Cranbrook snowmobiler Sheldon Kelly is taking part in North America’s Top Snowmobiler competition.
The Ski-Doo sponsored competition sees riders compete against each other to get the most votes. In the first round, Kelly is facing off against Kari Amlin.
For Kelly what makes the top snowmobiler is more than just skill.
“Everyone can ride a sled, but it’s what you do to get above and beyond just riding a sled- something that is outstanding,” he said.
Along with riding his sled Kelly does chute climbing when he goes out.
“It’s just something that really takes it to a whole different level,” he added.
However, it’s not just riding that makes someone a top snowmobiler, Kelly said the work he has put into the community is a main contributor to why he should be chosen.
As part of the snowmobile club Kelly is on the committee for trail maintenance of the Lumberton trial system.
“I get work parties together so we can go out and maintain trials, keep trails open, clear overgrowth … we put lots of hours in. We do a garbage cleanup every spring,” he said.
As well as helping to keep trails going, Kelly would videotape riders and make a film called “Winter Nutz.”
He would host a movie premiere, to get everyone excited about the season, but it would also be a fundraiser.
“Every year all of the money I would make from the ticket sales at the door … went to my donation of choice,” he said, including certain drink specials.
One year he donated the funds to the United Way and the other to the Cranbrook Snowmobile Club.
Born in July of 1985, it didn’t take Kelly long to get on a snowmobile. That winter his father took him on his and he’s been hooked ever since.
Kelly continues to be active in snowmobiling because of two things – exploration and thrill.
“It’s just exploring areas in the forest. We have sat on the saddle of Fisher Peak … you can go anywhere. When you get 10 feet of snow on top of all these boulders, the boulders are gone and you can access wherever you want to go. You can see new things every time you go riding,” he said.
Kelly explains if he does get the chance to continue on in the competition it will be good for not only him, but the community.
“It’s going to help put Cranbrook on the map even more as a snowmobile destination,” he said, noting the snowmobile community is a good size here, but it could be bigger.
“We aren’t as big as something like Revelstoke because all of the tourism goes through Revelstoke. No one really knows about Cranbrook, it’s more of a hidden gem, and we get a bit of tourism but nothing like we can get.”
At the end of the competition one of 16 contestants will be crowned Ski-Doo North America’s Top Snowmobiler, but also win a grand prize of a 2020 Ski-Doo snowmobile of their choice, an all-expenses-paid mount riding adventure to CKMP to ride with Carl Kuster and be featured in a story on SnowTrax Television and Supertrax Magazine. Also, the winner will receive more than $2,500 for accessories.
“I’m in this because I actually want to win this sled. I want a new Ski-Doo. There are no Ski-Doo dealers around Cranbrook, so you can’t just go. You have to go to Golden or Nelson or Alberta, so this will be sweet to get something I actually want,” said Kelly.
The first round of the competition that Kelly is in runs until Dec. 13, and people can vote daily at www.supertraxmag.com/nats/. For all of the votes he receives, Kelly wanted to thank the community for standing behind him on this.