Earlan B. Campbell
DATE OF INDUCTION: January 12, 2006
CAREER SPAN: 1958-1971
BRANDS REPRESENTED: Polaris
AGE AT INDUCTION: Posthumous
In the very early days of snowmobiling, true believers were few and far between. The snowmobiles of the 50’s and early 60’s were crude, unreliable and mechanically challenging. Maybe more important, the uses these vehicles were suited for were unclear to most people. The idea of off-road travel in winter was something left to dog team mushers and snowshoers. When snowmobiling found a toehold, it was people with vision, outdoor toughness and, maybe most of all mechanical ability, who got the job done.
Into this early vacuum came E.B. Campbell of Millinocket, Maine. An experimenter with air sleds as a young man, E.B. saw the potential for track-driven snowmobiles in his native Maine as winter vehicles for trappers, hunters, ice fishermen and woodsmen and he became the first dealer selling Polaris Sno-Travelers Down East in 1958. As one of the very first snowmobile dealers and an active promoter of the sport, he is regarded as the man who introduced and developed snowmobiling in Maine and all across the East.
In February of 1960, E. B. invited Polaris founders Edgar Hetteen and David Johnson to Maine for a week-long excursion, a trip that began a long relationship with Polaris for E.B. as a primary tester for the company. The L-55, Trailmaster, Bullcat, Voyager and Mountaineer were some of the models E.B. helped develop in his Maine woods. He was founder of one of Maine’s earliest snowmobile clubs and a ride in his honor is staged every year out of the clubhouse near his hometown of Millinocket.