The clubs original founders, Wayne Pelkey, John Black, Dick Jensen, ‘Gus’ Gosselin, and Ernest Bancroft, Sr. organized the Sno-Bees in 1967, shortly after the formation of VAST, with 25 members and their variations of 12 horsepower snowmobiles. They soon embarked on a program of developing trails in cooperation with the landowners in the central Vermont area including building of bridges, signing and the first area map of the Barre area. The members groomed their trails in groups of 4 to 6 with their snowmobiles pulling homemade 3-foot drags and such activity soon attracted many more snowmobile enthusiasts with monthly meetings, trail work groups complete with winter picnics.
By 1971, the membership had grown to over 200 and an Alpine with 4-foot drag was purchased to greatly improve the 22 miles of trails. From 1971 through the mid-seventies, the Sno Bees hosted the largest snowmobile ride-ins in Vermont with the 1974 Granite City Ride-In attracting over 2,500 riders on their 75 plus make of snowmobiles. In 1974, a 1968 Tucker Sno Cat (Queen Bee 1) was purchased, and a club fabricated custom hydraulic drag making it the first large 8-foot groomer operating in Vermont. The Club groomed trails from Barre via Plainfield and the old railbed right into Groton State Forest. These greatly improved trails caught the eye of other area clubs and soon the competition was on with upgraded equipment, signing and ride-in events in other parts of the State.
By 1979, the Sno Bees membership had grown to over 600 and the club remained active expanding their trail system and providing many activities for their members plus charity events and youth education. The Club purchased a brand-new Tucker Sno Cat and named it (Queen Bee 2). This was the first new large 8-foot unit in Vermont and was entirely financed by the Sno Bees membership through fund raising activities ($30,000 was a lot of money in 1979) but club pride was the key to success.
In 1993, the club upgraded to a larger diesel Tucker Sno Cat (Queen Bee 3) and new design side rail drag to meet needs of their expanded trail system of 50 plus miles.
- In 2000, the club saw arrival of a VAST leased 1999 Pisten Bully (Queen Bee 4) and operated both units during winters of 2000 and 2001 to make their 55-mile trail system a pleasure to ride.
Sixteen-year-old Queen Bee 3 was retired in spring of 2002 and sold to another club for their equipment upgrade. In 2000, the Sno Bees made a big step in their rental acquisition of a large garage building right off a main trail and used for groomer maintenance/storage plus many club activities and functions. The club has grown to 800+ members and is active in many snowmobile related fun activities plus youth education and a big part of the annual charity weekend for ‘Make A Wish Foundation.’
If you want snowmobile fun, camaraderie, and scenic trails, then come along with the Sno- Bees.