JOSEPH — Conventions are generally boring and tedious affairs, but for those who love power, snow and wild country, the Oregon State Snowmobile Association’s 48th convention may be your ticket. The event takes place from Jan. 14 to 18 in Joseph. The Wallowa County Gamblers Snowmobile Club is hosting the event.
The event features several days of guided tours, a poker run with a guaranteed $2500 purse, an evening banquet and other meals along with plenty of socializing. Gamblers’ president and board of directors member, Dustin James, and wife, Lorien James, who is the the club secretary and board member as well, are excited about this year’s event.
Lorien James said the club last hosted the event in 2011 and every snowmobile club in the state is affiliated with the OSSA. The club is expecting 150-200 OSAA members. She also said that the conventions allow snowmobilers to experience different places across the state. Luckily, this year’s convention happens to coincide with the club’s annual poker run.
Vendors are also a part of the event and include the major snowmobile manufacturers and three snow-pac manufacturers, totaling six. Those vendors will stay at Salt Creek Summit out of respect for local businesses.
“We’re trying to push and promote downtown Enterprise and downtown Joseph for shopping,” she said.
Tuesday through Friday include separate guided tours for beginning, intermediate and expert snowmobilers. The guided tours are for people who own snowmobiles, although it is possible but not guaranteed, to be invited to ride by a participant. Beacon and companion rescue training is offered on several days, also.
The final day, Saturday, includes the vaunted 35-mile poker run with its guaranteed purse as well as the convention banquet at Cloverleaf Hall in Enterprise, catered by the Stubborn Mule restaurant at $28 to $36 a plate. A silent auction and raffle, each with multiple items, will follow.
James said the convention is free of charge with participants only required to pay for transportation, lodging and food.
“If you’re not a rider, you can still come and participate,” she said. “You can come to the banquet, you can come to the dinners, you can do anything, including the raffle. Just come to the door.”
Club grooming director, Chad Cooney, said the event provides businesses a wintertime boost because of the number of people it brings in.
“This is a shot in the arm in the middle of winter to help pay the bills,” he said. He added his favorite part is the guided tours because of numerous opportunities for camaraderie, even for those unfamiliar with the event or sport.
“It’s a really fun event, and you don’t have to know a lot of people or know anybody because the snowmobile community is so friendly,” he said. “These people I’m good friends with now, I met the last time we had the convention here, they were here with a big group, and I was their guide, and they’re still good friends and they still come and stay with us.”