Penned by Randy Harrison, Sep 28, 2002

INTRODUCTION

The year was 1959 and the twin communities of Crosby and Ironton Minnesota were in decline. Little more than villages, the cities were still reeling after losing hundreds of iron ore mining jobs. Worldwide demand for steel, a major byproduct of the ore, had been in steady decline ever since the end of World War II and the cessation of hostilities with the North Koreans. It was in this difficult environment that three simple men came together, not to build a snowmobile powerhouse, but to simply survive.

FOUNDERS

Glen E. Gutzman – A life-long resident of central Minnesota, Glen was born in 1925 and graduated from Crosby-Ironton High School in 1943.  After attending the Army Air Corp training school, Glen became involved with the National Guard, managing the Crosby Armory for many years and becoming an accomplished pilot.  In the mid-1950’s Glen began experimenting with and marketing aluminum-based air-sleds, predecessors to the Scorpion snowmobile.  A talented mechanic, astute businessman and salesperson, Glen served as Trail-A-Sled, Inc.’s President and guided the firm's sales and marketing efforts through the company's eventual purchase by J.B. Fuqua. After the Fuqua acquisition, Glen was involved in a number of business ventures, most notably a successful gravel and ready-mix operation he ran until his retirement. He now splits his time between Minnesota and Arizona.

Eugene F. "Stub" Harrison – Born in 1906, Stub sent his entire life on central Minnesota’s Cuyuna Range.  Although poorly educated, Stub was involved in a number of business interests, including a modestly successful wild rice processing facility he owned and operated for many years in north-east Crosby.  During the off-season, he generally employed himself as an independent painting contractor.  Born with a craftsman's fine eye for detail and design, Stub was also an accomplished taxidermist and sculptor.  Serving as Trail-A-Sled, Inc.'s Vice President, Stub provided financial stability to the fledgling company and his association with Duluth-based entrepreneur Jeno Paulucci was pivotal in garnering a crucial SBA loan to fund the firm's rapid ascent. Heading Trail-A-Sled, Inc.'s fiberglass operation, Stub also defined the firm's unique look and sassy designs - destined to become TAS staples in the years that followed.  Once the Fuqua acquisition was completed, Stub enjoyed a few quiet years of retirement, remaining in his small single-bedroom home and nurturing his love of the great outdoors.  He also, together with his son Dick, formed Harrison & Son, a successful real estate development firm based in central Minnesota.  Stub succumbed to cancer in 1976.  Stub appears in the following images:  - May 18, 1976 - 70 years

Richard E. "Dick" Harrison – The only child of Stub Harrison, Dick was born in 1933 to a family of limited financial resources. Quickly tiring of formal schooling, Dick quit school in the 10th grade to pursue a career in trucking.  Through his own initiative, he became an accomplished mechanic and worked a wide range of odd jobs in Minneapolis and on the Mesabi Range before helping his father refurbish a neglected wild rice processing plant in northeast Crosby, Minnesota. Dick’s exploits with hobby air-sleds impressed Glen Gutzman and the two, along with Stub joined forces in 1959 when Trail-A-Sled, Inc. was formed (with Dick serving as Secretary-Treasurer). Dick’s mechanical and design expertise birthed the firm’s patented rubber track and numerous additional innovations. Following the Fuqua acquisition, Dick reinvented himself as a farsighted real estate developer and through Harrison & Son, he remains active in that capacity today.  A member of the International Snowmobile Hall of Fame and recipient of the Allan Hetteen Award of Merit, Dick now splits his time between Minnesota and Florida. He, along with his family are active participants in the burgeoning vintage snowmobile hobby.

BEGINNINGS

In the late 1950’s, Glen E. Gutzman (a long-time National Guardsman and Crosby native), together with two business partners were actively engaged in a part-time enterprise to build an air-powered contraption that would propel a driver and passenger at high speeds through difficult snow conditions. Informally named Trail-A-Sled, Glen’s company set-up shop in Eagle Bend, Minnesota where a series of aluminum-based air-sleds were produced on the weekends. Through Glen’s dedicated efforts, these machines improved which each and every unit and were typically sold for commercial purposes. As time progressed, manufacture of these innovative machines was moved to Crosby, Minnesota where under the name of Trail-A-Sled Mfg. Co. Glen had recently leased a small garage in the community’s Lakeview district.

