Three years ago, Ponsse North America, headquartered in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, realized that an exceptional opportunity awaited them just down the road at the Crandon International Off-Road Raceway.
Truck Off-Road Championship
Referred to as the “Big House,” the Crandon facility is the scene of intense competition and part of the Truck Off-Road Championship (TORC) circuit, where racing teams come from afar to pit themselves against the best on the serpentine track.
As is their custom, Ponsse seized the opportunity and became a sponsor of Turn 2, located at the south end of the track. As is also their custom, Ponsse went a step further and sponsored several drivers. While sponsoring a portion of the track and individual racers is a good thing, this story is about a weekend in June, and begins the day before the first green flag.
Ponsse Clears the Way
The popularity of off-road racing has steadily increased, bringing larger numbers of campers to Crandon for the races, which created a need for additional camping sites. Ponsse to the rescue.
One Ponsse Scorpion King and one Ergo harvester working close together made short work of removing the trees from the site. One of each is more than enough when those two harvesters are paired. Ergo, the time-proven harvester with 275 hp under the hood and 33’ of reach had the southern stand. One hundred yards to the north, the Scorpion King kept pace, sporting the same horsepower and reach but utilizing that energy and span in the unique configuration that sets Ponsse’s Scorpion and Scorpion King apart from any other harvesters. In no time at all, the site was cleared as the first step in developing more campground lots. So far, so good, but there is more.
Ponsse and Rotochopper
The biomass that resulted from the harvested trees was delivered to a Rotochopper B66T thanks to the efficiency of a Ponsse Buffalo King forwarder. With a load capacity in excess of 39,000 lbs., the yellow and black forwarder moved load after load to the landing next to the big, red Rotochopper, which converted the biomass to mulch. That mulch would be used wherever needed around the racing facility and in the campsites.
Representatives from Rotochopper, Menominee Industrial Supply, Trelleborg, Nokia, and Pewag Chains were also on hand. With all of that going on, it was an interesting morning followed by a superb midday meal catered on-site. After lunch, the harvesting/forwarding/processing resumed. Interspersed in all this activity, Ponsse people answered questions, enjoying a chance to spend time with Ponsse owners and prospective buyers.
Daniel Ofstad of Hurley, Wisconsin, was on hand with his forwarder—a Wisent model. Yes, it had the typical yellow stakes on either side of the carrier designed to handle in excess of 26,000 lb. Yes, it had the typical yellow wheels and a 204 hp power plant under the hood. But what was on that hood and along the sides of the cabin caused foreheads to wrinkle, eyes to squint and smiles to appear.
Where black and yellow Ponsse paint should be, one saw camouflage instead. Beautiful camouflage! Daniel, his sons Casey and David, and David’s son, Levi, were eagerly looking forward to putting the first camouflaged Ponsse Wisent to work. Only eight units with the special paint scheme will be produced, and the Ofstads will be recognized as having the first with camouflage.
The festivities continued that evening in the red barn at the race track. Food, live music, and conversation—lots of conversation. And then it was race day!
The Ponsse-sponsored racers on the track that weekend were Michael Meister (Super Buggy), Kleiman Off-Road Racing (Pro 2 Truck), and Chad Hord (Pro 4 Truck). The weather was great, and thousands of race fans were in attendance. The weekend’s outstanding Ponsse racer was Michael Meister, who finished first on Saturday and second on Sunday.
On the Cover
Photo taken by Lindsay Mohlere.
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