Fanatics gather to see final 2012 sled release at Haydays
By Liz Hochstedler
As 1 p.m. approached, a crowd gathered outside Arctic Cat’s tent, surrounding a platform that held a box, hiding a yet-to-be-revealed 2012 snowmobile.
Arctic Cat had already unveiled 23 new sleds for 2012, but fans attending Haydays in Sunrise Township, Minn., on Sept. 10 were anxious to see the latest. The Sno Pro 600 was revealed as a Cat Girl pushed a button, dropping the sides of the box. As the crowd got its first peek at the model, they immediately started cheering, talking among themselves and snapping photos as Arctic Cat’s Brian Dick and Troy Halvorson explained the specs of the sled. The Sno Pro 600 features an all-new ProCross Race chassis, a 600R race engine, all-new Race Slide Action rear suspension, Arctic Drive System, a 1.7-inch Snocross track or 1.25-inch Cobra 2-ply Cross Country track and more.
“It’s been tailored after the race sled,” Arctic Cat CEO Claude Jordan told Powersports Business at the event.
The company created added excitement around the vehicle by launching it at the largest snowmobiling show in the Midwest.
“With the snow crowd, the people are very excited, very fired up,” Jordan explained as the reasoning behind the Haydays launch.
During the reveal, racer Tucker Hibbert emerged from the crowd to talk about the sled, alongside the machine. Afterwards, fans — many adorned in Arctic Cat green or even Arctic Cat tattoos — lined up for autographs from Hibbert and a slew of other racers.
Haydays attendance seemed average compared to recent years (read: tens of thousands), many reported, a welcome relief after a parking issue turned scores away from the 2010 show.
“The crowd is an interesting crowd because they’re passionate, and literally, you feed off of this,” Jordan explained.
He said Haydays is especially important for Minnesota-based companies, and their presence was obviously appreciated as throngs of people filtered through Arctic Cat and Polaris’ areas.
“It is a Minnesota show, and we are a Minnesota company, and we take pride that we are Minnesotan. I think anything we can do with Minnesota is good,” Jordan said. “[Arctic Cat is] a household name out here. It’s a very strong brand. It’s a very recognizable brand.”
However, non-Minnesotan OEMs BRP and Yamaha also saw traffic as fans stopped by to see their latest sleds and ATVs as well.
Besides OEM tents, the event also featured aftermarket manufacturers, local dealers, area snowmobile clubs, grass drags, ATV racing, snowmobile stunt riders, a swap meet and more.