Antique Snowmobile Museum Great Stories

Below you will find many great stories about our museum, awards, friends, news, and sleds. Click on the More Info to view full story.

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Visitors from Switzerland Visitors from Switzerland
On July 16, 2011 two young men came into the museum and I knew immediately that the accent was not a local one. As I found out, they were visiting the United States from Switzerland. Luckily they did speak English. Their names were Silvan Friker and Tilman Holke. Silvan was once a foreign exchange student, living with a family in Richland Center, Wisconsin and they were back here visiting the family. They stopped at the Museum on their way to visit the sights of the United States for the next 2 weeks, beginning with Mackinac Island and eventually on to Holland, Detroit, Toronto and the Niagara Falls. I learned that in Switzerland about the only people who have snowmobiles live in the mountains or they are used on the resorts. Iím hoping they will be sending me some information about snowmobiling in Switzerland.

Waywego Restoration Waywego Restoration

Wild Bill's Run Wild Bill's Run
Film revives 'larger than life' Wild Bill Cooper by Dan Kraker, Minnesota Public Radio July 27, 2012 In the 1970s "Wild Bill" Cooper from tiny Willow River, Minn., was one of the 10 most wanted criminals in the country, convicted of smuggling huge planeloads of pot from Mexico. But before he became a fugitive, he was an adventurer, leading a famous snowmobile expedition from Minnesota to the Arctic. A new documentary, "Wild Bill's Run," explores the life and mystery of Bill Cooper. He disappeared more than 30 years ago and hasn't been seen since. U.S. Marshals believe he was killed by a Mexican drug cartel. But a lot of people in Willow River have other ideas. Before he became a famous snowmobiler and infamous criminal, he was a bartender. He owned the Squirrel Cage bar in Willow River, about an hour south of Duluth. The bar is still around today. There's even a corner dedicated to Wild Bill, a miniature museum of newspaper clippings and photos. There's an old bumper sticker, popular around town in the 1970s and 1980s, that reads, "Where the hell's Cooper?" Current bartender Patty Kalosky has heard the theory that he was killed in Mexico. But she doesn't believe it. "No, I don't, I guess; myself, a lot of people don't -- they think he's still around," Kalosky said. Kalosky tells the story of a friend who visited Las Vegas about 15 years ago. "They happened to look down to the end of the bar, and she knew it was Bill Cooper," she said. "And she turned to her husband and said, look, Bill's down there, it's Bill Cooper. And when he turned, he was already gone." People in Willow River have many theories. He's on a beach somewhere. Or, the most popular, he's living in northern Canada. "People have this way of talking themselves into believing that Bill Cooper must be alive," said Mike Scholtz, who directed the new film about Cooper. "It's like, he's this larger than life figure that they just have to believe something amazing happened to him." The legend of Wild Bill Cooper began in 1972, when he recruited six men to join him on an unprecedented adventure. With a black chinstrap beard and dark, penetrating eyes, Cooper looked like an action hero, Scholtz said. "And he lived his life like one, too." The plan was preposterous: to snowmobile from Minnesota, through Canada and Greenland, down to Scandinavia and eventually, to Moscow. Cooper even recruited a songwriter, Larry Lee Phillipson, to compose a tune about the "Trans-world Snowmobile Expedition." "They left Willow River on a cold winter morn, a new breed of heroes was about to be born ... this seven-man team on their ski mobiles, led by a lot of grit and a man named Wild Bill." Bill Juntenen, the cinematographer on Cooper's trip, shot 16 mm footage that was used throughout the new documentary. He remembers the extreme cold: "We were seeing actual daytime temperatures, 65 to 70 below, not counting windchill. It was brutal."
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Top of the Lake Antique Snowmobile Museum
P.O. Box 2
W11660 US-2
Naubinway, MI 49762
Call 906 477-6298 for museum hours or call 906 477-6192 for an appointment.


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