Monstrous powersports parts distributor and owner of many top brands Western Power Sports has been sold to Arrowhead Engineered Products – a company that itself was recently sold to a huge private equity fund. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed, but this deal will likely be one of the biggest on record in powersports that doesn’t include a major, whole-goods manufacturer.
The name Western Power Sports (WPS) may not be immediately familiar to all sledheads, though many may know them as one of the most powerful distributors in powersports that feeds aftermarket parts to dealerships and performance shops. You may be more familiar, though, with some of the WPS-exclusive house brands – including Fly Racing, Gmax and Scorpion/EXO helmets, Alpinestars, SP1 and Rale snowbikes, among others. The company is based in Boise, Idaho, but it maintains seven distribution centers across the country and have more than 150 sales reps and 12,000 customers.
Arrowhead Engineered Products, meanwhile, is a part of a big group of companies that fall under the All Balls Racing Group that includes Vertex Pistons, Cylinder Works, Hot Cams, Hot Rods, Pivot Works, Tiger Lights and a whole bunch of hard parts and electric parts for snowmobiles, motorcycles, ATV/UTVs and other powersports products. They also make and distribute products in the golf cart, outdoor power equipment, agriculture and arborist markets. They make and distribute many aftermarket parts, and are also a supplier of hard parts to the big powersports manufacturers.
What They Said
The day of the deal was announced, longtime WPS President Craig Shoemaker said his goodbyes in a video release (see below). “The industry is my passion and my love,” Schoemaker said. “I’ve been the owner of Western Powersports for 21 years but I’ve been working here for 38 years, since I first started at a very young age.” He will be leaving the company immediately to pursue other interests, though it sounds like he still may dabble with some of the sub-brands.
Shoemaker will be replaced at the helm of the WPS business by Steve Lester, a former controller at WPS who recently stepped up to the role of chief operating officer. In that same video, Lester said, “The culture at Western Powersports will continue to live on. It will continue to exist and we will continue to add to that culture as well.” Later, in a press release, he added, “Through the sale process, we spoke with several quality companies that expressed interest in WPS. Arrowhead was the only company with an excellent cultural fit and matched our commitment to customer service.”
Officials at Blaine, Minnesota-based Arrowhead said it would be “business as usual” at the WPS headquarters in Boise, in terms of day-to-day operations, but the combined forces of the companies should allow for future growth.
“What we loved about Western Powersports is the passion they have around powersports, and how their sales force are all riders of the vehicles they are selling parts and equipment for,” said John Mosunic, CEO of Arrowhead Engineered Products. “Where we think we add value to the equation is we are outstanding at buying product, sourcing it, reverse engineering it and bringing that product to market in the aftermarket. We are also really good at distribution and we are fantastic at financial management. So, we’ve built a very profitable company and we’re intending to take and bring more and more products to the end user. “
Arrowhead was itself purchased in a deal announced August 31, 2021, by the Genstar Capital private equity firm out of San Francisco. Genstar isn’t some johnny-come-lately money company, though – it’s been around for more than 30 years and has $33 billion in assets.