Thousands of people spent three days celebrating 50 years of great outdoor experiences during the regional Polaris 50th Anniversary Celebration, which was held on June 18-20 in the companyâ€™s hometown of Roseau, Minnesota.
It was 50 years ago this summer that a Roseau farm equipment and metal shop incorporated as Polaris Industries. Within two years the company had built its first snowmobile and 50 years later it still thrives in Roseau and beyond as a $1.6 billion international manufacturer of snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), marine products, Victory Motorcycles and utility vehicles.
To celebrate the Polaris 50th, visitors from across North America and around the world filled the small town along the Canadian border for a weekend full of special activities.
Busy Schedule of Activities in Roseau
The 50th celebration kicked off in Roseau on Friday night, June 18, with a historical review that featured vintage video clips and rich storytelling from long-time employees. Panelists who presented anecdotes from company history included original partners Edgar Hetteen and David Johnson, and Mike Hetteen, a son of the third original partner, the late Allan Hetteen. The past and the present were represented by Harley Jensen and Tom Tiller. Jensen is the oldest living Polaris snowmobile customer, having purchased sled No. 2 in early 1956, while Tiller is the current President and CEO of Polaris.
That same evening, popular Canadian recording artist April Wine, packed nearly a thousand people into the streets of Roseau as they played several of their popular hits which made them rock icons during the late 70s and early 80s.
Saturday morning started with a massive pancake breakfast followed by an opening ceremony packed with local and state dignitaries and the largest parade in Roseau County history. The parade culminated at the county fairgrounds, which were soon abuzz with enthusiasts enjoying a full slate of activities and attractions. Vintage Polaris products were on display and current products such as ATVs and RANGER utility vehicles were being enjoyed by young and old riders on demo rides.
Polaris freestyle phenom Brian Britt wowed the crowds by launching his 440 PRO XR snowmobile off a steep ramp and performing radical aerial stunts during the 70-foot flight to the landing ramp.
Saturday night was once again capped by a street dance followed by a fireworks display. A golf scramble and hole-in-one contest was held Sunday morning.