Five of Roger Skime’s favorite things in the whole world are snowmobiles, racing/racers, family, dancing and cattle. I’m not sure in what order. So when his family were considering what kind of gift to give him for Christmas, they hatched a plan that combined 4 out of 5.
On an open weekend in January (“open” in Roger’s world means that there isn’t a snocross or cross-country race somewhere), with plenty of snow on the ground and more still falling, a couple dozen friends and family gathered at Skime Ranch near Skime, Minn., to surprise Skime the man.
And wow, was he ever surprised!
Tucker Hibbert was the first to arrive, with his wife Mandi, Rob Dahlen and myself. P.J. and Dave Wanderscheid were close behind. We pulled in without being seen by Roger, who was somewhere on the ranch feeding cattle.
Tucker made a truly grand entrance, burying his Ram truck into a plainly evident ditch next to Roger’s shop. Too many Monsters perhaps?
Just as Carter Diesen was pulling Tucker’s truck out, Roger drove up in a tractor, with a very confused look on his face.
He no sooner jumped out of the tractor and shook hands or gave hugs, then Brian Dick drove up with his wife Alicia, Wes Selby and Katie Holmstrom.
More hugs and hand-shakes.
Then Mike Kloety arrived with his son Derek. Moments later Russ and Joni Ebert drove up, followed by Zach Herfindahl.
And Roger was WOUND UP!
Snowmobiles were quickly unloaded. But before any riding gear came out, there was a brunch waiting in Roger and Bernice’s house. Inside, their daughter Jodi and her kids Marissa, Kylie and Trandon had everything dialed-in.
When a group like this gets together, the stories start flying. And Roger tells some of the best. Who else in the world can tell the story about where the famous chrome hood scoops came from on the original Arctic Cat Panthers?!?
The whole crew gathered for a photo in the great room and Roger and Bernice’s new house. First came a regular shot…
…then everyone pointed to the man of the hour.
One last group shot prior to departure and then it was time to ride.
Roger led the way, taking us through areas of his ranch where he’s ridden, developed and tested Arctic Cat snowmobiles for 55 years.
Typical Tucker… the inverted start rule meant he was always buried in the pack and trying to pass for the lead.
It wouldn’t be a snowmobile ride with Roger unless there were a couple races to see who’s fastest.
We worked our way over to Penturen Church, a cool old sanctuary located in the Beltrami State Forest. There we were joined by Joey Hallstrom and his son Jesse.
I’ve been on a lot of rides with Roger. Usually it’s 100 mph and no stopping (unless it’s to race or to get fuel). But on this day, Roger was in a mood to talk.
And for the 70 miles or so that we did ride, the pace was mostly casual, as though we were savoring each moment.
The last stretch of the ride had us next to one of the fences on his ranch, near where some of his cattle were eating hay.
Snowmobiles, family, racing/racers and cattle… we did it all except dancing.
With his favorite moments of his favorite things in life captured on his phone, to be shared with Bernice (and anyone else lucky enough to be near when he starts scrolling), Roger was a happy man.
And so were his family and friends.
Merry (belated) Christmas Roger!
Thanks for reading.
This should be a Pulitzer Prize for snowmobile journalism. Great story John! Thanks for bringing us there..Jim
Oh by the way, Roger could have picked any one of a hundred jackets to model, and his choice, 78 Sno Pro of course….atta boy Roger
I have had the honor of riding with Roger several times, he is always testing & asking questions on how everyone’s sled is running. He is a class act wherever he goes, at the races and on the trail!!! Thanks for sharing John!!!
“good times are coming on the Cat” fun to see, very cool… snowmobiles and people what more can one say great story John!
Nice story…Roger has created a real bond with a lot of people that you’ve really captured.
But you can’t just mention the chrome hood vents and then not share the story with your readers who are vintage fans!
That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing!
Just goes to show you that Arctic Cat is one big happy family. Great story.
Your looking good Roger and keep it going 🙂 🙂
Great article John. Thanks for sharing.
Omg, things just don’t get any better than a day spent sledding and enjoying winter with family and friends! This story could be on the Hallmark Channel!
