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AI Ride - AC Factory in St. Cloud to Country Cat Demo Days


(2/22/2020)

ArcticInsider visited Country Cat for their dealer demo days via snowmobile. The roundtrip adventure ride started at the Arctic Cat engine facility in St. Cloud, MN, with destination Sauk Centre, MN where Country Cat is headquartered. This is a quick, enjoyable ride, anyone can do if they would like to explore the twisting woods, open fields, ditches and railbeds that make up an awesome trail system in Stearns County.

Cory and Kale (seated) start their day ride at the AC Engine Facility in St. Cloud, Mn and head to Sauk Center to Country Cat

Kale (seated) and riding buddy Cory start their day from the parking lot of Arctic Cat's engine facility in St. Cloud. It is here where the all-new 397cc single-cylinder CTEC2 engine will be built that resides in the new 2021 mid-size BLAST snowmobiles.

Where is the "You Are Here" indicator?

Cory lets Kale know, "You Are Here" in Stearns County

From the Arctic Cat factory (which is located in Clearwater, but very close in proximity to St. Augusta) all the way to the city of St. Joseph, the trail system is full of beautiful wooded twists and turns, farm fields and the occasional ditch run. From St. Joseph to Sauk Center, an old railroad bed was converted into the famed Lake Wobegon Regional Trail. It’s 65 miles long, 10 feet wide and paved end to end. Above, Cory tells Kale, "You Are Here" in Stearns County. Cudos to the local clubs for some of the best marked trails I've experienced this year in Minnesota. The signage and trail number indicators were truly top notch.

This is Memoryville. One mans homage to things of the past located along the Lake Wobegon trail near Melrose, MN

Railroad cars, Indian Motorcycle shops, Gas and Oil signs are just a few of the "cool" things preserved in Memoryville

Located along the Lake Wobegon Trail near Melrose, MN is Memoryville. Im a sucker for collections. Especially ones with grandeur like this. To be honest, I dont know anything about Memoryville, and a quick search of the interwebs, I found photos, but no websites or social pages dedicated to this cool place. I would love to be invited as a guest here to explore everything this cool collection has to offer. Its impressive!

Country Cat had a line-up of 2020 and 2021 demo units to ride including the new Blast and Riot X

Upon arrival to Country Cat, the staff had their marketing trailer parked with a full line of 2020 and 2021 demo units which included the new Blast and Riot X models.

Country Cat purchased a Corporate Marketing trailer recently. A place Kale spent a lot of time at events across the country.

There was a steady line of people waiting to ride the 2 mile loop Country Cat had laid out and groomed.

Country Cat had a quick but detailed waiver to sign before you could ride. All riders had to be 18.

Customers went inside the trailer to sign waivers before being able to test ride units. It was a quick and painless process. I was surprised to find out that after you got your wristband, you were eligible to get $10 off a purchase inside Country Cat. Hooray!

Inside view of the Country Cat groomer ride that Dave Wanderscheid gave me. We didn't set the course record lap time, but the trails were smooth behind us!

While Cory burned laps around the track on all the models, I took the opportunity to jump in the groomer with one of Country Cat's owners, Dave Wanderscheid. We discussed their successful winter selling season, the positives they are seeing with Snowmageddon, and PJ Wanderscheid's love for combining corn in the Fall.

When you wanna ride, but only have shorts. Fortunately it was near 40 degrees on this sunny day

I didnt get his name, but I respect this guy! A classic example of wanting to ride the new stuff, you've got your helmet, but are wearing shorts...just gonna send it!

This guy was all smiles and thumbs up ready to rip the new 2021 Riot X with Alpha rear single beam suspension

Others came fully dressed. Like this guy who kinda resembled Waiting for Winter Guy. He gave the thumbs up ready to rip the new 2021 Riot X with Alpha single-beam rear suspension. Nearly everyone (including Cory) who came to ride a Blast, or see one said, "This isn't a kids sled" or "Its bigger than I thought" or "That has more power than I thought it would"...all fun things to hear regarding the mid-size or right-sized Blast.

David McClure 150 visited the Country Cat demo days...or did he?

As we were leaving the demo ride area to go visit the Country Cat store, David McClure 150 rolled in...or did he?

We visited the inside of Country Cat which has quite a bit to look at. Plan to stay awhile.

That wristband was practically burning a whole in my pocket...errr, wrist as I knew I could get $10 off my purchase. The inside of Country Cat is filled with loads of things to look at. Snowmobiles, ATVs, UTVs and golf cars filled display space along with vintage Arctic Cat's and Wanderscheid Racing displays.

The Historic Arctic Cat models will truly capture your attention

There's a customer lounge, but honestly, I wouldn't be able to sit in there for any length of time with all those vintage cats on display to look at.

