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This was taken out of our local news paper in Steinbach. Its a bit of a long read but interesting none the less, especially cause hes from my city.

Arctic Cat has Canadian flare
by Terry Frey

Purchasing a new Arctic Cat this fall? Anyone buying a new Arctic Cat in Canada this year will own a machine that has all the graphics designed by Steinbach's Corey Friesen.

Friesen, a graphic artist at Derksen Printers in Steinbach for five years (1995-2000), joined the engineering department at the sprawling Arctic Cat manufacturing headquarters in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, in the spring of 2001.
Corey Friesen of Steinbach is one of two graphic design artists at Arctic Cat in Thief River Falls.
Arctic Cat's new machine, the Firecat, which they tout as new radical design, has a total of four graphic arts packages that could be ordered with the early orders last April. The Canadian sleds could be ordered with the Canadian package, designed by Friesen, which includes prominent red Maple Leafs in the design. The American design, called the Patriot Package, includes the Stars and Stripes.

Friesen, 32, one of two graphic arts designers at Arctic Cat, does more than just design the slick graphic displays seen on the sleds. For example, on the new Firecat, he designed the windshield, all the colour combinations including the seat colours and the actual graphic designs. That is the reason he is part of the engineering department and works closely with the design engineers.

With the fall production of the 2003 snowmobiles nearing an end, Arctic Cat's highly successful ATV line will swing into production in the New Year. Friesen also works on the ATV graphic packages.

The designers work years in advance. For example Friesen, who works two days a week from an office set up at his Steinbach home, is now finishing up the designs for the 2004 line-up and will start working on the 2005 machines in January.

Making the four-hour round-trip to Thief River Falls from Steinbach three days a week, Friesen also works on the sled graphics and the semi-trailer graphics for the Arctic Cat race team. The Arctic Cat factory team includes Canada's top racer Earl Reimer and 17-year-old phenom Tucker Hibbert of Thief River Falls, the two-time reigning snow cross champion. He is the son of legendary racer Kirk Hibbert, who is part of the design team at Arctic Cat. As a matter of fact the new Firecat was largely Hibbert's design.

Friesen, who has a Fine Arts degree from the University of Manitoba, graduating in 1995 majoring in graphic design, spent a year with a Manitoba company called FXR designing snowmobile clothing before moving to Arctic Cat last year. He also edited and published the Manitoba motocross magazine Roost for four years as well publishing a snowmobile magazine for the Can Am racing circuit for one season.

When designing the graphics for a particular sled, Friesen says the first thing they do is examine the market demographics as to what age group is buying that particular sled. For example the new Firecat may be more popular with the younger consumer and the touring sleds by older enthusiasts. "There are vast differences in the market," says Friesen, "you always have to be mindful of that in the designs."

"We also have to be aware of what the competition is doing," added Friesen, "we try not to copy the competition, we try to better the competition."

Competition as it were, is just down the road at Roseau, where Polaris is located, the largest snowmobile manufacturer in the world. Arctic Cat at Thief River Falls has about 1,200 employees while Polaris employs about 1,800. The big three in worldwide snowmobile production, in addition to Arctic Cat and Polaris, includes Ski-Doo, manufactured by Bombardier in Quebec.

Arctic Cat's new Firecat F-7 has a special Canadian graphics package designed by Corey Friesen.
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