Monday, November 30, 2009

Revolutionary War Patriots and soldiers, ancestors of Harold William Rarden

Fourth or fifth great grandfathers.

James Thompson of Kentucky County and Lincoln County Virginia
(Kentucky) Deputy Surveyor of Kentucky Co. and first head surveyor
of Lincoln County, Representative and Senator, wagonmaster for General Benjamin Logan at The falls of Ohio, Illinois Territory, salt mines and
Battle Of Blue Licks in Kentucky 1778. Put gravestone in Forks of Dix
Baptist Church Cemetery on Rt. 27 North of Lancaster in 2008. DAR

Hugh Martin, Fayette Co. Kentucky Militia. Moved to Muhlenburg Co.
Ky. Buried at Mt Pleasant Cemetery. Near Greenville. Into Ky. 1779 Put
gravestone in 2003. DAR

Capt. Samuel Shannon, Franklin Co. Pennsylvania Militia and Va. Cont.
Line. Moved to Shelby County in 1785 where he already had land. Buried
in Shannon Cemetery on Taylorsville Rd. Shelbyville, Ky. Put a gravestone
in on November 3, 2009 DAR

Benedict Swope, Sr. German Reformed Minister, Pennsylvania and
Md. Chaplain and Patriot in The Revolution. Member of Council when
Kentucky became a State. In Ky. 1779 Buried in Swope Cemetery, Garrard
Co. Ky. Will try to put a gravestone in 2010. DAR

Samuel Pepper Sr. Patriot in Rev. from Fauquier County, Va. Moved to
Mason County, Ky. Buried on farm at Minerva. No gravesite found yet. DAR

James Spilman, Member of Culpeper minutemen under John Marshall.
Buried in Culpeper County Va. Unknown Gravesite. DAR or SAR

John Thomas Kemper, Member of Culpeper Minutemen under Benjamin
Harrison. Buried at Forks of Dix Baptist Cemetery, Garrard County, Ky.
Already has a DAR Bronze plaque. DAR

Capt. James Peyton, DAR Botetourt County Militia and Capt. At
Boonsborough. Died in Nelson County, Kentucky. Cannot find gravesite.

Frederic Burdett, Virginia Militia and Patriot of Fauquier Co. Va. Buried
in Garrard Co. Ky. No Gravesite Found Member DAR

Capt. John Metcalfe, Fauquier County Virginia Militia. Seven years.
Died at his farm on Cedar Creek Mason Co. now Robertson County, Ky. but
he and his wife were moved and buried at Forest Retreat on Gov. Thomas
Metcalfe's old farm. Will place a stone for him this year, 2009 or 2010. DAR

Lt. John Finley. Augusta County Va. Militia. Buried in Augusta County
and no Gravesite found yet. DAR

Robert Caldwell Scroggins, Ensign, Md. Continental Line. Buried
near Versailles, Woodford Co. Ky. on farm. No gravesite found. DAR

Robert Elliot, Officer, Augusta County Virginia Militia. Buried on farm
on Shannons run. Near Versailles, Ky. Woodford Co. No gravesite. DAR

Capt. Joseph Smith Sr. Patriot and officer in Revolution. Fauquier County
Va. Militia. Buried in Fauquier Co. Virginia No Gravesite found. DAR

Henry Davis of Woodford County, Ky. Came from Prince George Co. Md.
Kentucky Militia. Filed for revolutionary pension according to Railey's
history of Woodford County. No gravesite found yet.

James Martin of Woodford Co. Ky. Kentucky Militia. Came from Augusta
Co. Va. Filed for Revolutionary pension according to Railey's history of
Woodford, Co. Ky. No gravesite found yet.

Capt. William Shannon, General Conductor of Commissary for George
Rogers Clark 1778 to 1783. Pa. Militia and Va. Continental Line. Brother of
my fourth Gr. Grandfather. Gave land for town of Shelbyville. Buried in
Shannon Cemetery at Shelbyville. Killed in 1794. Had no children of his
own so I put a gravestone in as next of kin. November 3, 2009

I most likely have other Rev. ancestors that I have not researched. Most
men of the right age had to be in the Militia.
The sites that I have listed that I have not found are sites that I have not
looked for diligently. Takes a lot of time and driving to find them all. Most
of them are on old family farms and hard to find.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


