Kate Stutheit does not often see her husband, Stan, at their business in Syracuse, Nebraska. This dynamic is nothing new to the married couple of 36 years. Kate says they rarely cross paths at Stutheit Implement Co., a John Deere retailer about 34 miles southeast of Lincoln. She manages the merchandise while her husband makes sure operations run smoothly.
“It can be stressful just like anything else, but it’s a lot of fun,” Kate says. “It’s rewarding.”
After business hours, especially in the winter, the Stutheits devote time to snowmobiling, their biggest hobby. The couple ride Polaris 800 Pro RMK snowmobiles, which Stan says is “definitely a good sled.”
Their ride is a mountain snowmobile, which is long and narrow to allow for riding hillside in mountainous terrain and through heavy powder. The vehicles have specially designed long lug tracks, which allow them to maneuver through deep snow.
The Polaris 800 PRO-RMK 163 features a lightweight AXYS chassis and 800 H.O. Cleanfire engine.
Stutheit Implement at one point sold snowmobiles. John Deere designed and built snowmobiles from 1972-1984. In fact, the popular company slogan, “Nothing runs like a Deere,” was first used to promote a line of snowmobiles. In the early 1980s, John Deere sold their product line to Polaris.
Kate says the lack of snowmobiles at work has never stopped the couple and more than two dozen of their friends from traveling multiple times a year for an adrenaline rush of winter fun.
They say their hometown of Syracuse used to be a regular go-to spot for snowmobiling, but that changed after the area started getting less snowfall.
Part of the allure of snowmobiling is the travel. The couple have snowmobiled in Colorado and Montana. Wyoming remains their favorite spot for its snowy ranges and sometimes challenging terrain.
“I like being out in the open and the scenery,” Kate says. “He usually leads. I usually ride behind. We have a good time. It’s a lot of fun.”
The couple often travel with members of the Nebraska State Snowmobile Association or Syracuse Sno Flakers Snowmobile Club. Kate says the local group is comprised of about 40 members, and Stan says the majority of Sno Flakers also are members of the state organization.
He should know. Stan currently serves as president of the state association. Along with providing fun and friendship, the association has raised thousands annually to benefit individual cancer patients, Toys for Tots, and local back-to-school efforts. At presstime, Stan was busy preparing for the 2017 NSSA Convention Nov. 17 and 18, where Stan, Kate, and other snowmobilers gathered to network and discuss their hobby with fellow enthusiasts.
Kate is also a former officer. She has served various positions with the group since becoming a member in 1981 and especially enjoys the camaraderie with fellow snowmobilers.
“There are always stories to be told on trips,” Kate says. “It’s a whole other family and friends with the state association.”
Stan says the outdoor thrills give them a chance to get away from their business.
“When we’re gone, I don’t worry about it,” he says. “I know someone is back there doing it.”
Look up Nebraska State Snowmobile Association on Facebook for more information.
This article appeared in the Winter 2018 issue of B2B.