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The Groovin'-Groomer Gals

Story ID:1229
Written by:Kathe M. Campbell (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family History
Location:Yellowstone Montana USA
Person:Tim & Company
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The Groovin'-Groomer Gals

The Groovin'-Groomer Gals

The Groovin'-Groomer Gals

The Groovin'-Groomer Gals

The Groovin'-Groomer Gals

The Groovin'-Groomer Gals
by Kathe Campbell

How nice to see a guy so comfortable in his masculinity as to pooh-pooh those who think miniature cuteness, cuddles, and busy tails are sissy stuff. After a devastating and painful divorce, our son gave his future a quick but sensible study. He grabbed his beloved dogs, packed up bag and baggage, and took hold of the life his tenacious spirit awakened in him.
As a 16 year old kid, Tim used to race snowmobiles with the big boys at West Yellowstone every winter before college, the service, and a great career in law enforcement civilized him. He always said if he ever got the chance he would live there in a heartbeat. We've wondered if there could be Eskimo ancestors lurking in our background as he announced the big move.

Today he is contentedly one of Yellowstone's own and loving every minute of it. A former sweetheart had suffered similar marital misfortune, they fell head over heels again, and married just as Old Faithful unleashed her approval. The foursome has a new home, including a doggy door with automatic motion lights to ward off unwelcome wildlife. At long last the pups are being raised in a loving two-parent family with an adoring mother who carefully watches everyone's diets.

Five nights a week JoAnn packs a hearty lunch, a few doggy biscuits, a thermos and two tiny wool sweaters in a satchel. Then from under each arm, Rikki (the mini Dobie), and Taco Belle (obvious ancestry), are hoisted into the cab of a $350,000 Pisten Bully groomer-groover. From the very beginning the thundering 220 HP Cummins diesel has never turned the girls into nervous Nellies. Their passion is to protect, sit close, to be talked to often, and to be loved unconditionally. As long as they are with family and kept warm in the sub-zeros, that's all that matters. Nosey marks are wiped from the windows, a last minute check of hydraulics and hoses is made, the diesel is fired to capacity, and the ladies take station atop the center console. This is headquarters for the next eight hours as the gals create new schnoz originals on the windshield.

Grooming and grooving trails for the thousands of snow jockeys that frequent the area from December through March has proved more adventurous than Tim and the ladies imagined. 3500 cross-country skiers and snowmobilers wreak havoc on the groomed trails daily. Attempting a sojourn off trail could prove disastrous as one might not turn up until spring. Consequently, when nature calls, the ladies are grateful for the big wide tracks and life lines lest plummeting through 20 feet of frozen abyss.

Speed limits are imposed upon the in-park riders, but 70 and 80 mph snowmobiles make mincemeat out of a freshly groomed trail well before noon. Tim and the girls liken themselves as mother hens followed by dozens of chicks the moment they leave the barn each evening. Everyone wants first crack at freshly groomed powder to kick up immense rooster tails in their boundless passion for the sport.

Around one or two a.m., after most of the night owls are lulled into dreamy visions of the day, the wildlife excitement begins. Even the blasť groomer gals are curled up and nodding off while Tim listens to his latest mystery novel. Buffalo, wolves, and elk are accustomed to the big monster in their midst and generally stand aside. The moose, however, become aggressive, resenting the intrusion and feeling the need to charge the 10,000 pound hulk. After much pawing and snorting great billows of steamy frost, momma moose takes up sentry duty mid-trail protecting her offspring. Tim only has to say, "Moose," and the girls sprint into action. Because you see, it isn't the threat of a half raised blade, it's the incessant yipping by two very bossy ladies that sends Mrs. M. and her kid down the trail.

Snowmobilers, like skiers, notoriously play hard in the light of day and party hard at night. Tim and the ladies are confronted by a few happy human souls that also enjoy goading and challenging the big groomer on occasion. They're oft times more trouble than the wildlife, for breakdowns or delay creates chaos when the backbone of Yellowstone's winter tourist season is disrupted.

Recently, in the wee hours, there appeared in front of the groomer's intense lights, two fellas just sitting in the middle of the trail on their sleds. Tim opened the cab door and asked the two belligerent drunks to move aside. One fellow said his sled wouldn't start. The other was loud and threatening wanting the groomer moved off the trail . . . or else! Tim told the girls to hang tough while he climbed down off the track to lend a hand. Just as he fired up the flooded snowmobile, he noted the second man climbing onto the track with some difficulty. As the drunk opened the cab door, two very defiant ladies took offense at the smell of liquor drifting into their quarters. They lunged forward with bared teeth and snarls in-between an earsplitting barrage of high-pitched yelps. Little but loud was only the half of it, for the Dobie sank a few sharp canines while the drunk bellowed an unseemly expression about female dogs. Their job well done and snarls turned into grins, the girls wagged pure delight as the hijacker fell backwards off the track into deep powder.

Thwarted and weary, the two drunken pranksters rode off without a word. It's doubtful they'll hoist a few while whining about two little groomer gals that snafued their raid. Their lack of respect would not play well amongst the average Yellowstone crowd.

And what does the groomin' groover do on his days off? Well, oft times he gussies the ladies in their snowsuits, he and JoAnn slip the kids under their down jackets, and off they go, tearing up the trails on their own sleds. Today, Jo is retired as postmaster and Tim is the Endangered Species Specialist for the greater Yellowstones. They have paid their dues and look forward to sharing their beloved Yellowstone way of life forever. With the groovin' groomer gals, of course.

"Donít let yesterday use up too much of today"



Kath getting new vibes in her dotage.
The groomer gals, Rikki-TacoBelle.
Tim and Jo Campbell, 53 & 54.
The Wild Bunch, some of my gang.
Kath w/snowghosts at 9,000'.