We're the snowmobile club that takes care of the trails in northern Iron County. We are an “all volunteer” club that enjoys taking care of our wonderful trail systems. Since 1970 the White Thunder Riders have been the number one resource for the development and maintenance for our snowmobile trails. The White Thunder Riders consist of approximately 50 active members who are the groomer operators you’ll see on the trails . We also have about 50 Commercial Sponsors and non-active members that support our club and trail system.
When your riding on our trail system in Iron County, the White Thunder Riders would appreciate if you support the local businesses that support our trail system and grooming. You can find them on the "Club & Trail Sponsors" tab and the link to the Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Clubs. Just enter "Iron" county and take a look as you plan your stay. If you don't see a business on the list that you visit, please try to encourage them to join and support the White Thunder Riders!
Work is not all they know. Active members are rewarded each year with a Christmas Party, and an Annual banquet each spring. For the past 3 years, a summer golf tournament has been added to the list as another outing for the active members. This 4 person scramble is popular with the members and has been a lot of fun. This is their way of saying thank you to the active members for all the volunteer work that goes on behind the scenes all year long.
The White Thunder Riders are not only known for their hard work and beautiful winter trails. This group is also known for their generosity. For two decades, they have taken ownership of the snowmobile safety program and offer this class once a year in January, with some classes having 45-50 students. The $10 fee per child is taken care of by the club, so parents and/or kids do not have to pay out of their pockets.
Every year for the past 8 years, the White Thunder Riders have given two (2) scholarships worth $500 each to outgoing seniors in the Hurley school District going on to college. They also participated in the “take time to be kind” project since 2007 and donated nearly 70 Christmas gifts annually to this organization. Numerous donations to the Hurley Little League, area youth football program, and other organizations have also been given.. The clubs tractor use is donated to the Iron County Fair each year to prepare the mud pits for the annual red clay classic, and for cleaning out the barns. In the fall of 2007 and 2010, 2500 bales of hay were cut, bailed and stored by members of the club in preparation for the oval races which were held in 2008 and 2010.
With their 40th year in existence today, the White Thunder Riders are regarded as an Icon in the State to other clubs and have a built a reputation for fine grooming and trail maintenance. Money is earned through trail maintenance, with donations from area businesses, membership dues, fundraisers, and map sales.
An annual 50/50 raffle and auction fundraisers are held each year during the snowmobile season . Come and join the fun, and support the club that supports you. See the "Fundraising Events" tab for more information
The White Thunder Riders Snowmobile club was 1st organized in 1970. Originally, only residents of Oma were allowed to join, but soon after interest to join the club built throughout the area, others were allowed in. The bi-laws were then changed.
The original grooming units were 2 Skidoo Alpines pulling 4’ home made drags. Grooming was a bitter cold chore and often resulted in breakdowns on the trails. The trails at that time were just being developed and the club along with the County Forestry Department were creating more of a trail system year after year. By the mid to late 70’s, the club made enough money to purchase an old military surplus vehicle called a “weasel”. This power unit was a step up and a bit warmer than the Alpines used previously, but was not the most reliable unit on the trail and often broke down. A basic maintenance nightmare, if you will !!!!!
After quite a few years of use, the club decided to make a step up. In the late 70’s, a “used” Tucker “Sno- Cat” was purchased and life was good. This definitely was a step up from the weasel and required a lot less maintenance. Maintenance was never really non-existent though. Groomers and drags broke often and had to be welded. Tracks ripped and needed patching and replacement. Although the power unit was an improvement, the trails still were in the development stages and caused a lot of problems trying to get them flat.
In 1982, the first “new “ Tucker was purchased . This power unit was run throughout the 80’s until it was replaced by “new” 1989 diesel Tucker “Sno-Cat”. In 1991, an addition to the fleet brought the power unit count to 2. Eight foot drags were used instead of the narrower ones with previous groomers. By now, the trail system was in good overall condition and mid winter grooming was more enjoyable for operators. Gone were the nights of burying drags and power equipment. Or so they thought……. Until the 1989 Cat ended up buried one night up to the cab…only to come out in 2 more pieces than when it went in. (back to Trail Maintenance 101)…
After careful consideration, the club decided to purchase a John Deere 4WD Tractor in 1993. This worked well on the RR grades, burning half the fuel and requiring minimal maintenance. It worked so well, they purchased another in 1995, and we have run 4 power units (groomers) ever since. The club believes in rotating equipment to minimize maintenance and reduce breakdowns. Tucker “Sno-Cats are run 2 years – then traded for new. The older John Deere’s have been replaced most recently with a New Holland tractor. Our last “Green” (John Deere track driven tractor) was replaced in 2009 with another “Blue” New Holland. This unit however, is a “four track” unit similar to the “Sno-Cats”. Nothing gets in her way…..
Summer maintenance, grading, bulldozing, and brushing (with help from the Iron County ATV Club) help keep the trails in decent shape throughout the summer months. Hard Work in the summer helps reduce power unit maintenance in the winter. Life is good once again……
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