Vintage sleds go up in Blue Smoke at Anoka County Fairgrounds

by Sue Austreng
Staff Writer

Dozens of vintage snowmobiles skidded on to the Anoka County Fairgrounds Jan. 21 for the first-ever Blue Smoke Vintage Snowmobile Show and Swap.

Kaylo Murphy of Braham makes a dash past the line-up of antique sleds during the Jan. 21 Blue Smoke show and swap. Here, a yellow 1961 Ski-Doo and an orange 1965 Moto-Ski rest on the snowy fairgrounds. Photo by Sue Austreng

From Ski-Doo and Cheetah to Scorpion, Polaris, Moto-Ski and Sno-Jet, some 150 sledders and spectators swapped stories and showed off their prized machines during that frigid Saturday afternoon.

Admission was free, a giant bonfire warmed freezing fingers and toes, and folks could step inside the warming shelter to peruse a selection of snowmobile merchandise and apparel or just settle in for a warming spell.

Outside, Blue Smoke Vintage Snowmobile Show contestants won cash prizes for the best in class restored and unrestored antique (1968 and older), vintage (1969 to 1974), race sleds, people’s choice and mayor’s pick.

Bob Bemmels, lead organizer of the show, staged by the Coon Rapids Sno-Cruisers and promoted by the Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce, said he’d like to do it again next year.

“We’ve had nothing but positive comments about this today. Even though there’s really no snow and it’s very cold today, we fully intend to do this again,” Bemmels said, guessing some 150 people came to the show and more than 50 snowmobiles were on display.

The event did more than just tickle the fancy of snowmobilers and sled enthusiasts. After expenses, money collected from those registering to show their machines will be donated to Youth First Community of Promise.

Bemmels estimates $350 to $400 will be given to Youth First.

“We like to raise money for a good cause, and Youth First does so much for young people in our community, we’re happy to support that,” Bemmels said, serving as spokesman for Coon Rapids Sno-Cruisers and inviting others to join the snowmobile club.

For more information about the Coon Rapids Sno-Cruisers, visit

And make plans to attend the second annual Blue Smoke Vintage Snowmobile Show and Swap on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013.

Sue Austreng is at [email protected]