RANGELEY — The Rangeley Lakes Snowmobile Club welcomed thousands of visitors to the annual Snodeo weekend celebration. 

On Thursday, the fun kicked off in Oquossoc with the popular Chili Chowder Cook-Off at The Gingerbread House and Casino Night at Bald Mountain Camps. On Friday night, the live auction at Moose Alley generated proceeds for the club’s grooming operations.

Saturday’s Rock Maple Racing Team’s Cross-Country and Tame the Track Tour snowmobile races at Steven Bean Municipal Airport were a big hit.

Tara Saxton of Laconia, New Hampshire, is the owner of Rock Maple Racing and has been in the snowmobile racing business for many years. Her family bought the series in 2003.  She got out of the business in 2010 but was convinced to return in 2016 to start running the races again.

“I got suckered back in,” she said with a laugh.  

The racers run a 5-mile loop in natural terrain in five separately timed races, and competitions can last until nearly dark. Each competitor has a transponder that logs finishes to the millisecond, she said. 

“Believe it or not, that millisecond can make a difference,” she said.

Each Pro and Semi-Pro series racer has to qualify and have an approved 600cc sled with an engine kill switch and a working taillight.  

“Rangeley is one of our best sites,” she said. “We get a lot of spectators, and it’s a good crowd.”  

Tresa Kodey of Endwell, New York, said her son, Austin, 22, has been racing since he was 6. He was one of the racers in the Semi-Pro Circuit. He started in the East Coast Snocross competitions, she said, but he decided to join the RMR XC touring team.

Corey Laughton, from left, and Claudette Tetu of Strafford, New Hampshire, and Shelley and Roland Gagnon of Somersworth, New Hampshire, enjoyed the annual Snodeo weekend in Rangeley. The weekend brought thousands of visitors to watch snowmobile races, the popular Rave X stunt riders show, a snow sled parade and fireworks over Rangeley Lake. (Valerie Tucker photo)

On Saturday, the Rock Maple Racing cross country series brought snowmobilers from Canada, New England and New York to Rangeley for a day of fierce competition. The Semi-Pro class required each rider to compete in five races, each 5 miles long, through groomed trails around the Steven A. Bean Municipal Airport. (Valerie Tucker photo)

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