Gabby Hallstrom assembled a fantastic overview of the Arctic Cat 60th Homecoming Collectors Show held July 15-16 in Thief River Falls, MN as part of the 120th Annual Pennington County Fair.
Gabby told me I could use the overview at my discretion for ArcticInsider, so I edited it slightly adding bits and pieces here and there. (She did a great job, and I appreciate her passion for the industry as a young snowmobiler) Enjoy the overview – Kale
Displayers from as far as Pennsylvania came to show off their outstanding collections representing the past 60 years of the Arctic Cat brand. Displaying snowmobiles, clothing, memorabilia, marketing material, ATV’s and other collectables.
The homecoming was a reunion-type atmosphere with many appearances from Team Arctic Cat racers, and race legends, who socialized about the amazing race careers they established with Arctic Cat. Among them was Roger Janssen, Dave Thompson, Jim Dimmerman, Ken Bieto, Donn Eide, Dennis Zulawski, Roger Hible, Duane Lossing, Brian Sturgeon, PJ Wandershied, Chad Dyrdahl, Greg Spaulding, Brian Espeseth, Ole Tweet, Zach Herfindahl and many more past and current Arctic Cat employees and racers/crew.
It was a true treat to have Roger Skime attend on Saturday along with his family. Roger had on display, his ZR 6000 RS Limited Edition with serial number one. He was all smiles, laughter and hugs while extremely busy signing autographs, taking pictures with appreciative fans and telling stories.
Local collector, Wyatt Anderson, brought Roger Skime’s first race sled, a 1965 120-D, which Wyatt purchased from another local collector, Gene Sauve. Roger won the Dollar Lake Championship in 1965 with this snowmobile and the race became more famously known as the Eagle River, WI World Championships.
Speaking of firsts, the Gottschalk Family from Kimball, MN brought a rare experimental prototype 1962 Polar Mfg Model 100-XX which is considered (verified by Edgar Hetteen) the very first prototype Polar Mfg snowmobile. (More on this snowmobile in near future ArcticInsider story)
Robert and Amy Palmer brought their outstanding ArcticWear collection, filling up the North end of the Ralph Engelstad Arena floor.
“This is a portion of my collection. In its entirety, I could have wrapped this display around the whole arena floor.” -R. Palmer
One of Robert’s many highlights of his time spent in Thief River Falls, was meeting ArcticWear sewing extraordinaire, Dorothy Hoganson, who sold Robert her official Arctic Cat sewing machine and chair used to stitch together 1000’s of Arctic Cat soft goods.
The Ische family brought Bob Elsner’s 78 SnoPro restored by Tom Ische for owner, Jim Dimmerman. Jim shared many enthusiastic stories about he and Elsner racing. In terms of elite collections, the Ische family has an incredible collection of snowmobiles as well as rare Arctic Cat memorabilia. Tom’s wife, Nancy, and daughter Brianna, designed the homecoming souvenir t-shirts which sold out in a matter of hours on opening day. A second run of shirts will be made, and if you would like one, please email them:firstname.lastname@example.org
Former Team Arctic Race and Product Manager, Joel Hallstrom, brought his collection of historical Arctic marketing materials including rare photos, brochures, newsletters, dealer books, ad planners, newspaper clippings and historic race results.
Tom Rowland, owner of Thomas Sno Sports, brought thirty Arctic Cat products spanning the years 1963-2018. Like many in the Rowland collection, many were rare prototypes including several one-off Firecats.
It was hard to miss the magnificent King Cat/EXT Special display owned by Tayt Wuethrich from Wisconsin. Most show-goers were stopped in their tracks and responded, “That (display) is so cool!”
Long time Thief River Falls resident, Ray Nelson, was an honored Arctic Cat collector. His daughter, Nancy Stadler, put together a beautiful tribute display highlighted with his Alley Cat.
Jim Pugh from Grand Rapids, Michigan had a never been raced 1990 EXT Special and was signed by Skime and Hallstrom.
Matt Cole had a ZR 2k Millennium Edition snowmobile and Russ Landrus had a 65 Rear Engine Arctic Cat.
Country Cat brought and displayed fourteen snowmobiles spanning the 1990s and into the 2000s. A ZERO mile 2003 F7 Firecat was one of several highlights in their collection. This Firecat was purchased from original owner, Greg Spaulding, and had never been filled with gasoline and in beautiful condition.
Other highlighted displayers were Lyle Swanson brought his two beautiful red and white 1966 141 and 1964 170.
Eric Martini with his Dale Cormican I-500 race sleds from the years 1968-70. Phil Klopp from Argyle, MN had his collection from a 1970 Puma to a 2007 Panther with the leopard seat.
Zach Herfindahl brought six snowmobiles, highlighted with his own I-500 winning sled and 1996 F-III Brian Sturgeon’s race sled.
Mike Franckowiak had twelve modified snocross race sleds ranging from the years 2001-17, one of which was a recently restored Cody Thomsen mod. Paul Bergman from Ada, MN full collection of 1993-2001 ZR 440. Dave Retzlaff had a collection of mid ‘70s 250, 340, and 440z. An all original 1973 el-Tigre 400 was brought by Brady Ferber, along with Gary and Sherry Pangrazzi displaying four 1973 EXT models. Danny Johnson from Karlstad, MN brought his customized 1970-72 Puma’s. Ike Jahnke had his early 1970’s collection of Cat snowmobiles.
Scott Graven displayed his 1986 el-Tigre 6000 along with his 1988 Wild Cat snowmobiles. Jeff Johnson from Michigan has another drool-worthy collection which includes some incredible T&S racing sleds. A highlight for Jeff happened when Brian Sturgeon stopped by to look at some of his old race sleds and reminisce about them.
Jeff Brouse had four race sleds from Kirk and Tucker Hibbert on display while Kale Wainer from ArcticInsider had his tent set up with my (Gabby Hallstrom) 2022 zr6000 XC race sled wrapped with ArcticInsider’s AC1 98 Rewind Wrap graphics.
Some Arctic Cat products were too big to display inside, including Trevor Gottschalk’s fully restored International semi-truck which greeted show entrants at the front of the building. Trevor even gave rides to Roger Skime and previous owner, Tom Rowland.
There are many, many people to thank for the success of the Arctic Cat 60th Collectors Homecoming Show. Apologies to anyone missed. First, thank you Arctic Cat for funding the rental of the Ralph Engelstad Arena and making special accomodations for Factory Tours. Thank you to all of Arctic Cat’s past and present employees and Team Arctic racers who visited. Also thank you to the incredible staff at the Ralph Engelstad arena and everyone involved with the Pennington County Fair. The City of Thief River Falls, their businesses, lodging, fairgrounds, buildings and arenas are all top notch for supporting a wide variety of events and people.
Special thanks to Joel Hallstrom and Mike Meagher (Vintage Snowmobile Club of America) for coordinating the show and arena layout, TRF Fire-chief, Marty Semanko, who helped with load-in and coordinating the decade display in the front lobby.
Special thanks to Arctic Cat’s, Mike Lane and retired RV Sports dealership owner, Randy Adamson, and Dave Guenther (Antique Snowmobile Club of America). And most importantly, thank you to all the incredible collectors who put their time, effort and money into attending the show. Your undeniable passion for one of the greatest powersports brands is infectious and appreciated!
Gabby Hallstrom (and Kale)