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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Despite the slumping U.S. economy, the second annual Green Industry and Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO) still managed to attract nearly 19,500 participants and hundreds of new products to the Kentucky Exposition Center Thursday, Oct. 23, through Saturday, Oct. 25.

GIE+EXPO 2008 proves to be first rate


By Steve Noe


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Despite the slumping U.S. economy, the second annual Green Industry and Equipment Expo (GIE+EXPO) still managed to attract nearly 19,500 participants and hundreds of new products to the Kentucky Exposition Center Thursday, Oct. 23, through Saturday, Oct. 25.


Sponsored by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET) and the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS), GIE+EXPO featured 625 exhibiting companies, including about 170 new exhibitors, from all over the world. With more than 800,000 net square feet of exhibit space both inside the Kentucky Exposition Center and outside in the 19-acre demonstration area, GIE+EXPO ranks as the 14th largest trade show in America, according to Trade Show Executive magazine.


Registrants included approximately 4,750 dealers/retailers (a 3-percent decrease from 2007) and 7,500 lawn and landscape pros (a 5-percent increase). About 1,817 people participated in the Green Industry Conference, which was sponsored by PLANET, and the School of Grounds Management, sponsored by PGMS.


“The Dealer Experience — Your Guide to Profitability” included panel discussions on how dealers can build beneficial relationships with contractors; the future of the OPE industry; value-driven marketing practices; business planning; and resources for hiring, training and retention. In addition, John Felmy, chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute, offered his insights on the current energy situation. All participating dealers and retailers were admitted to the show an hour early each day for an exclusive sneak peak and meetings with exhibitors. They also had the benefits of a private Dealer Club where they could relax.


All showgoers also received a chance to relax after each of the first two days of the show with free evening concerts at Louisville’s 4th Street Live! The all-star concert lineup featured 38 Special and the Briggs Bluesbusters on Thursday, sponsored by Briggs & Stratton, as well as Lonestar and Candy Coburn on Friday, sponsored by Ariens, Gravely and Stens.


Coburn also was among the celebrities who made special appearances at the show as she signed autographs at Stens booth. Other celebrities in attendance included NASCAR legend Richard Petty and renowned garden designer P. Allen Smith.


The Stihl Lumberjack Challenge, presented by Scheer’s Lumberjack Shows, featured three action-packed days of axe throwing, chopping, log rolling, cross-cut sawing, hot sawing and chain saw carving.


For information about GIE+EXPO 2009, set for Oct. 29-31 in Louisville at the Kentucky Exposition Center, go to www.gie-expo.com or call Sellers Expositions at (800) 558-8767 or (812) 949-9200.


Other pertinent news from the show and its record-setting 29 press conferences, arranged in alphabetical order by organization name, is as follows:


Agri-Fab wisely unveils Smart products


After conducting more than two years of extensive consumer research, Agri-Fab Inc. introduced a line of Smart products, including the SmartSWEEP, at an Oct. 23 press conference. Designed for use behind conventional tractors, as well as zero-turn mowers, this 44-inch lawn sweeper boasts seven patent-pending features.


“We pride ourselves on our lawn sweepers and the great feedback we’ve received over the years, so a big part of our design phase involved talking with end users about their needs and frustrations,” said Mark Short, Agri-Fab’s vice president of marketing and product development. “The SmartSWEEP eliminates common complaints across the category and responds to new needs in one contemporary, innovative, tough sweeper.”


According to Agri-Fab, the top complaints of those using existing lawn sweepers were as follows: skips or misses (53 percent); takes up too much room (41 percent), have to get off tractor to empty (34 percent), difficult to empty (24 percent), and bag is too small (19 percent). Agri-Fab addressed all of those complaints and more with the SmartSWEEP. Its benefits include high performance (no wheel skipping, one-pass pick-up and zero-turn capability); compact storage (folds down in just seconds without any tools or help for easy storage in a garage or trailer); easy dumping (handle-controlled dumping without leaving tractor seat); and a large bag capacity (25 cubic feet). Plus, SmartSWEEP is backed by a three-year warranty.


Other Smart products introduced by Agri-Fab included the SmartLINK, SmartCART and SmartSPREADER. SmartLINK is an all-in-one, snap-in grooming system that allows users to switch from one lawn care attachment to another in just seconds without tools. SmartLINK’s master platform accepts a snap-in plug aerator, tine dethatcher, shark aerator and poly roller, eliminating separate trays for each product and saving valuable storage space. SmartCART is a tough, dump truck-inspired, tow-behind cart that makes pulling and dumping loads of more than 800 pounds easy and saves time spent on taking multiple trips. The ergonomic SmartSPREADER is available in both push-behind and tow-behind models, and each offers a load capacity of 125 pounds.


Agri-Fab also announced the signing of Daryl “Moose” Johnston as a celebrity spokesperson. The former Dallas Cowboys star fullback and current FOX Sports commentator appears on Agri-Fab’s Web site at www.agri-fab.com and in the company’s ads and marketing materials.


Ariens Company celebrates milestones


Dan Ariens, president and CEO of Ariens Company, celebrated his birthday by highlighting another recent celebration among many other things at an Oct. 23 press conference featuring birthday cake.


Founded in 1933, Ariens Company celebrated its 75th anniversary with an open house on Sept. 13. As part of the celebration, Ariens Company announced the development of the Mike Ariens “Run for Life” Trail as a living tribute to Mike Ariens for his leadership and contributions to the company. He is chairman of the Ariens board of directors, past-president, and grandson of company founder Henry Ariens. Mike Ariens joined the company in 1959.


