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Aaron Scheele’s I-500 el tigre

Another Team Arctic racing legend has been busy building a vintage el tigre for the upcoming USCC I-500 cross-country.

Aaron Scheele was one of the top Arctic Cat snocross, ice-lemans and part-time cross-country racers in the 1990s and early 2000s, with multiple MRP championship titles, a slew of National snocross podium finishes and a reputation as one of the most likable racers of the era.

Team Arctic's Aaron Scheele racing ISOC XC in '97

Team Arctic's Aaron Scheele racing WSA SX in '01

While Scheele stepped away from the competitive arena a handful of years ago, he’s remained dedicated to the sport he loves, building prototype sleds, riding for the Arctic Cat photo shoots, riding with his family and diving in deep to the vintage pool.

And like many former racers, Scheele felt the competitive juices flow the moment he heard of the Vintage Class in the 2011 USCC I-500.

So while Jim Dimmerman has been building this Thunderstruck in Scheele’s shop, Aaron has been alongside him, assembling his own classic el tigre, albeit to pound through the ditches, river and mayhem that will define the highly-anticipated I-5.

Aaron and his "emerging" Arctic Cat el tigre racer

Scheele el tigre was still in its early stages in late November, when I shot these pix, but smart engineering was already evident. Opting for a regular el tigre rather than a Cross-Country version, Scheele had already rebuilt the skidframe with new hardware, new wheels, remote reservoir FOX shocks, extra welding and new paint.

Custom skidplate for the tiger

A veteran of the I-500 himself, Scheele knows full-well the junk that can appear in the ditches and byways of the race route, so he custom-fabricated a plastic skidplate and riveted it to the bellypan. Smart.

Inside Aaron Scheele's shop

With three vintage el tigre projects happening simultaneously (the third being Eric Bergstrom’s 530cc el tigre custom), there’s a lot of rattle-can painting going on in Aaron’s shop (and a lot of motors lying around).

AWS V Television Stand, available through Cat's Accessory CATalog?

Check out Scheele’s custom AWS television stand that’s mounted on the wall of his shop! Cool.

Two more tigers

Out back, behind the shop, Scheele poses with two of his fleet of Arctic Cat el tigres.

Scheele with a few more of his sleds...

In the storage building at his folk’s house, a fleet of interesting Arctic Cats.

How many sleds in the collection right now, Aaron?

“Don’t ask.”

I had to pay $20,000 for this "Presenting Sponsor" decal placement

Thanks for advertising for this Website, Aaron!

With his stellar background, his recent workout routine, impeccible engineering ideas and his outstanding riding ability, the Las Vegas bookmakers have made Scheele the top contender for the I-500 this year. I know I’ve put $100 buck on him!



  1. Aaron was/is one of my favorite racers! Hell of a guy. Does he still have any of his ice sleds? He sure has a collection of Cats going! Looks like one of his snocross mods tucked away in the top right hand corner? Keep these kind of stories comin!!!

  2. I think you’re right about the one sled being one of Aarons mods. I think he may have first raced the red Patriot at Canterbury back in early 2002, but I cannot recall for certain. I was so lucky a few years ago when I was able to buy one of Aarons former 1998 ZR Sno Pro race sleds from a guy that had aquired it a few years prior. It still looks pretty much as it did when it came off the race track long ago. I was showing it to a guy last week that used to actively race the same circuit as Aaron did…the guy laughed…he wondered aloud how many times that he could see nothing but the taillight of that very sled!

  3. Nicely captured John. I’ve looked back over this about 10 times since you posted it, and it’s really fun to see an article about Aaron on your site. Jim and I have had multiple conversations about how lucky we are to get to work on our projects in his awesome shop and also with so much help from Aaron himself. He is extremely talented when it comes to working on sleds, and it’s obvious that the same holds true for his riding skills. This race is going to be a joy to watch… and I’m with you when it comes to betting.


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