Simultaneous to the Gutzman enterprise, Richard E. "Dick" Harrison (a local painting contractor and mechanic - also of Crosby) was pursing the construction of similar air-powered vehicles. Little more than a hobby, Dick’s air-sleds featured the aluminum fuselage of surplus aircraft, converted to suit his imagination. He worked tirelessly in his spare time, learning through trial and error and continual experimentation.

Growing frustrated by difficulties inherent in his aluminum-based vehicles, Dick and his father, local painting contractor Eugene F. "Stub" Harrison, soon began experimenting with another approach – fiberglass.

When Glen’s original partners dropped-out, Dick and Stub scraped together the needed cash to buy into the company. As a result, a new organization was formed and quickly incorporated as Trail-A-Sled, Inc. (TAS) with Glen acting as President, Stub acting as Vice President, and Dick acting as Secretary-Treasurer. Glen resigned his position with the National Guard and Dick and Stub set-aside their painting and wild rice processing enterprises as all three poured their energies into the fledging firm. Dick combined his air-sled inventory with Glen's and during those early winter months the air-sleds were displayed at the Spot Drive-In, where the parking lot went unused during the winter months and the location provided potential customers with easy access to Serpent Lake for a quick test drive

Duties were quickly separated to suit each man’s talents and temperament. Glen took the lead role in guiding the firm’s marketing, sales, and business endeavors. His dogged determination and quick wit would serve the firm well in the years to come. Somewhat less outgoing, Dick possessed an unusual talent for all things mechanical and was content to build the firm’s manufacturing prowess. Born with a fine eye for detail, Stub worked meticulously to define the varied designs that would become a TAS trademark in the years that followed.

While the firm struggled in the cramped quarters of their Lakeview-area garage, one change was quickly evident – the firm’s future would rely upon fiberglass. Work on aluminum-based vehicles was suspended and the founders, desperate to make a living, worked day and night to churn-out a cavalcade of fiberglass-based products in the hopes of finding a market for their new inventions. The firm designed and built pontoon boats, duck boats, and canoes – even sleeper cabs for semi  trailers, but the product that raised the most interest was the stylized air-sled now taking shape at the firm.

Some residents of the community scoffed at the three men who labored in cramped quarters and under extremely hazardous conditions. Eyebrows were further raised as the trio tested their noisy contraptions time and time again, often to the chagrin of area residents. Yet night after night the little windows of their small garage glowed a dull white as the founders worked long into the cold Minnesota twilight.

The fruits of the founder’s efforts became evident when the new air-sled was finally unveiled. Genuinely innovative for it’s day, the TAS air-sled featured a Lycoming 125 hp power plant, spacious heated interior, and easy towing capabilities. It quickly earned a major design award and was featured at the recently opened Dayton’s Southdale location. In the span of four years (1960-1963), TAS produced 50 of these air-sleds, becoming a worldwide leader in the manufacture of such machines. A slightly modified design was even marketed by Polaris Industries of Roseau, Minnesota. The air-sled was generally sold for commercial purposes and required relatively ideal conditions to achieve maximum performance. Operation in tight quarters was out of the question and deep snow and drifts posed serious problems. However, in the proper environment the TAS air-sled ran like a dream and approached speeds of 100 mph or more.

As the firm grew, TAS was careful to cultivate sound working relationships with other firms within the still developing winter sports industry. They were active, for example, as a retail dealer for Polaris Industries and supplied the firm, in addition to the aforementioned air-sled, with a wide range of finished fiberglass parts. Early on, TAS also acted as a dealer for Mercury Outboards.

Not unlike a number of other firms at the time, TAS also experimented with a wide range of crude, tracked snow machines. Inspired in part by Bombardier’s Ski-Doo, TAS fashioned their first prototype snowmobile in 1961. It sported fiberglass and plywood construction, used a rudimentary cleated track, and deployed fiberglass treated 2 x 4’s in its’ suspension. Approximately one dozen of these early machines were developed and sold to anyone with the interest and wherewithal to buy them.

The firm was perpetually cash poor and the founders didn't concern themselves with saving their creations for posterity. Quite to the contrary, they were anxious to sell anything to help the struggling firm survive.

