New President Elected for Swift Diamond Riders
By Karen Ladd
Colebrook News and Sentinel
Heading up a snowmobile club is no small
feat, especially when it's an outfit as big as the Swift Diamond Riders, who
operate a busy warming hut at Diamond Pond and host one of New Hampshire's
biggest winter events, the annual Snodeo.
Now at the helm of that 400-member organization is retired Army Major General Jim Nuttall of Stewartstown, who was elected at the club's annual meeting on August 17. Jim and his wife Alice--also retired from the military--have been coming here to ride for nearly 20 years and own a home on North Hill. They were hooked after their first snowmobile trip in 1996 and were later transferred to Oklahoma. "We were coming here several times in the winter," Jim said. "With what we were spending on airline tickets, hotel rooms, a car--we figured we should probably buy a place here."
Although primarily settled in the North Country, the Nuttalls also own property in Virginia, where Alice works as a defense contractor. Their southern base comes in handy for Jim, who umpires college baseball at Div. I-III schools up and down the East Coast. Because they ride all over the area, the couple belong to neighboring snowmobile clubs in addition to the Swift Diamond Riders, and Jim believes volunteering is critical to the sport's success. "I'm either all in or all out--if you're going to be involved, you have to be here on weekends and you have to sacrifice some time," he said.
Having been responsible for all of the National Guard's training and preparedness, Jim feels he's up to the challenges he'll face during this two-year term as SDR president. He has some goals mapped out and will continue with initiatives already in place, such as the capital improvement plan that has seen the purchase of a groomer last year and expansion of the garage. "The biggest thing right now is membership," he said. "We don't have as many local people as some of the other clubs here, but we have 100 miles of trails. I want to expand that." Jim also hopes to involve more local people in the club, noting, "We're part of economic development up here--we bring a lot of money in, especially with the Snodeo."
The Snodeo is held on the first Friday and Saturday in March, this year taking place on March 7-8, and typically draws thousands to Diamond Pond for demos of the manufacturers' latest machines and sales on clothing and equipment. He hopes to get more area businesses involved in hosting Snodeo-related events, and to work with local organizations such as the Wounded Warriors at 45 North. He also plans to visit neighboring snowmobile club officers, stating, "I want people to know we're part of the community." His efforts will include working closely with the Metallak ATV Club, with whom the Swift Diamond Riders share some trails, and the two groups were scheduled to meet this past Monday. "ATVing seems to be growing," he said, "and everybody wants it to succeed."
In a message to members on the SDR's Web site, Jim said it is "an incredible honor" to serve as club president. "I can only hope to live up to your expectations," he wrote, noting that outgoing president Kevin Drew "has set the bar high for me." Anyone who would like to contact Jim may reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he welcomes suggestions, input and volunteers to help the Swift Diamond Riders succeed and improve. Updates on club projects can be found at www.swiftdiamondriders.com, and the Snodeo is on-line at www.nhsnodeo.com.
Time of Transition
Kevin Drew, who lives and works in the Conway area, had been the SDR president for 12 years and vice-president for six years before that. He said he believes Jim will be "a valuable asset to the club and the area," and said his living locally makes him "someone who is probably more reachable on a face-to-face basis than I was."
"It has been an honor representing the members of the Swift Diamond Riders," Kevin said, noting that during those years the club "nearly doubled the number of miles of riding in our region." He also cited construction of the warming hut, the 24-hour gas pumps, and the development of the Snodeo into a nationally recognized event.
"My family has been a major player in the growth of the club, but wouldn't be where it is without the members and their commitment to helping with our construction projects and the Snodeo," he said. "I also learned a lot from our past presidents Bill Richards, Ronald Smith, and Bob Anderson. These men set the foundation for the club."
"Jim has a great deal of experience in working with people and organizing projects," Kevin continued. "SDR is fortunate to have him, and he and I will be working together over the next year as we transition to his presidency. He has some fresh ideas that I believe will benefit both the club and the area."
New SDR President Jim Nuttall