My father, Enos Price Rarden, My mother Perlina Ellen Thompson Rarden

My 2 grandfathers, Robert Washington Rarden, Benjamin Marvin Thompson

My 2 Grandmothers, Saphronia Bell Moore, Mary A. Martin Thompson

My 4 Gr. Grandfathers, Hiram Rearden, Charles M. Moore, Benjamin F.
Thompson, James Hodge Martin

My 4 Gr. Grandmothers, Mary (Molly) Francis Quire Rearden, Mary Jane
Allison Moore, H. Annie Davis Martin Thompson(Widow), Perlina Ellen
Hulett Martin

My 8 Gr.Gr. Grandfathers, Dennis Reardon, John F. Quire, Gershom Moore,
William Henry Allison, Telephus Pepper Thompson, Hiram Davis, James
Cleland Martin, Andrew Jackson Hulett

My 8 Gr. Gr. Grandmothers, Mary (Polly) Shannon Rarden, Mary(Polly)
Tracy Quire, Amy Holloway Moore, Nancy Ryneirson Allison, Elcinda Swope
Thompson , Julia Ann Scroggins Davis , Jane Martin Martin, (daughter of
James Martin of Pisgah), Perlina Ellen Rodgers Hulett

My 16 Gr. Gr. Gr. Grandfathers, Hiram Reardon 1, John B. Shannon, William
Quire, Jeremiah Tracy, William Moore, Charles Holloway, Abraham
Ryneirson, Henry J. Allison, Andrew Peyton Thompson, Samuel Swope,
Henry Davis, Robert Caldwell Scroggins, James Donald Martin of
Muhlenberg Co. James Martin of Pisgah, Woodford Co., William Hulett,
Eli Rodgers.

My 16 Gr. Gr. Gr. Grandmothers, Isabella(Ebe) Aynes Reardon,
Mary(Polly)Finley Shannon, Margaret C. Unk Quire, Elizabeth Heppard
Tracy, Unk Mrs. Wm. Moore, Hannah Bell Holloway, Leah Demaree
Ryneirson, Mary Noel Allison, Elizabeth Pepper Thompson, Artimecia
Kemper Swope, Mary Morris Davis, Ann Culver Scroggins, Mary Rice
Spilman Martin, Martha Elliot Martin, Rachel Page Hulett, Francis(Fannie)
Ellis Rodgers.

My 32 Gr.Gr.Gr.Gr. Grandfathers, Henry Reardon Sr., William Haynes(Aynes),
and John Searcy Jr. (Stepfather)., Samuel Shannon, John Finley, Unk Mr.
Quire, Unk father of Unk Mrs Wm. Quire, Unk Mr. Tracy, unk father of unk
Mrs Tracy, unk Mr Heppard, unk father of unk Mrs Heppard, unk father of
Wm. Moore, unk Mr Holloway(?George), unk Mr. Bell of Woodford, Barent
Ryneirson Jr., John Demaree, Henry Allison Sr., Unk Mr. Noel, James
Thompson of Garrard Co., William Holton Pepper, Benedict Swope Jr.,
John Thomas Kemper, Unk Mr. Davis, unk father of Mrs. Davis, Joseph
Scroggins, Nathan Culver, Hugh Martin ll, Benjamin F. Spilman, William
Martin Sr., Robert Elliot Sr., Joseph Hulett, John Rodgers, John Page,
Joseph Ellis. These men born circa 1720-1750

My 32 Gr.Gr. Gr. Gr. Grandmothers, Mary H. Searcy Reardon, Anne
Aynes(Haynes), Martha Bracken Shannon, Esther Reid Finley, Unk. Mrs
Quire, Unk mother of unk, Mrs quire, Unk Mrs Tracy, Unk Mrs. Heppard, Unk
Mrs. Holloway, Unk Mrs Bell, Bathsheba Lawson Allison, Unk Mrs Noel,
Antie Banta Ryneirson, Nancy Unk Demaree, Ruthie Peyton Thompson,
Lucy Smith Pepper, Margaret Keener Swope, Judith Burdett Kemper, Unk
mother of Henry Davis, Unk mother of Mary Morris Davis, Sarah ann
Caldwell Scroggins, Unk Mrs Nathan Culver, Mary McDonald Martin, Nancy
Jane Rice Spilman, Agness Hodge Martin, Jennet McClure Elliott, Mary
Allen Hulett, Mary (Molly) Metcalfe Ropdgers, Rachel Brockman Page,
Frances Wood Ellis.

