Tom Rowland from Thomas Sno Sports in Milaca, MN called and asked if I wanted to jump in the truck with him to TRF to pick up some parts from Factory Certified Sales and a few ATV units from local dealer, RV Sports. Knowing the iconic RV Sports would be closing their doors soon due to owner, Randy Adamson’s retirement, I jumped at the chance to tag along. I also brought along a new travel partner, my daughter.
Thomas Sno Sports has quite a few historic things on-site which grab your attention. The original Arctic Cat forklift built by Roger Skime is now owned by Tom. On this day it grabbed my daughters attention, and I relayed the story of Tom purchasing it (CLICK to read story) on another trip I was along on. She laughed and said, “Tom likes old stuff. I like that.” Yep, me too.
This Tubby Lund helmet caught my attention, and jogged my memory to a friendly face I always enjoyed working with at the Arctic Cat factory. Tubby passed in 2014, but the great memories of him and his engineering accomplishments within those walls haven’t been forgotten.
Ill sum up the truck ride sparing the details, but leave you knowing, it was 5hrs of pure comedy and belly laughs sharing the cab with an 11yr old who had far too much sugar combined with two adults who can totally relate to an 11yr old humor level!
Our first stop in TRF was Biff’s Kitchen for breakfast. (A guy needs to start his day with some biscuits and gravy.) When departing with really full bellies, I think we all secretly wished we could cruise this old Caddy the rest of the day with room to spread out. My daughter figured Elvis was inside eating Peanut Butter Bananna sammiches.
While Tom was buying up parts in Factory Certified Sales quicker than my daughter can eat a box of my Mike & Ikes, I took the opportunity to walk next door and track down Mike Kloety, Team Arctic Race Manager. Barring the shortened race season due to COVID-19, Mike expressed his pleasure with Team Arctic results in Snocross, Cross Country and Oval racing this past winter, and is looking forward to this upcoming season.
I also learned the lucky customers who ordered 2021 ZR6000R XC 137 models (photo above) through Snowmageddon won’t be receiving them. You read that right. INSTEAD, they’ll be receiving the new ZR6000R XC race sled. The same snowmobile Team Arctic cross-country Pros like Zach Herfindahl will be racing! I can’t wait to see what they look like and learn of the changes. (Im sure this is ONE of the reasons Mike is looking forward to upcoming year)
Right now you’re thinking, so what about the Snocross race sled!? Will Team Arctic be building new ones for the upcoming season if they’re building a new XC!? I can’t say, but it wouldn’t hurt to follow these pages, as well as Arctic Cat snowmobiles pages this Fall…gnome sayin? If history has taught us anything, knowing Haydays is 78.9% happening in September, there’s probably a decent chance we’ll see a few unveils there. Hooray!
After our FCS/Race Shop visit, we journeyed across the highway to talk with Randy Adamson, owner of RV Sports which started in 1963. Randy will be retiring and closing the doors to the store. He shared many stories with us, most of which Ill share in a seperate story interview on these pages.
Riding with Tom, I learned he and Randy grew to be close friends because of the brand they love and common interests operating their dealerships. Since starting Thomas Sno Sports in 1988, Randy often mentored Tom in the early years helping with various business tips and searching out inventory to buy. For this, Tom is extremely thankful, and like myself, enjoyed talking to Randy within the store walls one last time before closing the doors.
Here, Randy poses in front of his remaining Arctic Cat inventory. If you are interested in any of these, you better act quick. (I gotta say, that 2018 ElTigre to Randys left is just lustful. Yes please.)
Randy took us through a tour of the dealership. Above, he points out some history hanging on the walls including some Cat Fest and Open House posters dating back to 1993.
Again, Ill be sharing more of Randy’s story soon, but if you are interested in buying anything from the store (including the buildings and property), you should act quick during the customer appreciation/retirement sale which ends June 30.
Our trip was so quick, I didn’t even go inside the Factory which felt really, really weird, but this simple pass-by photo made me extremely happy. Happy to see all the employee vehicles in the parking lot, and knowing the Snow and Offroad lines were running. On this day, we were told there were some blue sleds being built, while the offroad line just unloaded some fresh Wildcat Trails.
Remember to visit ArcticInsider’s website, and/or our FB and IG social channels on Fridays for a look at what is on the Factory Line. (Like you, I love those photos)
After driving by the Factory, Tom stopped at the Peder Engelstad Pioneer Village museum which is located across the highway. Tom was interested in looking at a snowmobile owned by Leon Johnson that had caught his eye, and imagination, as a young lad when he accompanied Randy Adamson on an Arctic Cat factory visit.
In a future story, Ill highlight this snowmobile, as well as an interview with Leon. If you’ve never been to this museum, I highly urge you to stop and spend an hour or two. I may have this exact number wrong, but I believe we were told there were 18 buildings to explore. We had just enough time to look at the Arctic Cat display.
On this day, a press release crossed my phone announcing BRP won a lawsuit case vs AC in Canada. As I walked by this blue beauty (above) on display at the museum, I couldnt help but think of the posturing release, then chuckle a bit thinking AC was dabbling with reverse-three wheeled on-road vehicles in the 70s. Im nearly convinced every good idea has been thought of (including rider forward chassis), we just need to look back in history and modernize it. IE: Can-Am Spyder
SIDENOTE – If you want to read the actual details on the BRP vs AC lawsuit case, visit this website link: https://decisions.fct-cf.gc.ca/fc-cf/decisions/en/item/481121/index.do. This is public information from the Federal Court. (My two cents for Canadian Consumers? Business will go on as usual. An appeal will be filed and everyone will still get their snowmobiles in Canada.
As we were looking over the Arctic Cat exhibit, I glanced towards the corner of the building and noticed something peeking out of a curtained off area resembling a “snowmobile” that looked familiar. Like seeing an old friend, I was happy to lay my peepers on the World’s Fastest Treadmill powered by a CFR 1000 engine!
Built to hype up the tagline of 2010’s “World’s Fastest” snowmobiles, then Marketing Director, John Tranby, dreamt this up and used it at events like Haydays (Photo below) and other events where I used it to launch watermelons and bags of flower at high speeds with the snowmobile media. Until now, I truly thought this marketing piece disappeared or was sent to the scrap yard. Im glad it survived and is in the good hands of the museum.
After reminiscing with the museum staff over the treadmill, Tom, myself and my daughter made proverbial tracks and headed south back to Tom’s dealership in Milaca concluding our quick trip. Im always sad to leave, as there are so many people I want to talk with. That said, Ill be back to TRF soon to share their stories with you!