ArcitcInsider Forum
Follow ArcticInsider on YouTube Follow ArcticInsider on Facebook       

April 2014 Arctic Cat Trip Report


(4/17/2014)

Monster Energy/Arctic Cat's Tucker Hibbert race shop. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

I made a short trip to Arctic Cat recently, to spend a day with engineers who were testing snowmobiles and to capture a snapshot of what was happening at my favorite place in the world.

On the way to TRF I stopped by the Pelican Rapids Amusement Park, aka Tucker & Mandi Hibbert's house, where I found the former in a hardcore workout with his vacuum cleaner inside his amazing race shop.

Check out the amazing helmet collection! With just a couple exceptions, Tucker has an example of every helmet that he's raced with his entire career.

In addition to vacuuming, Hibbert is on the cusp of another season of motocross racing and training. One bike sits poised, waiting to be ridden, while another is ready for assembly.

 

Monster Energy/Arctic Cat's Tucker Hibbert race shop. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Monster Energy/Arctic Cat's Tucker Hibbert race shop. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Tucker's other off-season training/racing program involves mountain bike racing. And with a sweet new Trek Superfly full-suspension in his quiver this season, it was time to prep wheels and other stuff in anticipation of the fast approaching spring.

 

Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

While it was indeed spring-like weather throughout most of Minnesota last week, it was still full-on winter in Thief River Falls, where upwards of 18 inches had fallen a couple days prior to my visit.

 

Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

The snow piled high at the Arctic Cat entrance looked as though it was early February, but the light jackets and much warmer temps told the story of a town in transition.

 

2015 Arctic Cat CrossTours on the assembly line. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Arctic Cat is already building 2015 model snowmobiles, with XF9000 CrossTours rolling down the assembly line this day.

 

2015 Arctic Cat CrossTours on the assembly line. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Designing, testing and producing snowmobiles, ATVs and side-by-sides is a year-round process. And although to some it might sound early in the year to be producing 2015 model snowmobiles, it's actually right on schedule.

There are no photos to share of ATV and side-by-side production, however, as the company was performing maintenance and upgrades to those assembly lines.

 

Gary Nelson gets mad when I photograph him

I stopped by the Arctic Cat cafeteria on my way to Engineering, where I saw my good friend Gary Nelson getting his regular morning breakfast. I won't share the expletive that he uttered at this moment as he warned me to NOT shoot the photo. Sorry, Gary.

 

 

Arctic Cat engineers Mike Larson, Troy Halvorson & Andy Beavis. Photo: ArcticInsider.com

After watching Gary make a breakfast sandwhich disappear, I headed over to Snowmobile Engineering, where Mike Larson (left), Troy Halvorson (middle) and Andy Beavis were having a discussion about the new M Series mountain sleds.

I congratulated Andy for his recent win in the Amateur class at the 2014 Jackson World Championship Hillclimb, which is an outstanding achievement by any measure! The fact that he's a Design Engineer on Arctic Cat mountain sleds makes the situation all the better.

Each of these guys shares a passion for snowmobiling as well as the ability to ride at the highest level.

Next, a trip into the Engine Shop to meet up with Greg Spaulding.

 

Arctic Cat's Greg Spaulding and Steve Broten. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

When I found Spaulding (left), he was busy fabricating an exhaust pipe and muffler with master fabricator Steve "Abe" Broten (right).

For the next half hour I experienced the great pleasure of watching these guys fabricate an exhaust system.

 

Arctic Cat engineer Greg Spaulding. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

The process measuring, cutting (and rolling) sheet metal...

 

Arctic Cat engineer Greg Spaulding. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

...followed by shaping and bending (using the same cone form from back in the Arctic Enterprises days!)...

 

Arctic Cat master fabricator Steve Broten. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

...and welding.

These are all skills that, when performed by masters like these two, are like artwork.

It was an unexpected show that left me in awe and making promises to myself to spend more time in the shop and less time at my computer.

