AUGUSTA — A hard frost overnight brought dreams of snowmobiling and droves of people to the final day of the Maine Snowmobile Show at the Augusta Civic Center. Then it snowed briefly early Sunday afternoon, whetting snow-riding appetites even further.

Bob Meyers, executive director of the Maine Snowmobile Association, which sponsors the annual three-day affair, said attendance has been improving.

“It’s been really busy,” he said. “Traffic is ahead of last year, which was ahead of the year before.”

Meyers attributes at least some of it to the near-record snowfalls last season. “That’s all it takes to get people really inspired,” he said.

All but one of the used sleds offered for sale on Saturday in an outdoor consignment corral were sold, which Meyers said is a testament to the hot used sled market.

Brand new bright fluorescent snowmobiles attracted crowds in the auditorium on Sunday. The single-tracked vehicles balanced on one ski there looked more like motorcycles than sleds.

Intermixed with the new machines and more traditional snow machines were displays of clothing designed to keep sledders warm and dry, booths featuring various chambers of commerce and numerous other organizations and companies.

Outside the building, a cluster of tall, shiny trailers awaited purchase by those who want to trailer their machines to explore snow elsewhere.

“A lot of times people have to travel to get where the snow is,” Meyers said. But that’s not the case everywhere. “Up in St. John Valley, no one owns a trailer,” he noted.

While the new machines attracted buyers, a number of show attendees stopped off at an exhibit of vintage snow machines.

Parked in the hallway was a blue 1961 Polaris Sno-Traveler with a boxy front and an exposed rear-mounted motor.

Behind it was a 1961 Ski-Doo, which Meyers said is the oldest continuously registered snowmobile in the state. “I just registered it again last Wednesday,” Meyers said.

Both machines are in the Northern Timber Cruisers Antique Snowmobile Museum, and Meyers rode on the 1961 Ski-Doo last year as part of the annual snowmobile parade in Millinocket.

Tom Seymour, of Brewer, working as a volunteer with the show, lines up exhibitors from Caribou to New Hampshire for the display. “I start in June contacting collectors,” he said. “I like to mix it up.”

There were 38 snow machines in the vintage display this year, including two maroon Roll-O-Flexes, 1972 and 1973, that were part of a limited production owned by Andy and Lisa Smith, of Sidney.

The machines ranged from original to restored to rebuilt condition. “Some are riders and some are museum quality,” Seymour said.

Seymour himself clocks 2,500 to 3,000 miles a year on a snowmobile, a considerable feat for a season that usually lasts at best four months.

“I live off a trailer because I ride the whole state of Maine. A lot of people can’t break the backyard syndrome,” he said, adding that he sometimes rides in Acadia National Park. “It’s kind of cool to ride up to Thunder Hole on a snowmobile.”

Leo Kieffer, a former Republican state senator from Caribou, brought racing snowmobiles, including a low slung yellow machine he termed the Formula 1 of snowmobiles. Few were made and most were smashed on race tracks, he said.

Kieffer’s Ice Oval Twin Tracker had two eight-inch studded tracks geared so the inside track would cut out while it was rounding a corner.

Kieffer and his sons have 20-30 snowmobiles among them, “some in this condition,” he said, pointing to the new looking machines on display, “and some in different states of the process.”

Jim and Roger Dunphy, of Pittsfield, brought a couple museum quality Ski-Doos, a 1976 Blizzard and a 1979 TNT RV that had been through the 1987 flood.

Jim Dunphy rides all over New England and Canada, he said.

Tory Rau, of Vassalboro, who has an eBay business in snowmobiles and parts, brought Kawasaki snowmobiles which have not been made since 1983. “I restore them, race them, collect and sell them,” he said. “I show sleds that I ride. I ride them, then clean them up.”

He’s anticipating a good winter for snow and snowmobiling, like most of those at the show, which ended Sunday.

The Maine Snowmobile Association counts as members 28,000 individuals — including everyone in a family — plus 2,000 businesses and 289 snowmobile clubs. More information about the association can be found on the Web at

Next year’s show is set for Oct. 21-23, 2016, at the Augusta Civic Center.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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