Editor’s note: Powersports Business associate editor Madelyn Hubbard made her debut journey to a press intro last week thanks to an invite from Honda to hop aboard the 2023 Pioneer 1000-6 Deluxe Crew. Here’s what happened. – Dave McMahon, content director
Arrival in Great Falls
Arriving in Great Falls, Montana, around 1:30 p.m. on Monday provided plenty of time for Dave and me to explore the town that we would be residing in for the following two days. After a 15-minute drive from the quaint airport, I was dropped off at Hotel Arvon by Danny, a welcoming Honda team member.
The next stop was to meet Dave at the Celtic Cowboy, a charismatic pub adjacent to the hotel. This press intro thing isn’t so bad! We got a feel for the town as we strolled downtown and made our way around the riverwalk along the Missouri River. Besides the lively cross-country meet that was taking place near the riverwalk, the downtown area that we saw was quiet but full of character with a few stores, coffee shops and restaurants here and there. If you enjoy architecture, downtown Great Falls is worth a look.
We returned to our rooms with just enough time to get ready for the meet and greet, presentation and dinner that Honda prepared for us. As my first press intro event, I had no idea what to expect the night to be like.
Thanks to the friendly Honda team, the delicious bruschetta, fantastic pasta and thorough presentation about the Honda Pioneer 1000-6 Deluxe Crew, it was an ideal first experience. As the evening wrapped up, I was excited for the following day and ready to check out the new side-by-side.
Honda Pioneer 1000-6 Deluxe Crew ride and fly fishing
The next morning, we were driven about 45 minutes outside of town to the 15,000-acre Bull Run Ranch in Cascade. As we pulled into the ranch, we were greeted with a light drizzle of rain to amplify the crispness of the 50-degree weather. Luckily, Dave and I came prepared with plenty of warm layers to keep us comfortable for the day.
Near the entrance, six Pioneer 1000-6 Deluxe Crews were lined up, the unmistakable Honda red immediately catching my eye. After Colin Miller, assistant public relations manager, gave us the run down about the all-new side-by-side and the terrain of the trail, it was time to gear up. With gloves, a helmet and goggles on, it was a cozy ride in the back of the Pioneer.
For the first hour I rode in the back right seat- which was especially comfortable. I had a decent view out of my door and enjoyed turning slightly to the left to look out of the back of the unit as we cruised through the Montana countryside. There was plenty of movement to catch my eye as mule deer were abundant and cows were in and out of the scene.
The trail, formerly dry and dusty, was slick and muddy due to the rain from the night before. We rode through the mud, on rocky trails within the trees and across several creeks as part of the three-hour journey. It was a great combination of terrain to show off the Honda Pioneer 1000-6 Deluxe Crew, especially its handling capabilities on the drastically slick mud.
Somewhere around the halfway mark of the ride Dave and I switched around and I got to experience the front passenger seat while Dealernews editor Robin Hartfield drove, switching in and out of Tow/Haul mode (which raises shift points to make for a smoother ride), 2WD and 4WD to get the complete feel of the side-by-side.
After a few stops I hopped in the driver’s seat. We were out of the wooded area, trailing along the beautiful hillsides. With the guidance of a Honda team member sitting shotgun, I also tested out 4WD and the Tow/Haul mode on the slick terrain. I could feel the significant difference in handling when using Tow/Haul and 4WD at the same time.
We returned to our home base amped up from the ride. After eating a freshly grilled burger and playing with welcoming shop dog Sparky, it was time to get to work. I did the first video interview of my life with Honda PR coordinator Madison Ebberts, 4-Wheel Powersports PR coordinator. We both started our jobs in recent months right out of college, so it was cool experience for us both. Powersports industry, here we come!
It was time to hop back in the Pioneer 1000-6P, cruising on a dirt road along the Missouri River to a launch point where fly fishing tour guides were waiting for us.
I sat in the back middle seat of the Pioneer for the first time at this point, and it was certainly the best seat in the house- besides the driver’s seat- with a surprisingly abundant amount of leg and shoulder room, and a great view out of the front of the unit. (The center seat is staggered, providing 28 inches of knee space).
Dave and I enjoyed the relaxing couple of hours on the water, practicing our fly fishing skills – he was much more of a natural than me. Dave even caught a rainbow trout, a moment of great excitement shared with our guide Dewy.
We returned to the hotel then walked to Mighty Mo Brewing Company, an exceptional pizza place downtown. It was a nice atmosphere to spend the evening wrapping up the day.
During my travel home I had time to reflect on the media intro, grateful for the opportunity to attend. The photographers provided the images and videos from the event the morning of my departure, so I spent a great deal of down time in the airport looking back at the awesome footage they captured- which we have already started to share.