Understanding the Slingshot obsession

What the heck is a Slingshot and why are so many obsessed with this agile, powerful vehicle?


A group of Slingshot riders are cruising down a side road single-file.

Polaris Slingshot owners—called Slingshotters—are a passionate tribe who love their machines. — Photo courtesy Mark Brackley

When Mark Brackley of Sundre, Alberta, saw his first Polaris Slingshot at a dealership, he was instantly intrigued.

He went from “Hey, that’s interesting” to “I must have one” in a very short period of time. When he first saw the Slingshot, Mark was tossing around the idea of purchasing a second street bike so he and his wife, Shawna, could get out together and enjoy the open road.

For those looking for the feeling of freedom on the open road plus enhanced comfort, the Polaris Slingshot is an easy choice to make.

The Slingshot is truly that compromise for those who still want the feel of freedom a motorcycle offers but want more comfort and luxury out of their summer ride. Some individuals, like Mark, simply cannot physically handle long motorcycle trips anymore due to injuries sustained in a car accident in 2003, making the Polaris Slingshot the logical choice.

“I just couldn’t handle long rides on a motorcycle anymore,” he said. “I was thinking of buying a Harley and passing my Virago on to Shawna for an awesome first bike, but I wasn’t sure how well that would go over.”

A man and his son are squatting beside Slingshot vehicles, an adult one and a kid's one.

Mark Brackley, who is pictured here with his son, Milez, is excited to offer an event that has something for everyone, including youth Slingshotters. — Photo courtesy Mark Brackley

He had weighed the pros and cons of purchasing a Slingshot and had yet to bring up this idea to his wife for fear of what her reaction would be. He felt sure Shawna would reject the idea, when unexpectedly he received a text from her while she was in Calgary. “What is this? We need one!” the text read, followed by a picture of a Slingshot.

After that moment, everything seemed to fall into place.

“It was hard to get a Slingshot in 2015 for supply was limited,” said Mark, “but I happened to be in the right place at the right time and met a man who decided against purchasing the Slingshot he had reserved. We snapped it up and the rest is history!”

The beginning of Slingfest

Mark jumped right into the world of Slingshots, finding several online forums with other Slingshot owners. He was blown away by the excitement and passion his fellow Slingshotters had for their machines.

A Slingshot is parked in a campground.

The second annual Slingfest, which will be held July 17 to 29, 2018, promises even more fun and excitement for this year’s festival. It is hosted at Wagon’s West RV Park and Storage in Sundre, Alberta. — Photo courtesy Mark Brackley

“It was incredible to find a community devoted to the Slingshot,” said Mark. “Any question you had was answered, and life-long friendships were made on this forum.”

Mark had an idea that would prove to be incredibly successful for not only his own business operation of Wagon’s West RV Park but for his hometown of Sundre. Slingfest: a festival dedicated to the Polaris Slingshot.

“I had learned of Slingshot events and festivals through the online forum I participated in," said Mark. "Most of these were in the U.S, and I thought, 'Hey, why not? I will start a festival here in Sundre.' ”

The first Slingfest was held in 2017 and had an incredible amount of support from local businesses, dealerships and even town council.

“The event proved to have a positive effect on our local economy,” said Mark. “Many arrived from out of province and out of country and were very generous with their spending. This really has helped to put Sundre, Alberta, on the map.”

Dealerships such as Rainey Creek Powersports and Cycle Works West recognized the potential for the event and stepped in offering generous support.

Cycle Works West recently obtained recognition from Polaris Industries, winning the platinum dealership award for Slingshot signature dealers. It is one of the only dealerships in Western Canada offering turbo kits manufactured by industry-leading Alpha Powersport, taking a 174-hp stock unit and doubling the horsepower to the rear wheel with the addition of this kit.

A shiny red Slingshot has the hood up for inspection.

The base model Polaris Slingshot roadster features 174 horsepower right out of the box. — Photo courtesy Mark Brackley

If you’re a Slingshot owner or curious about these powerful agile vehicles, Slingfest will be the go-to festival of the year. If you want a ride that embraces freedom of the open road, comfort and the ability to corner like your ride is on rails, the Polaris Slingshot is the ride for you.

Save the date: Slingfest 2018

The list of activities for Slingfest 2018 is endless, including a show-and-shine, 200-metre (1/8-mile) drag races, a live band and a group ride.

Date: July 27 to 29

Where: Wagons West RV Park and Storage, 103 - 5546 Hwy. 584, Sundre, Alberta 

Contact: Call 403-638-4402 to book a reservation.

Info: See the Facebook page.

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