MASTERS Hall of Fame

MASTERS “Hall of Fame” is a page dedicated to the drivers that helped build the MASTERS Circuit. However, unlike other Hall of Fames, the MASTERS doesn’t induct or add people every year just to add someone. The individual has to not only truly be deserving of the honor for what they accomplished competing in the MASTERS, they have to have been a role model when it comes to sportsmanship and dedication to the sport and our Circuit. While we do have a couple other people that we are considering adding to our Hall of Fame, we’re not sure if they will join this very elite “fraternity” this year or in a future year.

Mass City, Michigan’s Mike Kirtland became the 1st Motorcycle Hillclimber to be put into the Mid America Snow & Terrain Expert Racers (MASTERS) Hall of Fame.  The MASTERS has been sanctioning Motorcycle Hillclimbs for 6 years.

At past Motorcycle Hillclimbs, Mike Kirtland was the only one to make it over the top of Whealkate Bluff

In those 5 years, the Pat’s Motorsports Technician has won the Pro Mod King of the Hill the last 5 Motorcycle Hillclimbs.  He notched his 5th King of the Hill AFTER he had already been chosen to be the 1st to represent the Motorcycle Venue in the MASTERS.

Kirtland was one of only 5 Hillclimbers to consistently take his Yamaha Motorcycles over the very steep Whealkate Bluff in South Range.  90% of the Motorcycle Hillclimbers at the Annual summer Hillclimbs fail to make it over ‘the Wall’ at the top of Whealkate and register a time.

“In addition to completely dominating in the Pro Mod King of the Hill ‘shoot-out,’ Mike and his sons are always willing to volunteer in filling in the wash-outs on the Hill before we (The MASTERS) can safely run a Hillclimb,” stated Larry Madgewick, MASTERS Official.  “Mike coordinates a ‘work bee’ at the hill, but often it is just Brayden, Gabe, and himself.  One year he (Mike) even gave up his sponsor money and put it in the cash purse for other hillclimbers to win!”

Before Kirtland went on to win his 5th Straight Moyle Construction-Diamond House International Pro Mod King of the HIll, Mike (right) Kirtland received his Hall of Fame Plaque with his son, Jacob (left).

Upon receiving his Hall of Fame plaque during the 2023 running of the Wildlife Refuge Cabins – Pat’s Motorsports – M & M Power Sports – Keweenaw Motorsports Hillclimb, an emotional Kirtland stated, “I had no idea.  This was a big surprise and sure meant a lot to me.”

Of the 1000+ racers, crew members, sponsors, and officials that have been a part of the MASTERS Racing Circuit since 1991, only 9 people are in the MASTERS Hall of Fame.

Layne Stank, Polaris Hillclimber

Layne Stank

Layne Stank

The MASTERS originated as solely a Snowmobile Hillclimb Circuit. The MASTERS brought and has continued to be the Snowmobile Hillclimb Circuit for the entire Midwest. As we come upon our third DECADE of sanctioning Snowmobile Hillclimbs, no snowmobile hillclimber in our Circuit (and probably the entire Midwest) has competed in as many World Championship Hillclimbs in Jackson, Wyoming, as Menominee, Michigan’s Layne Stank. Of the hundreds of snowmobile hillclimbers that have competed in MASTERS hillclimbs, Layne has won more class championships than ANY other Snowmobile Hillclimber in our Circuit. He has won different King of the Hills at different hillclimbs. In addition to what Layne has done on the hill, he truly embodies what the MASTERS Racing Circuit is all about, and that is his Christian faith and his dedication to sportsmanship. Layne became only the second MASTERS Snowmobile Hillclimber to be inducted into our Hall of Fame in February of 2017.

Matt Lacosse, Champion, MI – MASTERS Racing Circuit ALL-TIME Leader in Snow Drag wins!

Matt LaCosse

No driver has won more Snow Drag races then Lacosse. Whether it was in the Stock, Mod, or even the Vintage Classes, Matt Lacosse has won more snow drag races then any driver in the history of the MASTERS Racing Circuit. In addition to all his first-place finishes, Lacosse has two sons that are following in his footsteps, Nathan and Carter. Both of these young snowmobile racers have dominated in the 120cc classes. To top all this, it is his wife Deanne that helps Matt, Nathan, and Carter in getting his sleds ready. When you bring up to 5 sleds to a race, that is no easy chore!

Alan Turin, Michigan, Polaris and Yamaha Driver, Hillclimb

Al Turin

No one has ever dominated in MASTERS Racing snowmobile hillclimbs like this Greenland, Michigan, driver. Alan Turin not only won both Pro Stock King of the Hill but also Pro Mod King of the Hill FOR YEARS at Copper Peak. A common statement for years while Turin was competing was, “It won’t be till Turin retires that anyone will ever win a Pro Stock or Pro Mod King of the Hill.” While he eventually was defeated, it took many years and many drivers to finally defeat the MASTERS All-Time Snowmobile King of the Hill. Turin was so talented at snowmobile hillclimb competition, dealers would provide him a sled just to have a chance at having the sled they sell win a King of the Hill. The ONLY thing harder than beating Turin was getting him to talk over the PA from the Winners Circle. Turin was not much for words; he simply let the show he put on for the fans do the talking.

Wyler Miller

Wyler Miller, Hillclimber (Multi-Brands)

From the early years of MASTERS Hillclimbers, the ONE racer who was ALWAYS in the Pro Stock and Pro Mod King of the Hill competition was “Wild Man” Wyler Miller. Early on he ran Yamahas, but years later he went to racing Ski-doos. Wyler was a fan favorite! He was one hillclimber who ALWAYS put on a show by never letting off the throttle. It didn’t matter what the snow conditions were or even the degree of difficulty with the gate set-up on the hill. All Wyler would say was, “Bring it on, let’s do it!”