My 64 Gr Gr Gr Gr Gr grandfathers and 64 Gr Gr Gr Gr Gr Grandmothers,
I will not list the unknowns. Should be 128 total men and women. These
men and women born circa 1685-1720.
Dennis O'Reardon and Unk Bronaugh or Mason
John Searcy Sr. and Mary Hargrave Searcy
Andrew Thompson and Unk Mrs Thompson (?Marshall)
John Shannon and Sarah Reid Shannon
Thomas Bracken and Kilmary Unk Bracken
William Finley Sr. and Mary Wallace Finley
Alexander Reid and Sarah Unk Reid
Barent Ryneirson and Elizabeth Dubois Ryneirson
Thomas Allison and Barbara Burch Allison
Peter Demaree and Mary Allen Demaree
James Thompson and Ruthie Peyton Thompson
William Holton Pepper and Lucy Smith Pepper
Benedict Swope(Schwab) and Maria Susannah Welker Schwab
Melchior Keener and Mrs Unk Keener
Henry Kemper and Letitia Whitesides Kemper
Frederic Burdett and Mary Sydney Smith Burdett
John Scroggins and Jane Clark Scroggins
John Caldwell and Mary Unk Caldwell
William Martin Sr. and Agness Hodge Martin, Parents of James of Pisgah
and Hugh Martin II.
Francis McDonald Sr. and Sarah(Widow) Hodge Mcdonald
William ElliottSr. And Margaret Unk Elliott
James Spilman and Sarah Ann Cross Spilman
James II Rice and Mary Grenshaw Rice
Hugh Martin I and Sarah Unk Martin( parents of Wm.Martin Sr)
Samuel Hodge and Elizabeth Unk Hodge
Samuel McClure and Mary Kelso McClure
Hamilton Rodgers and Isabella Maimes Rodgers
Capt. John Metcalfe and Sybil Farrow Metcalfe
Axilheath Page and Unk Christian Page
John Brockman Sr. and Mary Collins Brockman
Total of above known as of now are 60

My Gr Gr Gr Gr Gr Gr Gr Grandparents listed below should be 256
Thomas O'Reardon(Raredon) on Ship list. And Unk Mrs Reardon
Joseph Searcy and Mary Unk Searcy
Thomas Shannon and Eigness Reid Shannon
John R. Reid and Lady Mary Stewart
James Finley and E. Patterson Finley
Samuel Wallace and Esther Baker Wallace
Thomas Reid and Mary McKean Reid
Rynier Ryneirson and Geertje Volleman
Charles Allison and Susannah Posey Allison
Oliver Burch and Barbara Tennsion Burch
Samuel Demaree and Leah Demarest Demaree
Capt James Peyton and Susannah Threlkeld Peyton
Samuel Pepper Sr. and Lady Elizabeth Holton
Capt Joseph Smith and Ann Kitty Anderson Smith(Parents of Lucy and Mary
Johann Jorg Schwab (Swope) and Anna Maria Keydel Schwab
John Jorg Welker and Anna Margereth Zimmerman Welker
John Kemper Sr. andAilsey(Alice)Utterbach Kemper
John Sr. Burdett and Maggie Williams Burdett
Capt Joseph Smith and Ann Kitty Anderson(Parents of Lucy Pepper and
Mary Sydney Smith)
George Scroggins and Susannah Unk Scroggins
Gilbert Clark and Princess Fantalina Joy Scroggins Clark
Hugh Martin I and Sarah Unk Martin
Samuel Hodge and Elizabeth Unk Hodge
William Spilman and Margaret Frank Spilman
Matthew Rice and Ann Watson Rice
John Grenshaw and Elizabeth Bates Grenshaw
James McClure and Agness Unk McClure
William Rodgers and Jane Hamilton Rodgers
John Metcalfe Sr. and Diana Gwatkins Metcalfe
Abraham Farrow Jr. and Sybell Whitledge Farrow
Samuel Brockman and Mary Madison Brockman
Capt Joseph Collins and Susannah Robertson Collins

I have several lines of my Gr Gr Gr Gr Gr Gr Gr Grandparents which should
number 512. Over seventy recorded and some of the lines back as far
as 069 AD.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New Family Gravestone placements

