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Scott Eilertson and Norman Lee Busse, both from Minnesota and Grigoiry Shulik from Russia are being inducted as adventurers. Fifteen years ago this group completed a life long dream of an inter-continental snowmobiling experience come true. Also to make a World Record and promote friendship and understanding between snowmobilers world wide.

It took three years of planning and the support of Arctic Cat, Tousley Sports Center, Minnesota based 3M, Eureka Tents, Scott Eyewear along with the hundreds of individuals, families, and small businesses that provided food, shelter, and support. Eilertson was the route-planner, the arranger of lodging, and public relations stops along the U.S. route. Busse acted as fundraiser using sweatshirts, t-shirts, buttons, and specially designed posters. Shulik worked with the Soviet officials and Connect US/Russia clearing the route through Vyborg, Lenningrad, Novgorod, Valdai, and ending in Novosibirisk, Siberia.

On January 16, 1990, they started out on this 5,000 mile expedition at Tousley Sports Center, White Bear Lake, MN, then proceeded through: Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario, Quebec, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, then flying via plane to Finland, then proceeding through Vyborg, Leningrad, Novgorod, Kalinan, and arriving February 24th in Moscow, U.S.S.R. At every town throughout this expedition, the team were greeted by the locals.

This historic international snowmobile expedition showed that snowmobiling can be and is a world wide togetherness and family sport. Their goal to meet people, share cultures and ideas, improve relationship between the two countries, and promote snowmobiling had been accomplished.
Arctic Cat district sales manager Scott Eilertson recalled a famous event he was a part of 21 years ago during last Saturday's fall open house celebration at Country Cat of Sauk Centre. A two-and-a-half week snowmobile expedition in 1990 from Minnesota to Moscow included Eilertson, his American expedition partner Lee Busse and their Russian counterpart Grigori Shulik.

Shulik was the Soviet Union's national snowmobile champion of the day.

"It was the first snowmobile trip into Russia from the United States," Eilertson stated. "At the time, US-Soviet relations were shaky with the fall of communism around that time and the Cold War coming to an end.

The expedition, which required a full three years of planning, was made possible by the high-level negotiating of former Vice President Walter Mondale.

"Mondale ultimately got us permission to do the trip," Eilertson pointed out. "It was a dream for snowmobilers to see this type of inter-continental trip come to fruition. The event marked friendship and understanding between snowmobilers around the world."

On Jan. 16, 1990, Eilertson, Busse and Shulik mounted their three 1990 Arctic Cat Jag AFS Long Track 440s and started out on the 5,000-mile expedition at Tousley Sports Center in White Bear Lake. The trip took them through Wisconsin, Michigan, Ontario, Quebec, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, New York and then via airplane to Finland.

Upon landing in Finland, they reloaded the Arctic Cat sleds and proceeded through Vyborg, Leningrad, Novgorod, Kalinan and finally arrived in Moscow, U.S.S.R. on Feb. 24. It was there the three risked their freedom to spend three minutes in the Red Square to have their picture taken in front of St. Basil's Cathedral.

"We didn't even shut the snowmobiles off," Eilertson said. "We had to get in and get out."

The trip ended in Novisibursk, Siberia, which had been named sister city to St. Paul/Minneapolis only one year earlier.

"For those two and a half weeks in Russia, we spent every night in auditoriums meeting locals in those towns who were fascinated and curious about the U.S. economy," Eilertson explained. "They were just being introduced to the idea of capitalism and the concept of free markets. It was a great opportunity for Arctic Cat to be a part of while promoting the sport of snowmobiling."

The expedition was underwritten with the support of Arctic Cat, 3-M, Eureka Tents, Scott Eyewear and hundreds of individuals, families and small businesses who provided food, shelter and support.

Eilertson planned the routes and arranged lodging and public relations stops in the U.S. Busse raised funds and awareness of the trip through sales of sweatshirts, t-shirts, buttons and specially-designed posters. Shulik worked with Soviet officials in clearing the route from Vyborg to Siberia.

In 2005, Eilertson, Busse and Shulik were inducted into the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame (ISHF) as adventurers for their efforts on the trip. The ISHF website states about the trip, "Their expedition showed that snowmobiling can foster world-wide togetherness and is a family sport. Their goal to meet people, share cultures and ideas, improve the relationship between the two countries and promote the sport of snowmobiling has been accomplished."

Eilertson thoroughly enjoyed spending the day at Country Cat's open house. He was thrilled to be pictured with local snowmobile racer P.J. Wanderscheid.

"I am truly P.J.'s biggest fan. He pulled off one of the most truly amazing events in the history of snowmobiling by becoming the first person to win the Eagle River World Championship four times in the 48 year history of the event," Eilertson stated.

Wanderscheid will be inducted into the Eagle River World Championship Hall of Fame in September 2012.



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