Let it snow, snow, snow!
Snowmobiling is a passion for Jesse Fritz, Rugby. He’s been riding since he was five-years old.
“The Bluebird Days right after a storm are the best days to ride,” said Fritz, with enthusiasm.
He has been a member of the Northern Lights Trailblazers snowmobile club for six or seven years. Fritz is looking forward to Rugby hosting the North Dakota Snowmobile Association Fun Run on Saturday, Jan. 8.
“It should be a blast,” said Fritz. “I hope the weather cooperates.”
He was born and raised in Rugby and now has two sons of his own who enjoy riding with daddy, Kristian, 6, and Kiefer, 2. His wife, Jessica, enjoys riding a few times a year, too.
In addition to riding on the 115 miles of groomed trail around the Rugby area, Fritz goes to the Turtle Mountains to ride on weekends. He has been to Montana, Wyoming and other states to add to his snowmobiling experience.
“Every day when you go out is a new and different experience,” said Fritz.
He said he has caused a few avalanches while gaining experience on his Ski Doo. “Avalanches are sites to see,” he adds.
Fritz helps the club groom trails. They have been busy getting ready for the state event.
Jason Heilman, another Rugby native, has been helping groom the trails for the state fun run, as well. His wife, Daunne, is on the committee for the fun run and has helped create a map of the area trails for those participating.
She is very excited. “We know quite a few people who are coming,” she said. “She is looking forward to meeting some new people, as well.”
Daunne really enjoys the social aspect of belonging to the Trailblazers and all the events they attend. She participates in the Snowbunny Run which is a season event limited to women only.
Both she and Jason and daughters, Bailey Nelson, 13, and Taylor Nelson, 8, all participate in the sport together.
Bailey just completed her snowmobile safety class and is getting her license just in time to participate in the state event. Youngsters have to be at least 12-years-old and are required to take the snowmobile safety course before they are licensed to drive their own sled.
Snowmobiling is truly a family sport. The Trailblazers has a Family Day at the end of February where the club’s families enjoy snowmobiling and socializing together.
“We have an awesome time,” said Daunne.
The Heilmans have gone on short trips to Bottineau where there are great trials, too. Jason who has snowmobiling in his blood rides over in Yellowstone and at Cook City, Montana.
“With the snow we have had over the last few years, we haven’t had to leave the area,” said Daunne.
Snowmobiling isn’t always fun and games, though. Sometimes, a sled gets stuck. Yet, even annoyance is taken in stride.
“It sometimes takes hours to get a sled unstuck,” explained Daunne laughing. She obviously accepts being stuck as part of the sport that is so much fun.
Many families make up the Northern Lights Tralblazers club and tmany have been working to get ready to welcome other enthusiasts to Rugby.
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