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Brothers Tyler and Tanner Turn show off the Mattracks Powerboards, self-powered snow machines that are a cross between snowboards and snowmobiles. At left, Tyler, 15, pulls up on his yellow board, while Tanner, 13, controls the black model. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Teen boys sell Powerboards

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Tyler and Tanner Turn came home from school on what they thought was a regular Tuesday and found two giant boxes awaiting their arrival.

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"We got about halfway down the driveway and Tanner said, 'They're Powerboards!'" Tyler recently recalled.

Tyler, 15, and Tanner 13, had become the owners of Mattracks Powerboards, gas-powered snow machines that can ride through snow.

The track-propelled machine is powered by gas, but its user carves and maneuvers through snow by leaning and shifting his body weight.

"It's a cross between a (snowmobile) and a snowboard," Tyler said.

Powerboards are offered in either black or yellow; Tyler's Powerboard is yellow and Tanner's is black.

"They're not sit-in-front-of-the-TV kind of kids," Vicki said.

Tanner is the sports player of the two, focusing in the wintertime on hockey. Tyler rides all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles.

Tyler and Tanner, the sons of Rick and Vicki Turn of Bemidji, have teamed up to form T & T Sales & Marketing, a business venture through which they sell Powerboards.

"(Tyler) is a natural in sales," Vicki said. "He can talk to anybody, any age."

Showoffs

The boys have become showoffs, but in a good way.

They take their Powerboards out and ride them around town, in ditches and on lakes. They said it took about one weekend to get the hang of the boards, which can go up to 20 mph.

"We just kind of ride them around all over," Tanner said.

"We try to show them off," Tyler said.

They soon learned to go over inclines and through ditches to do jumps and "wheelies" to become airborne.

The boards, they said, work best in more powdery snow (versus slushy or wet snow). The lips around the bottom allow the machines to "float" above the snow, kind of like snowshoes.

"It's nice (to ride) on lakes because it's wide open," Tyler said.

But it's also fun, Tanner added, to do jumps and go airborne.

"They're made for that," Tyler agreed.

Both agreed that users should at least be 10 years old and wear helmets. However, a driver's license and insurance is not required.

Salesmen

If someone is interested, they said, the boys will invite them over to let them try the machines. They also have brochures and specifications.

Their mother, Vicki, acknowledged that she was a bit worried about her boys' safety.

But Tanner noted that the machines can be adjusted to control their speed. The handlebars, too, can be adjusted to match the height of the user.

Further, there is a "tether strap" that a user will clip to his or her coat. If the user falls off and the tether strap comes off, the machine automatically shuts down.

New product

Powerboards is a relatively new venture by Karlstad, Minn.,-based Mattracks Inc., which has traditionally offered all-terrain track systems. The Powerboards have been available for about one year.

"These boys have more business sense for their ages than anyone I've seen," said Glen Brazier, CEO of Mattracks Inc. "I am proud to have them on board."

Tyler and Tanner became connected to Brazier through their grandmother, Ardelle Larson, who owns and operates the Kick'n Up Kountry festival in Thief River Falls. Brazier is a sponsor.

The boys would shuttle guests to the gate on golf carts and became acquainted with Brazier.

"He liked the way we worked," Tyler said.

Brazier was interested in expanding Mattracks' marketing efforts to target younger users, such as Tyler and Tanner.

The boys' mother, Vicki, was aware of the machines' impending arrival, but did not tell the boys.

"(Brazier) wanted to surprise them," she said.

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