For the 10th year, several competitors in what is now known as the NASCAR Camping World East Series got together in one place to work with some high-performance machinery and have some fun. This place isn't a racetrack though, it is the a resort town in the Western Mountain of Maine named Rangeley and the purpose was to take part in the 10th Annual Busch Sport Scene Charity Snowmobile Ride.
CW East drivers Matt Kobyluck, Eddie MacDonald, Mike Olsen, Mike Johnson and Rick Bell all attended this year's event and were joined by PASS Super Late Model competitors Derek Ramstrom, Adam Bates, Mike Fowler and Bobby Cabral.
The event features a poker run using snowmobiles in the afternoon and then the party heads to a local establishment known as “The Clubhouse” for dinner, a charity auction, an extensive raffle and door prize giveaway and a comedy show. All of the money raised goes back to a variety of charities with an estimated $10,000 raised this year.
Busch Sport Scene publisher George Campbell, who never could have predicted its growth through the years, organizes the event.
“Not a chance, I never would have guessed ten years ago that we'd still be doing this,” said Campbell. “I especially didn't think that we would still be getting the support that we're getting between the drivers and the sponsors who make this a big deal.
“This started out when Shelly Dicaro, the President of the Busch North Series Auxiliary, started this event ten years ago because she wanted everybody to get together in the winter. Back then, we were doing 20-22 races a year and nobody saw anybody in the off-season. So at the banquet, she planned this. She said 'let's all go to Rangeley.'
"So everyone went - Dale Shaw, Brad Leighton…everyone in the series. We were all from New England then. We all did the ride and I sponsored it through NERacing.com because there was no Busch Sports Scene at the time. She did it for two years and left the auxiliary the third year. There was nobody to do it and I wanted to see it continue, so I kind of just took the bull by the horns and there we went.”
This year's ride features some new faces and some returning veterans. 2008 CW East champion Matt Kobyluck attended the event for the first time on a newly acquired snowmobile that he was just breaking in. Kobyluck became an instant fan of the sport.
“It went great,” said Kobyluck. “It was a very successful day with no off-track excursions. I brought the sled home in one piece and had a lot of fun out there. There were some fast parts of the trail out there and we went flying across the lake a few times to clean out the carburetor a little bit. Things like that made it a fun day and to be up here for this event makes it even more special.”
Kobyluck is especially proud to be able to represent the CW East Series and its champion this winter at events like this one.
“It feels great,” said Kobyluck. “That is what we've been trying to do for the last 10 years - win the championship. So to get it done and put this all behind us is a huge accomplishment. It's really good to be able to experience the things that other guys as done as champions.”
Riding sleds was not quite as new to other members of the group.
“I liked this. It was fun and we got some good snowmobiling in,” said PASS North standout Adam Bates, who was a first timer at the event. “I had heard it was a blast and I had a good time. I ride a lot during the winter near home, so I'm used to snowmobiling.”
And for some drivers, the event gives them their only chance to go sledding all winter long.
“This is only my third time snowmobiling,” said Eddie MacDonald. “Every time that I have gone, it's been for this. So I get to go once a year and it's a lot of fun. We didn't really ride too far this year, we probably only went 40 or 50 miles.”
Among the charities that benefitted from this year's ride were the Maine Special Olympics, Multiple Sclerosis Society and Travis Roy Foundation. Nearly $100,000 has been raised for charity through the 10-year history of the event.