Somewhat unexpectedly, the firm sensed a shift in the wind when one of their biggest customers (Polaris Industries) began ordering parts for a new snow machine, affectionately named the Comet. TAS had been commissioned to produce a number of components for the new machine whose forwarded-mounted engine constituted a radical departure from the rear-mounted snow machines that had been a Polaris staple for several years. TAS produced many fiberglass components for the Comet, including the backrest/trunk, console and the fenders for the little vehicle’s wheel-kit. When the Polaris order came-in not for a few dozen machines (which was typical at the time) but several hundred, the TAS founders took notice. When Glen and Dick hand-delivered the parts to the Roseau manufacturing facility in the fall of 1963, the founders were in for another surprise – Polaris paid for the entire shipment in one cash payment. Clearly, Polaris was betting it’s future on these nimble machines. To TAS, the die was cast. They would drop their beloved air-sled line and gear-up immediately for a hastily prepared production run of tracked snow-machines, recently christened the Scorpion.

Working feverishly, TAS cranked-out nearly fifty machines in the fall of 1963 for the 1964 model year. The machines continued to feature an all-fiberglass body and a rather noisy and cumbersome cleated track system. It was obvious to the founders that an improved track system would be required. Leveraging the expertise acquired while running his father’s wild rice processing facility, Dick conceived of a unique idea to take two links of steel detachable chain, and combine them with a rubber and fabric mesh concoction to create a continuous track for the firm’s growing line of Scorpion snow machines. When properly vulcanized, the rubber track proved to be very durable and was the first such track patented in the United States. After Glen secured the necessary machinery, the founder’s knew they were on the cusp of something big.

Determined to quickly capitalize upon their innovation, in the fall of 1964 Glen strapped a model year 1965 prototype to the trunk of his green Volkswagen and headed east, looking for new business. The firm had neither the time nor money for an elaborate market analysis. Instead, Glen doggedly visited dozens upon dozens of potential clients up and down the eastern seaboard and well into Canada – demonstrating the Scorpion at each and every turn. Using the Yellow Pages to develop sales leads, Glen visited small town mechanics, chainsaw dealerships – anyone who might be interested in expanding their winter business. After several weeks, Glen returned to Crosby with an order in hand for one hundred Scorpions and a raft of high-quality leads and contacts – even Sears Roebuck was interested. The Scorpion with the patented rubber track was changing not only TAS, but also the industry as a whole. Prospective distributors became so excited about the firm’s prospects that they paid for inventory in advance – completely unheard of at the time. TAS designs began gaining national attention and were featured in numerous trade magazines, including influential periodicals like Mechanix Illustrated.

Late in 1964 (for model year 1965) TAS produced five hundred of these innovative rubber tracked machines (one such machine remains on display at the Deerwood, MN True Value hardware store). The Scorpion retained its all-fiberglass body, was offered with numerous choices of engine, could reach a speed of 40 mph and navigate a 50% grade. The little machine could also be configured with a wheel kit for summer-time use.

With the firm’s production capabilities expanding quickly, the spirits of both management and employees alike were running high. 1964 was truly the firm’s breakout year and the partners closed-out December with 20 employees.

During this period the firm suffered from extreme growing pains as various components of the business contended for available space. In response, TAS distributed discrete manufacturing processes throughout the Crosby-Ironton area – even extending as far as Minneapolis and St. Paul. It was common for the firm to spread its manufacturing facilities across five or more locations at a single time.

TAS exhibited not only manufacturing expertise but financial savvy as well. To better leverage the firm’s core competencies, the organization was segregated into separate legal entities along specific lines of business, including: GlenDick for metal machining including clutches and axles; Rubber Drives, Inc. for a wide range of vulcanized products including tracks, engine mounts and bogie wheels; H&G Welding for welding, fabrication, and chrome plating; and Trail-A-Sled for final assembly. These entities would later enhance the firm’s value and helped attract the attention of corporate acquirers.

Unlike dozens of other firms who acted merely as assemblers, TAS was a self-sufficient manufacturer. Vertically integrated long before the term became popularized, TAS manufactured a wide range of component parts for their snow machines. Apart from the power plant and carburetor, literally everything else was fair game for internal production. The firm made it’s own hoods, windshields, tunnels, seats, engine mounts, clutches, bogie wheels – the list seemed endless.

Capitalizing upon it’s rapidly growing manufacturing prowess and reputation for quality and dependability, TAS also produced a wide range of products for other manufacturers, including: Boatel, Brainerd Marine, Sears Roebuck, Polaris Industries, Foxx, Silverline, and Laurentide.

In the fall of 1965 the firm set-up for a production run of 2,150 model year 1966 Scorpions. While retaining the machine’s bubble-nose hood design, TAS offered more horsepower and finally replaced the fiberglass tunnel with a far more dependable and durable component - steel. The firm’s processing facilities remained cramped but TAS management fought through it, dramatically expanding payroll and employment.

