Holeshot’s new ownership matches passion with business

Holeshot owner Aaron Burquest aims to expand snow product line

Aaron Burquest spent the past 16 years as owner of an underground directional drilling company in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. But when the opportunities simultaneously arose earlier this year to part with his utility construction company and take ownership of Holeshot, Burquest didn’t have to make much of a decision.

“I hadn’t planned on selling my business, so I was just going to buy Holeshot and operate it part time,” Burquest said. “It was a crazy turn of events, and here we are. I had an offer to buy my business, so now I’m going to work 100 percent on Holeshot.”

Burquest had been familiar with Holeshot on a number of fronts. He recalls using Holeshot’s product line from the instant he became a snowmobile addict. Next, in 2009 he met Chris Carlson, from whom he purchased the brand in February, while the two served on the board of the local Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter. One thing led to another, and the two had combined on an FCA fundraising snowmobile ride to Burquest’s ranch near Steamboat Springs, Colo., that included Tucker Hibbert.

“It’s generally deep, deep snow, and most folks call it the best spot ever to go snowmobiling,” Burquest said.

Fast forward to January 2012. Burquest was enjoying a family vacation to Hawaii when he received a text from Carlson. The Sportech Inc. owner was interested in divesting the last of the company’s aftermarket brands, and Carlson thought Burquest would make an ideal owner.

“There was not really much of a decision to buy this business. I’m a snowmobile guy just slightly, a little bit. It didn’t take a lot of convincing,” Burquest said.

A February close of the Holeshot deal was followed by Burquest completing the sale of his own business in May.

Sportech Inc. owner Chris Carlson (left) and new Holeshot owner Aaron Burquest finalized the sale of the brand earlier this year. With the deal, Sportech divested its final aftermarket brand in the snowmobile market.

“I know the entire Holeshot product line,” Burquest said. “My two boys [ages 7 and 5] race the 120s, and we have the 120 Mighty Mini stuff all over our sleds. I bought Holeshot skid plates and Sportech bar risers. I had used all their products before I even knew Chris.”

For Carlson, it meant selling his company’s final aftermarket brand now that the Elk River, Minn.-based business has turned solely to OEM product development, design/engineering and manufacturing solutions.

Burquest, who estimates he rides 1,000-1,200 miles a season total on his seven snowmobiles, has immediate plans for the brand. Holeshot will be exhibiting at Haydays in September to kick off the snowmobile season and potentially launching a new product there. The Holeshot warehouse will be located in Burquest’s hometown of Nowthen, Minn.

“Aligning my passion with my way of making money is what I’m looking forward to most — the idea that my day at work is going to be around snowmobiles. Just doing something I want to do instead of something I needed to do is the most exciting part.”

And switching to the aftermarket retail side of the business will provide Burquest another outlet for his gadgetry.

“I’ve always loved the product and the aftermarket end of things,” he said. “I’m a gadget guy. I love to have all the gadgets on my sleds. Now instead of saying it would be cool if they made one of these, now it’s I’m going to make one of these.”

Along those lines, Burquest foresees an expansion of the current product line, and a consistent introduction of new products. The Western snowmobile market, with its predictable snow patterns, will provide Burquest with impetus for new products.

“We’ll focus on that area,” Burquest said. “It’s a market that’s expanding. Once you’ve ridden out West, it ruins you a little bit compared to other areas, just like skiing does. We’ll continue to look at different opportunities to fill in some of the gaps in the aftermarket area.”

Holeshot products will continue to be available through distribution by Parts Unlimited, Western Power Sports, Automatic Distributing and Parts Canada, among others.

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