2015 World Snowmobile Expo wrap-up

It was a wild weekend of snowmobile action in West Yellowstone, Montana

by Kirsten Armleder

Reagan Sieg airing it out on a Timbersled snow bike.
Each day at the expo was capped off with a music concert and freestyle show. Kirsten Armleder photo

West Yellowstone, Montana, was the place for sledders (myself included) to be March 13 to 15. This small town that sits on the western edge of Yellowstone National Park played host to the 25th annual World Snowmobile Expo.

Intended to be a final hurrah of the season, the World Snowmobile Expo brings together a wide variety of industry professionals, riders and racers.

Sturgis on snow

New to the expo this year were the Wild Bill Octane Nights.

Two nights of music combined with a freestyle show, the Wild Bill Octane Nights featured the Teka Brock Band, Confederate Railroad, Blackhawk, The Outlaws, Warrant and the legendary rock ’n’ roll band Jackyl—whose lead singer, Jesse Dupree, worked up the crowd by donning and later inflating an avalanche airbag on stage.

Lead guitarist for the Outlaws plays a riff at the snowmobile expo.
The Outlaws, a southern country rock band, opened the concert on Saturday night. Kirsten Armleder photo

Pro snowmobilers Willie Elam and Sam Rogers played the freestyle show and their performances were nothing less than stellar. Reagan Sieg also made the trek from Vernon, B.C., to wow the crowds on his Timbersled snow bike.

It was Sturgis on snow and according to Tyler Johnson, one of the show’s organizers, the event was a smashing success and it’s only going to get bigger and better in the years to come.

Full-throttle races

Racing was another big highlight. Just about every competitive aspect of the sport was represented, from kids 120-cc and junior snocross to drags to vintage oval races. Non-racers could even bring their sleds out on the drag strip for the radar runs and see what speeds they could reach.

Kids racing snocross on 120-cc snowmobiles in West Yellowstone.
The kids 120-cc snocross races were a blast to watch. Monte Smith photo

Demo rides were put on by Timbersled Products, and yours truly had her first experience on a snow bike. A game changer? You bet.

From old sleds to blown tires

The Western States Vintage Snowmobile Association held its 12th Annual Vintage Snowmobile Roundup at the Expo, which brought over 100 vintage sled gurus out with their polished masterpieces.

Vintage snowmobile oval racers round a turn at West Yellowstone.
Track conditions weren't ideal for the vintage oval racers, but they still put on a good show. Monte Smith photo

For the two-wheeled enthusiasts, Swoop Productions put on a freestyle motorcycle demonstration that ended with a burnout show and tires being blown right off their wheels.

The Holiday Inn Convention Center was home base for the expo. Inside, attendees could get their first look at next year’s sleds and browse plenty of aftermarket products, gear and apparel. If it had anything to do with snowmobiling, it was here. Many of the booths had great end-of-season sales too.

A streetbike rider does a burnout.
From stoppies to wheelies to burnouts, it was impressive what the streetbike riders could do. Kirsten Armleder photo

It was a total sledding extravaganza, but the biggest highlight of the expo was being with others who share my passion for the sport. Sure, we have different opinions and sometimes we argue, but all brand loyalty, riding styles and personal preferences aside, we are a tribe, and no matter where we live, it’s the feeling we get when thumb meets throttle that unites us all. Here’s to next winter and the adventures it will bring!

Special thanks to

The Hibernation Station served as our home base for the expo. Located just a couple of blocks from downtown West Yellowstone (and the gate to Yellowstone National Park), The Hibernation Station boasts over 40 rustic log cabins with modern amenities and get this, snowmobiling right from your doorstep.

The entrance to The Hibernation Station in West Yellowstone.
The Hibernation Station features rustic log cabins with modern amenities. Kirsten Armleder photo

Inside our cabin, there was plenty of room to hang riding gear and the staff were friendly and helpful. It is a great place to stay for someone looking to get the most out of a West Yellowstone experience.

To see more photos, visit the 2015 World Snowmobile Expo photo gallery on Flickr

Dream come true

Wild Bill Octane Nights are the subsequent dream of a local West Yellowstone man named Bill Oldroyd who unfortunately lost his life in a car accident one year ago. After his death, his daughter, Katrina Mann, partnered with Tyler Johnson of Octane Addictions and together, they formed Wild Bill Productions.

Their first event, the Wild Bill Octane Nights, was a success but the goal was not only to bring Oldroyd’s dream to fruition, but also to breathe new life into the expo. Johnson said they succeeded at both.

“Attendance at the expo was up, the exhibitors were happy and the town was ecstatic,” said Johnson. “We put endless amounts of hours into this and Katrina and I are so excited about next year.” 

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