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Arctic Cat County Fair in TRF


(7/26/2018)

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

It looked a lot like Catfest at the Pennington County Fair in Thief River Falls, last week. There were Team Arctic racers, vintage sleds, new sleds and wheelers. And people. Lot's of people!

What's Catfest? It was a once-every-five-years celebration of everything Arctic Cat that occurred in TRF beginning in the late 1980s and through the 1990s.

By pairing with the Pennington County Fair (itself one of the most vibrant county fairs in Minnesota). the five day event had lots of added attraction.

 

Arctic Cat and Textron Off Road at Pennington County Fair. Photo by ArcticInsider

Walking into the fairgrounds, the Arctic Cat compound (with display trailer, Christian Brothers Racing trailer, machines) was first thing to greet people. Pretty cool.

 

Team Arctic racers Hibbert and Christian and more at Pennington Fair.

A handful of top Team Arctic racers were there to sign free posters on Thursday afternoon. Here Logan Christian (left) and Tucker Hibbert shoot me a smile, while Zach Herfindahl, Trent Wittwer and Dan Benham Jr. sign autographs.

 

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

A new building housed what was called Arctic Cat Village. Inside was an astonishing display of machines and memorabilia from the Ische family (seated L-to-R): Nancy, Brianna and Tom.

 

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

When there's an Arctic Cat event involving vintage machines, you can count on a couple of guys attending no matter what: Gene Sauve (left) and Les Pinz, who were shaking hands while making a Kale (middle) sandwhich.

Lot's of hand shaking, smiles and catching up during here, which is what CatFest, Hometown Tour, the 50th Anniversary and other such events offer.

 

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

Lots of people enjoying the incredible display of Arctic Cat stuff.

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

So many great machines, images, posters, signs, gear and stuff to inspire, remember and ponder for young and old alike.

 

Team Arctic racers Hibbert, Herfindahl, Christian and more at Pennington Fair.

Would the TRUE Boss Cat please stand up! Zach Herfindahl, Tucker Hibbert, Logan Christian, Dan Benham Jr. and Trent Wittwer.

 

Dwight Christian and Roger Skime. Photo by ArcticInsider

Dwight Christian and Roger Skime share a laugh. There were lots and lots of Arctic Cat people there throughout the event, everyone sharing stories of their summer happenings, projects they're working on, plans for the upcoming season and more.

 

 

Arctic Cat and Textron Off Road at Pennington County Fair. Photo by ArcticInsider

Judging by the number of kids I saw climbing on snowmobiles, ATVs and side-by-sides, there are a lot of families anticipating the fun of their favorite riding seasons too.

 

Arctic Cat and Textron Off Road at Pennington County Fair. Photo by ArcticInsider

Arctic Cat and Textron Off Road at Pennington County Fair. Photo by ArcticInsider

Arctic Cat and Textron Off Road at Pennington County Fair. Photo by ArcticInsider

 

Team Arctic racers Hibbert, Herfindahl, Christian and more at Pennington Fair.

After hanging out in the Arctic Cat area for a couple hours, it was time for this group of goons to hit up the fair offerings.

Translated: everyone was hungry and jonesing for some fried food.

 

Tucker and Logan at the fair.

Tucker and Logan at the fair.

The Night Crew of Tucker and Logan stopped at the airbrushed t-shirt display and bought some sweet threads.

 

Team Arctic racers Hibbert, Herfindahl, Christian and more at Pennington Fair.

Dwight uses his arms to illustrate the size of the stack of cash he used to pay for all the grub we consumed. Cheese curds, fried fish, french fries, hamburgers and malts...all the healthy stuff.

The vibe I appreciate most about this and others like it is that it wasn't rushed. No gotta-see-everything-frenzy like I feel at Hay Days...no gotta-get-back-to-the-track-because-the-pro's-are-about-to-race like the snocross events. Just chill, low-key and easy.

I talked to Arctic Cat fans who came from Iowa, Wisconsin, both Dakotas and throughout Minnesota. I heard stories of the parade that occurred the day before I was there, and about sweet tours of the Arctic Cat plant. The event was a huge success, and I hope it's just the start of bigger things in the future.

Snowmobiling and ATVing are as much about the machines as they are the people. And Arctic Cat people are my favorite folks in the world.

I hope to see you at Arctic Cat/Pennington County Fair next year.

Thanks for reading.

(More eye candy below.)

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

 

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

 

 

 

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

Arctic Cat village at the Pennington County Fair 2018. Photo by ArcticInsider

Arctic Cat and Textron Off Road at Pennington County Fair. Photo by ArcticInsider



Comments (9):

Mike Mattson says:
7/26/2018 8:39:00 PM

Awesome display of sleds and accessories by the Ische family. Also nice to see the racers and everyone enjoying the display. Thanks for sharing the photos of the event John.
Dulpher says:
7/27/2018 9:04:00 AM

I would like to say thank you to Arctic Cat for putting this on. I drove from Michigan to spend a few days in TRF and it was well worth it! For the first time, our family saw the Parade. It was HUGE and I think the majority of Minnesota was in viewing attendance! (This is something TRF tourism should promote more as a "must see".) We took a factory tour and then took in the Pennington Fair. These photos are great, but nothing beats seeing the Ische family collection in person. Seeing all that Arctic Cat history, in one place, close-up, is fantastic! Thank you to the Team Arctic racers as well for taking time to sign autographs. Its truly special for my kids to talk to their race heroes! We bleed green and will be back next year!
Mike F says:
7/27/2018 11:41:00 AM

Making me hungry for an "oof-da" taco....
Paul Nadeau says:
7/27/2018 3:19:00 PM

Wow! Thanks for the great photo's John, Excellent as usual, Thank you Ische family for being such avid collectors of all things Arctic. This north easter hopes to make it your way someday to see your collection in person. Bucket list item for sure!
Tom Rowland says:
7/28/2018 2:40:00 PM

Yes, this was a fun event for sure. Seeing all of the classic iron was great, and visiting with all of the people with a love for the Arctic Cat brand even better! I hope it is an annual event!
Rodney Dragan says:
7/29/2018 6:58:00 PM

I want to hit the like button!
Bobby Flame says:
7/30/2018 7:04:00 AM

I was hoping there would be photos of the Black Cats freestyle show.
John Engelstad says:
8/1/2018 2:19:00 PM

Awesome! Good job, to everyone, I love Arctic Cat!

John Zeglin says:
8/17/2018 12:43:00 AM

I am not sure what impresses me more. The Ische sled collection or the Ische Memorabilia Collection. Wow!!!! Wish I could have been there.

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