October 23, 2021

Sleds stir memories

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Richard Parmeter of Oneida, right, and Bob Moshier of Richfield Springs talk about their 1960s-era vintage snow machines Saturday at a Truxton Trail Riders snowmobile show.

Gerry Craig remembers when snowmobiles had a headlight and a switch to turn it on, and that was about it.

“The first sled my family owned had no speedometer, no tachometer, nothing,” the McGraw resident said.

He recalled those childhood memories Saturday as he checked out various snowmobiles, some classic, some newer at the Truxton Trail Riders’ Hot Dog Roast & Vintage Sled Meet at the group’s headquarters on Route 13.

However, while the classic snowmobiles bring back memories, Craig loves the newer snowmobiles.

“They’re like Cadillac now,” he said. “Back in the day, if you had one with 20 horsepower you were really going. Now they got some with 100 horsepower. It’s cool to see all the new things they’re putting into snowmobiles.”

For Richard Parmeter of Oneida and Bob Moshier of Richfield Springs, the classics are where it’s at.

Both of them own snowmobiles from the 1960s. Parmeter has owned a 1965 Polaris since 1998 and brings it out only for shows now so he can try to keep it in good condition. He got it because it was built during his childhood years.

“When I was growing up, my dad bought us our first snowmobile and we would ride it a lot,” he said. “We got our first snowmobile in 1966.”

He also got it because he likes and collects the Polaris brand — he owns some of their all-terrain vehicles.

Moshier owns three 1963 Trailmakers — he brought one to the event.

Moshier’s childhood friend, William Thayer, was selling boats during the summer in the 1960s, but wanted to expand to selling something in the winter and turned to snowmobiles.

“Back then all you had to do was buy three snowmobiles and you were considered a dealer,” Moshier said. He bought three Trailmakers.

However, Moshier said as the demand for snowmobiles grew so did the demand for different models. Moshier said Thayer has ridden two and hoped to sell the third — he was never able to. Then 32 years later, Thayer offered the snowmobiles to Moshier.

“They were just how they were when they came out the factory,” he said.

Then began Moshier’s deep dive into finding out all he could about Trailmakers and his newfound love for classic snowmobiles.

“They’re more interesting,” he said. “They’re so simple.”

He went as far as corresponding with Abe Mathew, Sr., who manufactured the Trailmaker.
Moshier has kept the original equipment on the snowmobiles, minus the gas, oil, windshield and spark plug — although he still has the original plug.

John Potter of Truxton didn’t want to make a decision between liking classics over new snowmobiles, so he made a snowmobile that combined his love for both.

“I found a skeleton and it looked good so I added to it,” he said.