The St. Michael Foxtailers Snowmobile Club will celebrate its 50th anniversary Saturday, Sept. 14, at Liberty Legion in St. Michael.

The club was founded in 1969 because snowmobilers from St. Michael wanted to establish local trails and get more people involved with snowmobiling through events like club rides. “It was a way of getting to know people … and to have people to ride with,” said Dave Hochstedler, who, after joining the club in 1971, is still a member.

Snowmobiling’s popularity declined in the late 1970s due to lack of snow and economic factors, which caused the Foxtailers membership to decline.

But in the early 1990s, a new group of snowmobilers — including some who were sons and daughters of original members — rejuvenated the club to address complaints about snowmobilers who trespassed on private property and to provide snowmobile access to Crow-Hassan Park and other areas.

Club members also helped the city of St. Michael draft its snowmobile ordinance. In 2010, the club put in a trail to Monticello. Most snowmobile trails cross private woods and fields, and they’re possible because generous landowners and farmers grant permission to access their land.

Fast forward to 2019, the Foxtailers club teaches youth snowmobile safety training and supports community events through volunteerism and donations.

Like the people who formed the club, today’s members enjoy group rides and trailside hot dog roasts during the winter, but it also hosts an annual membership drive in early December and motorcycle rides during the snowmobile off-season.

“We’re an active club and we keep things going year-round,” Foxtailers President Tom Berning said. “We try to keep the social aspect of the club alive, which is what keeps a club moving forward. You’ve got to get [work] done but you need to make time for fun, too.”

Attractions for the outdoor Foxtailers 50th Anniversary Celebration include 4 p.m. happy hour, 5 p.m. free pig roast dinner, and 8 p.m. live music by Outside Recess, display of vintage sleds and club history, bouncy house for kids and $10 commemorative cup — beer refills included.

For more information about the event, see the club’s Facebook page or email thefoxtailers@gmail.com.

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