Hay Days Grass Drags and Swap Meet 2016

On September 9th I arrived at the Sno Baron’s Hay Days Grassdrags and Swap Meet in North Branch, Minnesota for their 50th Anniversary show. The event runs Sept. 10-11 for the public but media, swappers and vendors start arriving Friday morning at 1am. My two friends and I made the 15hr+ drive each with no complaints, its well worth the trip! 

With humble beginnings in 1966 as a small town snowmobile club’s swap meet the event has grown to become the biggest snowmobile event in the world. Every year over 50,000 fans attend along with over 2,000 swappers spread out over 30 acres and more than 200 major manufacturers, aftermarket companies, and dealers have booths at the event. Not to mention the hundreds of athletes who attend the event to race snowmobiles during the grass drags, compete in the Terracross Side-by-Side race, showcase their talents in the FMX freestyle show, sign autographs at their sponsor booths and to attend the famous Fox after party on Saturday and the Thunderstruck film premier on Friday night. 

Encompassing over 180 acres Hay Days is one of those shows where you literally can’t see it all and has become considered a “can’t miss event” for the thousands of snowmobile enthusiast from across North America and even the world. This year in particular being the 50th Anniversary we saw even more people in attendance (numbers not released yet). Fans from Canada make the drive down, Swedish and European fans fly across the ocean and thousands more from across the United States make the trip as well. With campgrounds and overnight parking set-up as close to the event as possible everyone has a place to stay to enjoy the event.  

Hay Day’s has a massive set-up spanning their 180acres with an insane amount of food and beverage vendors, shower and bathroom set-ups and entertainment galore outside the standard Swap Meet and Vendor fun. In 2015 Hay Day’s introduced Terracross SxS racing to the venue with extraordinary results. Spectators are now able to watch not only pro sxs racers take to the track but also industry celebrities from all walks of life; professional skateboarder and satellite radio host Jason Ellis, Trophy Truck driver and host of Down and Dirty radio Jim Beaver, X-Games Medalist and backcountry snowmobiler Chris Burandt, the first female to backflip a full-sized dirtbike and multiple Guinness World record holder Jolene Van Vugt from Nitro Circus, the first female Stadium Super Trucks racer Sarah Price, Rally Car Champion Brent Lee, Playboy Bunny and UTV racer Katie Vernola and Nitro Circus athlete and the first Paraplegic to backflip a dirtbike Bruce Cook, just to name a few of the celebrities. 

Every year Hay Days pushes to have something new added to the show. In 2015 Hay Day’s showcased a BMX stunt group and for the 50th Anniversary in 2016 Hay Days brought in snowcross racer, 7 time X-Games medalist and two record distance jumps holder Levi LaValle to make a 200ft+ ramp to ramp jump on his snowmobile. Every year it’s a new experience bringing back the regular attendees and intriguing new people to make the trip to Hay Days. 

The regular attractions combined with the Hay Day’s teams attempts to continuously push the boundaries to grow their event every year truly shows. The hundreds of staff are always positive, excited and helpful. Site maps and time charts are handed out at the gates helping to show everyone where to go and when. The giveaways and contests put on by Hay Day’s and its vendors, the constant events and appearances by pro-athletes, product test rides, RC car track, the newest products and safety equipment demonstrations along with musical performances keeps the entertainment flowing throughout every minute of the day. The entertainment package is so heavily packed that it is impossible to see it all even while attending both days of the event. I can vouch from experience; it takes over 10hrs just to walk the entire Swap Meet section alone. 

The opening ceremony for Hay Day’s occurs on their grass drag field and includes a fly-over by US Warplanes and this year the entire Hay Day’s gathering had a moment of silence in honor of the September 11th attacks at 11:50am Sunday morning. Hay Day’s truly is the best snowmobile event in the world as they continue to expand into new markets by including the ATV and SxS world and embracing their roots by staying true to their snowmobile fans. See you in 2017 Hay Day’s <3

My top 100 photos: https://www.facebook.com/BackcountryMotorsportsMedia/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1142352185835026 
Drone video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCLpwIkincw 
Dennis Kirk 2016 Hay Days recap video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsgulhKXZwk 
509 coverage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv2ryODbqbM