Over the years the Team Arctic Race Shop has had a few homes in Thief River Falls. Currently its about a half-mile from the main plant, on the north side of town and sharing space with Salvage/Special Services.
It seems like I’ve walked through the Race Shop a million times, and nearly every time I pause for a moment to look at the dozens of posters, racer autograph posters and awards on display.
Team Arctic sponsors so many racers, many of whom send the shop their personal poster. There isn’t enough wall space to hand all the posters, but there seems to be a yearly rotation of some of the images, while others have a permanent place.
For instance, here’s one of the posters that Tucker Hibbert gave the shop from the 2008-09 season. Tucker always produces a few special “thank you” pieces of media for his sponsors. This poster contains dozens of super-cool shots from throughout the race season, many of which have never been public images.
One of the coolest permanent displays is this one for Team Arctic legend Jim Herzig, who tragically passed away in a racing accident in 1998. The checkered flag on the left lists the amazing triumphs scored by Herzig during the 1997-98 season prior to his passing. I count 14 class wins that season, plus USSA High Point driver. He scored four wins that season at the Eagle River World’s Championships (plus another win during Friday Night Thunder).
Jim was truly an awesome person… one of the good guys who made this a better world. His nickname was “Gentleman” Jim, which was exactly what kind of person he was.
This framed memorial ad was produced by Arctic Cat at the time of Jim’s passing. Here’s what it says:
A Husband. A Father. A Champion.
Dedicated Team Arctic snowmobile racer “Gentlemen Jim” Herzig passed away Sunday, Feb. 22, 1998 in a tragic racing accident while competing at the Grand Prix in Valcourt, Quebec. Jim was a class act, true gentleman and gracious competitor. It is a great loss. And he will be terribly missed. Our deepest sympathy to all those who knew and loved “Gentleman Jim.”
Out back, in the actual shop portion of the Race Shop, there are some battle-scarred hoods from various Team Arctic racers. Clockwise from the top-left: Chris Burandt, Ryan Simons, Ryan Simons, Tucker Hibbert, Robbie Malinonski, Ryan Simons, D.J. Ekre and yet another Ryan Simons.
I guess it’s kind of the Ryan Simons hood display, with a few others thrown in for good measure.
It’s not really a display item, nor is it on the wall, but this Snap-On roll cab is cool and worth looking at. Everything nice and organized.
Always smiling (probably because she wins 93% of all the ArcticInsider Trivia Contests), Dawn Haugen keeps the Race Shop running smoothly.
Here Dawn and Race Manager Mike Kloety are either trying to answer an important question, or their determining what to do with the scoundrel who keeps putting ArcticInsider decals in the Race Shop restroom.
Inside Mike’s office is a bunch of interesting items, including these two dummies.
Mike’s son Derek produced this sweet drawing of Brian Dick’s race sled. Clearly the signature needs to be more prominent than the drawing.
On the the other side of the office, a Tucker Hibbert cooler and a box containing Troy Taggart’s 2001 I-500 trophy.
Taggart won the ’01 I-500, and it wasn’t long after that he quit racing. I’d hoped to run into Troy at the last year’s 50th Anniversary celebration, but I missed him.
Out back of the Race Shop, Taggart’s ZR Sno Pro sat looking exactly like it did when he won the ’01 I-500. The sled was on display at the 50th, and Troy hadn’t yet picked it up when I shot this image late last fall.
That’s all I’ve got for today. Thanks for reading.