As activities continue to return to pre-pandemic schedules, this upcoming weekend will see the return of a popular winter fundraiser. The village of St Benedict will be the focus of hopefully many, many snowmobilers as the St Benedict Community Centre’s board hosts the St. Benedict Snowmobile Rally. The board comprised of 6 people are very happy to be able to hold the rally again and hope that the weather will cooperate and thereby encourage even more riders to come out and support them. The snowmobile rally had been a fundraising mainstay for the community centre until the pandemic shut everything down. Last year the board didn’t hold any fundraisers but the year before they did hold two raffles with one being a $2000 payout and a “booze basket” said board member Hillary Nagy. The other raffle was for a variety of donated prizes.
Previous snowmobile rallies were usually anticipated to bring in over 100 riders from the local area and more distant locales. The return of the rallies will hopefully bring many avid riders out to enjoy their favourite pastime of sledding across the winter landscape. An added benefit to the St. Benedict rally, which organizers hope will draw more riders from St. Brieux and Humboldt, is that the Fulda Snowsliders snowmobile trail is open, and the rally will make use of the Snowsliders trail system. Part of Trail 241A circles the Basin Lake and Middle Lake areas and passes very close to the St. Benedict community. Following a designated trail system means that organizers don’t have to track down individual landowners to gain permission for the rally to cross their land, nor go out and mark the trail prior to the rally taking place. The bonus for riders is that they know they will not encounter unexpected hazards underneath the snow on these groomed trails. All these factors together with the two-year hiatus in snowmobile rallies should result in a significant increase in participants.
The building, which was once the local school, has experienced a continued life as the community centre. The St. Benedict Community Centre is home to a few businesses in the community including a coffee shop, the village office and the library. All funds raised through the rally go back into the community centre building. Non-riders can also support the event by purchasing a poker hand at anytime during the day between 10 and 4, buying raffle tickets, participating in the silent auction and of course buying a bowl of homemade soup or a burger from the kitchen booth. The doors open at 10:00 on Saturday.
The Northeast part of Saskatchewan, or Zone 2 in the Saskatchewan Snowmobile Association (SSA) map, has over 24 clubs out of a total of 65 clubs in the province and the clubs work hard to provide safe, groomed trails for snowmobilers. Zone 2 has the most groomed trails and warm-up shelters making it a great area for sledding and with a medium base on the trail being used for the rally, riding conditions for Saturday should be fantastic. For more information on the SSA and the trail conditions in the area go to: Saskatchewan Snowmobile Association – Ride over 10,500kms of Snowmobile Trail in Saskatchewan at sasksnow.com. So, load up the sled and support the St. Benedict community on January 7th.
Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wakaw Recorder