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Snirt Run roars toward its 10th anniversary

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BARNES CORNERS — Despite some lingering opposition on environmental and legal grounds, the Snirt Run is running full-throttle toward its 10th anniversary.

“It’s become very popular,” said Gary R. Stinson, president of the Barnes Corners Sno-Pals snowmobile club.

The club, which organizes the annual all-terrain vehicle rally, set an event record last year with 3,546 registered riders.

And, according to Mr. Stinson, the 10th annual poker run Saturday could surpass that figure.

One major enticement will be the door prize: a 2013 Can Am Renegade 800 four-wheeler donated by Bombardier Recreational Products.

“I think that will attract quite a few right there,” Mr. Stinson said.

All registered participants in the ride will receive an entry in the drawing, and additional entries are available for $10 each.

A 2012 Can Am 650 Outlander XT all-terrain vehicle was given away at the ninth annual run.

The registration fee remains at $10 per machine, as it has been since the event’s inception, Mr. Stinson said.

ATV stickers denoting Snirt’s 10th anniversary will be given out to participants, and commemorative shirts will also be for sale, he said.

One ongoing issue that continues to befuddle event organizers is participants’ inability to register most side-by-side utility vehicles, known as UTVs, despite their growing popularity and presence at Snirt.

“There were a lot of them last year,” Mr. Stinson said.

The majority of the machines — which include a passenger seat and additional safety features such as seat belts and rollover bars — weigh more than 1,000 pounds and cannot be registered in New York state, making them illegal to operate on roads or trails.

State legislation to increase an ATV’s weight limit from 1,000 pounds to 1,500 pounds has passed in the Senate the past couple of years but has gained no traction in the Assembly.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Department officials gave their deputies discretion at last year’s event on whether to charge UTV riders for driving unregistered vehicles, and no such tickets were issued. However, some machines were ticketed in Jefferson County.

This year, department officials petitioned Albany for a one-day exemption that would allow the machines to be legally used in the Snirt Run but were unsuccessful.

Because of that, Mr. Stinson said he is advising riders not to use UTVs at the event.

“If they do bring it, they run the risk of getting a ticket,” he said.

Event detractors over the years have also complained the preseason ATV ride harms the environment.

However, that hasn’t stopped the number of registered riders at the daylong Snirt Run — whose name comes from “snow” and “dirt” — from growing nearly every year.

Proceeds from the event will help the Sno Pals undertake repairs to areas of their snowmobile trail system and cover grooming expenses, including about $25,000 for fuel, from the past winter, Mr. Stinson said.

“Our expenses were about double what we were funded for,” he said, referring to state trail maintenance money.

The Snirt Run does not take place on the county’s ATV trail system, so a permit is not required.

Instead, the event takes place on roads opened to ATVs either year-round or just for the day of the event.

Preregistration will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Sno-Pals groomer barn, Timberview Resort, Turin, or the Edge Hotel, Lyons Falls. Registration is from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday at Sno-Pals groomer barn, Timberview Resort or Barrows Performance. Proof of registration and insurance is mandatory.

New this year, a liability waiver form has been posted on the Sno Pals website.

That will allow participants to fill out the form, which has been required at past Snirt runs — prior to the event to streamline the registration process, Mr. Stinson said.

For online preregistration or more information, visit www.sno-pals.com.

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