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(A Brief) July Trip to Arctic Cat


(8/3/2012)

Arctic Insider is welcomed by TRF

Last week I spent a brief amount of time at Arctic Cat following the successful Class 5 Rally. I was nice of the town to roll out the carpet for us with their traditional ArcticInsider-decal-welcoming (squint really hard at the lower left corner).

 

2013 Arctic Cat T500s on the assembly line

Twin Spar machines were on the snowmobile assembly line. Specifically, it was 2013 T500 touring models. According to Troy Skime, Cat was in starting about two weeks worth of production on Twin Spar sleds.

That's cool, but I admit to being a little bummed that we'd missed seeing production of the new F800 Sno Pro RR by just a couple days!

 

Arctic Cat 500XT ATVs on the assembly line

Someone said that they were building 2013 model year 500 XTs on the ATV line, but I was unable to confirm it because they were impossible to see. Damn that camouflage paint!

 

Arctic Cat 700HDXs on the assembly line

The Prowler line was busy assembling 700 HDX models. Not surprisingly, these machines have been a huge hit. Credit goes in part to their easy storage and the ability for two passengers to ride shotgun.

 

Arctic Cat hood art at the factory in TRF

Every time I walk through the production area at Arctic Cat, my eyes wander at the crazy number of cool things to view. On this day, I paused at the hood art containing some old favorites from the past 19 years.

I will probably always be enamored by the original ZR hood (top row, sixth from the left). What an amazing machine that was!

 

Employee Pride at Arctic Cat

Perhaps the coolest wall art that I noticed was this bulletin board showing off "Employee Pride," in the form of employees' personal snowmobiles, ATVs and side-by-sides.

 

Gary Nelson proudly displays his favorite T-shirt

Sadly, my stay at Cat was so brief that I was unable to visit with all the people that I normally get to see. However, I did see Gary Nelson, who was proudly displaying some of his T-Shirt collection, including this well-loved number from the one (and so-far ONLY) Arctic Cat Hometown Tour in 2001.

Gary started collecting used T-shirts when I started mailing to him some of mine. If you have some loved Arctic Cat-related shirts that you think Gary would like, I highly recommend sending them to him.

On another note, I still have strong hopes that the Hometown Tour will be reprised, as it was an awesome event that captured all that is great about Arctic Cat and its riders.

 

Employee motorcycle parking at Arctic Cat

As I walked out the doors for my drive home, I was struck by the lineup of motorcycles in employee parking. Harley-Davidson, KTM, Honda, Indian, Kawasaki, Honda, Suzuki, Triumph and others were represented.

That's it for this brief report from Arctic Cat. I'll be back there in a couple weeks and I promise a much longer and more in-depth report on what's happening at my favorite place in the world.

Thanks for reading.



Comments (19):

sesnopro says:
8/3/2012 11:28:00 AM

I like the yosh exhaust on that moped
Mike says:
8/4/2012 6:21:00 PM

I took the exact same picture!!! Had an awesome visit to TRF at the end of or vacation.
Mike says:
8/4/2012 6:25:00 PM

They were assembling 800's and Wildacats when we did the tour,almost got run over by a forklift while staring at the hoods on the wall and pointing out the ones I had owned to my kids!
trevor h says:
8/4/2012 9:23:00 PM

I have a hat from the "neverhappened" hometown pride ride 2002. If you want it shoot me an email
Brian Hennel says:
8/6/2012 1:00:00 PM

I know I am being a little picky but, when you mentioned "the original ZR hood" in one of the above photos you didn't mean a '93, did you? That one looks like a '95. On a side note John, didn't you say you either took the cover photo or were the guy standing next to the 580ZR on the cover of the "The Cat That Could Be King" Snow Week issue from almost 20 years ago?
John Sandberg says:
8/6/2012 2:15:00 PM

Trevor, we need to talk...

Brian, to clarify, I meant 1st generation ZR hood/machine... '93-'97.

And no, I never claimed to have taken or posed in the Snow Week cover image. That image was taken of Paul James by David Anderson. Seemingly about 20 seconds after the image was taken, Paul took a job at Arctic Cat.

Brian Hennel says:
8/6/2012 3:47:00 PM

That's what I figured. And I apologize if it sounded as though I thought you were telling tales. I actually thought I remembered that cover being on your website recently. I still have that issue and was going to ask that you autograph it for me! Editor-at-large is better than cover boy anyways. Now, if I could just find that old Arcticwear brochure with a young Nick Nolte modeling Panther jackets I may have something to offer in return.
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