Local business inducted into Hall of Fame

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal
Back row from left to right - Bruce Kraft (in the brown sport coat), Tyson Kamp, Cecilia Kraft, Carol Johnson, Keith Johnson, Brett Johnson and Chase Johnson. Middle row from left to right - Christy Kraft (long dark hair), Bennett Morgan - Polaris Industries COO, Joe C. Kraft, Cletus J. Kraft, Brenda M. Kraft and Scott Wine - Polaris Industries CEO. Front row from left to right - Hunter Kraft (youngest girl in photo), Dylan Kraft and Amber Kraft.

MEDINA, Minn. – Polaris Industries Inc. today inducted long-time Polaris dealership Joe’s Sports Center of Devils Lake, North Dakota, and four other parties into the Polaris Hall of Fame for their significant long-term contributions to the company’s success. Joe’s Sports Center and its fellow inductees were honored during a ceremony at the Polaris National Sales Meeting held in Fort Washington, Maryland.

The Polaris Hall of Fame was established during the company’s 50th anniversary in 2004. Retired employees, Polaris dealers and key material and technology suppliers have been recognized annually for their roles in the company’s growth and success.

“Each year it’s our honor to recognize special individuals, key supplier-partners, and Polaris dealers such as Joe’s Sports Center for their important contributions,” said Polaris CEO Scott Wine. “Our 2013 inductees have significantly benefited Polaris and Polaris riders.”

Also inducted this year were: Former Chairman Greg Palen, retired Product Manager Bow Crosby, communications and presentation partner Media Loft, and another Polaris dealership, Mark’s Outdoor Sports of Alamosa, Colorado.

In 1964, Lake Ready Mix, Inc., a concrete construction firm in Devils Lake, N.D., became a Polaris snowmobile dealership. Joe C. Kraft started working there in 1967, and one year later he began buying out founder Thorban Davidson. Joe became sole owner in 1977, and oversaw strong, steady growth of the Polaris side of the business, which has been Joe’s Sport Center, Inc., since 1985.

Throughout its history, Joe’s Sport Center has maintained a reputation for offering excellent Polaris products backed by outstanding technical service and unmatched customer service. Joe’s is known for keeping Lake Region farmers and ag-related businesses rolling on the Polaris off-road vehicles they use in the fields and on jobsites. Joe’s also goes the extra mile to ensure recreational riders optimize their free time on their Polaris snowmobiles, ATVs, RANGERs and RZRs.

Today, Joe C. Kraft works in sales and his son, Cletus J. Kraft, manages the Polaris-exclusive dealership. Cletus grew up around the dealership, worked there in varied roles up through his high school years, and returned to become manager after graduating from college. His wife Brenda M. Kraft directs marketing and advertising, and she and their son Tyson Kamp are on the sales staff.

Profiles of the Other 2013 Polaris Hall of Fame Inductees

• Greg Palen served on the Polaris Board of Directors for nearly 20 years, and was Chairman from May 2002-April 2013. During his tenure as Director and Chairman, the company achieved unprecedented growth and success, diversified its product focus, founded new divisions such as Victory Motorcycles, and made key acquisitions, including GEM, Goupil and Indian Motorcycle. Greg is the owner and chairman of Spectro Alloys Corp.

• Bow Crosby was a valued, versatile Polaris employee for more than 40 years. He joined Polaris as an Eastern Service Representative in 1970, and worked for Polaris or its Northeast distributor from 1970-2012, when he retired. He held roles such as National Service Manager and Western U.S. Sales Manager, and was Product Manager for Polaris snowmobiles, ATVs, International Products, and most recently, Polaris Defense.

• Media Loft has provided communications and presentation services for all types of Polaris functions since 1985. R. Smith “Smitty” Schuneman and his wife Patricia founded Media Loft in their suburban Minneapolis home in 1974. In 1985 the firm created product videos to support the Polaris entry into the ATV business. Media Loft has since produced videos and provided extensive presentation and production services for Polaris.

• Mark’s Outdoor Sports is a Polaris dealership opened in 1985 by Mark and Nancy Gilleland in a sheep barn next to their Manassa, Colorado, home. They moved the business to Alamosa, Colorado, in 1991 and it has grown steadily ever since. Working with Mark and Nancy are their four daughters, Melissa Faucette, Wendi Barr, Kyla Gilleland, and Kalisha Gilleland, and the service team is led by long-time Service Manager John Sowards.

Polaris is a recognized leader in the powersports industry with annual 2012 sales of $3.2 billion. Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets innovative, high quality off-road vehicles, including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and the Polaris RANGER® and RZR® side-by-side vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles and small vehicles.

Polaris is among the global sales leaders for both snowmobiles and off-road vehicles and has established a presence in the heavyweight cruiser and touring motorcycle market with the Victory and Indian motorcycle brands. Additionally, Polaris continues to invest in the global on-road small electric/hybrid powered vehicle industry with Global Electric Motorcars (GEM), Goupil Industrie SA, and internally developed vehicles. Polaris enhances the riding experience with a complete line of Polaris and KLIM branded apparel and Polaris accessories and parts.

Polaris Industries Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “PII”, and the Company is included in the S&P Mid-Cap 400 stock price index.

Information about the complete line of Polaris products, apparel and vehicle accessories are available from authorized Polaris dealers or anytime at www.polaris.com.