sledRacer Interview: Rick Tiede

Rick Tiede sporting some Woody's Wear.

Woody’s is arguably the most recognizable name in snowmobile traction products. Founded by James Musselman and Woody Kozlow back in the 1960s, the company has been heavily into racing from its inception. Based in Hope, Michigan, the Woody’s Race Program Coordinator is a guy named Rick Tiede. It’s not too many years ago Rick was racing Semi-Pro snocross, so he’s not some desk jockey who doesn’t know a stud from a roofing nail. Always smiling and always happy to talk to anyone who approaches him, Rick is also leading a groundswell of new support for the Soo I-500. We checked in with him to find out what you need to do to get sponsorship, why track patterns are important and why Woody’s is offering more support than ever.

sledRacer.com: You came from the ranks of racers, what is it like being on the other side?
Rick Tiede: Absolutely awesome, I’ve grown up in the snowmobile industry and honestly there isn’t anywhere else I’d rather work. Coming from a racing background has definitely helped me better myself as a race director though; I know what it takes to make the relationship from sponsor to racer happen from both sides.

sR: Woody’s has been in the traction and snowmobile racing business a long time, does it ever get old for people in the company?
Tiede: Woody’s is a family-owned company that basically started in racing over 40 years ago. Everyone here is truly passionate about racing, and it shows as we have one of the largest most successful race programs in the industry.

Oval racer Malcolm Chartier is sponsored by Woody's.

sR: One race you’ve supported more as of late is the Soo I-500, why?
Tiede: We have always supported the Soo I-500; it’s honestly where the racing at Woody’s all started. The Musselman family grew up racing Enduros and Drags here in Michigan and did extremely well. There are a few old I-500 trophies floating around here at the office, but as far as the recent increase in added support – that has stemmed from everyone here wanting to help bring back the Soo back to the forefront of snowmobile racing and show how prestigious an event it really is. And its working!

sR: There is a ton more interest in that race in the past few years, why do you think it’s coming back?
Tiede: It’s a great race to showcase your products at, whether it’s the sled, fuel, oil, or traction products. Winning or making it through a grueling 500 laps on a track that gets to be pretty insane is definitely something to brag about.

sR: With the economy down, where do you see snowmobile racing going in the next few years?
Tiede: Of course, everyone had to tighten up the last few years with the big economic hit on the industry, but things have definitely been on a rise the past few years. We understand that its not just sponsors that have to tighten up but racers alike, so we have definitely been trying to do as much sponsorship as we can these past few years. From our end things should only continue to get better as the years roll on!

Tiede once raced for Scheuring Speed Sports. Once.

sR: I know you’re backing a Soo team and have put together a talented group of riders including guys like Justin Tate. Would you like to see racing move more toward what Tate is doing where a rider goes cross-country racing one weekend, races snocross the next and hits an enduro here and there? Or do you think snowmobile racing will remain a sport where riders specialize in one genre such as snocross?
Tiede: I would absolutely encourage racers to get on the multiple forms of racing kick. It allows the racer to get a taste of all forms of racing, broadens not only their knowledge of the sport but also allows them to get their sponsors in front of a variety of crowds and racers. If a guy like Tate can race snocross, cross-country, and oval enduros anyone can do it! Seriously though, we never know what’s going to happen in this industry so being able to adapt to all forms of racing just makes a racer that much more valuable to a sponsor. Levi LaVallee is another perfect example how a rider can diversify his program and make it successful.

sR: If I’m a racer, what is the best way to get support from Woody’s?
Tiede: We try to make it easy for both new and past sponsored riders to get a hold of me for sponsorship. You can do that by filling out our race application online at www.WoodysTraction.com or give me a call at 989-689-4911.

sR: What are some things you look for when you consider sponsoring racers beyond a product or discount level?
Tiede: Every racer wants to be the “factory” guy for us at Woody’s, but the teams and racers that set themselves apart are the ones that go above and beyond putting a sticker on their truck, trailer, and sled. It’s the Steve Scheurings of the sport who get us involved with the Air Force or Makita and into the Power Tool shows across America. It’s the Levi LaVallees who have open door policies for fans that make him the “Fan Favorite” every year. It’s the 4-Time World Champions like PJ Wanderscheid. And it’s the guys that not only help sell Woody’s parts by doing all these things but the racers and teams like Tim Bender, Malcolm Chartier, or Craig Marchbank that have actually helped create, test and prove some of the best products we sell today.

