Just as they were ready to call it quits this season, avid snowmobilers in the Quad-Cities rejoiced when they saw Monday's snowy forecast.

Friends and families cleared their evening schedule and congregated on a private farm in rural Scott County for one "last hurrah."

"Everyone's dying to play," said Conor Flaherty, president of the Scott County Sno-Seekers, who logged just one other session this season in the area. "It's been a tough year."

Until Monday, when about 4.8 inches of snow fell here, less than 3 inches of powder dusted the Quad-Cities in January and February combined.

As the flakes accumulated, Duane Holdorf, who farms 500 acres in Dixon, said he received a call from his daughter, Lisa Toft, about snowmobiling.

In previous, snowier seasons, Holdorf opened his 40-acre soybean field to his daughter's family and their snowmobiling friends.

Monday evening, the Tofts' three daughters — even their 3-year-old — went for a spin before it got dark. 

They purchased a children's 150-pound 120cc sled about nine years ago when their oldest daughter, Katelynn, turned 1.

Kevin Toft, vice president of the club, said his father introduced him to the sport as a 5-year-old. 

People may remember him from 2011, when he rode his snowmobile from Davenport to rescue stranded motorists and Scott County Sheriff's deputies near Donahue. 

Now, his entire family is hooked.

"I married into it," Lisa said with a laugh, "and they (their children) were born into it." 

Although the club maintains more than 100 miles of trails in Scott County, they have not had the chance this year to develop their system of tracks.

The organization also was forced to cancel its annual drag race event along the frozen backwaters at Credit Island Park in Davenport and its annual outing with the Quad-Cities Women's Outdoor Club.

The lack of snow has driven several club members north to Wisconsin and Michigan in search of the white stuff.

Toft returned last week from a trip with his father to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, his fourth out-of-town snowmobiling trip this winter. He estimates he has driven 3,500 miles in his truck but rode just 800 to 850 miles on his sled. 

Although conditions were not ideal, J.J. Wilkins of Bettendorf picked up his sleds after work from his parents' farm in Cedar County and hightailed it to Dixon. 

"The last two years have been awful in eastern Iowa," said Wilkins, who sped around the property atop his 800cc Ski-Doo. "Nine out of ten times, I wouldn't have ridden in this, but I got a little bit of it in my blood before spring comes."

Thankful for the extra daylight hours, the crew made the best of their outing in the sloppy terrain.

"It's better than nothing," Flaherty said. "This just makes the winter go by so much quicker." 


Jack Cullen uncovers different slices of life for the Quad-City Times. He previously covered the city of Bettendorf. When he's not reporting, Jack enjoys coaching tennis and exploring the outdoors.