Many of you reading this may have attended a snowmobile show over the past few months. Perhaps it was at Hay Days, the world’s largest snowmobile grass drags, or maybe it was out on the East Coast, at Race Into Winter! in Epping, N.H. Who knows, maybe we even crossed paths at the Snowmobile USA Shows in the Midwest, or at Toronto Snowmobile & ATV Show in Ontario, Canada. Regardless of where you went, I hope that that show was everything you had hoped it would be, and that your hard earned money was well-spent on a new toy, gear or accessories for the upcoming season.
For a minute though, I wanted to share a different perspective about snowmobile shows with you. It might be the side you haven’t seen (or maybe you have), but it’s the side that I think we all need to know about. On one side, we saw the sparkling new sleds, epic videos, freestyle shows and cool product demonstrations; but on the other side of that were the folks who worked tirelessly to plan, organize and facilitate that show.
At one of these events, I’m sure you chatted with someone working in a booth. Though you may not have realized it at the time, it was likely that person who packed up a suitcase, kissed their family goodbye and set out for a grueling, weeks-long show tour. He or she may have been up until the wee hours of the morning setting up that booth, and maybe had 10 minutes to check in with their family before that loud booming voice on the loudspeaker announced the opening of the show.
It was that person on the other side of the table that didn’t eat lunch because he or she would rather talk to you than take a break. Eight hours, 10 hours, 12 hours or more – standing, talking, selling. After the show each night, that same person may have skipped drinks out with other vendors to instead catch up on the dozens of unanswered e-mails sitting in their inbox, or better yet, sleep.
We all remember that person, at that booth, at that show. There is always that one salesperson that stands out, but why? Well, it’s because we remember the knowledge they had, and the passion in their eyes when they spoke about their product or love of snowmobiling. Despite those weeks away from home, long hours at the show, lack of sleep and just overall exhaustion, that person in that booth was there not just because it was required by the job, but also because of a shared love for the snowmobile industry and desire for it to succeed.
The point of this article isn’t to make you feel bad about that person you talked to (trust me, I know we all have tough jobs at times); rather, it’s to share the kindred spirit that folks in the snowmobile industry tend to have. I know, because I’ve been in the booth, working those long hours. After talking to what feels like thousands of people, and feeling like your feet are ready to fall off, there is always that one customer that just makes your day. They share a story about how snowmobiling changed their life, and suddenly we are reminded why we work around the clock to ensure that these shows are a huge success.
Sure, we all hope to make a buck so we can keep our jobs, and feed our families, but above that, we want this industry to prosper and we want to ensure snowmobilers like you can continue to enjoy the sport safely for years to come. It’s because of you that we do what we do. It is all of you fellow sledheads, newbies, trail riders, and backcountry riders that have something to share with us at these shows. You’ve tested the products, ridden the sleds, crashed a time or two, and so it is your wisdom combined with industry experts that is what makes these shows a fun time for us. Suddenly the long hours don’t seem so bad.
Bittersweet is the only way I can describe the end of snowmobile show season. While I’m looking forward to a break (and some riding!), I’m humbled by the folks I met, and the workers who put their blood, sweat and tears into making sure the events were successful. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to the industry, and thank you to snowmobile show-goers for your stories, excitement and energy. The snow is starting to fall, the sleds are getting prepped, and we are all ready to rock. Snowmobile season is here, and it’s time to play!
- Jessica Kline,