When it comes to sights, smells and entertainment, the Sno Baron’s Hay Days always delivers. How about this cool photo, courtesy of Mr.-Do-It-All Chad Colby, who reportedly captured it while hang-gliding into the event just moments before he began announcing the Terracross races.
Before I launch into all the cool stuff that I saw at Hay Days, I thought it appropriate to have one photo that illustrates the vast work that occurs prior to Saturday morning.
Here’s Team Arctic hillclimber/back-country rider Rocky Mountain Rob (Kincaid) digging post holes in the Speedwerx booth on Friday. Rob singlehandedly dug 921 holes on Friday, for Speedwerx and other vendors. All part of his training program for the upcoming season.
I sort of divide Hay Days into four primary attractions: the swap meet, the drag race, the vendors/OEMs and the people.
In terms of entertainment value, the swap meet portion wins by a large margin.
Part of the reason is the vast array of stuff you see in the swap, including sleds that span five decades. You can pretty much find anything at Hay Days, although it does require a fair amount of gumption (to walk the vast area), an eagle’s eye (there’s so much stuff that it’s easy to overlook some real gems) and plenty of cash.
You also have to be careful.
Case in point: if you were in the market for a Fighter Pilot Edition 2004 Arctic Cat Firecat and stumbled upon this one for sale in the swap, let’s hope you did a full walk-around before laying down some coin…
…otherwise you might have been disappointed with the purchase.
For sure the greatest entertainment in the swap involves the people and their stuff. This guy was the leader of an outlaw gang of 3-wheeler riders who were simultaneously airing their armpits AND terrorizing the swappers with their rowdy brand of lawlessness.
Package deal on three tough Cats.
It took me awhile, but I eventually found the guy selling barrels of asbestos.
Fortunately there was emergency personnel in case there was a problem with the asbestos.
I swear that a good 25% of the swappers don’t really care about selling anything. They’re there simply to party and be entertained (and heckle the lowly photographers).
Some the best heckling comes from the large contingent of vintage folks, including this group (many of whom are responsible for the amazing Waconia Ride-In).
The guy on the right is Jack Speckel, a huge Arctic Cat collector and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.
Jack didn’t want the dust to touch his 1969 Arctic Cat Panther 634 Hirth with the Montana pipes (one of only 925 produced!), so he kept it inside his trailer all weekend.
Get this: Jack offered to sell me this for $550, but I thought that was a bit too pricey. Plus, I’d already been burned by a previous purchase of a Fighter Pilot Edition Firecat, so I was a little gun-shy about another possible lemon.
It seems like every other Craig’slist post for a snowmobile includes language like “Just needs a carb clean.”
There’s plenty of opportunity for cleaning at Hay Days.
The Hamm’s Bear was at Hay Days again this year.
These two dudes were trying to sell this custom Prowler. They claimed the extra hood venting really extended the life of the drive belts.
Like I wrote above, grass drags are one of the attractions that I associate with Hay Days.
However, if I’m going to be honest, I have to say that this part of the event gets increasingly more difficult to enjoy, for one simple reason: the dreadfully long wait between every heat.
No kidding, the “dead” time between each race is at least three minutes, and often it’s 4-5 minutes. That’s way too long to satisfy the casual observer.
Not that anyone is asking me, but my advice is that they run the races quickly and get the whole program completed in a more compressed timeframe. I’m certain WAY more spectators would watch, which is what these great and hard-working racers deserve.
Two guys who deserved a lot of attention were Patrik Lofdahl and Mats Lager, who came all the way from Sweden to compete at Hay Days! Just as awesome, the two combined to wins three classes aboard their ProCross Arctic Cats.
Awesome stuff you guys, congrats!
The 2003 Arctic Cat F7 Firecat is still one of the most popular drag race sleds. It’s always good to see these rockets take on the modern iron.
If anyone is interested in racing a 2004 Firecat, send me a message about a hot-running Fighter Pilot Edition that I’m selling.
Team Arctic put on an amazing display of… (wait… wait for it…)… DOMINANCE at Hay Days, taking 18 class wins.