Brian Dick used Woody's traction products to win the USCC Red Lake I-500 last year.

sR: What is something a racer should know about traction but probably doesn’t?
Tiede: The biggest thing that racers tend to overlook is their track patterns. Track patterns can truly make or break all forms of racing. We spend a ton of time creating different patterns for all forms of racing, from drag patterns with too many scratch lines to count, to oval sprint patterns that help riders to break the back end loose with controlled slip, all the way to balanced patterns for cross country races so when they get on the throttle coming out of a left or right hander they aren’t going to spin because we all know spin is just time wasted.

sR: What is the best part of your job?
Tiede: Best part of my job has to be getting on the road and attending every top snowmobile event in the country, from snow shows to the X Games. I’ve had the privilege of making what is most peoples joy and hobby a profession, you can’t beat hanging out and working side by side with some of the industry’s most influential people and getting paid for it! Also thanks to my job I’ve made some great friends all across the country.

Tiede dabbled in racing for a number of years. He says his racing experience plays in huge in his current position as Race Program Coordinator.

sR: Is there anything new we can we expect to see from Woody’s this year?
Tiede: R&D is one of the big factors that separate Woody’s from the rest of the snowmobile traction industry. We are always working on something new and improved, we definitely have some industry changing news to release this season but you’ll have to stay checked into the website and snowmobile events for that release. Also we have yet again came out with a really cool clothing line so be sure to check that out online, the new Woody’s Wear is top notch!

Woody’s Golf Outing Raises Over $9,200 For Pink Ribbon Riders

Hope, MI (August 29, 2011) – International Engineering & Manufacturing, Inc. (IEM), maker of Woody’s traction products, held their 2nd Annual Golf Outing on August 19, 2011 to bring industry patrons, local businesses, and friends together in efforts to raise funds for Pink Ribbon Riders© (PRR).

The day started out early at Beech Hollow Golf Course in Freeland Michigan with over 120 participants. Last years 1st Annual was enjoyed by all who attended which generated more interest and double the teams signed up to play this year. As everyone arrived, they enjoyed coffee, donuts and a massage to get them ready for 18 holes of golf. Free massages were given out by Nicole Mollhagen from Your Healthy Balance of Saginaw County.

Teams throughout the day had the opportunity to win a $10,000 Hole-In-One, hole prizes and many others prizes donated for this worthy event. In addition, players dug deep into their pockets and participated in 50/50 drawings, raffles, betting hole, and a live auction. Winners of the 50/50’s gave ALL their winnings back to PRR, as well the 1st and 2nd place finishers and skin winners gave back a portion to PRR. After a great day of play, teams joined under the pavilion area where they were treated to a wonderful chicken dinner prepared by Beech Hollow.

During the dinner presentation a local breast cancer patient, Sherry Stewart, was presented with a gift of $500 by Pink Ribbon Riders. Sherry was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2010. She is currently undergoing radiation treatments and will have to continue with chemotherapy once finished with the radiation. Sherry’s spirits are high and she was extremely grateful to all of those who attended and made the day possible.

Team Wixom was the 1st place team and was awarded $480 with the 2nd place team, TechMet Carbides (last years winners), getting $240. The Boice Bird and Sons team secured 3rd place and will receive new 2012 Woody’s Hooded Sweatshirts. Team #60, Bouza Dairy and Nizinski teams went home with goody bags for taking 5th, 10th and last places.

“I was impressed with the support the industry gave Pink Ribbon Riders at the second annual fund raiser. The event really grew from the first year. The team at Woody’s outdid themselves with hospitality and professionalism. It was a very enjoyable day, raising money for a wonderful cause. Everyone should make the time to attend next years event as they will get to see first-hand the incredible work that Pink Ribbon Riders is doing in their local communities for people who are hardest hit by a devastating disease,” said Joe Mooney from Marshall Distributing.

