There doesn’t have to be snow on the ground for snowmobile enthusiasts in St. Maries Idaho to log some hours on a sled. Even in 90-degree heat, dozens of riders from all over Idaho and Washington found a way to ride at the third annual “Summer Sucks” Grass Drags fundraiser. The races, organized by the St. Joe Snow Riders snowmobile club, started as a fundraiser in memory of a snowmobiler who died in an avalanche while riding near the Idaho-Montana border. More than 70 riders of all ages and skill levels brought out their snowmobiles in the hot summer sun for the two-day event.
They raced on a 500-foot stretch of grass in a hay field, sometimes nearing speeds of 100 miles per hour. Riders said the unique community event allowed those who spend countless hours and thousands of dollars on their sport to enjoy it any time of year – not just when the temperature drops and the snow falls. The snowmobile is a symbol among the residents of the small town along the St. Joe River and a part of the unique outdoor culture created there. They started with about 40 participants, and this year more than 70 registered, many coming from outside the area. Because snowmobiles need the snow to cool them down, after a match in the days heat, the riders would drive their snowmobiles onto a cooling station, where cold water was cycled through to keep them from overheating.