A big party in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, recently celebrated 60 years of the famous Arctic Cat brand, and it did so in high style.

The 60 Years Of Arctic Cat Homecoming 2022 was held in conjunction with the 120th annual Pennington County Fair. We’re always down for a good county fair – especially if they include demo derbies, appearances from regionally famous bands (HAIRBALL!!) and an odd and interesting mix of deep fried foods. But when you mix in the Arctic Cat Homecoming, it’s a can’t miss!

Snow Goer contributing test rider, photo model, former snocross racer and all around good guy James Johnstad made the drive over to Thief River from his hometown of Beltrami, Minnesota, and he wasn’t disappointed. Below are some of the pictures he caught of the Cat celebration inside the Ralph Engelstad Arena on Saturday, July 16, 2022.

Engelstad Arena Cat
As soon as you walked into the lobby of the Ralph Engelstad Arena in Thief River Falls, you were greeted with spectacular displays of Arctic Cat’s glorious history.
Roger Skime Arctic Cat
Any version of the 2017 ZR 6000 Roger Skime Edition snowmobile was a collectors item, but this is serial number one – reserved for the legendary Cat designer himself.

Arctic Cat race sleds
Racing has a long and deep history with Arctic Cat, so you’d expect to see a lot of race sleds. From right in that front row are the No. 312 of Zach Herfindahl, the No. 55 of Bryan Dyrdahl, the No. 28 of Keith Young and the No. 30 Wildcat of Brian Sturgeon.
JC Penneys Snowmobile
There were just 200 JC Penneys Foremost snowmobiles built at the Arctic Cat factory for model year 1966, and you won’t find one in better shape than this one 56 years later!
Scorpion snowmobile
This 1981 Scorpion Sidewinder (left) was built in the Cat factory at Thief River Falls, Minnesota, after Cat acquired the brand. It was a close sibling to Cat’s own El Tigre 6000. It’s parked here next to a 1986 Pantera and a 1982 Aktiv Panther – another Thief River Falls sled that was rebadged, in this case for a Swedish brand.
PJ Wanderscheid
PJ Wanderscheid became the sport’s first four-time Eagle River World Champion on this sled in 2011.
Arctic Cat 60th
There was a lot more than just snowmobiles on display at Arctic Cat’s 60th Anniversary party: You could also check out some cool vintage patches and gear.
Kirk and Tucker Hibbert
You won’t find a father-son duo as dominant in virtually any sport as Cat legends Kirk Hibbert and Tucker Hibbert. The No. 41 is a 2001 Pro Mod sled Kirk raced, parked next to Tucker’s 2003 race buggy.
fur boots
Sometimes “classic” is another way of saying “oh my gawd, that’s outrageous!” as is the case with these classic purple fur boots. We hope, by sharing this photo, that we’re not tipping off what photographer James Johnstad has planned for his wife’s Christmas gift!
Sno Pro
These Arctic Cat Sno Pro race sleds lined one hallway, harkening back to about 1980.
Excitemobile
This “Excitemobile” was a rider-forward concept sled built by Edgar Hetteen himself. Impractical? Sure, but cool as hell. It’s now carefully protected by Dave and Barb Guenther of Antique Snowmobile Club of America fame.
Bosscat
What would any historic Arctic Cat celebration be without an appearance by one of the infamous Boss Cat speed run sleds. This one set a high mark of 125.87 mph way back in 1971.
Blair Morgan
Blair Morgan set the snowmobile world on its ear in 1997 when he showed up and changed snocross racing forever. This sled is from his first full season on the national snocross tour.
King Kat display
The quality of some of the displays at the Arctic Cat 60th Anniversary celebration was stupendous, and almost as eye-catching as the original King Kat snowmobiles!
Thomas Sno Sports
Thomas Sno Sports owner Tom Rowland’s collection of classic Cats is always a showstopper, including this green “Skinny” sled – a hand-built early prototype of the Firecat. It also features an aluminum tube frame in the front of the chassis and a custom-built lay-down engine with three-point side mounting.

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! This story is from the November 2021 issue’s Cold Tested department. Subscribe to Snow Goer now to receive issues delivered to your door or your computer for a low cost.

3 thoughts on “Arctic Cat 60th Year Homecoming, In Pictures

  • Great display of history. I was a Arctic Cat dealer during the early years through 1998.
    I sponsored the Devault family race team Dan and Ed along with father Chuck long time racers of Arctic Cat winning eagle river world championships during our time.
    Unfortunately the loss of Ed at eagle river just after announcing that this was to be the teams last championship.
    But today Dans sons carry on sled racing.
    The Arctic Cat customer is a very loyal and special group of riders hats of to all of them past present n future. Gotta love um!!
    Rick R Town power STOUGHTON WI.

    Reply
  • I sure wish I could have attended but a conflict with a side by side vacation in the Black Hills kept me away.
    What an awesome display of Arctic Cat history on display. It must have taken a LOT of phone calls to assemble that much history in one building. Congrats to all involved.

    Reply
  • I wish I would have known about this, my wife and I would have attended even though we live in Nashville, TN. I have 12 CAT’s that range from 1970 – 2019.

    Reply

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