“I am thrilled to be a part of the Woody’s-Pink Ribbon Riders golf outing. Woody’s, a long time sponsor of Wright & Filippis racing, can always be counted on with quality traction products to put our sleds on the podium. The golf outing was nothing short of spectacular. We had a great time, raised money for a great cause, and we showed that we belong racing a sled, not on a golf course! Can’t wait till next year’s event,” said Jim Wazny from Wright & Filippis.

Thank you to all our sponsors, prize donors, teams, volunteers, PRR, and Beech Hollow for making this a fun and successful event!

Woody’s VP Randy Oberson To Retire

International Engineering & Manufacturing, Inc. is announcing Randy Oberson, Vice President of International Engineering & Manufacturing, Inc. will retire on June 30, 2011. The company plans to distribute Randy’s duties internally to members of his staff. Randy will assist with the transition. He has been with International Engineering 17 years including serving as the company’s Vice President for the last eleven years.

We’re particularly grateful for Randy’s leadership in building strong and capable teams for procurement, operations and distribution. Randy has done an awesome job He will be missed.

“It has been an honor and extremely satisfying experience working with this great company and the many fine people inside and outside of International Engineering for the past 17 years,” said Vice President, Randy Oberson. “I hope I have contributed and desire nothing less than to have International Engineering be successful for generations to come. I will always be a Woody’s man!”

International Engineering’s Board of Directors released this statement: “Randy Oberson helped lead the way through the recent economic downturn leaving IEM as strong as ever. IEM’s preseason orders are the largest they have had in years. New machinery for diversification is being delivered. While Randy will be missed, his contributions to IEM are evident in the capable teams left behind. He takes pride in leaving IEM strong and financially sound.”

We have a team in place for a seamless transition. Our website www.WoodysTraction.com under Contact Us will have a staff listing with Departments for your convenience. Any concerns or questions, I can be contacted.

Sincerely,

Robert Musselman

DL Racing Ready To Test Soo Buggy

The DL Racing Soo sled looks pretty wicked. With Rich Felegy building the engine it should run as good as it looks.

Things are coming together nicely for the DL Racing team as the sled nears completion. Tracks are studded, custom front end and Fox Shocks are all finished and ready to be dialed to put down some fast laps, Pipes have been fabbed, the motor is in and and taking on some quality lubrication from Klotz.

“After weeks of putting together what we feel are the best sponsors, riders, crew, and parts to go after a SOO I-500 Championship, the weekend of our first test session is finally upon us!” said Rick Tiede. “With Shane Felegy flying in today to ride and tie up the last little bit of loose ends like the riders handlebars, grips, throttle locations and so forth, and Rich Felegy coming with him to lock down the final carburetion and engine tuning. We will then be ready on Saturday morning to take off for a few days of testing.

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Sweat The Small Stuff

Don LaBean works on the front end of the team's Soo I-500 buggy. Who says team owners don't get their hands dirty?

The DL Racing/Tiede2 team’s Soo I-500 race sled is starting to come together slowly but surely. Thanks to the joint efforts of sponsors and crew (and a lot of phone calls and e-mails) items for the sled have been arriving at the shop steadily (some of them have actually found there way on the 2011 Polaris IQ600R!). The team is still waiting for a bunch of stuff but progress is steady and the team is right on schedule for getting the sled ready to race.

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Chasing The Soo

With any luck, this 2011 Polaris IQ600R will be the winning sled at the 2011 Soo I-500.

This season sledRacer.com will be following a bunch of guys as they attempt to win the famed Soo I-500 enduro the first time out. Win the Soo the first time out? Sounds crazy, huh? It does until you see who all is involved. DL Racing and Tiede2 Motorsports have linked up in a concerted effort to try and win the Soo I-500. The effort is the brainchild of Rick Tiede of Woody’s Traction and Don LaBean of Hymmco, a Michigan-based concrete construction accessories company.

“In the last few months we have been hard at work putting together what we will think is the winning combination for this years Soo I-500 race this upcoming February,” said Tiede.

The team has signed three top-level snowmobile racers to pilot the sled at the famed 1-mile Soo oval:

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