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Brian Espeseth called me earlier this year and said he had been reminded, 2023 would be the 40th Anniversary of the first Arctco snowmobile to come off the assembly line on August 1, 1983. It was then, Brian shared his thoughts on having an Anniversary Reunion for all Arctco employees in Thief River Falls.

I unfortunately wasn’t able to attend, but below are some photos from the successful reunion. After looking through these, I encourage you to read Chapter 5 of the Arctic Cat Legend book, 1983-1987 Eight Lives Left: The Return of the Cat which has some great information on the humble beginnings and big risks the people in these photos took to resurrect Arctic Cat after bankruptcy in 1981. -Kale

Brian Espeseth Kicks off the Welcome and takes a look back with some historic photos.
The first investors in Arctco pose at the reunion in front of the first Panther that came off the line on August 1, 1983. (L-R) Rick S, Davey T, Leon J, Roger S, Chris T, Dennis Z and Brian E.
Taken from the Arctic Cat Legend book, a good Now/Then look at some of the original crew.
(L-R) Leon Johnson and Brian Espeseth
(L-R) Bill Hahn and Tim Delmore
The original Parts & Accessories Organization chart of Arctco led by Brian Espeseth.
I dont know the exact date of this employee phone chart that was shared (Mid-Eighties?), but I find it interesting, the 218-681-8558 phone number still remains today to talk to the front desk.
Arctco employee photo.


(L-R) Mavis M and Brian E worked together for many years.
(L-R) Melba L and her daughter Brenda.
(L-R) Bev T and Sharon H hand out door prizes
(L-R) Davey T, Joey H and Dennis Z.
These three clowns acted in some pretty funny skits in the early dealer show days, and dressed in drag before drag was cool. (L-R) Darcy H, Donny S and Joe K relive some of their old skits at the reunion.
Tim D (seated) was happy to see his old buddies, but has seen better looking, ummmm?…ladies.
These fellas DelRay B (L) and Gene L (R) showcased their musical talents with a 40hr week cover song.
Even though I wasn’t employed at Arctic Cat in the 80s, I had the pleasure of working with all the folks in these two group photos, and I learned a lot from them, which I will always treasure. (L-R) Mavis, Brian, Judy, Carol, Kathy, Jackie and Pam.
Like the previous group photo, there’s a lot of institutional Arctic Cat knowledge posing here. (L-R) Darcy, Jim, Joey, Joe, Tim, Gary, Donny and Kevin.
I think this is a fitting departure photo of two of the coolest Cats I know (L-R) Joel Hallstrom and Joe Klosterman. If anyone knows where I can get those pants in a Double Fat / 36″ tall inseam, Id love to wear them at Hay Days this year!! Shazam!!


  1. Lots of folks I know mentioned/shown here. Special mentions for Bob Aasen, the best DSM ever, and all around fantastic person! Joe Klosterman and Tim Benedict were not only a wealth of knowledge but funny as heck to boot!

  2. The dedication, support and loyalty of those from 1983 that brought back a great name and sled is something that most of us have taken for granted. The enthusiasm after all of these years as shown in the photos is remarkable. From that small company in 1983 and its predecessor, the dedicated fan base and supporters of Arctic Cat sleds is nothing short of phenomenal in my opinion.

    Kale, your continuation of AC Insider has allowed all of us to experience this rich history and makes us feel as if we were there in person. Thank you.

  3. I miss Melba. You didn’t dare be late for work or you would get a good old mom style tongue lashing. Much more effective than demerits and point systems.

  4. What a great reunion thanks for sharing!!! I started working at an Arctic Cat dealership in the fall of 1987 in Grand Forks, ND. Over the years I got to know and become friends with most of the people in these photos and still keep in touch with many of them to this day. No one will ever top the way the people from Arctco treated their dealerships with hands on and passion for their product and customers!!! “Thanks For The Memories”

  5. Fantastic thanks for the write up.
    When CJ first did the legend book in 88 or so that really put names and faces to people at Arctic.
    Legends these people are, thanks for your contributions to the brand we love.


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