Hard to believe the official launch of the coming 23/24 snowmobile season – Minnesota’s iconic Hay Days – is less than a month away.
If you haven’t ever attended Hay Days, let me suggest you put it on your bucket list and make plans to go this year. I get asked loads of questions about Hay Days, year round, from people planning to attend for the first time. The number one question I’m regularly and consistently asked is: How big is it?
After spending too much time on emails and the phone explaining the height, width and length of the 180-acre facility, here is my all-purpose answer, “If I told you how big Hay Days is you wouldn’t believe me anyway – and you’ll figure I’m lying.” How’s that for an answer?
Yes, Hay Days is big. In fact, it is the hands-down biggest consumer event in the snowmobile industry. Here’s more. I suspect Hay Days is the largest attended consumer show event, either indoor or outdoor, in the whole powersports industry. The only thing we’ve seen that’s bigger are deep south boat shows.
Making this year’s edition of the event even more attractive to witness is the arrival of Ski-Doo’s MX-Z X-RS 850 Turbo R. Even though the Grass Drag part of the event is still alive and kicking, Hay Days has become so much more than Grass Drags.
As a result of this seminal part of the weekend not being the ultimate attraction it once was, this year may be different. Not to say there isn’t enthusiasm for Hay Days Grass Drags; there is! However, there are so many other powersport activities including snowmobile, ATV and motorcycle freestyle events and the events that have really grown in popularity the past five years – SxS stadium racing and ATV mud racing – to watch at the enormous Hay Days facility.
Back to Ski-Doo’s Turbo. I predict if the new Ski-Doo X-RS Turbo and the Polaris 850 Indy BOOST are allowed in the stock 850 class there won’t be enough fence trackside for people to line for a front row viewing location.
There hasn’t been as much excitement for a new consumer available, production snowmobile than there is for these new, 2-stroke trail turbos, in over a decade. We’ll update you when we can decipher the eligible entries listed by the Sno Barons.
Next snowmobile Grass Drag class to watch this year will be Stock 600. For many years this class was the benchmark at Hay Days. The past few years the lack of anything substantially new in the 600 class (I didn’t say 650!) has calmed crowds’ anticipation of the annual 600 stock shootout. With Arctic Cat unveiling the new Catalyst 600 this time last year its all new 600 class sled will be getting heroic attention.
Okay, so Grass Drags are admittedly not the center of everything at Hay Days. However, this year they may again rise to be one of Hay Days most popular events.
Hay Days 2023 is September 9 and 10 in North Branch, MN. Visit haydays.com for more information.