In preparation for model year 1967, TAS grew drastically yet again, doubling their production to 5,000 units and adding a popular wide-track model. The firm also moved much of it’s operations to the city-owned Arena building where 17,500 sq ft of unused ice skating space was converted to a bustling assembly area. The Arena also provided much needed office space for TAS management and records.

In January of 1967 the industry took notice when a TAS plant manager set a world distance-jumping record of 66 feet 4 inches at a competition in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota.

The public relations buzz surrounding TAS grew to a crescendo as even Washington D.C. took notice, with Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey declaring Minnesota’s Central Lakes area to be the, Official Snowmobile Capital of the World.

The firm now set its sights upon a drastically updated design for the fast approaching model year of 1968. Featuring a completely new and distinctive tear-drop hood, various Mark designations, and sassy red-on-black rally stripes, the firm was pushing hard (despite the limitations of it’s facilities) to expand production by another 3,000 units, to 8,000.[ Related Transcripts ]

NORTH TO ALASKA

TAS’ reputation for dependability was greatly enhanced when David “Pappy” Burns, their distributor for the state of Alaska, conceived of an unprecedented endurance test to travel from  Crosby, Minnesota to Anchorage, Alaska – a total of 3,800 miles. With much fanfare and sporting three brand-new stock 1967 Scorpions (and TAS signature bright red snowsuits), Pappy and two young employees set-off from Crosby in early February of 1967 in a race toward the wilds of Alaska. Outfitted with only a single sleigh of extra supplies, these brave men set-off with  no support staff of any kind. No trailing vehicle with back-up men, mechanics or machines was to be found. These adventurers were absolutely and completely alone.

Braving extreme conditions including blizzards, Chinook winds and –70° temperatures, the trio pressed onward. With hundreds of well wishers and dignitaries greeting them along the route, the tired adventurers pressed on. In many instances the group was forced to travel several hundred miles in a single day. Amazingly, they arrived at their goal after only 28 elapsed days (several of which were spent gaining clearance from British Columbia authorities – it seems that local authorities were reluctant to grant the men clearance given the severe weather conditions in the area). Men and machine had performed amazingly well and the molded rubber track passed with flying colors!

The Alaskan adventure helped to put Minnesota’s Cuyuna Range on the map and was widely covered by the international media. Completely unprecedented for it’s time, the adventure was an absolute public relations coupe and became the cornerstone of the following year’s marketing campaign … Scorpion, The Proven Snowmobile. Sir Edmund Hillary (conqueror of Mount Everest) was so impressed that he chose Scorpion snowmobiles for his upcoming expedition to the Antarctic. [Related Photo]

TRIAL BY FIRE

Tragically, the TAS story isn’t one of uninterrupted success. Late the night of November 2, 1967, just as the firm was reaching maximum production capacity for the critical upcoming 1968 model year, a fire broke-out in the Crosby Arena, now serving as the TAS assembly building. Fueled by multiple explosions, the flames quickly engulfed the facility and area firefighting crews could do nothing more than keep the fire from spreading to surrounding buildings. To TAS and the community at large, the fire was an abject disaster. More than 1,000 engines were lost as well as priceless company records and documents. Only a handful of items were spared the horrific flames. Overnight, fully one third of the community’s workforce was without a job. In addition, the city-owned assembly building also contained Crosby’s city library and maintenance facility. Valuable city records and historical artifacts were also lost. It was truly a time of collective despair. Few believed that the firm, if not the community could survive the most catastrophic economic loss of its history. First the mines closed, now this … what more could go wrong?

But something strangely powerful, some would say even miraculous occurred on that desperate road to defeat – the founders, the employees, the community at large simply refused to be beaten. In a legendary exhibition of what can be accomplished by men and women united in common cause, the firm was slowly reestablished. Employees worked with no guarantee of future pay. Industry rivals graciously provided parts and material. Glen traveled abroad in search of engines to replace the hundreds destroyed by the fire while Dick and Stub set-up temporary production facilities in nearby city-donated buildings. Amazingly, only fifteen days past before the first Scorpion slowly rolled off the jury-rigged assembly line.

Seemingly cleansed by fire, these machines had a new look to them. Somehow the teardrop profile took on added meaning as the black and red rally stripes spoke in defiance to the many naysayers who claimed that the community could not survive such a crippling blow. TAS and the Cuyuna Range simply would not beaten.

Although significantly short of their earlier production goals, TAS was able to produce 6,000 units in 1967 (for model year 68) and in fact turned a modest profit.

