Snowmobile racing with Reggie and Trevor Bosum

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The 2017 snowmobile-racing season closed out on a high note in late March with the running of the Oujé-Bougoumou Snowmobile Challenge.

Featuring cross-country races in four categories – Pro, Sport, Women’s and Beginners – the Oujé-Bougoumou Snowmobile Challenge brings together racers from across Eeyou Istchee for some of the most gruelling sledding of the season.

One young sledder continued his strong racing debut in Oujé-Bougoumou. Trevor Bosum, a 15-year-old from Chibougamau, produced a solid third-place finish in Beginners Cross-Country Championship before turning the heads of both racers and fans alike by following up with an eighth-place in a field of 17 in the Sport Cross-Country Championship.

Success at the Oujé-Bougoumou Snowmobile Challenge is just the latest in a series of breakthroughs this season for the 15-year-old high school student from Chibougamau.

Trevor opened his debut season in early March at the Mistissini Snowmobile Challenge by placing second in the Beginners Cross-Country Championship race, and overcame mechanical difficulties at the starting line to take home fourth place in the Junior Boys Cross-Country event at the Chisasibi Snowmobile Challenge the following weekend.

While Trevor’s success on the racing circuit appears to have come almost overnight, it actually represents a decade of training alongside his father, Reggie Bosum.IMG_0679 (1)

An officer with the Eeyou Eenou Police Force, Reggie has a passion for snowmobiling rooted in two decades of competitive racing.

“I started riding around the age of 13,” recalled Reggie in conversation with the Nation. “I would ride my brother’s skidoo around the community, but started breaking them when I would push it.

“But my brother, Curtis, really encouraged me and when my Dad gave me the chance to compete in my first race, I took it and I won. I was 14 at the time,” Reggie said with a laugh.

That changed everything for Reggie, who quickly graduated to larger 800cc sleds and hit the trail every chance he had. An early innovator of sno-cross racing in Eeyou Istchee, Reggie eventually claimed victory at the 2001 Festival Folifrets Baie-James in Chibougamau, despite competing on a fractured ankle.

Reggie made the change to cross-country following that triumph, which he says forced him to make dramatic changes to the way he prepared for races.

“In cross country, it is a long race, so you have to prepare yourself both physically and mentally,” explained Reggie. “You and your sled must form a bond. If you don’t push hard enough, you won’t have success, but if you push too hard, you can break your sled, or worse, injure yourself.”

While Reggie never took home the checkered flag in a major cross-country event, he shows great pride in the fact that he has finished every cross-country race he has ever started, and is now committed to mentoring his son, Trevor, as he embarks on his sledding career.

Reggie first introduced Trevor to snowmobiling at the tender age of five, outfitting the youngster with an Arctic Cat Kitty Cat, before gradually moving him up to his current 800cc ride.

“It was important to teach him about safety and developing his own bond with the sled,” said Reggie. “From there, we started playing games of hide-and-seek on snowmobiles at night, and concentrating on things like staying calm and having patience with the machine.”

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As Trevor has matured, Reggie has focused on educating him on critical elements of snowmobiling, which include risks associated with tunnel vision.

“It is important for him to understand how tunnel vision works, and the importance of looking far beyond what is right in front of you, think ahead of time, and maintain strong focus. And sometimes you need to start thinking about your family, and make sure you get home.”

Sidelined by injury, it has been three years since 34-year-old Reggie last participated at the Festival Folifrets. However, the hiatus has given him extra time to focus on developing Trevor’s riding ability, while making sure his sled is in top-notch condition.

According to Reggie, Trevor’s snowmobile sat idle for much of this season due to mechanical trouble, but that all changed once the youngster expressed interest in competing at the Mistissini Snowmobile Challenge.

“Trevor spent March Break with his mother visiting Mont-Tremblant, but would call or text me regularly asking if he could compete in Mistissini,” recalls Reggie.

“At first I said no, and he was very disappointed. But with the help of a lot of people, I was able to rebuild his machine in time for the race. I was looking forward to telling him he could race, but he heard it from his mother first,” added Reggie, with yet another infectious laugh.

Things got off to a rocky start for Trevor in Mistissini, as mechanical difficulties quickly left him trailing in last place. But by drawing on the teachings and experience of his father, Trevor quickly caught up to the pack, narrowly missing out on a third-place finish.

“I saw a different Trevor that day,” said Reggie, sounding very much like a proud father.

“Trevor has really committed himself, training three times a week, and will also be riding motocross this summer.”

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Trevor is clearly the product of a successful riding family, but sledding remains a secondary priority, well behind his education.

While the youngster has yet to choose a long-term career path, he continues to produce good grades in Secondary II, and has quietly expressed interest in following in his father’s footsteps as a police officer.

“He has learned a lot in these three weeks, and now has the taste of winning,” concluded Reggie. “But it all comes back to respecting the bond. To be a champion, you must be humble and you must be patient.”

With the help of a supportive family, and the strength of a father’s wisdom, the best is yet to come for young Trevor.

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