The MSA (Maine Snowmobile Assoc.) held its annual meeting on April 22, 2017. Leo was one of two people inducted into the MSA Hall of Fame. Here are some highlights of his life long affiliation with snowmobiling totaling 56 plus years of snowmobile memories.
*Bought my first sled in December 1961
*The machine was a Polaris Ranger, purchased over the phone, sight unseen, found in a newspaper ad. The engine was mounted in the rear.
*Kept the sled until 1963, which I then traded to the Polaris dealer, Linwood Willard, the then Polaris dealer, for a Polaris Voyager.
*I then sold the Polaris Voyager to a local ski area. The very next year both the sled and the storage building was destroyed by fire. My next purchase was a used Ski-Doo double track.
*In 1964, with my friend Leonel Plourde, we contacted Timberland Machines in Lancaster, NH and became the Bombardier dealer in the Caribou area known as Kieffer & Plourde. We were the second Bombardier dealer in Northern Maine joining Lynds Machine Shop in Houlton as a dealer.
*Our first order was for three 1965 ski doos', two 247cc engines and one 163cc engine. These machines sold for $595.00 for the 8hp and $695.00 for the 10hp.
*Business was good and that year we sold 42 machines. Our dealership was established.
*Over the next three years racing was becoming popular and everyone wanted to have faster machines. As a result, the number of manufacturers increased, along with sled improvements and more powerful engines.
*Through the 60's, in most local races the winners received trophies. Then prize money became available and the distributors and manufacturers got involved. I raced several sleds during this time, including a 494cc, one of only 25 available from Bombardier. The 494cc was the first upright twin from Rotax. I also raced a 600cc, a669cc, a 399 black dot, and a first year 1970 440cc Blizzard and others. For a short time, we also had on loan from Bombardier, a sled with two engines called an Eagle. My sons, Rob and Scott also raced in the different youth classes
*During the 1970"s, the quality of machines greatly improved, as did the prices. Many new companies developed snowmobiles for the market. Manufacturers were providing a greater variety of sleds to the public.
* During this time snowmobile clubs began to form and organize. Caribou had two clubs: UniSleds, and Snow Drifters. Both clubs later merged as the Caribou Snowmobile Club. Our Insurance business strongly supported these clubs and still do today.
*I sold my active interest in the business to my partner and his son and the business continues today as Plourde& Plourde. I stay active in a variety of ways.
*From 1992-2000 I served in the Maine State Senate. I continued to support snowmobile issues including gas tax issues for funding the trails and antique snowmobile registrations. I also served on the snowmobile safety task force and others.
*Today my two sons, Scott and Rob, and I restore 1960 antique snowmobiles, and 1970 Blizzard racing machines. It's a great hobby.