and responsibilities in having the finest trails in the county and attracts snowmobilers to their trails. Anyone from the club that is around "Uncle Bill Wanta" takes their work seriously in what they do for the club and for the sport of snowmobiling.
Ken Race - 2000 Award
Ken Race received national recognition at the
International Snowmobile Congress in Reno, Nevada. He has
been selected from three (3) groomer operators that received the
national award to be honored and recognized as the International
Ken Race is the first Wisconsin groomer operator to receive any
National recognition and now to receive this second award is
unbelievable to him. He has been a groomer operator for the
Arbor Vitae Woodruff Cross Country Cruisers for more than 20
years. The 400 member club has three groomers, two Tuckers and
one John Deere, while he snowmobiles only about 100 miles a
year, he grooms over 1500 miles of trails each Winter in Vilas
and Oneida Counties. He takes his work seriously knowing that
having the best snowmobile trails keeps Winter visitors coming
to the area.