REBORN

Continuing to recover from the devastating Arena fire, TAS soon moved into their newly built (and fireproof) processing facilities. These new buildings (spread across an initial 7-acre campus) allowed the firm to finally consolidate its operations into a single location. The 70,000 sq ft complex allowed TAS to better meet the seemingly endless public demand for more and more  snowmobiles. The firm’s new facilities could easy produce 50,000 machines during a conventional 8-month production run - an expansion in capacity that would have been unfathomable only months earlier. In a very real sense, the tragic fire had become a blessing.

While settling into their new manufacturing campus, TAS pressed hard to leverage their capacity through aggressive sales and marketing techniques. For the upcoming season, TAS rolled-out it’s exciting Trail-A-Sail campaign. Featuring a tethered parachutist pulled behind two Scorpions, the Trail-A-Sail was exhibited at numerous events and featured prominently in the firm’s advertising. Reaching as high as 750 feet, the rider had quite a thrill and was truly “Above All.”

In 1968 the TAS Scorpion was featured prominently in two feature films, both shot in Alaska. In addition, hundreds of copies of the Scorpion Championship Snowmobile Derby Game (a cleverly constructed board game) were sold through the TAS dealer network. Glen Gutzman was also named as Minnesota’s Small Businessman of the Year and personally honored by Governor Harold LaVander.

As 1969 approached, capacity was dramatically increased yet again as the firm geared-up for a production run of 20,000 units. The plant was nearing its goal of 200 units per day  and employed nearly 300 persons. The firm announced plans to produce 30,000 units for model year 1970 and 50,000 for model year 1971.

Despite the firm’s amazing success, as time progressed it became increasingly difficult for privately held TAS to finance the growth it needed to expand market share. TAS also sensed an urgent need to diversify but lacked the resources to pursue such interests with fervor. In addition, a number of larger and better-established firms had entered the fray with attractive long-term financing options for prospective buyers. TAS simply didn’t have the capital to compete long-term under these conditions. It’s founders were men of modest personal means and the firm found it nearly impossible to borrow the funds necessary to compete effectively. Consequently, when a finding firm contacted TAS with rumors of a large corporate acquirer, the founders listened. While other suitors surfaced, the offer from Fuqua Industries, Inc. of Atlanta, Georgia proved to be the most attractive and the sale of TAS was announced in January of 1969 with the name of the firm being changed to Scorpion, Inc. later that year.

Combined with the hopes of better access to capital and year-round employment, the community was hopeful for the future. After the obligatory promises that the firm will continue to run as-is under existing management, the founders set out to leverage the company’s newfound resources to further penetrate the still growing recreational marketplace. Plans for additional expansion quickly became a reality as the firm stretched yet again to meet the still growing demand for snowmobiles.

As the 1969-1970 racing season approached, a new emphasis was placed on racing as the firm hoped to better compete with the factory-sponsored teams now dominating the growing circuit.  Under race director Len Corzine, a troupe of eager young men (many of them home-grown boys from the Crosby-Ironton area) were provided with an ample quantity of brand new Scorpion Stingers and quickly divided into International and Distributor teams.  With little practice time, the season soon began at the Duluth Arena's infamous indoor event where 7,000 spectators and 200 participants toiled amid the smoky haze, fighting back nausea and enduring the din of the machines as they raced around the miniature oval track that had been assembled on the arena floor.  Although untested, Scorpion's teams fought furiously in close quarters, battling the enemy at every turn yet more often than not finding themselves at the bottom of the next pile-up.  Machine after machine was wrecked by Scorpion's fearless drivers - one machine even landed in the arena's mezzanine level.  The team's aggressive style caused some in the crowd to reflect that they reminded them of the Kamikaze's of World War II.  The name stuck and the legend of Corzine's Kamikaze's was born.  Although only modestly successful for the remainder of the year, Corzine's team had earned the respect of the bigger race teams and had set the stage for success in the years to come - directly inspiring the Super Stinger which would follow for 1970-71.

As the firm entered the 1970 build, disagreements arose between the founders and their new bosses. The years of seven-day workweeks had also taken their toll and the founders were ready for a change. In October of 1970, and following some tough negotiations, the founders agreed to a final buy-out offer that sealed their futures. They were to resign their positions immediately and although they would officially remain on staff for several years to come, they were to exit the facility and never return. In the end, the founders walked away from a manufacturing powerhouse in the prime of its life.

