Shakopee man is snowmobile safety instructor of the year

Kim Werkmeister, of Shakopee, has been named the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Volunteer Snowmobile Instructor of the Year for 2018.

During his 42 years as a volunteer instructor, Werkmeister has instructed more than 3,500 youth and adults about how to operate snowmobiles safely and responsibly. He’s also the longest active member of the River Valley Trailblazers Snowmobile Club of Shakopee and Jordan, having been involved for more than 45 years. In addition, he clears and grooms trails and coordinates a snowmobile map for Scott County.

“Kim is an extraordinarily active volunteer who truly cares about passing on Minnesota’s safe snowmobiling tradition to new riders,” said Conservation Officer Bruce Lawrence, recreational vehicle coordinator for the DNR’s Enforcement Division. “He understands the connection between safety training and fewer snowmobile crashes. Volunteer instructors like Kim are a big part of the reason why snowmobiling in Minnesota is such a safe activity.”

Known for putting on engaging and interesting snowmobile safety classes, Werkmeister is patient with the kids he teaches and a mentor to other members of his snowmobile club. They often seek out his guidance when there are questions about trail grooming and maintenance, or when they simply want to try riding somewhere new.

More than 1,000 volunteer instructors teach DNR snowmobile safety classes across the state and are the backbone of the program. Minnesota residents born after Dec. 31, 1976 are required to have a snowmobile safety certificate in order to ride, but DNR safety officials recommend all people who ride a snowmobile complete a safety training course.

For more information on the dates and locations of these courses, see an online list on the DNR’s snowmobile safety page. For a copy of the 2018-2019 Minnesota Snowmobile Safety Laws, Rules and Regulations handbook, visit the snowmobile regulations page on the DNR website. For more information on snowmobile safety courses or laws, rules and regulations, call 800-366-6367, 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367.