 

Arctic Cat engineers Greg Spaulding, Donn Eide and Chris Russell. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Moments after building the exhaust, it was on an engine and being tested on a dyno by operator Chris Russell (right) as Spaulding and Engine Design Manager Donn Eide watched.

 

Arctic Cat engineer Greg Spaulding. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

After the successful test we shared a laugh as Spaulding pulled from his shop coat pocket a clutch weight that was from one of Brian Sturgeon's Team Arctic oval race sleds!

Yes, I'm serious.

 

Arctic Cat engineers Kirk Hibbert and Mark Esala. Photo by ArcticInsider.com

Another bit of laughter occurred a few moments later while talking with snowmobile engineer Kirk Hibbert (left) and ATV engineer Mark Esala.

We were talking about the unmatched joy of racing the I-500 (which Esala recently experienced for the first time). The laughter broke out when discussing the excruciating soreness that descends into your body after that event! But we finished the conversation by noting that, once you've raced it, you ALWAYS want to keep racing it (which was duly noted by the fact that Esala is keeping his race sled for next year's event)!

And with that it was time to head home, ending another great trip.

Thanks for reading.



Comments (28):

Scott Watters says:
4/17/2014 4:58:00 PM

These articles are so cool.....I have to read them 2 or 3 times the first go-around and pick up on something everytime! Thank You John for this good stuff....I don't care what your other friends say about you,I think your ok.
Scott Watters says:
4/17/2014 5:00:00 PM

Oh ya, I wish I was a fly in your pocket when visiting HQ.
Chase A says:
4/17/2014 5:49:00 PM

Any word on a redesign for the 2015 ATV's and Side by Sides?
John Zanon says:
4/17/2014 6:32:00 PM

How's Kirk's mullet? LOL

Chase,
the smaller Polaris RZR's are real popular here in the U.P.
I hope the guys are working on Arctic's version of a smaller side x side. I see Polaris also has a single seat ATV called the ACE. Looks like a regular size 4x4 with a roll cage and steering wheel. Pretty cool, but has a small engine. They asked me if I was interested in it?...Kind of a dumb question to a guy wearing an Arctic Cat tee shirt, hoodie, and cap!

You're the best John!
Matt Villanueva says:
4/17/2014 7:12:00 PM

Again, great article. Keep living the dream for the rest of us.
Shannon W. says:
4/17/2014 7:49:00 PM

I thought I had a nice shop, but Tuckers makes it look like a wine-o's hut in a 3rd world country!!! Man I would love to have a set up like his!!!
tood olson says:
4/17/2014 8:39:00 PM

Man that is one big two stroke Spaulding and the boys are working on look at the size of the y pipe when compared to the exhaust flange.
Dulpher says:
4/17/2014 8:41:00 PM

Ummmm, John Zanon you better take a look at AC's website. They already came out with the 50" Wildcat Trail about 6 months ago. It's cool as hell!
hugh says:
4/18/2014 8:29:00 PM

That would be an optical illusion, zoom in and you will see two y-pipes, slightly offset.
Greg Hallstrom says:
4/19/2014 1:57:00 AM

I think a person could eat off the floor in Tucker's shop. Definitely a nice Man Cave!
jerry says:
4/20/2014 12:48:00 PM

Am I color blind, or are those sleds yellow? Im sure the good folks at
Ski-Who will most likely take issue with that. They look pretty sharp with
black though.
yamahabandit says:
4/20/2014 6:24:00 PM

Yes Jerry you must be color blind, those sleds are orange and I am red/green color blind. I agree,they doo look damn sharp with black.
Say John, I think you should start working on Kirk about racing next years I-500. Wouldn't that be a treat, especially with Tucker as a teammate. Oh well, we can always hope.
I raced the '97 I-500 and my claim to fame is having Kirk pass me like I was going backwards.
Todd says:
5/2/2014 2:23:00 PM

yes there is y pipe behind that one but look at the outlet and the flange on the left where it meats the cylinder. very big!!!
Christian says:
10/9/2015 3:00:00 AM

