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Kids take the trails in Clay

The 2nd Annual Snowmobile Ride for kids was held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday Jan. 16 at Clay Town Hall off Route 31 in Clay. The season's snow was on a meltdown for a few days before the event, but just enough was on the ground for the snowmobiles to hit the trails, said Wayne Morris, commissioner of the town of Clay Parks and Recreation Department.

This event began last year when Clay Town Assessor Rob Bick suggested the idea after participating in a similar event in St. Lawrence County. Saturday's snowmobile ride gave children with special needs the opportunity to ride with several volunteers and the Clay Snow Owls Club. There was about 12 snowmobiles at the event, which gave each kid the chance to ride the mile-plus trails more than one time.

Although the event was held at town hall, Morris said it was not an event for Clay residents only.

"It's a community event," Morris said. "Last year's event had a good turnout."

Morris said the smiles on the kids' faces were a testament to the success the first-time event had last year.

"I heard one of the mothers say her child had never been on a snowmobile," Morris said. "It's a good event when it's hard to get out and do something in the winter."

Bick said all the volunteers were sure to have each child wear a helmet and be aware of the handle grips on the snowmobiles. The riders also agreed to go no faster than 15 mph, Bick said.

One of the volunteers said he missed last year's event, but was sure to be a part of the winter event this year.

"I heard about if from a friend after last year's event," said Steve Downing, of Liverpool, a volunteer rider at the Jan. 16 event.

The groomed the trails Saturday morning while Chicago Uno Grill in Clay supplied free pizza. Bick said he wanted to thank the Clay Town Board for allowing the group to utilize the facilities for the event.

Liverpool resident Steve Downing, left, assists Dakota Finch, 15, of Liverpool, during the Jan. 16 2nd Annual Snowmobile Ride in Clay. Downing was one of many volunteers giving snowmobile rides to community members that came to Clay Town Hall. PHOTO BY FARAH JADRAN PIKE

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