History of the Folsom Trailblazers

By Past President Mike Kehl

The Folsom Trailblazers was formed with the first meeting held in January of 1968. Approx 15 people were present at the "Folsom Downs" race track at Elwood Ripstein's on Folsomdale road (now site of Ironwood golf course). The club was then incorporated on December 10, 1970 at a cost of $56.00. In later years they capped the membership at 200 members, all new interest in joining was put on a waiting list. From what I remember and what I have been told this was a great social club! Loads of fun and group rides were held each winter. Marginal winters came and membership dwindled over the years and the Trailblazers found themselves with only about 15 members left. The last meeting was held at Ron Barvians home on January 23, 1976 when it was disbanded. In the fall of 1990, a hand full of us looked into forming a new club. Mary and I spoke to Ron Barvian about the old incorporation papers and found we could re-activate the Folsom club. My wife Mary picked up all the paperwork from Ron and after seeking legal council, we decided to resurrect the club. On November 24 1990, Dutch Ostrander, Mary Kehl, Mike Pierce, Tracy Schlitz and I conducted our first meeting in Dutch's barn and the Trailblazers were reborn! First officers were: Pres Mike Kehl vice Pres Mike Pierce Sec Mary Kehl and Margit Germain treasure. Board of directors were 1 year John Green, Lee Woodard 2 year Bud Youngers and Ray Buckland. Dutch and I attended the first Wyoming County Federation meeting at the Glen Rock restaurant December 11, 1990. Two days later we opened a P.O. Box in Strykersville. Our first meetings were held in Varysburg at the old Corby's Valley Lanes. We soon outgrew that location and moved to Byrncliff where we still meet today. Throughout December of 1990 and the rest of the season we sent out flyers and talked with many people about joining. By 1994 we had well over 100 members. Our first budget was in the fall of 1991 for $3197.27 Total amount for all Wyoming County $8008.20! The trail money was a huge shot in the arm for our club, until then most of all trail work was paid out of our own pockets. Until then mostly pallets were used in ditches and streams and very little (if any) brush was cut. Signage was non existent with maybe only a local sign to a tavern on the trail in places and groomers were only something you seen in the Adirondacks! Some time around the mid 1990s we bought a "Frenchie" pull behind groomer. This simple little drag helped take out some of the rough stuff that we all was so familiar with that normally stayed that way all winter! (And we all rode leaf spring sleds!) Lots have changed in our beloved sport over the years and it seems hard to imagine what can possibly get any better doesn't it? Every year it seems to get better, sleds, groomers, signage and loads of other things that pop up ever year. Talk to some of our senior members and they will tell you "It was a big ride to go from Byrncliff to Java Center"