Dozer, you sound like Faye. She thinks aninhytg with wheels is a giant Dog Toy that wants to be puncured. She loves wheelbarrows. Especially when you are trying not to spill Wet Cement all over her.Ross, I think they actually do! It would be funny to see a few miniature DOgs pulling the children along. Fun, but maybe a tad dangerous?
Christian says:
10/9/2015 3:00:00 AM

Dozer, you sound like Faye. She thinks aninhytg with wheels is a giant Dog Toy that wants to be puncured. She loves wheelbarrows. Especially when you are trying not to spill Wet Cement all over her.Ross, I think they actually do! It would be funny to see a few miniature DOgs pulling the children along. Fun, but maybe a tad dangerous?
Christian says:
10/9/2015 3:00:00 AM

Dozer, you sound like Faye. She thinks aninhytg with wheels is a giant Dog Toy that wants to be puncured. She loves wheelbarrows. Especially when you are trying not to spill Wet Cement all over her.Ross, I think they actually do! It would be funny to see a few miniature DOgs pulling the children along. Fun, but maybe a tad dangerous?
Matthew says:
10/11/2015 5:58:00 AM

With my two huskies those brekas better be REALLY good. This is kind of neat idea and a great way to help them get some exercise. As you probably know, huskies love to run. They'll do it for hours at a time if you let them. http://cdosqwzcc.com [url=http://ibxzyndhu.com]ibxzyndhu[/url] [link=http://cipfrq.com]cipfrq[/link]
Matthew says:
10/11/2015 5:59:00 AM

With my two huskies those brekas better be REALLY good. This is kind of neat idea and a great way to help them get some exercise. As you probably know, huskies love to run. They'll do it for hours at a time if you let them. http://cdosqwzcc.com [url=http://ibxzyndhu.com]ibxzyndhu[/url] [link=http://cipfrq.com]cipfrq[/link]
Matthew says:
10/11/2015 5:59:00 AM

With my two huskies those brekas better be REALLY good. This is kind of neat idea and a great way to help them get some exercise. As you probably know, huskies love to run. They'll do it for hours at a time if you let them. http://cdosqwzcc.com [url=http://ibxzyndhu.com]ibxzyndhu[/url] [link=http://cipfrq.com]cipfrq[/link]
Vilma says:
10/13/2015 1:51:00 AM

Hmmm .sometimes destiny is conngvcinily trippy. I was looking for yet another reason to help build up my writing confidence and I came up with this .because I had such a strange and unusual life. Strangely antithetical, right? I am excited to follow you and see where our differences lie. I do hope you keep on writing it's inspiringly lovely<3 http://mbswhqugws.com [url=http://iynpxyb.com]iynpxyb[/url] [link=http://vsqupg.com]vsqupg[/link]
Vilma says:
10/13/2015 1:52:00 AM

Hmmm .sometimes destiny is conngvcinily trippy. I was looking for yet another reason to help build up my writing confidence and I came up with this .because I had such a strange and unusual life. Strangely antithetical, right? I am excited to follow you and see where our differences lie. I do hope you keep on writing it's inspiringly lovely<3 http://mbswhqugws.com [url=http://iynpxyb.com]iynpxyb[/url] [link=http://vsqupg.com]vsqupg[/link]
Vilma says:
10/13/2015 1:52:00 AM

Hmmm .sometimes destiny is conngvcinily trippy. I was looking for yet another reason to help build up my writing confidence and I came up with this .because I had such a strange and unusual life. Strangely antithetical, right? I am excited to follow you and see where our differences lie. I do hope you keep on writing it's inspiringly lovely<3 http://mbswhqugws.com [url=http://iynpxyb.com]iynpxyb[/url] [link=http://vsqupg.com]vsqupg[/link]
Vilma says:
12/19/2015 4:56:00 PM

Congrats on so many wonderful thgnis happening in your life! I appreciate your visit to my blog and the follow. I really enjoy watching others work on their home, as it's a constant with us and quite frankly it can be a lonely process so woo hoo for us getting together to support the ups and downs. I'll happily follow along and look forward to seeing more.(p.s. I'm a blog blabber . so I hope you're up for that! HA HA!)
Vilma says:
12/19/2015 4:56:00 PM

