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Riding old school

They may be old, but they've still got spark.

The 9th annual DL Vintage Rally and Swap Meet is right around the corner, and that has classic snowmobile lovers all revved up.

"What's great about this is, since it's located on Detroit Lake, the lack of snow doesn't matter, we can still ride," said Wayne Schlauderaff, co-chair of the vintage rally and one of Ultra's board members.

The event, set for Saturday, Feb. 18, begins at 8 a.m. on Detroit Lake across from Zorbaz.

Classic sleds 25 years old and older will be set up for display for a judging that will happen at 11 a.m., with trophies in 19 classes being awarded at high noon.

"Last year we had 175 nice looking sleds all set up there, so we have judges that go through and pick out what they feel is the best in each category," said Schlauderaff.

A swap meet will also be set up there throughout the morning for riders looking for those hard-to-find vintage parts.

"It's nothing like the summertime, but last year we did get six to 10 trailer loads of different parts from different parties," said Schlauderaff. "Anytime you've got old sleds, you've got people looking for different parts, so as long as you're together, you might as well take advantage of it."

Once the swap meet and awards presentation wraps up, it's time to tango.

"We'll do a little parade up and down the beach to show off all the old snowmobiles -- people really like that," said Schlauderaff, "and then everybody takes off in their own direction."

Those directions lead to seven different bars on the lake, including Zorbaz, Lakeside, Shorewood Pub, the American Legion, Holiday Inn, Bleachers and Billy's Bar and Grill (Vergas).

Scrambling from place to place will go from noon to 5 p.m.

If participants hit up all seven places, they'll be riding roughly 30 miles, but Schlauderaff says there's incentive to make it to each place, as they all have door prizes up for grabs -- everything from the Holiday Inn's 1972 Ski-Doo TNT to fry daddy's and waffle makers to cold, hard cash.

The big prize, however, is being awarded the following day at the Shorewood Pub.

"We've got a 1969 ski-doo Olympic 12-3," said Schlauderaff. "It was donated by my brother and sister-in-law, Jeff and Linda Schlauderaff, and then I did the labor on it."

The vintage sled is the grand prize for the event's raffle.

"I had a guy sandblast it and another guy paint it -- it was a joint effort," said Schlauderaff, "so now it's as close to new as you could get."

Second prize is a Weatherby Vanguard rifle with scope from Lakes Sports Shop and some cash prizes as well.

But the event isn't just for vintage snowmobiles and their riders -- anybody can join the ride, including those wanting to participate from the comforts of their own, warm automobile.

"We have a lot of people who will just drive their vehicles, too," said Schlauderaff, who says they just want lots of people to show up for the show and to the bars.

The more the merrier as other means of transportation are sometimes needed when the occasional vintage breakdown happens.

"They're certainly not fool proof like the newer ones," laughed Schlauderaff.

"So you just get towed home and you ride another day."

But it's the simplicity of the machines that Schlauderaff says is so appealing to all these riders.

"The lack of science, the lack of new technology...they're so simple -- that's probably the biggest, most amazing thing," said Schlauderaff.

Raffle tickets are $5, and for the event can be purchased ahead of time from Jeff's Muffler and the Shorewood Pub.

They'll also be available that day in a warming tent by the show, which will also be selling coffee and hot chocolate.

Proceeds go to trail grooming and maintenance.

For more information, call Wayne Schlauderaff at 218-849-3069 or visit