"Where the history of snowmobiling comes to life"
1969 Ski Doo "Puffer"

1969 Ski Doo "Puffer"

This Ski Doo, nicknamed the "Puffer" and given the Lucky #13, was the winner of the inaugural Soo I-500 race, held in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. It was a race that should have never been, but it happened on February 8, 1969. Forty seven snowmobiles and several brave drivers made history proving a snowmobile could run 500 miles in one day.

The first race took 13 hours and 42 minutes with no gradings or red flags. The average speed was 36 mph. The three drivers of the Puffer were Otis and Leonard Cowles and Dan Planck. The sled owner was Victor Dicks. They donated the sled to the Soo I-500.

On Sept 20, 2019, The Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum was awarded a grant of $12,500 for Operational Support from the State of Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA – ART WORKS). The grant was awarded through the MCACA peer review process and was one of 561 applications to compete for MCACA fiscal year 2019 funding. The grant requires a 1:1 match and helped the museum leverage the $12,500 of support from its annual income and the many donations from supporters. In particular the museum has received grants from the Graymont Community Economic Development Fund and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. It has also received significant donations from the Antique Snowmobile Club of America, The Midwest Vintage Snowmobile Shows, Inc., many snowmobile clubs, several recreational and snowmobile shows, the museum’s internal $1,000.00 Challenge, and many museum members. The grant funds will be applied to museum operating costs. Applicable costs include internal operations, marketing, travel to shows within the State of Michigan and cost of employees. The MCACA peer review process allows for each grant applicant to be competitively considered by a panel of in-state and out-of-state arts and culture professionals. This ensures the taxpayers, who support this project through legislative appropriations, and all other visitors or residents in Michigan will have access to the highest quality arts and cultural experiences. A complete list of grant awards around the state is available by contacting MCACA at (517) 241-4011, or by visiting the MCACA website at
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Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum
P.O. Box 2
W11660 US-2
Naubinway, MI 49762
Hours: 906 477-6298
Appointment: 906 477 6192

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