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Hook and Bullet Club

by Nick Wognum

If there had been kids snowmobile racing when our kids were young I know where we would have been every weekend in the winter. Racing.

Mary and I drove to Perham a couple weekends ago to watch our granddaughter Kinlee race snowmobiles on a snocross track built in a city park.

This was a two-for-one trip since Mary’s parents moved to Perham and her sister Amy and husband Brian live there as well.

We were able to hang out at the race track with Jacob, Kyah, Kinlee and Bridger during the day and then head out to dinner with the rest of the family Saturday night.

Kinlee started racing last year and we took in one of her first races. She was tentative and not sure of the whole racing thing. I remember watching Jacob run to help pull her sled up a steep hill on the track.

This year was a whole new ballgame. Kinlee is one tough racer at age six. She’s right in there with kids several years older and she has no fear.

At the beginning of each race the sleds are lined up on a starting line with a stoplight used to let them know when to take off. An official by the light points down the line to make sure everyone is ready. Kinlee is always shaking her head yes. Let’s go!

When the light goes from red to yellow to green, the throttles are punched and the sleds take off on the track. This is a winding track, shaped like an L with hills and turns for the racers to maneuver. And there could be over 20 machines on the track at one time.

Kinlee was able to nab a second place finish in the 120 class on Saturday. She stood up driving her machine the whole race and found the inside lines on the corners to give her a podium finish.

Jacob and Kyah have the hands full, literally. With both a 120 and a 200cc sled to race there’s a continual checking before each race as well as making sure Kinlee has all the safety equipment on before the race starts.

Kyah had Bridger strapped to her so he could watch the race as well. The weather cooperated and standing outside was enjoyable.

We walked between the starting line and their trailer which contained everything from spare parts to a variety of snacks. Each are very important. The day flew by as Kinlee would race in different heats and then come back trailer to take a break, or more often, peel off her racing gear and go play with her racing friends.

There must be some interesting conversations at school on Mondays.

“What did you do this weekend?”

“I raced snowmobiles in Perham.”

“Oh. That’s nice.”

Unless the other kid plays hockey. Then all bets are off.

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