The Unofficial Start To Winter is just around the corner: Are you ready?

That’s right, the 53rd annual Haydays Grass Drags and Swap Meet (Sept. 7-8) has crept up on us again, kicking off another countdown to winter in the Upper Midwest with the sport’s largest event, in terms of attendance.

snowmobile haydays
Buckle up, another Haydays is around the corner!

Located in Sunrise Township just east of North Branch, Minnesota, Haydays attracts an estimated crowd of 40,000 die-hard motorheads from far and wide. All vendors and swap meet displayers complete their move-in on Friday, September 6, but the real show starts early Saturday, September 7. That’s when crowds literally line up hundreds of people long outside of the gates before being allowed in at 7 a.m. – that’s 18 minutes after the local sunrise! It wraps up on Sunday later afternoon, but a lot happens before the dust settles.

So what’s all the fuss about? We’re glad you asked!

Super Swap

The first rush of people generally swarms the huge swap meet area, looking for underpriced bargains, rare finds, vintage parts and various miscellanies. Snowmobile-related items are definitely predominant, but the swap displayers typically bring anything they can find in their shed/shop/garage/basement and throw a price on it.

people at haydays
Get a good view for the sled unveilings.

Factory Displays

Another huge draw on Saturday are the snowmobile manufacturer booths – sometimes new sleds are unveiled, there are usually autograph sessions with top racers and backcountry riders and other various entertainment is held.

This year, the only announced sled unveiling so far is from Ski-Doo – at 10 a.m. sharp this year’s race sled will be introduced. Polaris sometimes has its race sled on display but doesn’t do an official unveil. Arctic Cat typically has a huge unveiling of multiple sleds at Haydays, but all has been quiet on the Cat front leading into the event this year. Well placed rumors from the racing community suggest their won’t be a new snocross race machine to unveil, but maybe a cross-country racing ZR 6000? TUESDAY UPDATE: Arctic Cat will have autograph sessions with its top racers from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, with the Alpha Axe Throwing competition and free green snow cones throughout the weekend. Yamaha typically doesn’t schedule many special events at Haydays, but does have a big display area with all of its powersports equipment.  

Ski-Doo and Polaris have all sorts of other events planned at their booths – the most high profile of which is Ski-Doo’s unveiling of their much-hyped “Escape Mountain” movie at 4:30 p.m. There are also Snow Flake Prize Machines (envision the cash tornado machines you’ve seen on game shows, except with snowflakes), the “Wheel of Misfortune” and more. See the full list from those two factories at the bottom of this story.

Haydays display
Sometimes the coolest looking sleds are actually outside of the sled factory areas.

Big Speed, Deep Mud, Big Air

Haydays originally started as a grass drag, and the incredible straight line speed of some of the world’s fastest machines will again be a big draw between the fences.

For motorheads, pretty much all of the classes in grass drags have some intrigue, so there’s never a wrong time to head to the fence and watch some action. However, when you hear the spitting-and-sputtering of the turbo sleds on the line, you might want to rush over and catch a glimpse, because they are the stars of the show, zooming down the 500-foot clay-covered course faster than anything you could imagine! Racing action starts at 9 a.m. on Saturday, with the big Shoot Out Class finals at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Past the end of the drag strip is the relative new and highly entertaining Mud Bog event. Watch the brown water fly as ATVs and UTVs in various forms of modification power through the depths! Action starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Closer to the front gate is the ever-popular UTV racing and freestyle area. There will be freestyle shows featuring snowmobiles, ATVs and dirt bikes at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday; 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Sunday. The UTV bracket racing starts up at 9 a.m. on Saturday, with the race to the final at 1:30 on Sunday.

grass drag snowmobile
Speed sells — and the Outlaw class at Haydays is worth the price of admission.

Festivities Everywhere

There is so much more to do and see at Haydays. You can wonder through the huge exhibitor area and look for deals on riding gear, interesting new products, trailers, snowmobile clubs, performance parts and more – you could even pick yourself up a great deal on a magazine subscription (hint, hint!).

Meanwhile, food vendors scattered throughout the grounds sell an assortment of completely unhealthy but oh-so-tasty deep fried food and treats. There just may be a handful of places that will serve you an adult beverage or two as well.

And, we’ve saved the best for last: Veteran snowmobilers will want to come to the all-new Snow Goer booth if they are interested in getting some cool old magazine dirt cheap! We’re emptying out our back room and bringing all sorts of magazines from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s to sell at below market value. Pick up an issue that has your favorite sled on the cover, get a collectors issue or just relive some memories through the pages of not just Snow Goer, but also Snowmobile and Snow Week magazines.

Stop by the new Snow Goer booth to get your mitts on pieces of snowmobiling history, through the pages of Snow Goer, Snow Week, Snowmobile and more.

SKI-DOO Schedule of events:  

Saturday

All day – Exclusive Sled and Promotion; Ski-Doo Ambassadors Meet & Greet; Spin the Wheel of (Mis)Fortune and Win; Can-Am RC car off-road course

10 a.m.  – 2019 Ski-Doo Race Sled Reveal

10:30 a.m. – Ski-Doo Racer Meet & Greet in Gear Zone

10:30-11:30 a.m. – Exclusive Blair Morgan T-Shirt Signing

4-4:30 p.m. – Escape Mountain pre-party

4:30-5 p.m. ­– Escape Mountain World Premiere

Sunday

All day – Exclusive Sled and Promotion; Ski-Doo Ambassadors Meet & Greet; Spin the Wheel of (Mis)Fortune and Win; Can-Am RC car off-road course

10-11 a.m. –  Exclusive Blair Morgan T-Shirt Signing See you at the show!

POLARIS Schedule of events:  

Saturday

All day –  Snowflake Prize Machine; Print on Demand Tee Shirt Station; SnowCheck Swag Bag Pick Up-Gift for loyal customers.

10 a.m. – Meet and Greet with Brock Hoyer(Timbersled)

11 a.m. – Dan Adams Vlog Launch

12 p.m. – Chris Burandt Sled Seminar

1 p.m. – Team Polaris Autograph Session

3 p.m. –  Sled Giveaway/Paul Thacker-Veterans Ride Winner

Sunday

All day –  Snowflake Prize Machine; SnowCheck Swag Bag Pick Up-Gift for loyal customers.

11 a.m. – Chris Burandt Sled Seminar

ARCTIC CAT Schedule of Events

Saturday

7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. to close – Free-to-join Alpha Axe Throwing Competition and Shred The Ice free green snow cones.

1:30-3 p.m. Saturday – Team Arctic autograph session with top riders

Sunday

7 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Free-to-join Alpha Axe Throwing Competition and Shred The Ice free green snow cones.

Editor’s Note: Every issue of Snow Goer magazine includes in-depth sled reports and comparisons, aftermarket gear and accessories reviews, riding destination articles, do-it-yourself repair information, snowmobile technology and more! Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive issues delivered to your door 6 times per year for a low cost.

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One thought on “2019 Haydays Preview: Swap, Speed, Sled Unveiling And More

  • Snow Week! Bring it Back!

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