Growing up in Herman Mesebrink's snowmobile shop in Moyie Springs and being an avid snowmobiler since the age of five, it's no wonder that Mark Mesenbrink has followed his love for the extreme sport of snowmobiling into national fame as one of the featured riders of Team Thunderstruck.
The film featuring Mark and Team Thunderstruck will play at the Rex Theater on August 22 at 1pm. A similar extreme snowmobiling film played last year and was very well received by the community.
Now a high voltage electrician employed by Bonneville Power Administration and living in Kettle Falls, WA, this Boundary County native and member of the BFHS Class of 1987 explained that there are two aspects to the snowmobile film industry: snowmobile jumping and snowmobile hill climbing. Team Thunderstruck performs the latter.
"We go find the steepest, gnarliest hill we can find and try to climb it," said Mark. "This film is an action packed adventure with spills and thrills. It will be great entertainment for the whole family."
Mark joined Team Thunderstruck, under the direction of Jim Phelan, in 1998. Since the snowmobilers live in different geographical areas, Jim travels around the country "chasing sun and snow" filming different members of the team throughout the winter. When the snow begins to melt in May, Jim puts all the footage he has filmed together, adds commentary and upbeat music, and then travels around the country showing the film. The current year's film will be shown just once prior to its presentation to Boundary County.
Why does Mark spend so much time and effort on this extreme sport despite not being paid for his riding?
"I enjoy the sport. My dad snowmobiled all his life - it was his thing. There have been crashes and smashes but I've only been injured once. We do a lot of snowmobiling in Castlegar, BC but my favorite is Revelstoke. There's so much riding in Revelstoke. We'll go up six times a year and never ride the same place twice. I just love it."
Not only has Team Thunderstruck earned appreciation from audiences around the nation but the snowmobile film industry has recognized the superior quality of Team Thunderstruck and Jim's photographic talent as well. Last year Team Thunderstruck won the Xtremey Award, similar to the Academy Awards of the snowmobile film industry, taking the coveted title away from a rival snowmobile team for the first time ever.
"We're going to enter this year's film in the competition and hope to win again," commented Mark. "The film is a family event that all the family can truly enjoy. You will see the thrills and spills of our exciting year, the trials and tribulations. You are also going to see the most beautiful scenery in the world, and the craziest and best snowmobiling shot on video."
Admission prices will be $5 per person. Children under six years old are free.