CROSBY — The Cuyuna Lakes Chamber of Commerce annual Ice Fishing Contest at Crosby Memorial Park on Serpent Lake is Feb. 1, with more than $1,000 in cash prizes.
And the annual Scorpion Homecoming snowmobile gathering is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The homecoming event brings back vintage Trail-A-Sled/Scorpion snowmobiles, which were manufactured in Crosby. The Scorpion snowmobile was thought even by its founders to be lost to a history footnote.
The Trail-A-Sled/Scorpion company once was the second largest snowmobile manufacturer in the nation, employing 500 people. It was later sold to Arctic Cat. The last Scorpion was made in Crosby in 1980.
A glutted market, tough economic conditions and gas prices all came into play for the end.
“Scorpion just got lost,” Richard Harrison said in a 2009 Dispatch article. “That was the end of the history of the Scorpion snowmobile.”
But Scorpion enthusiasts weren’t ready to let that happen. The sled was featured at a snowmobile gathering in Glenwood and Harrison was contacted to attend. He was astounded by Scorpion’s following. People still owned and operated the sleds.
After that the annual Scorpion Homecoming event was established in Crosby where the colorful sleds are displayed on Serpent Lake. The Harrisons gathered Scorpion items off eBay Inc. and created a gleaming museum with everything from company letterhead, helmets, promotional signs — even a Scorpion Derby board game. It also had a 1967 sled, one of three that made an endurance run from Crosby to Anchorage, Alaska as a way to demonstrate the Scorpion’s reliability.
The Scorpion snowmobiles have been a part of the Cuyuna lakes history since the late 1950s. The Scorpion Homecoming has been a celebration in conjunction with the ice fish contest since 2004, which marks this year as the 10th anniversary.
“Minnesota Bound” the Emmy Award winning television show is coming to Scorpion Homecoming – Ice Fishing Contest.
A $10 ticket will purchase a hole to fish and enter the buyer in the drawing for raffle prizes. Anyone who buys a raffle ticket may win an Otter portable two-person fish house, a Strikemaster Honda Lite four-stroke 8-inch auger, a Marcum VS385C underwater camera, Held’s fishing guided service half-day guided fishing trip for one to three people and then have the fish catch prepared by Maucieri’s Bar & Bistro for one to three people, or an overnight stay and free buffet for two at the Grand Casino Mille Lacs.
Not long ago, Willie Schmidt of Randall, won $200 for his 8-pound 2-ounce walleye caught in the first 10 minutes of the contest.
The Scorpion Homecoming is the largest annual event of its kind in the world, the Cuyuna Lakes Chamber reported, regularly drawing large numbers of Scorpion enthusiasts from throughout the United States and Canada. Hundreds of vintage Scorpion Snowmobiles will be on display.
For those bringing a Scorpion or antique sled, an optional low-speed ride will circumnavigate Serpent Lake for approximately eight round-trip miles. Support vehicles may not be available, so plan accordingly.
The chamber described the event as a celebration of Minnesota’s favorite winter pastimes, snowmobiling and fishing. The celebration on Serpent Lake will have barbecue pork, hot dogs and a full bar by Mama Dees and Grad Blast will be serving food as well for its fundraiser. Games, Raffles and live SAM Radio Dance Party on the ice make it a fun family day, the chamber reported.
Tickets are on sale now at Oars N Mine, Crosby-Ironton Courier, Crosby Tesoro Gas, Mixed Company-a Kava House, Ya Betcha Bar & Grill, The Deerstand, North Country Café, People’s National Bank, Crosby Dairy Queen, Wildrice Woodworks, Deerwood Bank and the Cuyuna Lakes Chamber office. Visit cuyunalakes.com for more information or contact the chamber office at 218-546-8131.