#28 PJ Wanderscheid

Last weekend, PJ Wanderscheid was inducted into the Snowmobile Hall of Fame. Within the walls of the dealership, many trophies, race sleds and memorabilia from his time spent racing are on display. How long do you think his stunt double can hold that race pose?

These customers were looking at dirt product and dreaming of Spring.

An SVX 450 snowbike and many other significant Arctic Cat snowmobile models line the ceilings near the parts counter

In the background, the SVX 450 caught my attention along with other significant Arctic Cat snowmobiles and Wanderscheid race sleds lining the ceilings near the parts counter. Speaking of parts counter...before we left, I put my $10 towards buying some new ice scratchers, a balaclava and some windshield parts for my RIOT X. The low snow, hard ice conditions on the Wobegon Trail really did a number on my scratchers during the near 150 mile round trip. That said, they did their job by keeping the engine and track cool.

In the near future, we'll follow up with P.J Wanderscheid to get his thoughts on his Snowmobile Hall of Fame induction and his time spent at the Ride With the Champs event.

If you want to demo ride a 2021, visit AI for event listings, or the Arctic Cat Event Website, but more importantly, CALL YOUR DEALER!! They may have demo rides going on. Cudos to Country Cat for the great event.




Comments (10):

Trevor says:
2/22/2020 5:11:00 PM

I didn't make any of your photos but I was there! Great event. Thank you Country Cat for demos and Arctic Cat for providing sleds. That ride sealed my decision to buy Riot X Alpha. I was nervous about trail capabilities, but I felt confident on it. Gonna be a fun play sled.
Tim says:
2/22/2020 6:53:00 PM

I was there today. Was busy but worth the wait.
Ken says:
2/23/2020 6:48:00 AM

On Saturday I was one of the first to arrive. I was early so I met with PJ and congratulated him on his induction into the Hall of Fame. I then signed the wavers and was the first one on the ZR Blast. This thing blew me away! I was amazed by its power, speed and ride. It truly is a BLAST! I then rode the LT Blast. Same thing. The only thing on the LT was in the corners. There was some ski lift but I expected that with the longer track. I'm 60 years old but these things made me feel young again. What a BLAST!.

Now all of my sleds have been the 8000. Current one is a 19 Limited 8000 with iAct. Never tried the 6000 so that is what I wanted to try next. I rode the 2020 6000 Limited iAct. I can not tell you how much I love this sled! I thought my 8000 Limited was the best sled I've ever owned. Not now. I actually thought something was wrong with my 8000 after riding the 6000. It was night and day. So I took the new Riot 8000 out to compare and to see if there was something wrong with my 8000. Even though it is set up different and it had the longer track that 8000 performed just like my 8000. That 6000 is so smooth and so nice of a ride that I cannot explain. You have no idea how hard it was for me not to place an order for a 6000. I actually went in and out a few times debating. I will be purchasing the 6000 from now on.

I don't do social media so I can only thank Country Cat here for a truly great day! I put my $10 towards a case of oil and a pair of gloves. Thank you!
Matt says:
2/23/2020 6:48:00 AM

Kale

Do you have any idea what sort of ride setup they will have at Lake Geneva? Looking forward to checking the new sleds out, but there will likely be no real snow left by then.
Kale says:
2/23/2020 9:23:00 AM

Ken - I’m glad you went, sounds like you had a great time, and thanks for your ride feedback. I’d like to see more of that here. I agree on 600 engine. It’s a strong performer, and aside from a lake race, makes you question the need for anything larger.

Matt - I don’t exactly know what the course will be, but I’ll inquire. Knowing the folks at ISOC, they’ll make sure to have a ride. I saw some videos of the AC demo rides at NY Snocross this weekend. Maybe someone here attended and can give feedback?
Oldcrow says:
2/25/2020 12:19:00 AM

I’ve been dealing with Country Cat since the mid 90’s.
Great bunch of people and without a doubt my favorite toy store.
Snopro says:
2/25/2020 6:09:00 AM

Somehow country cat was able to sell sleds for less than my local dealer cost. It kind of upset the whole Midwest market. Hopefully Textron keeps a honest level playing field for the few remaining dealers left.
KAWCAT says:
2/25/2020 2:28:00 PM

Like to hear how the riot x alpha was n the trails?
Bob M says:
3/10/2020 12:19:00 PM

For those of you that have ridden the blast does the throttle seem to be suited for smaller hands? Or have an easy pull. I guess the same question for the brake lever. Looking at one of these for my teen daughter and she really struggles with the throttle on my tz1.
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5/2/2020 5:01:00 PM

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