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Hay Days 2013: Always Worth Seeing

Bird's eye view of Hay Days 2013, photo by Chad Colby

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.


Team Arctic's Rob Kincaid.

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.


Hay Days swap meet

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.


Arctic Cat snowmobiles at Hay Days

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.


Decent-condition Arctic Cat Firecat at Hay Days???

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…


Maybe not a decent condition Arctic Cat Firecat at Hay Days.

…otherwise you might have been disappointed with the purchase.


Don't mess with anyone who has ape hangers on a 3-wheeler

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.


Hay Days swap meet, Arctic Cats for sale

Package deal on three tough Cats.


Barrels of asbestos for sale at Hay Days

It took me awhile, but I eventually found the guy selling barrels of asbestos.


Hay Days swap meet

Fortunately there was emergency personnel in case there was a problem with the asbestos.


The Hay Days Hecklers

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).


The Waconia Ride-In crew.

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 Speckel's 1969 Arctic Cat Panther

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.


Arctic Cat stuff at Hay Days

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

The Hamm’s Bear was at Hay Days again this year.


Custom Arctic Cat Prowler for sale at Hay Days

These two dudes were trying to sell this custom Prowler. They claimed the extra hood venting really extended the life of the drive belts.


Team Arctic grass drag racing at Hay Days

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!


Team Arctic Grass Drag racing at Hay Days

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.


D&D Racing did awesome at Hay Days grass drags

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.


Inside the OSM camper at Hay Days

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.


Bird's eye view of Hay Days 2013, photo by Chad Colby

The third pillar of Hay Days is the vendor area, shown here via another cool shot from paratrooper Chad Colby.


Country Cat was selling like crazy at Hay Days

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.


Arctic Cat's Gary Nelson with Tom Rowland at Hay Days

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.


Arctic Cat's Scott Eilertson and Roger Skime at Hay Days

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's Greg Spaulding and Donn Eide at Hay Days

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.


The Four Amigos at the Arctic Cat booth at Hay Days

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.


Meeting new friends in the Arctic Cat booth at Hay Days

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.


Arctic Cat booth at Hay Days

There’s a special kinship that occurs when several hundred Arctic Cat fans get together to do the Hokey-Pokey at Hay Days.


Arctic Cat ZR6000 RR and M6000 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.


Arctic Cat Back Country riders at Hay Days

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.


Arctic Cat President/CEO Claude Jordan getting Team Arctic autographs at Hay Days

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.


Team Arctic's Zach Herfindahl, Tucker Hibbert and Logan Christian

Three of the autographs came from these guys (L-to-R), Zach Herfindahl, Tucker Hibbert and Logan Christian.


Team Arctic snocrosser for 2014, David Joanis

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!


Team Arctic's Anson Scheele, Evan Christian and Trent Wittwer.

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.


The party sleeps at Hay Days

I’ll end this post with an appropriate parting shot, and I’ll leave you to write the caption.

Thanks for reading.



  1. The last shot reminds me of an Ozz-Fest concert in Alpine Valley back in 1999.
    Or maybe he was the pilot of the Firecat fighter and that’s where he landed after ejecting when he got shot down in a dog fight. Fortunately for him the Doo’s he took out before he got hit disintegrated due to poor construction and lack of power. By the looks of his Firecat fighter it held up pretty well and after a few tweeks will be back in action in no time. God bless the Cat pilots on this hallowed ground for their bravery and service that goes above and beyond the call of duty.

  2. Think I mentioned this when we met… you have a great sense of humor. You are great for the sled nation and cat!! Look forward to chatting with you again some time.

  3. I think the guy in your last image that fainted and hit the ground must have just gotten his first look at the marketing technique that the Double Extreme Calendar company was using during the very hot Hay Days temperatures.

  4. Great story and photo’s John ! Hey Tom, any extra copies of the marketing technique for an old dude back east you would be willing to share? This would be purely for research purposes only ! I was just voluntold to start work on a new promotion phamphlet for our community. Any one out there have an extra poster they would be willing to give up? Don’t need the autographs, just the poster,

  5. John it was good to see you!!!! Keep up the good work. FYI don’t tell Renae, but I saw Tom Rowland with a BMP calender!!!!!!! He was hiding it in Brian Nelson’s trailer. You did not hear this from me though!!!!!!

  6. I hope your didn’t pay too much for your asbestos. We were giving away free samples on Friday night at our motel in Lindstrom. It seems that our faithful Silverado HD had a right rear caliper that was hanging up.

  7. Speaking of Craig’s list, lately I have been searching for a mountain cat of some sorts in Minnesotas Craig’s list (even though I’m in New York.) I have found people listing items for sale with the location at hay days. One could gain a slight pre-view a week or two before the show. Anyhow I enjoyed the pictures, and story.

  8. Great Article! Can anyone tell me more about the Aaron Scheele mod behind Tom Rowland? As is it avaialable to buy or is it for show? Anyone got more pics of it?

  9. Always a pleasure reading your super choice stories John, sorry I missed Hay Days. Keep the green side up and hope to see you soon! -Paul

  10. Eric: Aaron agreed to allow us to use his mod sled during the event for display purposes in our booth. It is always a source of conversation among us admirers of historic Arctic Cats. As you requested, I posted up a few images of it in the Vintage Sled forum of this website.


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