Sno Barons Race Director Steve Seviola has a great attitude these days. A few weeks ago, he wasn’t so upbeat. His snowmobile club was getting ready to host the 42nd annual Haydays Grass Drags and Swap Meet, but it was mid-August and the club hadn’t received a permit for the event.
A complaint about dust came from at least one person who lives near the grounds in Columbus, Minnesota, and that put the event in jeopardy. Fortunately for the club, vendors and nearly 40,000 attendees, a permit was granted and the event went off September 6-7 at its long-standing site on the north side of the Twin Cities metro area.
Seviola isn’t the only person who’s happy. Attendance was up, he said, and vendors saw more traffic and sold a lot of items. “We sold out of one-day wrist bands on Saturday. We haven’t done that in 10 years,” he said. Seviola credits event success to perfect weather on Saturday and the attendance of cross-country racer Todd Palin, who is the husband of vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin.
Todd Palin took part in the Republican National Convention in St. Paul and extended his trip to check out snowmobiling’s largest event and sign autographs for race fans. “He wanted to come to Haydays for 15 years,” Seviola said. “This was the perfect opportunity for him to see it.”
Snow Goer magazine unveiled its selection for 2009 Snowmobile of the Year Saturday: Ski-Doo’s MX Z TNT 600 H.O. E-TEC.
Arctic Cat and Polaris showed off new iron with their Sno Pro 600 and 600 IQ Race Sled, respectively. Yamaha showcased a record-setting sled and its driver. Robert Davis drove his 2005 Venture 12,163 miles in 60 days, a feat recognized by the “Guinness Book of Records.”
The next Haydays is set for September 12-13, 2009, but its location is up in the air. The Sno Barons owns 145 acres in Sunrise Township, which is about 30 miles north of Columbus. The site offers more parking space and room for manufacturers to host snowmobile and ATV test rides, but infrastructure still needs to be built, Seviola said.