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Runner-up Nominations

Polaris Industry Founders The three men who founded Polaris Industries, brothers Alan and Edgar Hetteen, and David Johnson opened a whole new world of winter entertainment when they invented the snowmobile. The snowmobile has not only been entertaining but has assisted people in the northern regions of the US and Canada to travel in a more convient and safer way.
~Charleen Haugen, Roseau, MN

Edgar Hetteen Grandfather of snowmobiling Invented the snowmobile, Polaris snowmobiles, Arctic Cat snowmobiles, and ASV Track-Truck - skidsteers.
~Richard Will, Cohasset, MN

With Minnesota having a long and wonderful winter, the snowmobile enabled Minnesotans the ability to enjoy the great outdoors during the wintertime. Let it snow, let it snow, let it SNOW!!!
~Perry and Connie Marcus, Coon Rapids, MN

Edgar Hetteen Edgar is the founder of Polaris Industries and Arctic Cat. His development and marketing of the snowmobile in the early 1960s led to a revolution in how Minnesotans view winter. Instead of northern Minnesota becoming a morgue during the winter months, we now have tens of thousands of residents trailering to northern Minnesota to ride 1,000s of miles of marked and groomed trails. Snowmobiling contributes millions and millions of dollars to countless small businesses throughout the state. Of the hundreds of manufacturers that started in the business, only four are left, and two of those are major employers in northern Minnesota. Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls and Polaris in Roseau.

Today, snowmobiling stretches from the mountains of Idaho to the hills of Vermont, and throughout northern Europe as well. Edgar's efforts to promote snowmobiling as another way to experience the beauty of Minnesota in the winter is the stuff of legends.
~Steve Bethke, New Prague, MN

An invention that can go beyond recreation and actually cause shifts in many traditional northern cultures deserves to be on the big 150 list. Such is the case with the snowmobile.

There are disputes over the origins of this form of transportation--Wisconsin, Minnesota and Canada claim to be where it was first invented in the 1920s. However, everyone agrees that the first modern machine was introduced by Minnesota-business Polaris.

The snowmobile is more than a recreational tool or a way to combine winter poker with driving from bar to bar. It can produce important cultural change. Several anthropological articles have demonstrated how the introduction of the snowmobile has meant major alterations in traditional groups such as the Sami herders.
~Steve Trimble, St. Paul, MN

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