One of the biggest wins came from Dylan Roes and the D&D team, who led a Team Arctic sweep of the Stock 800 class aboard an XF800.
If there’s one thing that truly defined Saturday at Hay Days this year, it was the heat, all 95 degrees of it. By early afternoon it had gotten so brutally-hot that anyone with access to a camper and air-conditioning was taking advantage of it.
Here the OSM magazine crew allows the absorbant seat cushions of the rented camper to soak up their sweat while Editor Pat Bourgeois (orange shirt) shares a story about his credibility. Though I like to tease these guys, Pat and crew truly put out and incredibly entertaining magazine that captures the magic of snowmobiling. Definitely worth a subscription.
The third pillar of Hay Days is the vendor area, shown here via another cool shot from paratrooper Chad Colby.
From what I observed this year, there was A LOT of sales happening on new iron. The gang at Country Cat were going gangbusters all weekend.
Likewise, Tom Rowland (right) of Thomas Sno Sports was also selling a lot of stuff. In fact, he sold the guy on his right, Arctic Cat’s Gary Nelson, for $315 and change.
For more than two decades, I’ve spent a good portion of my Hay Days weekends at the Arctic Cat booth. And for as long as I’ve been doing it, these two legends have been there smiling, shaking hands and soaking up the good vibes.
On the left is Arctic Cat sales rep Scott Eilertson, man of many accomplishments and purveyor of pure joy. On the right is the legend, Arctic Cat’s Roger Skime. One of these days I’m going to interview Eilertson, who will no doubt have some great stories to tell about Roger.
Arctic Cat had a full contingent of personnel on hand at Hay Days, including Engine Department leaders Donn Eide (far right) and Greg Spaulding (second from right), who were there to talk about the new Arctic Cat C-TEC2 600 engine.
I think it’s cool that Arctic Cat is represented by the guys who literally conceive and run the engine program at Arctic Cat.
Without question my favorite aspect of Hay Days is the people. There are so many great people there, some whom I already know and others who I meet for the first time.
This motley crew consists of the Rodney Dragan (right, aka “The Webmaster” HERE) and the Schoeder family, Jeremy (left), Mark (aka 250 Tigger, white shirt) and Chad (blue shirt).
All of these guys are huge Arctic Cat fans with awesome collections of vintage and modern machines. And they’re all friends, despite their repeated heckling of me.
Two people that I met in-person for the first time were Michelle and Rick Wulk. Michelle was pumped because she’s got a new Arctic Cat ZR6000 El Tigre coming her way this winter.
There’s a special kinship that occurs when several hundred Arctic Cat fans get together to do the Hokey-Pokey at Hay Days.
Actually, the crowds weren’t doing the Hokey-Pokey, rather they were there for the Arctic Cat ZR6000 RR and M6000 Sno Pro sled unveilings, which are cover HERE in this post.
Assisting with the announcement of the new M6000 were (L-to-R) Arctic Cat Mountain Leader Troy Halvorson; Team Arctic racer/freerider David McClure; back-country rider/teacher Amber Holt; and racer/freerider/post-hole digger Rob Kincaid.
This whole crew put a lot of test miles on pre-production M6000s in Island Park last winter, and were very impressed with the sled’s performance.
The Team Arctic autograph signing is another cool feature of the Hay Days experience. Check this out… the guy on the left is Claude Jordan, Arctic Cat President/CEO. He waited in line like everyone else to get his signed poster. Pretty cool.
Three of the autographs came from these guys (L-to-R), Zach Herfindahl, Tucker Hibbert and Logan Christian.
New to the Team Arctic camp for 2014, David Joanis will contest the ISOC snocross Pro class with the Christian Brothers Racing team. Welcome to the team, David!
You’re looking at three fast dudes with excellent bloodlines. They were hired to keep the riff-raff out of the Arctic Cat hauler at Hay Days. From the left: Anson Scheele, Evan Christian and Trent Wittwer.
I’ll end this post with an appropriate parting shot, and I’ll leave you to write the caption.
Thanks for reading.