As such, the story of Trail-A-Sled, Inc. comes to a rather abrupt end. Glen Gutzman continued his love of flying and became involved in a number of business ventures, most notably a successful gravel and ready-mix operation he ran until his retirement. Glen now spends his summers in Minnesota and winters peacefully in southern Arizona. Eugene Harrison remained in his modest single bedroom home and enjoyed a few quiet years of retirement before succumbing to cancer in 1976. Dick Harrison reinvented himself as a land developer and remains active in that capacity today, splitting time between his boyhood home in central Minnesota and northwestern Florida.

NEW BLOOD

Upon the founder’s resignations in October of 1970, Fuqua initiated wholesale changes in management and approach. William R. Smith of Fuqua’s McDonough Power Equipment division (maker of Snapper lawn care products) was temporarily named as Scorpion President and CEO. In December of that same year Warren E. Daoust was promoted from VP of Marketing to President and Chief Operating Officer.

Fuqua invested heavily in R&D and Scorpion came through with numerous innovations, including the Para-Rail suspension and Power-Thrust clutch. By December of 1971 Scorpion was expanding its facilities once more.

Yet by 1973 things had turned ugly. The Arab Oil Embargo forced the world into economic recession and recreational use of gasoline became a pariah. In some quarters snowmobiling was considered to be unpatriotic. Adding insult to injury, Mother Nature produced a string of unusually mild winters serving to further reduce the public’s demand for snowmobiles. In a space of two years the industry had been turned on its head. Firms which recently had so heroically stretched to meet the seemingly endless demand for snowmobiles were now caught with huge amounts of excess inventory. Manufacturers began dropping like flies and layoffs were the order of the day. Even well diversified Fuqua Industries divested Scorpion after losing millions of dollars.

Now under the control of an internal management group lead by Harvey Paulson, Scorpion hoped to run leaner and prayed for an economic turn-around. By 1974 Harvey had purchased Brutanza Engineering Company and their coveted high performance, liquid cooled snowmobile. Chuck Connors, star of the television show The Rifleman, helped the firm bolster its marketing efforts.

Although profitability proved elusive, Paulson and crew doggedly pressed on, even adding a Moped to help diversify their product line and stabilize employment. The firm’s own engine (recently christened the Cuyuna) received positive reviews and promised to provide stability and a new source of revenue.

By March of 1978 the firm was sold to long time rival Arctic Enterprises who announced plans to keep the buildings in operation and in fact, moved manufacture of their Heavy Hauler trailers to the Crosby facility. Unfortunately, by this time employment had fallen to 120 persons.

In 1979 Roger Worth (Arctic attorney) was appointed as President and employment picked-up for a time (to 360 persons) as the plant turned-out trailers and Quad Trac grooming/utility machines.

In a surprising consolidation move, Arctic Cat closed the Crosby-Ironton facility in March of 1980 and moved production of the last Scorpions to its Thief River Falls facility. Ultimately, the community lost the firm it worked so heroically to save.

For some the loss of TAS/Scorpion remains a symbol of lost hopes and shattered dreams. Yet in hindsight, the community should be proud of what was accomplished, not only by the founders but also by the hundreds of men and women who poured their heart and soul into the enterprise. At its apex, TAS/Scorpion was among the state’s most dynamic and innovative employers and became the second largest snowmobile manufacturer in the country, employing over 500 hundred dedicated men and women. In many ways it was miraculous that the firm endured as long as it did. After all, of over 100 domestic snowmobile manufacturers, only Polaris narrowly escaped reorganization.

Recently, TAS/Scorpion has experienced a resurgence of interest in its history and designs. Internet auction sites bustle with activity as once obscure TAS/Scorpion items now bring premium prices. Dozens of organizations and thousands of dedicated collectors are working diligently to preserve the history of these men and machines and to remember a younger time when the sky was literally the limit. In some small way they seek to recapture the dream, the legend, that was Trail-A-Sled. [ Related Transcripts ]

THE DREAM IS ALIVE

Perhaps more than any other now-defunct brand, Scorpion snowmobiles continue to capture the imagination of vintage hobbyists throughout the world. The brand continues to garner significant buzz within Internet blogs and magazine articles - even television! Non-existent a few years ago, the Vintage-Scorpion discussion group already boasts over 500 active members. Perhaps most impressive is Scorpion Homecoming, an annual gathering that attracts hundreds of enthusiasts to the birthplace of Trail-A-Sled, Inc. and Scorpion snowmobiles - Crosby, Minnesota.