West Yellowstone's 25th annual Snowmobile & SnoWest Expo (www.snowmobileexpo.com) is where Arctic Cat, Polaris, Ski-Doo and Yamaha will unveil their new 2016 snowmobile lineups to the public at the same location, for the first time in the Rocky Mountain West. Aftermarket parts, clothing, media and more will also be on display at the Expo hall located at the West Yellowstone Holiday Inn Conference Center.
“We are looking forward to the 25th Anniversary of the West Yellowstone Snowmobile Expo, March 12-15,” said Marge Wanner, West Yellowstone Chamber Snowmobile Events Coordinator. “It’s the best end-of-season powersports weekend in the West. Expo is kind of like a family reunion. People bring their friends, look at new stuff and come to have a good time.”
Despite warmer weather, there is plenty of snow stockpiled at the race track and City Park to create venues requiring snow. Wanner notes, “In 24 years, the Expo event has never had to cancel any activity of the World Snowmobile Expo.”
The 11th Annual Vintage Snowmobile Exhibit and Show will return again on Saturday, March 15, hosted by Western States Vintage Snowmobile Association. The Vintage Show will be located at the Expo race track on Iris Street. This annual show, competition and display is one of the largest gatherings of vintage and antique snowmobiles in the West with U.S. and Canadian participants from all over the snowbelt participating. More than 200 immaculate snowmobiles encompassing the entire spectrum of snowmobiling history are expected to participate. This year’s featured Year Class is 1974. Prizes and special awards will be given for People’s Choice, Best of Show and WSVSA Sled of the Year.
Vintage racing returns again with expanded classes, races and a specially designed course. In fact, the entire race course is being reconfigured as an oval course. WSVSA Vintage Snowmobile oval races starts on Friday at 1 p.m. and will include two qualifiers and a final. Saturday races will also offer two qualifiers and a final. Classes will include Stock and Mod single cylinder, 340 and 440 fan cooled and 340 and 440 Free Air. Races are limited to snowmobiles year 1980 and older.
A crowd favorite is the vintage “hot” laps where vintage sled drivers take to the track with an entertaining display of decorated vintage sleds, decorated and pulling an amazing array of items from dog houses to bars. Vintage hot laps are featured at 10:30 a.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Don't miss the action of head-to-head snowmobile drags races on Saturday, sanctioned by the Washington State Snowmobile Racing Association (WSSRA). Starting pads enable everyone equal start conditions, as two lanes of head-to-head racing take place, operated by MWR with ISR rules. Junior, Traction, and Non-Traction (136 x 1.25-inch tracks or bigger) classes ranging from 440 to 1000cc.
Mountain West Racing (MWR) Junior snocross racing includes Junior 10-13, Transition 300 and Transition 500. Junior snocross classes will alternate with the MWR 120 races Friday and Saturday with the Grand Western M120 Championships taking place on Saturday.
The 120 Western Grand Championship brings upcoming super stars together to own the 2015 Champion 120 Title. 120cc racing is a special event for all youngsters who compete in three different classes: 120 Stock, Speed Limited and 120 Champ. Kids from 4 to 12 years old have a chance to try out racing or gain racing experience.
The Radar Run competition returns for 2015. Radar runs are held on a straight-line 500-foot packed snow track with a 600-foot shut-down extension. Entries run one at a time. All snowmobiles and riders of all classes, eras and experience are eligible and welcome. Each class winner will be determined by the fastest speed. $10 gives you two runs. The highest speed of two runs will be considered your entry. If someone beats your speed you can “pay to play again” and try your luck at a faster speed.
Back again for the kids are free M120 snowmobile rides for kids 3-12 years of age on Friday from 3:30-5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
And, for even bigger "kids," try out the new 2016 snowmobile models. Manufacturers will be offering free demo rides. Timbersled will also be offering a first-come, first-serve demo rides for anyone that is interested in riding this special snowbike (proper riding safety gear will be required). The demo rides are located on Iris Street, just south of the race track.
Swoop Productions is back this year for another Saturday afternoon exhibition of thrilling and inspiring sport-bike freestyle shows for bike fanatics of all ages. This free show starts at 4 p.m. and will be in downtown West Yellowstone. Swoop Productions is a rider-formed company bringing the exciting spectacle of freestyle street bike and Harley Davidson stunts. Swoop Productions offers some of the most talented FMX riders in the world.
Thursday night fun includes the famous Casino Night, where anyone can become a millionaire (with funny money) and a Calcutta for the vintage racers, followed by special free concert by The Teka Brock Band sponsored by the Holiday Inn through the Big Sky Songwriter's Conference.
And, new for this year, Wild Bill Productions is producing outdoor concerts on both Friday and Saturday nights. Friday night bands range from bluegrass to solid gold country featuring The Teka Brock Band, Confederate Railroad and Blackhawk. Saturday night bands range from southern rock to wild rock’n’roll featuring The Outlaws, Warrant and Jackyl. Octane Addictions is presenting an exciting snowmobile freestyle air show in between the bands on both nights.
“We are excited about the partnership with Wild Bill Productions to offer our Expo attendees a new event,” Travis Watt, chairman of the Chamber Snowmobile Events Committee, said. “Outdoor concerts on Friday and Saturday nights are being paired with Octane Addictions Aerials. It’s the most fun weekend on snow.”
And, don’t forget to bring your snowmobile. Watt adds, “While we are experiencing unseasonably warm weather, we are still at 107 percent of snowpack. The trails are good, the high country riding is fantastic and there is plenty of snow and more coming.”
Parking is available near all Expo venues and throughout West Yellowstone. Shuttles will offer pick-ups and drop-offs from major hotels and downtown locations, including the Swoop show during the day. On Friday and Saturday nights, on-call pickup and drop-off services will be available.
For more information go to www.snowmobileexpo.com or stop by the West Yellowstone Visitor Center located at 30 Yellowstone Avenue (406-646-7701).