Three new stones that I put in yesterday at the Shannon Cemetery in Shelbyville, Ky. Sam is our fourth Gr granddad, John is our third and William is Samuel's brother. He gave the land for the town of Shelbyville and was the Conductor General of Commisaries for George Rogers Clark for the full time of the war. He was just ready to go into Ohio on Indian raids with Mad Anthony Wayne when he was killed by another guy in town who threw a rock at him. He turned around at the wrong time(he threw a knife and killed the other man instantly) and the rock hit him in the temple and he died the next day. He was never married and therefore was never entered in the DAR or SAR so I took it upon myself to get him a gravestone as next of kin. One man has made a statement that he had 300,000 acres at one time but I can only frnd about 80,000 in treasury warrants. John and Polly Finley Shannon's daughter, Polly married Dennis Reardon of Northern Franklin county(he had lived in Shelby Co, where Polly was born. The line, Henry, Hiram 1, Dennis, Hiram2, Robert, Enos and down to those mean kids of his. Stayed in Shelbyville last night and drove home this morning. Those stones weigh 230 pounds each and there is 200 pounds of concrete around each one. I dig the holes and get ready and unload them off the truck and Jeanne holds them while I finish leveling. I seeded them down and put straw around them. William Shannon of the Shannon Funeral home takes care of the place now. Love to all and Gooday Harold and Jeanne


It was the winter of 1972 and I was 8 years old. I heard my father’s truck pull up to the front door and as I looked out the window, I saw a big red machine in the back of his truck. From that time until I graduated high school, the winters were all about snowmobiling.

A Bolens was our first machine and then a second one was added. I think we had a couple John Deere too.

Sometime in 1976 He became a dealer of a brand called Polaris and the New London Version of the “Midnight Blue Express” was born. He soon became known as “Tweak”. If anyone needed their sled faster than the next guys, my Dad could "tweak" it. It was funny because we would be walking down the street and someone drivivg by would yell out their window "Hey Tweak!" My dad would yell back "Hey" . It was like he was famous or something. Every season he would search out races and trailer his sleds to them and blow everyone’s doors off. Our house quickly filled with trophies.

The 1978 season, Polaris, sent him a video machine that had a tape of the corporate racing team “Midnight Blue Express” I was hooked. I’d watch it over and over again. The next summer I took all my savings and bought a full faced helmet and suit similar to theirs.

The Polaris factory race team began a few years earlier with team leader Bob Eastman. The 1976 racing season was dismal from the start. Budget cuts meant the team could not build the machines for 76 that they wanted. They had to take stock sleds off the line and modify them as best they could. The motors were down on horsepower. As one reporter put it, Polaris drivers Don Omdahl and Jim Bernat found themselves "scrapping like prize-fighters for 2nd place."

Polaris management took notice; not winning races reflected poorer sales numbers. The budget for 1977 was increased before the winter of 1976 was even over.

The 1976-1977 racing season for the Polaris race team started the day after they arrived back at their home base of Roseau, Minnesota after the very last race of the winter of 1976. The team made a commitment to themselves to have the very best machines and the very best drivers for the next year. With Don Omdahl and Jerry Bunke returning as drivers and the addition of Brad Hulings (who had been beating up on the factories with his little Mercury Snow-Twisters), Bob Eastman was confident that the driver talent was already there; now it was time for the machines.

Gordon Rudolph had built several 73 Starfires into IFS machines at his shop in Illinois. With one of them, he qualified for the 1975 World's Championship. That got the attention of the boys from Roseau, and that summer he and one of his machines were invited up for a demonstration. Most were very impressed; some were skeptical. Either way, the team decided to build some machines with the strange new front end.

Heading into the fall, just two IFS machines were built. Many on the team were not convinced that it would work, so they planned on going into battle with a new rigid front-end machine. The rigid front machine was lower and lighter. It contained a host of improvements over the 1976 version. They also had a new bunch of liquid cooled motors that did show promise on the dyno. New improvements in clutching were developed, getting more power to the ground. A new track and rear skid frame that worked much better was employed. This sled, although still a rigid front end, was new from the ground up.

The team left for Alaska well ahead of the race scheduled there in October. They wanted some serious time on the ice with the new machines. Out on a lonely Alaska lake, all by themselves, they were careful to make sure no one was around when they tested the new machines. Just two IFS machines made the trip, a 440 for Jerry and a 250 for Don Omdahl. Three rigid front end machines also came up: A 440 for Jim Bernat (who would drive part time in 1977), a 340 triple cylinder machine for Don Omdahl (this would be the one and only 340 triple Polaris would ever make) and a 250 for Brad Hulings.
From the first tests, they knew they had something special with all the machines, and Jerry Bunke (pictured at right), Brad and Don were on fire on the new machines. By the time the rest of the teams showed up and the first race was run, it was obvious the new IFS was going to work, and was going to work well.

