In 1983 Paul Groth took a ride to Plymouth MN, where he heard the Arctic Cat Boss Cat II sat in a trailer at the Cat distribution facility. Paul was looking to get the dimensions from the machine to build a drag sled that he would attempt to break the world speed record. While speaking to management he was asked why he just did not buy the Boss Cat II instead of building one? He thought the Boss Cat II would be far too expensive for what he wanted to spend. He was told to make them an offer (remember that Cat was going under at this point). He made an offer, and soon became the new owner of the machine. Paul took the machine back to Frontenac, MN and ran it with a small block Chevy for several years. Paul spent some time contacing many potential sponsors and finally in 1985 he secured the Budweiser sponsor. In 1987 Paul installed a 500c.i. blown Chevy big block, fueled by alcohol and nitrous oxide. The then named Bud-weiser Sno-King claimed the world NSSR world record top speed of 168.093 mph on ice.
At the same time that Paul Groth was busy building the fastest snowmobile on ice, the NSSR ( National Straightline Snowmobile Racing Association) was born. The NSSR was established in 1986 to regulate the technical standards for world record speed runs. Even though the Budweiser Sno-King held 2 NSSR world records, a new drag sled was in the works. By the late 80’s the NSSR limited motor size to 370c.i. and Paul quickly realized that to go fast with a smaller engine, he would have to have a lighter chassis. The Budweiser Sno-King II was purchased as a drag racing chassis. Paul built many of the other parts needed to make it work on the ice. It was shorter and was powered by a 370c.i. short stroke big block Chevy engine. The Sno-King II was ran from 1989- ‘92 and became the 1990 NSSR World Champion. It also held a single speed record of 201.469 mph in 1992. The speed could not be backed up that day due to a broken part on the machine or it would be the world record.
In 1992 NSSR voted to go back to snowmobile power plants, with the rule changes Paul once again was forced to build a new machine. The Sno-King III was built in 1992-93. Paul told me he tried to get Arctic Cat to supply him with the new Thunder Cat engines. He could not get Cat to supply the engines so he secured the Yamaha V-Max engine from Yamaha, who supplied him with 7 engines for the Sno-King III build. The new sled was completely hand made and Paul says it cost him much more than the others combined to build. The Sno-King III ran NSSR from 1993 to 1995. During the 1995 season Budweiser stopped it’s sponsorship and retired the Budweiser Sno-King drag sleds. During the ten year run with Budweiser, Paul Groth won 6 NSSR Unlimited World Records, became the 1990 NSSR World Champion, received the 1993 NSSR Engineering award, and broke the 200 mph mark on ice.
All Three Sno-King sleds are currently owned by one collector. The original Sno-King has been restored to the Arctic Cat colors as built in 1972. Sno-King II & III are in the Midwest and do come out to shows. I saw Sno-King II run several years ago at the St. Germain, WI show. Paul Groth has remained in the business and has consulted on several projects throughout the years. He is one of the best engineers the racing business has ever seen.
Paul Groth also made many other interesting projects throughout the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s. We know of a speedway sled that had the hood cut and a Ski-Doo powerplant stuffed into it in the early 70’s. That sled is currently owned by a vintagesledders.com member. In the 80’s Paul fabricated a new machine he dubbed the "Baby Sno-King". The "Baby Bud" sled started life as a go-cart Paul made for his niece & nephew. Several years after it became unused as many toys do, Paul took the wheels off and made it into a mini drag sled. The Baby Sno-King has a Honda powerplant that was donated out of a Honda Big Red wheeler. The single cylinder 200cc motor eqpuiped with electric start and a 3 speed transmission, Polaris juice brake, & what appears to be an early 70’s Ski-Doo jack shaft assembly. Baby Bud is chain drive and sits on a pair of Jr. Brut tracks with Blizzard drivers. It was hauled to many of the Sno-King races and was used as a pit sled to haul the 3 large batteries that started the Sno-King sleds. This winter it is on display at Springstead Lake Lodge (Springstead WI) where it will be seen running and is also the feature sled for Braapfest.
What is Braapfest? It's only wildest, best kept secret weekend of the winter, held weekend of Feb. 21st, 2015. For more info check out the officail Braapfest thread in the forum.
Braapfest...See you there!