The face of cross-country snowmobile racing in the Upper Midwest shifted today with the announcement that the Minnesota-based United States X-Country Racing (USXC) circuit is being sold to the Wisconsin-based Cor Powersports organization.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The sale includes equipment, contracts, contacts and other items, and in the announcement from USXC it was stated, “The circuit name will remain USXC Racing with events, sponsors and crew members virtually the same.”
The move shifts ownership of the sport’s highest profile cross-country events from racing legend Brian Nelson to another longtime racer and promoter – Todd Myers, and his wife, Andrea.
In an exclusive interview with Snow Goer an hour after the announced sale, Myers said racers on the USXC should expect limited changes the first year, but bigger things going forward.
“We’re not planning any chaotic changes to schedules or anything like that,” Myers said. “The first year, we’re going to try to do things as similar as we can and not change a lot of stuff that would create a lot of chaos for people – we want to try to keep them at ease.”
The USXC circuit was started in 2012 by Brian Nelson in the wake of the demise of the United States Cross-Country (USCC) circuit after its founder, Pat Mach, died tragically in a snowmobile accident in February of 2011. Many of the circuit’s races, though, have a much longer history than even the USCC – often with other past circuits, including but not limited to the original ISOC, FANS, Heartland, MRP and more.
Meanwhile, over in Wisconsin, after competing in several different race circuits and running Sunday morning prayer services at some of them, Todd and Andrea Myers started Cor Powersports in about 2009. It has hosted many different types of racing over the years – including a lot of cross-country events mostly in the Badger state under the Cor names plus some hillclimb and hillcross events under a Midwest Extreme Snowmobile Challenge (MESC) events that crossed over into Michigan and Minnesota and qualified racers for the Jackson Hole Hill Climb.
Myers candidly admitted that there had actually been some friction between he and Nelson over the years and their competitive race circuits, but said, “I had heard about a year and a half ago that he was talking about selling, so I opened that door a little bit and told him if he was ever interested [in selling to Cor] to let me know. We talked a little bit last spring, about this same time, but we knew we weren’t in the right place to do it a year ago.”
Things got more serious in recent months, Myers said. He said he and his wife consulted with friends in the investment community, faith leaders and even some racers (while carefully being vague on the details to protect confidentiality) to work up a business plan, then discussions got significantly more serious in the last month, with an agreement in principal reached roughly three weeks ago, he said. The deal was signed last Sunday, March 15, Myers said, and it is set to become official on April 30.
Today’s press release from Brian Nelson said, “USXC would like to thank our dedicated community of participants, event sponsors and existing crew members for eight great years of cross country racing. We encourage you to support Todd and Andrea by your continued support of USXC. The circuit name will remain USXC Racing with events, sponsors and crew members virtually the same.”
We reached out to Nelson today for further comment and are awaiting a reply. In the meantime, Myers stressed that Nelson “is big on supporting us.”
“Between now and Haydays [in September], he is going to help me with the transition with venues and such to keep things going as much as we can,” Myers said. He said he already has a schedule in mind that will benefit racers, events and his circuits, but has a lot of work ahead of him – including working with individual snowmobile clubs and other parties that host the race events, setting up a new website, building on relationships within the snowmobile industry and media and more.
Plans call for the release of race schedule details by mid summer, he said, with a big appearance at Haydays. He spoke fondly of his own history with and love for cross-country racing, including at some of the now-USXC events back when they were operated by Mach and the USCC.
“Cross-country needs more help to get more exposure,” Myers said. “It is the truest form of racing when it comes to snowmobiles, the closest to what people really do every day,” and also a vital tool for testing and development for the snowmobile manufacturers, he said.
The announcement of the sale came at an odd time, with all of the insecurity of Coronavirus and its effect on the economy, Myers noted, but he stressed that the show must go on.
“As one of my racers said, with all that’s going on, this gives us something positive to look forward to,” Myers said.
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