Salisbury Ridgerunners Where Old Friends Meet. Photo by Janadene Stallman, used with permission.

By Carol Vogel

Frank Boepple knows his way around the Salisbury Ridgerunners Club. The former President has held every office and even cooks for events. Snowmobiling has been in his blood for a while too. He even met his wife snowmobiling! He loves to see the members coming together – whether it’s working to maintain the club’s over 140 miles of trails, helping the community, or having dinner and drinks with friends at the club for Friday night Fish Frys.

Frank Boepple shows off the history of the Salisbury Ridgerunners collage on the wall of the clubhouse. Photo by Carol Vogel.

Frank Boepple shows off the history of the Salisbury Ridgerunners collage on the wall of the clubhouse. Photo by Carol Vogel.

Salisbury Ridgerunners is the largest club in NYS and is well known for its membership, land holdings, and recreational events. The club was founded in 1971 by a small group of snowmobile enthusiasts in the garage of Sonny and Betty Moore in Salisbury. It was formed with 41 charter members and recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2021 with over 1,700 members.

“The mission of the Salisbury Ridgerunners Club, Inc. is to provide a safe family environment and advance the general welfare and safety of snowmobilers, hikers, cross-country skiers, and all winter enthusiasts. This shall be accomplished through education, maintenance, addressing landowner concerns promptly, and compliance with all local, state, and federal laws. Everyone is invited to join the club so they may enjoy the many benefits.”

As part of the New York State Snowmobile Association (NYSSA), the club’s website states, “…NYS has over 10,000 miles of marked and groomed trails available. Riding a snowmobile can take you to places you might never see otherwise, and with today’s modern sleds and equipment, you can enjoy the experience in safety and comfort.

There are snowmobiling opportunities for everyone — from first-time snowmobilers to expert riders. It is also a wonderful way for people with physical disabilities to experience the snow and to climb a mountain ridge or two!”

The club is fun for all ages! Photo by Janadene Stallman, used with permission.

The club is fun for all ages! Photo by Janadene Stallman, used with permission.

“We have 207 landowners who allow us to have trails through their property,” Frank explains. “And without the landowners letting us use their property, we wouldn’t be here. We owe it all to the landowners.” Salisbury Ridgerunners are the caretakers of 140 miles of trail that span north to south from Ohio to Little Falls and east to west from Stratford to Middleville.

Club Membership

The club has “Entry Days,” where you can sign up to be a member at the clubhouse. Club memberships are $30/year for individuals and $40/year for families.

Club President Don Denapole explains membership has its advantages, “As a member, you have use of the clubhouse and bar, parking for trailers and access to all club trails and use of the property including the three race tracks.”

Club members look forward to the summer clam bakes and BBQs. Their $100 Party and Poker Run are extremely popular events.

Showcasing the talents of club members, the beautiful maple back bar was built by Dean Doxtader. Photo by Carol Vogel.

Showcasing the talents of club members, the beautiful maple back bar was built by Dean Doxtader. Photo by Carol Vogel.

The clubhouse has a commercial kitchen serving meals that will warm you up after a day of snowmobiling. They even have arcade games, darts, and a kid’s corner with games and activities. “I’ve snowmobiled all over the eastern United States and Canada, and I have never seen a club with a clubhouse like ours,” says Don. “We are incredibly unique, and we’re really proud of that!”

Grooming the trails! Photo by Matt Reinemann, used with permission.

Grooming the trails! Photo by Matt Reinemann, used with permission.

The club offers safety and education courses as well, such as a pistol permit course, a snowmobile safety course for beginners of all ages, and the NYS Snowmobile Trail Grooming seminar. Frank explains that the club has been offering the Grooming Seminar for 25 years. Open to the public, this year’s seminar is set for January 7th, 2023. Frank has taught over 3500 people to groom snowmobile trails. “We’re not grooming the trails for speed, we’re grooming the trails for safety. To make a more enjoyable ride.” It takes many hours to groom all the miles of trails, so having many club members who know how to groom is time-saving and helpful.

Membership dues and fundraising help the club with yearly expenses for signage on trails, fuel usage, upkeep of machinery, and much more for trail upkeep. They own four track groomers and four snowmobile groomers which are expensive to maintain and update but necessary in keeping trails in good condition and safe for riders. The club also has a pull tab machine which helps raise money for the club, and a percentage is donated to local firehouses, schools, hospitals, and charities. “We’re contributing to the community all the time,” comments Frank.

Events

The race tracks are something to see and a big draw both in winter and summer. Motorsports Park has three race tracks, and Ridgerunners is one of the few clubs in NYS to have a racing area. Their tracks are for winter snowmobile races like the Salisbury Ridgerunners 500 and summer races like snowmobile grass drag, ATV, UTV, and Truck races. Their clay track draws racers from all over the country in the summer, and those who visit say it’s the best clay track in the US.

Races are open to the public with an admission fee and are fun for the whole family. The club has a 5-year plan to enlarge and increase racing even more in the future as it has proven to be so popular.

Race Track #1. Photo by Janadene Stallman, used with permission

Race Track #1. Photo by Janadene Stallman, used with permission

All Season Use

The club offers more than just winter activities. The Salisbury Ridgerunners keep the trails in good condition all year round for uses such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Mending and building bridges, clearing debris, and fixing drainage, club members donate their time, tools, and talents to help with the upkeep of the trails. The club has invested in heavy equipment that allows them to maintain safe trails for all. The Greenway Trail in Dolgeville was built and is maintained through the hard work of the Ridgerunners, which is used for outdoor activities throughout the year by the community.

The club continues to evolve and add great features to its offerings. One of the larger projects they are taking on will be adding a campground, RV sites, and cabins for rent. Planning with the DEC and Department of Health has already begun.

Frank’s enthusiasm for the club is infectious. “Everybody’s missing a good time if they don’t show up here! Because it’s something special – esprit de corps (the common spirit existing in the members of a group and inspiring enthusiasm, devotion, and strong regard for the honor of the group) is something you can’t buy.” You have the opportunity to meet new people, learn new things and enjoy the beautiful scenery our area has to offer in a unique way. Frank reminds everyone for the upcoming season, “Thank the landowners and stay on the marked trails!”

Photo by Denver Yoran, used with permission.

Photo by Denver Yoran, used with permission.

The Salisbury Ridgerunners website includes club hours, trail maps, an event calendar, a kitchen menu, and more: www.salisburyridgerunners.com. Stop by the club’s FB page to like and follow the winter events happening, like snow races and the annual poker run https://www.facebook.com/thesalisburyridgerunners/.

Interested in joining? Stop into the clubhouse during their winter hours (found here: http://salisburyridgerunners.com/faqs/), and they will be happy to sign you up!

Author’s note: A special thank you to Sarah Reinemann, the club’s social media coordinator, for her help in obtaining photo permissions and to the club members who graciously allowed me to use their photos of fun at the club!