The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Big Sno-Cats gather at Big Powderhorn


February 5, 2018


Bessemer TOWNSHIP — A gathering of cats is called a clowder and they resist herding, but will be corralled on occasion. The Big Powderhorn Mountain Resort corralled the 2018 Midwest Cat Clowder Saturday, providing an opportunity for rabid snow machine enthusiasts to gather, fellowship and have fun in their snow crawling machines.

Matt Van Tuyl, organizer and proud owner of many Tucker Sno-Cats, said the group went on a 12 mile trail ride on Thursday and then on Friday drove cross country to Copper Peak and Lake Superior and everyone of the 13 machines on the trail made it back in working order. The 2018 Clowder noticeably brought more machines and Van Tuyl said it has grown every year as he rattled off the names, years, and history of machine after machine that were lined up in a row at the bottom of the mountain.

Van Tuyl said the Tucker owner community gets to know each others through internet forums as they catch the bug and scour the country looking for Tucker’s that are abandoned or available. Individuals and couples from Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin came for this years Clowder, with Van Tuyl saying he has fielded calls from Europe with other Tucker enthusiasts living in the old country.

Some of the Tuckers on display were of very limited distribution, so collectors go out of their way seeking serial numbered machines they can restore. One 1962 KT-4 on display Saturday was one of only 19 made in the model and configuration according to Van Tuyl and one of only 180 total made that year. The passion and love for the Tucker’s was clear.

Aaron and Shelly Jensen from Anacortes, Washington traveled halfway across North America for the Clowder and to fellowship with the other enthusiasts. Aaron Jenson said he started out snowmobiling and over time was bitten by the bug for the Tucker’s and began getting more and more involved in researching and finding them. Jensen said people will even scour Google Earth looking for lost machines in the woods.

Shelly Jensen said, “It must be love,” because her friends were going to Hawaii and they drove through the snow to bring one of their Tucker’s to Big Powderhorn. The Jensons brought food and set up a tailgating area where brats and hot beverages were prepared for the Clowder participants, which was a welcome relief with the cold temperatures and snow.

Scott Yahle was on hand from RAVCO, a Pence company that specializes in making snow machines and all terrain vehicles. Yahle said he recently returned from delivering an amphibious vehicle to Louisiana where the buyer was planning on using it to hunt wild boar. Yahle said many people around here have no idea RAVCO is in Pence, but they make their machines to order and stay busy.

The Clowder ran an obstacle course at noon, designed specifically for the machines and climbed to the top of the mountain at 4 p.m., before ending the session and weekend together, as an eclectic group of enthusiasts.


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