Vintage jet setters: McBride’s annual snowmobile event

Many amazing vintage sleds showed up at McBride’s Annual Bung Bung Vintage Ride, but Darren Milner’s sled made the sassiest sound. All that heard it were magically transported to a time when seat belts were optional, helmets were only for people planning to crash, and a full body one piece suit was the best clothing for any activity. “Bung bung BUNG.” /ANDRU MCCRACKEN

Much fun was had at McBride’s Annual Bung Bung Vintage Ride, but gaining elevation took more than just good riding on older sleds – it also took some setting of jets on the carburetors to account for the atmospheric pressure change. Regardless it was a great success according to organizer Sara Olofsson.

Above: Awesome vintageness of the event was not limited to the power of machines, but also extended to logo design. Below L to R: Folks chit chat and visit near the scenic Mount Lucille Cabin, both for those who made it the view was worth it. Clearwater legend Turkey Reinhart (no relation to Brett Turcotte) was a special guest of honour at the bung bung. Turkey was surprised at the snow depth and was happy to show off.

More than 150 people took part in the ride up to Mount Lucille Cabin and more than 85 sleds made the journey up.  About 40 vintage sleds did not make it to the cabin. It’s a bit of a downer, but part of the experience. Organizers called the abandoned sleds “fallen soldiers.”

Folks made the trek from all over, including Prince George, Edmonton, St Albert, Lamont, Ardrossan, and  Grand Prairie. Many locals helped out in the organizing of the event.

Above: Colton Schultz from Lamont, Alberta holds the beating heart of his lifeless John Deere Liquifire 440. Despite open heart surgery in the parking lot, the sled did not make the run.
Below, L to R: Some of the machines look they belong on movie set, like this side-by-side seating sled. Les Aldren, a skidoo mechanic from Prince George, made it up with his father’s old Snow Cruiser, but not without rejetting the carb numerous times. Aldren said the number of snowmobile manufacturers peaked in 1972 with about 28 different manufacturers. Rod Whelpton works on his machine; a few bungers were seen adjusting their sled with the hood open while riding it up the trail. Safety was first and foremost on everybody’s minds. Brian McMillan (far left) made the trip with family and friends from Grande Prairie for the first time. These folks sometimes do a vintage ride at Valemount riding areas, but decided to come to McBride for the Bung Bung. They brought a host of vintage sleds including a minty Panther with a leopard print seat. A man in a one piece snowsuit drives an impossibly small snow machine. Style, much more than power, was the order of the day.

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