ISHOF Inductees - 1992
Howard Potter - Volunteer
Howard began snowmobiling on his own homemade machine in Idaho in the 1950s. His contribution to snowmobiling extends far beyond his former responsibility with the U.S. Department of Commerce. Howard assisted in the planning and establishment of the International Snowmobile Congress in 1968, participated in the first Congress in Albany, New York in 1969 and all but one of the subsequent sixteen (16) Congresses. Howard served on the original Board of Directors for the Congress, becoming President in 1972. He played an instrumental role in the development of the International Snowmobile Council. Howard initiated and supervised the preparation and the publication of vital social and economic surveys the three state Snowmobiler Economic Commission. This four (4) volume survey was one of the most comprehensive and useful studies ever conducted on the sport. It has become a basic resource tool not only for the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, but for snowmobilers and administrators throughout the Snowbelt. Through his office, he made possible the printing of the SSCC resource book, Trails: A Strategy for Snowmobile Fun and Safety. He ensured the inclusion of snowmobiling in the Nationwide Outdoor Recreation Plan prepared by the United States Department of the Interior. Howard served as the first president of the Snowmobilers Association of Minnesota, Inc. and helped form the Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association (MnUSA), today one of North America's strongest state associations. He received the International Snowmobile Industry Association's International Award of Merit in 1976, and Snowmobile Magazine's Most Valuable Snowmobiler Award in 1984. Howard promoted the continued expansion of snowmobiling, through publication of brochures, written correspondence and personal appearances speaking on its behalf at gatherings throughout the North American Snowbelt. He supported the sport as a member of local, regional and state snowmobile organizations in Wisconsin and as a member of the Tri-State Recreational Corridor Task Force.
Catherine Dickson - Volunteer
Pittsburgh, New Hampshire
Catherine was first introduced to snowmobiling in 1964, with a purchase of a Ski-Daddler. Neighbors were later invited to try out the sled on weekends in their fields and on wooded roads. Gradually they purchased their own sleds and expanded riding to evenings as well as weekends. The farm became their gathering point. In 1971, Catherine invited the snowmobile community over for the purpose of forming a club; The New Hampshire Sno-Shakers. At that first meeting, seventy (70) snowmobilers from eighteen (18) towns arrived. At their second meeting, 100 members from twenty-seven (27) towns showed. Later, she gave the newly formed Club a twenty (20) year lease for $1 to build a 40'x60' clubhouse. She started a "Log Drive" to finance the clubhouse with contributors' names engraved on a name plate to be put on the logs. In 1972, the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association (NHSA) was formed and Catherine was elected a Director and represented Merrimack County. She helped form ten (10) new clubs within the County and was named Secretary to NHSA upon resignation of the Secretary before completion of her term. She was the first woman to be elected President of a state snowmobile association in 1973 and served two (2) terms. NHSA grew from 85 to 115 snowmobile clubs during her tenure. Catherine was Editor of NHSA's Sno-Traveler from 1973-75, Catherine received the ISIA Journalism Award in 1975, 1976, and 1977, winning honors as "Best Publication." In New Hampshire, Catherine became known as the "Snowmobile Lady." She was instrumental on founding the ISC Northeast Chapter and served on the Governor's Trail Committee and was on the Board of Directors of the New Hampshire Easter Seal Society for six (6) years. She also served as part of the Board of Directors of New Hampshire Tourist Council for ten (10) years, became a Snowmobile Safety Instructor in 1977 and attended every International Snowmobile Congress since 1974. Additionally, Catherine has represented snowmobilers on numerous talk shows, TV programs and forums. She became a member of the Iron Dog Brigade in 1979, serving as its Vice President in 1986, and was a two term President in 1987-1988. At the 1991 International Snowmobile Congress in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Mrs. Dickson was presented with the first George Elsenhuth Award for Distinguished Service to Snowmobiling. Upon retirement, Catherine and Dick (husband), operated the "Wander Inn Four Seasons" in Pittsburgh, NH. Catering to snowmobilers, the area grew from three (3) resorts to fifteen (15) resorts remaining open all year, each contributing an average of $3000 per year for snowmobile trail maintenance.
Carl Eliason - Inventor
Carl was one of the great innovators in snowmobiling, completing the initial snow vehicle in the back of his General Store. He found that his experience as a dealer of outboard motors proved extremely useful. In 1924, at age 24, Carl made his first trial run of the prototype Motor Toboggan in the woods around Sayner, Wisconsin. He applied for the patent of his design on November 22, 1927 after years of experimentation. He was later issued patent number 1,650,334. Eliason's machine was basically a long wooden sled with the rear two-thirds cut out to house a track system made of dual chains connected by wooden lugs. The forward-mounted engine was a 2 1/2 horsepower outboard motor, cooled by one quarter of a radiator from a Model T Ford, with ski-like front runners. Two important features were derived from Eliason's introduction of his machine. First, a self-propelled snow vehicle could be designed and built, and second, the basic engineering of his machine was the most practical. In his spare time in Sayner, Wisconsin from 1924-1940, Carl built as many as fifty (50) Motor Toboggans to order. However, no three (3) were exactly identical. Upon receiving a proposed order of 150 sleds from Finland, he sold his patent to Four Wheel Drive Company of Clintonville, Wisconsin with Carl as its prime consultant. Although the Finnish deal fell through, the U.S. Army purchased 150 white Eliason/FWD Motor Toboggans for possible defense of Alaska. Four (4) different models are documented as having been built at Clintonville including Models F, B, C, and D. Total production was about 300 sleds from 1941-1947. The Model D sleds were transferred to the Kitchener FWD Plant in Kitchener, Ontario to be closer to the current customer market. In 1950, the K-b model was introduced. It was smaller and had a rear mounted engine. In 1953, the K-12 appeared with a 8 1/4 HP engine which was the last of the Eliason Motor Toboggan in production. The Eliason/FWD effort was carried on until 1963 when FWD sold its parts and rights to the Carter Brothers of Waterloo, Ontario. After one (1) year, Eliason production was ceased. Some of Eliason's sleds are on display at the Vilas County Historical Museum during the Summer months and in the Winter months can be seen at Carl Eliason & Company. Both displays are located in Sayner, Wisconsin.