GREENVILLE, Maine — Just as the International Seaplane Fly-In brings droves of visitors to the Moosehead Lake region in the fall, organizers anticipate professional snowmobile racing will do the same during late winter.
While the fly-in is well established, having operated for many years, this will be the first time Greenville will be the site of the Maine Pro 100 snowmobile racing that includes the Maine Amateur Cross Country Championship Race. The event is set for March 20 when organizers say there still will be plenty of snow to race.
This will be an economic boost for Greenville and the state since the closest race is in New York, Tom McCormick, president of the Moosehead Riders Snowmobile Club, said Thursday. “At that time of the year, everything is slowing down and all the bed and breakfasts are empty, this will be just a huge shot in the arm for Greenville,” he said.
There is one hurdle before the race is held, however. Organizers, which include the Moosehead Riders Snowmobile Club, need to raise $13,000. That includes a $10,000 purse for the event. Local dealers have helped provide some up-front money to begin promoting the event.
“That’s our biggest worry that we need that much money,” McCormick said, but he is optimistic the funds will be raised. He said the organizers are looking for a major benefactor and other supporters.
The event will offer a plethora of advertising possibilities. He said donors can have their names on banners, schedules and T-shirts. Even the races can be named after donors, he said.
“This is not a Greenville race, this is a state of Maine race and this week we are reaching out far and wide all across the state through promotions and getting hold of dealers,” McCormick said.
He said there is a huge area for parking and vendors and dealers can bring their demos and left-over sleds to show and sell. McCormick envisions almost a circus kind of atmosphere.
Another hurdle that previously existed was the development of an independent trail for the event. That trail has now been completed, according to McCormick. The so-called Little Moose Mountain trail loop, a club trail, will be closed two weeks before the event to ensure a good surface.
“We did not want to interfere with any of the regular trails. We were worried that somebody would wander in to the race area,” McCormick said. He expects the event will draw more than 2,000 people.
“We’re hoping to make it annual,” McCormick said. “We think this can grow into a huge event.”