Boy, how many of us wish we could have been there? Great bunch of guys, I sometimes wonder what role at Arctic Cat I could have had, If I had been raised in Thief River Falls.
I wanted to be invited? Maybe next year, i will bring bobby flame too…
Well, that’s a pretty darn cool story! Memorable ride for sure!
What a Fantastic article and pictures. So proud of you Roger for all you Artic Cat accomplishments and for being a great Godly family man.
Love you Roger and Bernice-
Thank you for documenting this special day and sharing it with us!
I got to see the dancing part at PJS wedding reception. He said to his wonderful wife, you ready, and off they went to a polka. I was amazed, a legend, and he can dance better than all of us. Great at anything he does I guess. Hey Roger, do you still have pictures of your cow’s in you billfold?
Totally agree with Jim in the first 2 comments. Wish there were another 100 pages to read though as it was such a GREAT STORY!! The greatest highlight of my 19 years at Cat was getting to know Roger. I can’t imagine what it was like to come up for the perfect Christmas gift for the Man who has it all but Roger’s family accomplished that and more. Keep the awesome stories coming John.
P.S. PJ Wanderscheid told me all about the ride with Roger when we were in Eagle River last weekend and it was like winning a 5th World Championship for him.
Fantastic article about a great guy!!
You can truly be proud of all your accomplishments!!!
Best wishes to you and your family!!!
Carol and Leland
Just when I think you can’t get any better John, you do. Wonderful! Roger always takes the time to visit with all the racers, even the under dogs. When he takes the time to come up and tell a young rider good luck before the race….that is special. And he has done it for decades. PASSION!
Great photos and article John. Looks like great riding conditions and a great time had by all. Looks like Roger can still give all of you a run for the money!! Keep it up Roger.t
Thank you for sharing that was nice to see all the fun you all had…And being at the Legends RS Home & seeing his lifestyle just Aweasome ….
T-Train,RS & family thank you again for sharing your memories Aaron
could not happen to a nicer person..Thanks for letting us in n the big day..
Amazing story for an amazing man ????
John thanks for sharing this story with all of us! Roger is an amazing kind hearted man – we thank Roger for all he does for everyone he comes in contact with on this earth! God Bless!
What a wonderful story about an amazing man. I first had a chance to speak with Roger at Serchmont many years ago. My neighbor and I spoke to him for some time about his cattle and the breeds he had. We also spoke about the servo exhaust valve technology that was first introduced by Yamaha but was on the new Cat engines in the next year or so. Again, thanks for sharing this story about a true pioneer and living legend.
It is still one of my greatest honors to have met Roger, and to chat with him here and there at the ISOC Sno-Cross races.
The man is a LIVING LEGEND and a class act!!
Great story John, thank you.
And as far as Tucker getting stuck, thanks for that bit of info, now I’ll have something to talk to him about on his track walk in New York!!
Great piece John — the photos and captions so tell the story!
This is a celebration of snowmobiling. These are folks that have absolute belief in god. Also, they have felt the terrible side of the sport first hand with fatal snowmobile accidents. And have made great strides in making these machines safer. At the end of the day this is about fun. There is nothing more fun fun then snowmobiling. I hope we can continue to educate future riders about the sport and continue to innovate. That’s the mission statement.
Super awesome story – thanks for sharing. AC lovers are the best.
Such a great celebration for a great person . The best part is how his gift was given to him from a great family and friends. I have been very fortunate to enjoy some rides with Roger and he is just a blast to be around. You deserved every bit of this Roger ! Thanks for sharing with us John.
What a great day and a pleasant surprise for Roger. Share our passion,that has been Cat’s slogan for years. This story,and the people in it truly show they can back it up. I hope the leaders of the new company take note that the people in this story walk the walk everyday with the passion that they have shown for many years. This also shows that the love that the people in this story have for Roger and Arctic Cat is truly passionate. Thanks John for the great story as always.
I think Roger’s birthday should be declared a national holiday. Everyone gets off work on that day to go ride no matter where they live.