For the rest of the trip, the team down played the IFS, even though they won nearly every race that weekend. A couple of near accidents kept the competition thinking the IFS wasn't any good - and worse, it probably wasn't safe. But while they were all talking it over, Bob Eastman was on the phone back to Roseau to chief chassis builder, Arlyn Saage. Bob told Arlyn to chuck the rigid front end machines they had been working on and order all the material he needed, and start building those IFS sleds as fast as he could. Bob would later recall it as the most exciting time he had ever had in racing. "I knew we had 'em" referring to the competition. "We had them."

When the team got back home to Roseau. Don Omdahl was involved in an after-hours altercation at a local bar, resulting in a broken neck. He was not only out for the season, but his doctors warned him that another race accident could easily leave him paralyzed or dead. Don, who had been racing since 1970 for Polaris and had a ton of trophy hardware to show for it, was all done with racing.

By 5:00 that night, Bob Eastman drew up a list of three names, had a couple discussions with the rest of the team, and by 6:00, he was on the phone to Steve Thorsen (pictured at left), another hot little Mercury Snow-Twister driver who had impressed Bob and the team that year. A few hours later, Steve was in Roseau with his suit on, ready to try driving the new machines on the lagoon, a pond near Roseau, all lit up with lights from as many pick-up trucks as they could find. It was a Friday, and Steve would be racing the new sleds on Saturday in Ironwood Michigan.

The rest of the industry was given a mild shock at Ironwood. Heavy snow had stopped the races early on Sunday after Jerry Bunke won the 250 class. Races would resume Monday, albeit with a much smaller crowd due to it being a work day. But crowd or not, Polaris won every one of the super-mod SnoPro classes. The competition blew it off as a fluke, and was more concerned with their own issues rather than what Polaris did.

The shockwave of the new sleds and the new drivers would not hit completely until the next weekend, at the Dayco Holiday Spectacular, in Alexandria, Minnesota.

The competition may not have believed the new Polaris sleds were all that hot even after Ironwood, but they were sure paying close attention now. Brad Hulings won the 250 and 340 class, and dramatically pushed his dead race sled over the line in the 440 class to walk away with the Hetteen Cup. If Jerry Bunke was relatively unknown before the Dayco Holiday Spectacular in December of 1976, he became an overnight success after that race. Jerry Bunke stunned the crowd of over 15,000 people when he won the 15 lap 440X feature race, with Brad and Jim Bernat right behind.

The other manufacturers were not pleased. They called a special meeting demanding that the Polaris sleds be limited to the X class only. Bob Eastman was called to that meeting, and after two hours and yelling and screaming, he simply opened up the rule book and asked "Where, gentlemen, does it say in this rule book that we cannot run those machines." The meeting was over Bob had proven his point - besides Ski-Doo and Kawasaki also had IFS machines. The Polaris sleds just worked better.

The rest of the 1977 season was like a broken record. Polaris won almost 90% of all the races, often winning first, second and third position. Jerry, Brad and Steve proved to be excellent drivers and excellent mechanics. The rest of the team by 1977 had over a decade of experience with snowmobile racing, so all that knowledge was made available to the new young drivers.

The IFS allowed the Polaris drivers to find a line in the corners, and stay there as though they were a train on rails. They barely had to let up in the corners and they blew right past the competitors. This handling and the dominance of the team gave rise to them being referred to in the press as "The Midnight Blue Express".

At the Eagle River World's Championship, Jim Bernat won the 440X class, and Brad Hulings driving a 340 won the regular 440 class.

In the World's Championship race, Jerry Bunke and Steve Thorsen pulled out in front very fast. Many people considered it to be the most exciting race ever run at that historic race track, with Steve and Jerry battling back and fourth like mortal enemies. For thirteen of the fifteen laps, they traded placed for first and second, neither giving an inch, often bumping one another. On the last lap, for a split second, Jerry's track bounced off its slide rails, and slowed his machine way down. It was all Steve needed to pull away. Even though Jerry's track popped back into place, it was too late for him. But in what was described as a very normal reaction for Jerry, he was not the least bit upset at the loss; instead he was thrilled that team mate Steve Thorsen won the 77 World's Championship.