This Baraga County resident was and to this very day is the “mentor” for many other hillclimbers. While his career was winding down, Wyler turned his attention to helping other hillclimbers compete. It is his success as one of the BEST Hillclimbers the MASTERS has ever had, combined with his fierce competitive spirit and most important, his GREAT attitude, that has made him one of the few members of the MASTERS “family” to earn a spot on the very selective MASTERS Hall of Fame!

Kip McIntyre

Kip McIntyre, Yamaha Drag Racer

Right when the MASTERS decided to sanction snow drags many years ago, Kip was the one to beat! From the early days of running the 4-cylinder Yamaha to running the very fast Yamaha Turbo, Kip was the one to bet on when it came to making the finals. However, it is not just Kip’s success in the snow drags that put him in the elite group of members of the MASTERS Hall of Fame: it is his dedication to supporting and sponsoring MASTERS events. Kip not only has been the most consistent and loyal supporter of the MASTERS, but is one of very few members of the MASTERS “family” who sponsors and supports MANY other MASTERS competitors, not just in drags, but also Terra-X and hillclimb.

To top off all the accolades we could post about Kip, he is a very special father who is inspiring his son, Wyatt, to follow in his footsteps, the footsteps of success and in sportsmanship on and off the track. Kip and his wife, Trish, are the owners of Pat’s Motorsports in Greenland, a top Yamaha and Polaris dealership. The MASTERS is very proud to induct Kip McIntrye into the very limited MASTERS Hall of Fame!

Jerry Buschell

Jerry Buschell, Lake Linden, MI, Ski-doo, Drag Racing

Jerry Buschell was inducted into our Hall of Fame in January of 2018. In the decades that the MASTERS sanctioned snowmobile drag racing, no racer totally dominated in any class like Buschell did! His winning streak in the 700cc Mod Class went for YEARS. He dominated to the extent with a 700cc sled that he even raced that same sled in bigger cc classes and he STILL WON. Few (if any) have ever perfected the performance of a 700cc engine like Buschell! He went on to race that sled in non-MASTERS races, and after winning in other circuit snow drags, Buschell proved that when the MASTERS Racing Circuit racers went to other races, EVERYONE knew that the FASTEST racers are those who had the MASTERS-Ojibwa Casino sticker on their sleds!

Paul Voelker, Calumet, Ski-Doo Drag Racer

Paul Voelker (left) racing his team-mate Jerry Buschell (right)

Paul is a member of our first MASTERS Racing “Web of Fame” class. Paul is from the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan’s western U.P. For years Paul dominated at MASTERS drag races. This lifelong Ski-doo driver not only consistently defeated fellow drivers in the 800 cc classes, but Paul was voted upon by his fellow drivers as the MASTERS Racing Circuit SPIRIT Award Winner. The SPIRIT Award was an award for a driver who displayed sportsmanship and willingness to help his fellow drivers. After Paul retired from racing, he went on to help other drivers with “wrenching and tech support.” Paul also was one of the MASTERS top snowmobile hillclimbers and was one of the first to represent the MASTERS and the entire Midwest at the World Championship Snowmobile Hillclimb in Jackson, Wyoming.

Jason Kleinschmidt, Yamaha, Polaris, Arctic Cat Snow Drag and Hillclimber

Jason Kleinschmidt

In April of 2022, Kleinschmidt lost his 5 year battle with Cancer. While Kleinschmidt resided in Merrill, Wisconsin, his ‘home’ could have been in the Copper Country. It was in our area that the Snowmobiler spent a lot of his time. The 47 year old invested a lot of his time behind the scenes of Hillclimbs, Snow Drags, and Terra-X Courses.

It was Kleinschmidt and his son, Michael, which set up the courses before the races, then was an official during the races, and concluded the weekend by tearing down all the equipment and hauling it back to Ontonagon. He was also a successful racer and hillclimber.

He was a Champion in the Pro Stock 600 and Pro Stock 700 Classes at different MASTERS Snow Drags. He also took the Pro Stock King of the Hill at a Hillclimb in Florence, Wisconsin.

It was at that Hillclimb that he was able to ‘live out a dream.’ That was to represent 5 Midwestern States at the World Championship Hillclimb in Jackson, Wyoming. He was a proud member of the elite Pat’s Motorsports Yamaha Race Team.

He continued to work for the MASTERS and race even when Cancer set in. “We knew he didn’t feel good, but he just didn’t want to give up,” commented his son, Michael. “What meant so much to him was after winning at the Drag Races in Marquette, the racers, led by Pat’s Motorsports, donated ALL of their race winning to him.”

That was close to $2000 that the racers gave to Kleinschmidt at the Awards Ceremony!

It was right up to 2 months before he passed away that he decided to leave the Froedert Medical Center in Milwaukee and go home. In addition to being with his family, he wanted to be an Official at the Copper Peak Hillclimb.

“Dad wanted to see the return of the Copper Peak Hillclimb. It was at Copper Peak where he started competing in Hillclimbs. It (Copper Peak) meant a lot to him,” explained Michael. “Mom didn’t think he would feel good enough to be there, much less be in the Officials Trailer.”

Little over 2 months later, Kleinschmidt passed away. Before he died, numerous MASTERS Racers and Officials made the trek to Merrill to show their appreciation and love for all that he did for the Circuit and the Sport.