The History of the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association
by Dave Mayhew, Bob Anderson, Ellis Ring
Reprinted from 25th Anniversary NHSA Brochure, April, 1994
The year that ushered in the snow machine as a new form of recreation in New Hampshire was 1959.
In the next six years, many snowmobiles would be sold to people of all walks of life. By 1964 and 1965a number of these people were forming Snowmobile Clubs. In the year of 1968, it became obvious thata statewide association would be needed to contact other Snowmobile Clubs in the state for help in legislative situations and so forth.
The Winnepasaukee White Mountain Times announced an open meeting of snowmobilers of N.H. ona Sunday in March of 1969 at Christmas Tree Island at the Weirs. The meeting was chaired byBill Jones, Editor of the Times. Among the speakers was Ellis Ring and we believe a Mrs. Normandin,a member of the House of Representatives in Concord. Clubs in attendance were the S-Ki-Mos from Salem, the Lisbon Stump Jumpers, Colebrook Ski-Bees, and Pittsburgh Ridge Runners, as well as a number of individual snowmobilers.
At this meeting, after listening to speakers, an immediate and definite need for a statewide organization was realized to protect and enhance our new form of recreation. Dick Remfert, of Exeter, agreed to headup a voluntary committee from the southern portion of the state, and Willard Pike, of Colebrook, agreedto head a like committee from the northern section to bring in suggested by-laws.
At an organization meeting in April of 1969, again held at Christmas Tree Island, there were 66 persons present, representing 11 clubs. The two sets of bylaws brought in by the two committees were discussed at length. Parts of each were approved and it was left that the two committees should each propose a new set and exchange them for further study and bring them to the first meeting of the Board of Directors. Is was decided to organize with a Board of Directors consisting of one Director from each county to represent the individual clubs in their county. One Director representing non-club individual members. One director representing commercial interests and the sport of snowmobiling.
The original board consisted of John Bordeau of Franklin representing Belknap County, Bob Anderson of North Conway for Carroll county, Willard Pike of Colebrook for Coos county, George Quig of Littleton for Grafton county, Floyd Emery of Hillsboro for Hillsborough county, Robert Isabelle of Tilton for Merrimack county, Dick Remfert of Exeter for Rockingham county, Ellis Ring of Northwood representing commercial interests, Larry Connary of Lancaster representing the distributors, Frank Clark of Lisbon representing dealers, Bill Jones of Laconia for Members-At-Large. Subsequently, Richard Samoisette of Kingston was named Racing Director and Roland Hall of Keene as Director of Cheshire County. Sullivan and Strafford Counties did not have directors at this time. Leo Spredbury of Springfield was the first Director of Sullivan County and Ernest Gahan of Dover, the first for Strafford. At the close of this April meeting the Board of Directors present met to elect officers. Ellis Ring was elected the first President, George Quig Vice-President and Alice Hanneman of Manchester, Treasurer and Secretary.
To help defray the organization expenses, donations were requested from those in attendance. A representative from the S-Ki-Mos of Salem wished to make a membership deposit for their club. They thus became the first club to join the organization.
The first official meeting of the Board of Directors was held in a motel room at Tobey’s in Plymouth, on the second Tuesday evening in May 1969. Subsequent meetings were also held on the second Tuesday of the month at the Pemigewasset National Bank in Plymouth for several years. They have since met at a number of places. At the present time, the Board meets on the third Tuesday of the month at the NHSA Office, in Tilton at 7:00PM.
Many things still had to be taken care of. A dues structure was established. Some form of newsletter of communication was needed, so the Sno-Traveler was formed. A logo was needed for N.H.S.A. for decals, patches, stationary, etc. Claud Brousseau, a well-known commercial artist from Littleton, was selected and he and George Quig, the first VP designed the logo we are still using. One of the first projects was the incorporation and registering our name. When we attempted to register with the Secretary of State, we found that there was another similar name on record and we had to negotiate though legal counsel with the prior registrar a cost of $500. We were able to use our name for five years. Since we were already using our name and had it printed on stationary etc, we decided to accept the offer. To protect ourselves, we did register under the name of New Hampshire Snow Sleds, Inc. When it came time for renewal, as luck would have it, the prior owner of N.H.S.A. neglected to renew, so after the necessary waiting period we were able to assume the name permanently and without additional cost.
In as much as a great deal had transpired since the April meeting, it was decided to have an open meeting of state members to report progress and secure their approval. This was done with a meeting at Gunstock on Sunday, Sept. 21. A chicken barbeque was served by the local Fire Department at $3.00 a plate. The meeting was well attended and the actions of the Board of Directors up to that point were approved, and those who had volunteered to serve were formally elected.
During the fall and winter of 1969-1970, there were many things our new association had to address. Considerable effort was devoted to Search and Rescue. The Lisbon Stump Jumpers and the S-Ki-Mos of Salem were the most active. Many clubs either built their own or purchased various ambulance type sleds. The Fish and Game Department was very helpful with ideas and ways to improve the project.
Another problem that first winter was the matter of litter and the image of the snowmobiler. There were many complaints of snow machines where they were not wanted, and of people leaving litter. Much emphasis to correct this was accomplished and many complimentary letters were received from Board of Selectmen and landowners.
The progress and work of the Board of Directors led Governor Peterson to establish an Ad Hoc Snowmobile Study committee. Ellis Ring, President of N.H.S.A, headed this. Many organizations and branches of government, landowners, and so forth were active on this committee.
