Local snowmobile aficionado Sheldon Kelly has come through victorious after a tight quarter-finals battle with Tom Kallman and is now set to win the semi-finals and move to the final stage of Ski-Doo’s North America’s Top Snowmobiler.
“I went for my honeymoon two weeks ago and we decided that if I’m losing a little bit, let’s just enjoy our honeymoon and that’s that,” Kelly told the Townsman. “But now I won that round and now I’m not on my honeymoon, I’m here and everyone carried me through while we were gone. Now I’m giving it all, I don’t want to lose.”
Kelly initially beat out Kari Amlin in November and then, after an extremely close 50/50 battle, came out victorious over Minnesota’s Tom Kallman. As of Tuesday, Feb. 5, Kelly is set to defeat Chris Keihne, sitting with a commanding 63.7 per cent.
READ MORE: Sheldon Kelly in tight quarter-finals race
This round of voting will end at 10 p.m. MST on Thursday, Feb. 7. Then, beginning at 10 a.m. MST, the final stage of the competition will commence and supporters will be able to vote once a day for two more weeks.
If he wins after that and is named North America’s Top Snowmobiler, Kelly will receive a brand-new, 2020 Ski-Doo snowmobile of his choice, plus $2,500 worth of Ski-Doo accessories, and get to go spend a weekend with legendary X-Games snowmobile racer Carl Kuster’s Mountain Park in Sicamous.
While Kelly said that he initially signed up for the competition to win a new sled, he says the competition has taken on a deeper meaning as he advances further and further. After winning the first round, Kelly began to pick up steam as the various media outlets of Cranbrook began covering his story and City Council and local businesses sharing and voting for him, as well as countless other supporters.
“So now it’s not so much of ‘hey I want to win a snowmobile’, it’s ‘hey I want to win this to be the champion and everyone’s rooting for me so I kind of want to lead this team, for example, to the championship and everyone’s cheering for me.’ So now I don’t want to let anybody down, is more the push.”
READ MORE: Local goes for top snowmobiler award
Kelly is truly a lifelong snowmobiler and a proud supporter of the sport.
“When I was a baby, that first winter my dad had me out on the sled,” Kelly said. “So every year since I have been on a snowmobile. When I was four years old, I was out on a Nordic Kiddy Kat and we used to ride around the snowmobile cabin as kids. Then as the years progressed, obviously getting dad’s hand-me-downs and riding all his sleds growing up.”
His parents are of course thrilled with their son’s progression through this competition.
“You should see my dad, you’ve probably seen his posts not knowing who he is, he shares every thing on Facebook and it’s crazy, he’s pretty happy. And my mom, she’s a softy so she’ll be crying if I win this for sure, tears of joy.”
Kelly used to film and produce sleeping films called Winter Nutz movies, and worked closely with management at Dewy’s pub. Kelly would come in as a celebrity bartender one day and then host the film premier the next, with all his tips and ticket proceeds going to the Food Bank, United Way and SPCA.
He’s also an active member of the Cranbrook Snowmobile Club and has been since his youth, dedicating a great deal of his time to cleaning up parking lots in the spring and clearing out fallen trees to keep the trails free for winter snowmobiling.
Kelly has started a Facebook group to help urge people to continue voting for the next and final stage of the competition. The group is called Sheldon Kelly North Americas Top Sledder. Once they get to 200 likes, for everyone that likes the page and shares it, tagging at least two friends, they will be entered to win a Mountain Addicts tongue and sticker.
“So we’re doing giveaways for people to follow us,” he said.”So the thing is we’re in the lead now —I’m not really having to market myself right now on Facebook, so we’re taking that time to kind of organize the marketing come Friday. So we’ll now have a group, hopefully of 200, 300 people and now we can post on that and everyone’s going to see that and hopefully that means 300 votes or 200 votes.”
So set a reminder for this Friday, Feb. 8 at 10 a.m., and for every day for the next two weeks, to get your votes in for Kelly and help him become North America’s Top Snowmobiler. Enter your votes daily here www.supertraxmag.com/nats/ First-time voters will have to confirm their email, and people can vote once a day. As well, voters get put into draws to win prizes.