2018-01-11 / Outdoors

Drag race to return with beer, live music


SNOWMOBILERS WILL gather in number on Saturday for the third annual Roy Taghon Memorial Empire Snowmobile Drag Race at Empire Airport. SNOWMOBILERS WILL gather in number on Saturday for the third annual Roy Taghon Memorial Empire Snowmobile Drag Race at Empire Airport. Last year, conditions were anything but optimal. With temps in the 40s, it took a last-minute morning groom just to ensure the track had enough snow.

Despite a warmup in the forecast today, it’s safe to say snow depth shouldn’t be a problem this year.

Regardless of weather, Empire Airport will be buzzing with sled heads and exhaust fumes Saturday as the Empire Chamber of Commerce holds the third annual Roy Taghon Memorial Empire Snowmobile Drag Race.

Organizer Soni Aylsworth, who’s been planning the event since August, said about 150 people attended last year and he hopes to see that number double. A heated beer tent — with beer from Lake Ann Brewing Company — and music from Blue Footed Booby might just make that hope a reality.

“Everybody’s welcome,” said Aylsworth, the proprietor of Empire Outdoors and an Empire native. “I’ve always wanted this event to be about families. The more kids the better.”

Kids will have a chance to race this year in a 120cc class, Aylsworth said. Other classes are 600cc, 700cc, 800cc and 1,000cc. Riders will compete for titles in trail stock, stock improved, open (one class), outlaw, vintage and the grudge race.

Trophies will be up for grabs in the trail stock, stock improved and open races; the outlaw, vintage and grudge races will offer a percentage payback.

“Hopefully people will bring some vintage sleds out to show off,” Aylsworth said.

Entry fees vary by race. Admission is $10 for spectators and crew members; kids 12 and under get in free.

The majority of leftover funds are used to make a donation to the Roy Taghon Memorial Fund.

“I put this event on in Roy’s name, but I put it on for the kids,” Aylsworth said. “Snowmobiling is something I was exposed to at a very young age. The more kids the better. Hopefully next year we can have a junior class, 16 and below. That all depends on how big the race gets.”

More than 60 riders raced last year.

Registration starts at 8 a.m. and closes at 10:30 a.m.; racing starts at 11.

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