That's the way it went for the rest of the season. It was Polaris, 1-2-3. In the final points standings for the year, The #874 machine of Jerry Bunke came out on top, Steve Thorsen's #2 machine would stay #2, and Brad Huling's would take 3rd overall. That meant that next year, the leather racing suits and the sleds from the Polaris factory would proudly display the numbers 1, 2 and 3.
Going into 1978, the success from 77 had created quite a demand for other snowmobile racers to have access to one of those IFS machines. The other manufacturers had closed the gap by the end of the year, and for 1978, a new Super-Stock class was created for a consumer version of the IFS race sleds. Polaris would build 106 340cc machines for sale to specially qualified drivers. Rolling chassis would be made available to any qualified driver who wanted to put in his own 250, 340 or even 440 Super Modified engine.

The factory had a bit of a cut-back in the budget for 1978. So rather than cut back on drivers or machines, Polaris opted instead just to skip a few of the smaller races, and only make their presence known at the really important ones. Once again, Jerry, Brad and Steve would compete with a sled each in Super-Mod 250, 340 and 440. Each would have one special 440 machine for the 440X class, with a magnesium bulkhead to reduce weight and some other trick parts.

They found out just how much the other factories had caught up at the very first race: Ski-Doo's Doug Hayes walked away with top honors. By Alexandria, Polaris had caught up, but so had Arctic Cat. While Hayes would walk away with the Hetteen cup, Steve Thorsen would win the 440X 15 lap feature race.

At Eagle River, the team got three new machines just in time to put them on the ice at the big race. Brad Hulings crashed his special built machine on the first lap - the throttle stuck when he fell off, and the sled bounded into the parking lot and smashed into an ambulance. Jerry and Steve made the big final race, and Brad won the 440X class on this other machine.

In the final, it looked like Jerry Bunke was finally going to win the big title. For most of the laps he led with Steve Thorsen right behind him. On about the 12th lap, Jerry broke a spindle but kept going. Steve and others passed him - but Jerry kept racing. Concerned that it might be a safety issue for Jerry, race officials black flagged him, but no matter - Steve Thorsen came around the corner on the 15th lap for the win. Except when he looked up, it was not the checkered flag he expected - it was white. Steve kept going and won anyway, finding out later that a lap counting mistake caused the extra lap. Back in Roseau on Monday, Steve was more than a little relieved it didn't go beyond 16 laps. The sled was not designed to last any longer then it had to, and several key components were near failure.

Although the competition had closed the gap in 78, the Polaris race team, heading into the last few races looked like it would triumph again. Brad Hulings was well on his way to being number one in points; Jerry and Steve not so far behind.

Then came the race in Beausejour, Manitoba in March of 1978, the second to the last race of the year. The weather was bitterly cold, and the machines going around the long, flat ice covered track were leaving a "wall" of ice-dust that just hung in the air - making it nearly impossible to see. Conditions were so bad, at least one major independent team packed it up and went home.

In the 440 class, things got serious. Jerry Bunke was thrown from his machine and fatally injured when he was struck by another machine.

Jerry Bunke passed away a couple of hours later at a nearby hospital. The loss was devastating to Polaris and the people of Roseau. To this day it is difficult for many to talk about. Jerry was just 26 years old and had fans everywhere - his biggest being his wife Pam and son Gabriel.

There had been talk of Polaris getting out of racing due to the expense for years. But Jerry's accident gave the corporate headquarters the reason they needed to make the final decision. Just a short time after the accident, Polaris announced it would not field a factory race team ever again.

Instead, Polaris decided it would send their top guys out to help independent racers in 1979. They released an update kit for the RXL that included a new hood with a windshield, new cylinders and new pipes amongst other things.

Secretly, they built three more special RXL's for three top drivers; Tim Bender, Ron Barnes and Frans Rosenquist. The three machines known as "no-coasts" (for their ability to go through the corner wide open), came from the factory ready for Rotax engines that were installed by the drivers.

These would be the very last oval ice race machines officially built by the Polaris factory.

By 1980, it had become clear that the RXL's were already not very competitive with the newer, higher horsepower machines and they started to disappear from race tracks almost as fast as race tracks were disappearing from the landscape. Oval racing across the snowbelt had reached it's peak. Although it would remain popular at the big tracks like Beausejour and Eagle River, it never would recover the popularity it enjoyed in the 1960's and 1970's.

But the RXL remains one of the most sought after machines ever built at Polaris. Collectors all over the globe covet the little midnight blue race machines, and they keep gaining fans among younger snowmobilers every year. Many snowmobile shows, both for vintage and new machines, prominently feature an RXL or two every year - a testament to the fact that the fascination with the machine - and the people behind it - is as strong as it was over 30 years ago.

Information was provided by Larry Preston and Images by C.J. Ramstadt Library,Gordon Rudolph and James Blieke