At Snowmobile Congress, learning takes priority over profit – July 3, 2006
July 3, 2006
Filed under Features
When registrants checked in to the International Snowmobile Congress, each received a special blue nametag neck pouch to wear throughout the three-day event.
The name “Woody’s” was screenprinted in orange across the top, with the company’s motto and Web address, making the 500-plus attendees walking advertisements for the company.
That wasn’t really the point, said Jennifer Sample, marketing director for International Engineering & Manufacturing Inc., Hope, Mich., the makers of Woody’s traction products.
“This is one case where we don’t like to be up front,we try to maintain a low key,” she said. “We’re not there to sell product, we’re there to learn about the industry.”
The International Snowmobile Congress, held this year in Burlington, Vt., June 8-10, is an annual meeting for snowmobile’s trail administrators, grassroots leaders and state, regional and national snowmobile organizations from the United States, Canada and Sweden. The four major manufacturers have a presence, as well as a handful of aftermarket companies, such as Woody’s.
“We go for a lot of different reasons,” Sample said. The company’s first appearance at the event was during the stud ban controversy about eight years ago. “We went to these people and asked for help, and they responded,” she said.
Now she’s there to gather information. “We sit in on the meetings, hear the trends, establish the health of the industry and listen for the negative and positive rumblings, and not just in the traction industry,” she said. They’ve been a regular sponsor of the event for the past several years.
Larry McNamee, president and CEO of Boaterexam.com, of Ottawa, Ontario, was doing some information gathering, too. His company, which develops online education tools for the boating industry, is considering branching into snowmobile products. He was there to learn more about state and provincial requirements for safety education.
Doug Wilson, owner of Mountain Grooming Equipment, a Sur-Trac groomer distributor for the East Coast area, was there for two reasons: to display his product and as a volunteer. The event was run almost exclusively on volunteer help from Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) members and Wilson, of Waitsfield, Vt., helped coordinate the groomer and vendor displays.
Two snowmobile dealerships were recognized at the event for their commitment to the grassroots of snowmobiling.
B&M Motorsports of Mendota, Ill., was noted by ACSA for its support of trails, its work with the state snowmobile association and its zero-tolerance approach to drinking and snowmobiling. It sells Yamaha and Arctic Cat, and is owned by Bill and Deb Weygand. Son Mike Weygand, sales manager, accepted the award. Daughter Brandi Weygand does the dealership’s sales and marketing.
The CCSO Outstanding Snowmobile Dealership award was given to Northern Services in High Level, Alberta. The Yamaha dealership, owned by Doug and Mary Gramson, was recognized for its promotion of safety training and a $16,000 donation to a local snowmobile club to purchase a brushing arm for the groomer.