In February of 1970, the International Snowmobile Congress was held in Duluth, Minnesota. Two members of the Board of Directors, Frank Clark and George Quig attended. Practically all of their expenses were shared out of their own pockets. They brought back a tremendous amount of information. N.H.S.A. was very fortunate to have people like this in its infancy.
The first formal Annual Meeting was held in the spring of 1970 in the Moosehall in Laconia on April 19th. The Board of Directors was Arthur Fillmore (Belknap), Vern Richardson (Carroll), Roland Hall (Cheshire), Willard Pike (Coos), Robert Burg (Grafton), Floyd Emery (Hillsborough), Robert Clark (Merrimack), Walter Ross (Rockingham), Ernest Gahan (Strafford), and Leo Spredbury (Sullivan). Members-At-Large Director, Dr. Lee Eastman; Distributor Director, Roy Bartlett; Dealer Director, Bernard Chase; Contributor Director, Ellis Ring; Racing Director, Dick Samiosette. After the first Annual Meeting of N.H.S.A., it was obvious it was here to stay and is now looking at its 25th anniversary.
In February 1970, the New Hampshire Snow Slickers of Manchester raised $154.81 for the New Hampshire Easter Seal Society. The following year in conjunction with the S-Ki-Mos, they raised $420. During 1971 and 1972, Rhys Llewellyn representing the Easter Seal Society came to our board meetings three different times trying to persuade it to hold a state-wide ride to raise money for Easter Seals.
The year 1973 was one of N.H.S.A.’s most important years. From Governor Peterson’s Ad Hoc Snowmobile Committee came the Interim study of snowmobiles and ATV’s. Out of this committee came HB.10 that was passed and signed into law. HB.10 created the Bureau of Off Highway Recreational Vehicles, better known as the Bureau of OHRV. Paul Doherty, a former Chief Law Enforcement Officer with the NH Fish and Game, was named the Bureau OHRV Chief Supervisor. Through the Bureau and Paul Doherty came the Grant-In-Aid program. House bill #10 was truly a milestone for N.H. snowmobilers. The workings of the Bureau are a history in itself, which we hope someone will write.
Late in 1972, the Board of Directors voted to have a Ride-In for Easter Seals as suggested by Rhys Llewellyn. Richard Daniels, Leonard Arkerson, and John Dunlap were the committee for the first Ride-In.
It was scheduled for the first weekend in March 1973 at Lervitt Park in Moultonboro. That first Ride-In raised $5000 for Easter Seals and gave the N.H.S.A. much needed favorable publicity. With the close of our 21st Ride-In to benefit Easter Seals, N.H.S.A. has raised a total of $851,195.00. Having the Ride-In headquarters in various cities and towns in N.H. has helped to develop the Snowmobile Trail System.
The first N.H.S.A. Jamboree was held at the Hopkinton Fair Grounds, September 15 and 16, 1973. John Putnam of Sullivan County was the chairman. The Jamboree was a wonderful time for all who attended. N.H.S.A. has sponsored a Jamboree annually since 1973.
In 1974, Mrs. Joanne Guilmette, after serving N.H.S.A. long and well as its part time Corresponding Secretary, resigned. Carroll Pelletier of Amherst, NH was hired as her replacement. In 1975, N.H.S.A. rented its first office making it possible to move all of its belongings out of officer’s homes. Today, N.H.S.A has an excellent office in Tilton, NH with a full-time Executive Director.
We hope this brief history of the founding of the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association will help you in understanding its beginning. In the office in Tilton, NH, all of the Sno-Travelers are in hard bound books and can be used to fill in any gaps we may have missed. We apologize to any of the founders of N.H.S.A. or any of those that helped found this organization that we may have overlooked.
The achievements of the N.H.S.A. have been many, and through favorable State Legislation and laws acclaimed the best Snowmobile Laws in the country. With complete cooperation of the Bureau of Trails and Fish and Game Department, we have joined our clubs together with group activities, annual jamborees, N.H.S.A. Ride-In to benefit Easter Seals, Camp Sno-Mo, and the Annual Meeting Dinner.
To quote our old friend John Dunlap, “Let us all pull together to show as much progress in the years ahead as we have done during the past 25 Support your association and its officers and directors.”
NHSA Past Presidents
Chris Runnals (2020-2022)
Lucy Ford (2019-2020)
Beth Horvath-Palmer (2016-2019)
Roger Wright (2013-2016)
Russell Davis, Jr. (2011-2013)
Terry Callum, Jr. (2008-2011)
Craig A. Mayo (2006-2008)
Lucy B. Ford (2004-2006)
Dana Cabana (2001-2004)
Ron Booth (2000-2001) deceased
Dennis Ford (1998 -2000)
Paul K. Vahey (1996-1998) deceased
Charles Kurtz (1994-1996)
Harold Case (1992-1994)
Gerry West (1990-1992)
Steve Pulver (1989-1990)
John Violette (1987-1989)
Conrad (Russ) Hardy (1985-1987) deceased
Charles Case (1983-1985) deceased
Conrad (Russ) Hardy (1981-1983) deceased
Barton C. Witham (1980-1981) deceased
Carol Pelletier (1979-1980)
Barton C. Witham (1977-1979) deceased
David Mayhew (1975-1977) deceased
Catherine Dickson (1973-1975) deceased
Everett Coutermarsh (1972-1973) deceased
C. Willard Pike (1971-1972) deceased
Ellis Ring (1969-1971) deceased