Congrats on so many wonderful thgnis happening in your life! I appreciate your visit to my blog and the follow. I really enjoy watching others work on their home, as it's a constant with us and quite frankly it can be a lonely process so woo hoo for us getting together to support the ups and downs. I'll happily follow along and look forward to seeing more.(p.s. I'm a blog blabber . so I hope you're up for that! HA HA!)
Vilma says:
12/19/2015 4:56:00 PM

Congrats on so many wonderful thgnis happening in your life! I appreciate your visit to my blog and the follow. I really enjoy watching others work on their home, as it's a constant with us and quite frankly it can be a lonely process so woo hoo for us getting together to support the ups and downs. I'll happily follow along and look forward to seeing more.(p.s. I'm a blog blabber . so I hope you're up for that! HA HA!)
Rogelio says:
12/21/2015 12:42:00 PM

The Sparrow at Starbucks . What a beautiful story! How ecxntiig for all that day. Many times I have been the right person, in the right place, for someone else, but the other day, you both were there for me! THANK YOU! I have been told I'm strong, I can handle everything, I always make the best of a bad situation. The truth is I am not always strong. I need help. I am broken and I was that day you walked back into my life. Your warmth, compassion and prayer was much needed and appreciated. I am so thankful. I shared our encounter with Mom and cried again. I hope we stay in touch and you continue to touch others lives, as you have mine. Broken but on the mend,Teresa http://hxwurqtteha.com [url=http://nkafnyidqr.com]nkafnyidqr[/url] [link=http://wmaprkn.com]wmaprkn[/link]
Rogelio says:
12/21/2015 12:42:00 PM

The Sparrow at Starbucks . What a beautiful story! How ecxntiig for all that day. Many times I have been the right person, in the right place, for someone else, but the other day, you both were there for me! THANK YOU! I have been told I'm strong, I can handle everything, I always make the best of a bad situation. The truth is I am not always strong. I need help. I am broken and I was that day you walked back into my life. Your warmth, compassion and prayer was much needed and appreciated. I am so thankful. I shared our encounter with Mom and cried again. I hope we stay in touch and you continue to touch others lives, as you have mine. Broken but on the mend,Teresa http://hxwurqtteha.com [url=http://nkafnyidqr.com]nkafnyidqr[/url] [link=http://wmaprkn.com]wmaprkn[/link]
Rogelio says:
12/21/2015 12:42:00 PM

The Sparrow at Starbucks . What a beautiful story! How ecxntiig for all that day. Many times I have been the right person, in the right place, for someone else, but the other day, you both were there for me! THANK YOU! I have been told I'm strong, I can handle everything, I always make the best of a bad situation. The truth is I am not always strong. I need help. I am broken and I was that day you walked back into my life. Your warmth, compassion and prayer was much needed and appreciated. I am so thankful. I shared our encounter with Mom and cried again. I hope we stay in touch and you continue to touch others lives, as you have mine. Broken but on the mend,Teresa http://hxwurqtteha.com [url=http://nkafnyidqr.com]nkafnyidqr[/url] [link=http://wmaprkn.com]wmaprkn[/link]

Leave A Comment


ArcticInsider Article Code
Enter the characters above: (all lowercase, no spaces)

SpeedWerx
Dempsey Off Road Adventures
Royal Sports

ArcticCat

Action Graphics

Waconia Ride-In

Blown Concepts Custom Vinyl Graphics

on Snow Magazine

US X-Country Snowmobile Racing

American Snowmobiler Magazine

Route 12 Arctic Cat

Waconia Power Sports

Thomas SnoSports

SLEDHEAD 24/7
 International Series of Champions

Road Track and Trail

SnoX365

TA Motorsports
Country Cat
SUPERTRAX International

D & D power Sports
Carver Performance Snowtech Magazine Christian Brothers Racing