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FAIR HAVEN — Bryan Whipple felt a surge of energy while blazing through the first 10 feet of a snowmobile race, with 190 horsepower below him.

Though Whipple ultimately lost that race at the Little Sodus Ice Drags event in Fair Haven Saturday morning, he loved every deafening moment of it. He has had the 1998 Ski-Doo Mach Z machine he brought with him since he was 12.

Since there "wasn't much to do in the winter" growing up and he wanted to keep up with his friends, he spent $1,700 he made over a summer working for his family's potato business to buy the snowmobile, which he has since filled with new parts. He is taken in by the thrill of the experience.

"I know I don't have the fastest sled, but it's just fun to have fun," Whipple said.

Other adrenaline-seekers brought that passion to the ice at the event hosted by Little Sodus Inn. Casual races were held throughout the morning. A competition to be crowned King of the Bay took place in the afternoon.

Holley Webster-Goolden, a bartender at the inn and trustee for the village of Fair Haven, said the event had been held for several years in the past but had been sidelined for the last couple years due to not having stable enough ice. She said that she believes the event is an outlet for people "to get out out of the house and get out and about."

Sticking out among the crowd with her small pink snowmobile was 9-year-old Miley Easlick. Chris Easlick, her father, said Miley has been on snowmobiles since she was around 4. Few words passed Miley's lips, as she communicated mostly through nods and half-smiles. Her actions did the talking for her, however, as she had won races that morning. 

Chris Easlick and Nick Derleth, a family friend of the Easlicks, said they both enjoy the "adrenaline rush" of racing on solid ice.

"It's an itch you can never fully scratch," Derleth said.

Scott Spath, spectating at the event with his girlfriend, Abby Dallas, said that as a resident of Fair Haven for 20 years, he simply enjoys going to the event for "a good time, good friends and good beer." As Fair Haven has a reputation as a summer destination, he's glad the event can bring people bring together when the temperature drops.

"When the beach freezes, you can still go out on the ice," Spath said.

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Staff writer Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.


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