Back in the early 90's, there were no legitimate snowmobile clubs or trails in the Madison County area. A group of individuals in the Morrisville area got together to see if they could form a snowmobile club and get some trails made. This effort at the time was completely independent of any other clubs or organizations. This really was a pioneering effort for the area, as the snowmobile club industry was yet in its infancy. Such individuals as Andy Olney and Roy "Woody" Woodcock convinced a handful of people to get active and get busy. They decided on the townships of Georgetown, Lebanon, Morrisville/Eaton, Smithfield, and Stockbridge/Munnsville. Eventually this intrepid group got permission from the landowners in the area, and began brushing and clearing trails, for about 100 miles of total mileage. The Moonlight Riders Snowmobile Club was thus born in 1993. There was no funding whatsoever for the clubs or trail systems.
In a paradoxical coincidence, the same sorts of activities were occurring in New York State and in Madison County in particular; snowmobile clubs were being organized all over. Eventually in the late nineties funding from the state came through, financed from registration fees from snowmobile owners. It was only a portion of the funding needed to finance the clubs activities, however. Club members had a whole host of fund raising activities, such as hosting chicken barbecues,
in order to finance the clubs activities.
Soon enough it became obvious that trail grooming equipment would be needed. The Moonlight Riders made the same mistakes that other clubs did during that era, and invested in small, snowmobile drawn grooming drags. Such equipment was completely inadequate for the grooming of trails. So in the year 2000 we decided to purchase our first large groomer, a 1978 gasoline powered Thiokol.
A couple years later, we purchased a 1993 Tucker Snow-Cat diesel powered groomer. We still have both of these machines to this day. Along the way we also accumulated a size-able inventory of smaller equipment used for the maintenance of trails, such as a mule utility vehicle, a tractor, and a brush hog.
We have also been in the bridge building business. Our first efforts were small narrow affairs which allowed for the passage of snowmobiles over streams. When we purchased our groomers, it became obvious that many of the bridges had to be replaced to accommodate these much heavier machines. Our bridges
are one of our many prides and joys and seldom equaled in quality in other areas.
While the Moonlight Riders was developing as a club, many of the same growing pains we were experiencing were coincidentally occurring all over Madison County and New York State with other emerging clubs. Eventually we became a member of the New York State Snowmobile Association, which coordinates activities for clubs statewide. We also began to network with other clubs, and in the year 2002 formed the Madison County Association of Snowmobile Clubs with other clubs in the county, separating from Oneida County. We now have a coordinated and well signed trail system all over this county.
In 2006 we were able to purchase a five acre property with a pole barn
near Bradley Brook Reservoir in Eaton, to house our equipment. This facility also allows our ace mechanics in the club to maintain our machines. This property was financed from our own fundraising efforts, which remain separate from our state funded trail income.
The strength of the Moonlight Riders rests with the many dedicated volunteer members who tirelessly work on trails, groomer maintenance, and administration; and on a year round basis. We would not be who we are without their efforts, from which the entire snowmobiling public benefits. To mention any by name would run the risk of omitting another; suffice it to say that we have a cadre of dedicated volunteers that are the envy of other groups which depend on volunteer labor. Snowmobiling remains a year round activity for us,
with administrative and maintenance activities occurring in every month of the year. We are forever looking for younger volunteers to enter our fold of active members. We are proud of our heritage, and also look forward to a bright and continuing future. Please come join us
; perhaps we can go for a ride someday on one of our trails, in the light of the moon, on a crisp winter evening. You will become one of us, we of ..... The Moonlight Riders Snowmobile Club.
Held the second Wednesday of every month
at 7:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend.
The Roadside Inn, West Eaton,NY