RANGELEY — Mother Nature favored this Western Maine town and the Rangeley Snowmobile Club with plenty of snow and mild weather Saturday for the annual Snodeo.

Each year, the club organizes three days of fast-paced competition and family fun. This 35th year has been one of the best, according to committee Chairman Jonny Wakefield. He was extremely happy with the turnout but credited the success to a tight-knit community whose economy depends on year-round visitors.

“Our biggest hurdle is having feet on the ground,” Wakefield said. “We have about 100 volunteers who put in a lot of hours to make this such a success.”

Snodeo kicked off Thursday with the Chamber of Commerce’s Chili & Chowder Cook-Off at the Gingerbread House in Oquossoc. The popular Casino Night at Bald Mountain Camps and the Friday evening welcome party and auction at Moose Alley generate funds that will go directly to the grooming operations for the club.

On Saturday morning, Wakefield estimated that at least 2,000 fans and racers would attend the many competitions at the Stephen A. Bean Municipal Airport. The popular Tame the Track Tour brought 125 competitors to the “Adrenaline Rush Reunion,” which included vintage, kids’ and cross-country races. Nearby, the Rock Maple Racing Tour brought about 150 registered racers onto the tracks.

Chip Vaadi traveled with his son Lucas from their home in Mannsville, New York, for the Rock Maple Racing Tour. Lucas, 17, is in the top division Pro-Class, which makes him one of the youngest in the group.

“He won all of the Semi-Pro classes last year, so they booted him up to Pro when he was 16,” said the senior Vaadi.

Tour sponsors include well-known names in the industry, including Ski-Doo and Ingles Performance.

On Haley Pond, behind the Rangeley Lake Inn and Tavern, dozens of snowmobilers competed in the annual Radar Run. The Harrison Friendly Riders have organized the event for the past two years, and the goal is to go as fast as possible, said club secretary Bree Worster.

Each winner in the 16 classes gets a trophy, she said. Emily and Jason Baker and their daughter Mariah cheered son Aiden as he zoomed past them. The 9-year-old started three years ago on a 120cc engine and has graduated to a 340cc machine this year. He was optimistic about his accomplishment.

“The fastest time I went today was 54 mph,” he said.

He was sure he’d go faster next year.

Emily and Jason Baker, back, from left, and their daughter Mariah, front, right, stand with son and brother Aiden, 9, at the finish line at the annual Snodeo Radar Run on Saturday. The family belongs to the Harrison Friendly Riders Snowmobile Club, which organized the event.  (Valerie Tucker photo) 

The 35th annual Rangeley Lakes Snowmobile Club’s Snodeo weekend offered high-level competition at the Stephen A. Bean Municipal Airport on Saturday. The popular Tame the Track Tour registered 125 machines for the “Adrenaline Rush Reunion,” giving fans a chance to see vintage machines, and kids’ and cross-country races. (Valerie Tucker photo) 

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