Arctic Cat will be celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary with a two-day party in Thief River Falls on July 29th and 30th. Here’s what’s going on!
Arctic Cat’s 50th marks a major milestone which began in 1961 when Edgar Hetteen founded Polar Manufacturing in Thief River Falls. There he began producing snowmobiles that reflected his dreams. One year later he changed the company name to Arctic Cat, and began a series of innovations that transformed hulking snow “machines” into small, playful snowmobiles.
Arctic Cat has two days of non-stop activities planned with the central location sharing space between the Pennington County Fairgrounds and the Ralph Engelstad Arenas. Highlights will include factory tours on Friday and Saturday, the world’s largest Arctic Cat product display called “Years of the Cat” which will be open to all Arctic Cat – related products regardless of model or year, an Arctic Cat-only swap meet, ATV and UTV demo tracks, special 50th Anniversary clothing and memorabilia will be sold, autograph sessions with Team Arctic heroes, race truck displays and several events for kids, plus music, food and much more.
Hotels are already filling up quickly so make your reservation now. For a listing of local lodging and camping opportunities in Thief River Falls, please log on to www.visittrf.com. For other nearby areas: www.visitcrookston.com, www.visitgrandforks.com and www.shootingstar.com.
If you are interested in the swap meet or showcasing product in the “Years of the Cat” display, please contact Joel Hallstrom at [email protected].
Schedule of Events
Arctic Cat Factory Tours
Friday, July 29th, 8am-5pm
Saturday, July 30th, 9am-3pm
For 50 years Arctic Cat has been a potent source of ideas that originated from the many talented, passionate, people who have filled the Factory walls in Thief River Falls. Walk the same yellow lines they have on and in-depth tour of the world’s best power sport manufacturer.
Friday Kick-Off Events at Pennington County Fairgrounds
Start Arctic Cat’s 50th Celebration on Friday, July 29th at the Pennington County Fairgrounds where the Vintage and Product Displays will be open from 11am-9pm in the REA and Huck Arenas; don’t forget to take a demo ride on a 2012 Arctic Cat ATV or Prowler from 11am-3pm. Get transported back in time with a special fashion show starting with mid 1960’s Arctic Cat garments at 4pm. Cap off the day with a special 50th Souvenir from the Curling Club store location and then settle in for the official Kick-Off ceremony starting at 5pm followed by a killer performance from Americana legends, The WoodPicks, followed by high-energy Eagle Creek at 8pm-11pm singing all your country, foot-stomping’ favorites. All your favorite food and beverages will be available for purchase from a multitude of on-site vendors. All displays, concerts and parking are free of charge.
Saturday Pennington County Fairgrounds Main Events
The early bird gets the worm…or the Cat. Make sure to hit the aisles of the Arctic Cat-only Swap meet at 8am-4pm for the Cat treasure you’ve been looking for; (There is a small sellers fee collected at the gate for sellers only) Free admission for buyers. Bring your ATV or Prowler and join tour guide and ATV enthusiast Phil Morud, plus the mayor, on a tour of beautiful Thief River Falls. City use permits will be on site and the tour runs Saturday 10am until Noon. The ride will begin in front of the Ralph Engelstad Arena at 9:30am. Get your 50th Collector’s Edition book autographed at the Racer Get-Together from 2pm-5pm. Take your kids to the PlayLand and let them bounce from 11am-6pm. When the sun goes down, let loose with an encore performance from the Eagle Creek Band starting at 6pm-9pm followed by Nashville Recording artists Restless Heart at 9:30pm. At 11pm sharp, cap off the celebration with an Arctic Cat Fireworks Display. All your favorite food and beverages will be available for purchase from a multitude of on-site vendors. All displays, concerts and parking are free of charge.
Years of the Cat Vintage Displays
Friday, July 29th, 11am-9pm
Saturday, July 30th, 11am-9pm
The world’s foremost Arctic Cat collections will be on display at the Ralph Engelstad and Huck arenas located on the Pennington County Fairgrounds. Returning for the first time since they left the factory in the early 70’s, you won’t want to miss the awe-inspiring BossCat trio of record setting snowmobiles owned by the Warning family of New Lenox, Illinois. The most comprehensive collection of 70’s-era race sleds will be on display from Minnesotan’s Ische and Kuster, while Michigan collector, Jeff Johnson will have an impressive array of prestigious late model race sleds from legends like Kirk Hibbert. If ArcticWear interests you, make sure to check out the amazing ensemble of garments that span the mid 1960’s through 1981 in the Kranz collection. See these and many more vintage collections both days. If you would like to display any Arctic Cat product regardless of year or condition, please contact Joey Hallstrom, [email protected]. All Arctic Cat machines are welcome there is NO registration fee and NO judging!
Race Hauler Displays
Friday, July 29th, 11am-9pm
Saturday, July 30th, 11am-9pm
Not only will the World’s greatest Team Arctic racers be on hand with their snowmobiles and autograph pens, their race haulers will also be on display. It’s not often you get a firsthand look at the inside of a Team Arctic Factory hauler or Hibbert Racing’s semi with several of Tucker and Kirk’s championship winning sleds, technology and clothing on display. 4-time oval champion PJ Wanderscheid, Christian Brothers and Sportech Racing will also be on hand. Don’t forget to check out the original race hauler that carried BossCat I around the country in the 1970’s, owned by Tom Ische. Check out the Bass Pro/Arctic Cat #1 Sprint Cup NASCAR driven by Jamie McMurray, plus the 2009 pole position Knoxville National Danny Lasoski, Donny Schatz and Tony Stewart sprint cars.
50th Anniversary Collectibles Store Pennington County Fairgrounds Curling Club
Friday, July 29th, 11am-10pm
Saturday, July 30th, 11am-9:30pm
To celebrate 50 years of kicking butt and looking good in ArcticWear, Arctic Cat will be rolling out several limited edition items that may not be available after the event, so don’t wait. For starters, purchase the all-new 50th Collector’s Edition book highlighting 50 years of the brands most significant vehicles, legends, heroes and inter-mixed with some of Arctic Cats most memorable advertisements. Don’t forget your ArcticWear! Perhaps a 50th Anniversary leather jacket, sweatshirt, t-shirt, caps and much, much more.
Several options are available if you would like to camp while attending the Arctic Cat 50th Anniversary. Camping will be available on the 50th Anniversary Celebration grounds on a first come first served basis. Camping is also available at the following locations:
- Thief River Falls City Campground (Full hook-ups), 1 mile South of Fairgrounds
- Thief River Falls Petro Pumper Campground (Full Hook-ups), 1 mile West of Fairgrounds, 218-681-3546
- Thief River Falls Fairgrounds (Limited hook-ups)
- St. Hilaire Campground (Full Hook-ups), 7 Miles South of Fairgrounds
- Red Lake Falls Voyageur’s View Campground & Tubing (Full Hook-ups), 16 miles South of Fairgrounds
We have activities for all ages. The kid’s playland will have a full assortment of play areas, bounce castles and games. The Thief River Falls High School Concert Club will supervise the playland to ensure everyone has a great, but safe time! PlayLand will be open Friday 11am – 8pm and Saturday 11am-6pm.