We continue to hear chatter about how to get more kids involved in riding.
Well, Arctic Cat managed to pull off quite a kid-friendly snowmobile event Saturday at ERX Motor Park in Elk River, Minnesota. Kids of nearly all ages and abilities were lined up sometimes a dozen deep to take a few laps on the all-new ZR 200. Its sister 120 model offered rides for the younger set on an adjacent track.
The snow maker was working overtime to make the event possible on a sunny day with temps in the mid-30s. But there was plenty of snow cover on the track for hotshot 12-year-olds and first-time 13-year-olds to have a grand old time.
My wife and I took two of our kids — ACT prep class for the oldest — and both were instantly hooked. “When are we getting one, Dad?” was their first question on the ride home. We didn’t see much of them during the two-hour introduction to their new favorite snow sport. Well, we did see them do their laps, then return instantly to the line for another go. It was like a free pass to their favorite ride at the amusement park, only way more fun to operate.
Arctic Cat swag was available by the boxload, and the entire 2018 Arctic Cat snowmobile and off-road lineup was on display for eager enthusiasts. Plenty of folks without kids in tow joined around the campfires to have a first look at the 2018 ATV and side-by-side models. But it was most certainly a snowmobile-friendly crowd. The Tucker Hibbert apparel and FXR jackets told me so.
As one Cat employee working the event told me as he saw two kids running to get in line: “It’s so awesome to see how excited these kids are about snowmobiling. They can’t get enough of it!”
The smiles were so big on my kids that the guys from Sledhead 24-7, on hand to get some footage for one of their upcoming TV shows, decided to pull them aside for an interview. That part when the interviewers asked about other youth models? That quickly ended with “Um, this is the first snowmobile we’ve ever ridden.”
They might have heard the same comment from several others kids there. And for those of us in the industry wondering about the future, that’s a good thing to hear.