“As we mark this company milestone, we wanted to recognize Mike in a way that was fitting for his well-grounded style of leadership,” Dan Ariens said of his father. “He has been a lifelong runner, a role model for fitness, and an advocate of preventive health measures. At the age of 77, he continues to run and remains dedicated to overall health.”


The Mike Ariens Trail will wind through an undeveloped portion of the Ariens property in Brillion, Wis., and connect with the existing Friendship Trail that runs parallel to Highway 10 between Ariens Plant 1 and Ariens Plant 3. When complete, the two trails will form a total trail distance of 5.3 miles. Construction began in early October, and the trail was expected to be completed by the end of November. This recreational trail will be open to the public.


Also, as part of its anniversary celebration, the Ariens Company recently completed a full-size replica of Henry Ariens’ garage — where Henry Ariens and his sons Steve, Leon and Francis assembled the first Ariens product, the Model A tiller — inside the company’s museum located at 109 Calumet St. in Brillion. The 20-foot by 42-foot garage will be available as a meeting room for employees. “Using Henry’s garage as a meeting room is meant to keep this generation of employees connected with our roots and inspire the next generation toward inventive product ideas,” said Dan Ariens, Henry’s great-grandson.


The original garage was built in 1905 and located at 326 N. Main St. in Brillion (address of the current Brillion Public Library). Ariens employees reconstructed the building, working from a few old photographs and the input of local residents who remember some of its details. In addition, many local tradespeople contributed ideas to help make the recreation authentic to the time period of the original garage.


Other announcements made at the press conference include:


• Ariens Company announced that it was notified by Tecumseh Power Company of its plans to exit the engine business and close its engine plant effective Dec. 15, 2008. Because the Ariens Sno-Thro brand is closely linked with Tecumseh Snow King engines, Dan Ariens issued a letter to dealers on Oct. 17 about how this would affect the current snow season and the future of the Ariens Sno-Thro brand, and he shared the letter with the media. In the letter, he stated that his company had enough Tecumseh engines to satisfy current orders and secured Briggs & Stratton engines for additional units this season. The company will evaluate different engine options for next season. Ariens Company is engaged in discussions with Tecumseh to determine how service parts and warranty will be handled in order to continue to meet the needs of Ariens Sno-Thro customers. “Rest assured, we are approaching the issue like any business challenge we face here at Ariens – our first priority is taking care of our customer,” Dan Ariens said. “As a privately held company, the customer is our single-most-important stakeholder. I believe our history in handling business challenges will give you confidence that we are working to resolve this in a way that is fair to all involved. We appreciate your patience as we make this engine transition.”


• Ariens Company will partner with Stormy Kromer Mercantile for two joint promotions with Ariens Sno-Thro products for the 2008-09 snow season. Stormy Kromer specializes in traditional winter outdoor apparel, including hats, coats, vests, handwear and shirts. The promotions will include a national advertising initiative that will provide an opportunity to register for a chance to win an Ariens Compact Sno-Thro or a $400 Stormy Kromer apparel gift pack. Customers who purchase an Ariens Sno-Thro are also eligible to receive a $40 Stormy Kromer wool hat with the Ariens logo. The original wool Stormy Kromer hat was created by its namesake when he modified a baseball cap from his semi-pro days with his railroad engineer hat in search of something that would remain on his head even in the high winds on the train.


• Ariens Company announced the creation of the Gravely Turf program for the underserved sports turf management market. Gravely Turf will offer unique products, services and promotions through independent dealers with the intent of delivering superior localized dealership service to customers typically served by larger, regional distributors. The program includes a combination of turf-related products and technologies from the Gravely, Locke and National lines. The initial launch of Gravely Turf will focus on the Southeast region.


“The business model for Gravely Turf is to deliver superior service through a network of independent dealers that are established as local lawn-and-garden experts,” said Dan Ariens. “These dealers, in turn, have been asked to invest in turf field resources and infrastructure to support this customer base.”


Ariens Company entered the golf and sports turf segment with the 2006 acquisitions of Locke Reel Mowers and National Mower, two brands that have served the market for several decades. Ariens Company’s Gravely brand of commercial equipment for professional landscape contractors also shares some similar turf technology for municipal needs. The company is bringing the related product lines together in the marketplace.


“There is great synergy in combining the resources of Ariens Company with the technical knowledge of these three brands of professional equipment,” said Dan Ariens. “Locke, National and Gravely represent over 250 years of innovation in the professional equipment business for turf maintenance and governmental accounts.”


The Gravely Turf lineup includes 15 products but will be expanded as needs are identified in the marketplace.


• Ariens Company introduced a line of Ariens-branded chore products with an initial launch of lawn edgers and log splitters. The line will expand the product offering for dealers and meet the yard-and-garden needs of homeowners. Additional chore products are currently in development.


• Ariens Company also unveiled a few Gravely-branded products: the Gravely XDZ LP, a propane-powered zero-turn mower available in 60- and 66-inch cutting widths, as well as the Gravely ZT 34, a compact and user-friendly mower at the entry-level price of $1,999.


• After making perhaps the biggest announcement at GIE+EXPO 2007 with the acquisition of Auburn Consolidated Industries, Dan Ariens provided a one-year update on Ariens’ Auburn Operations in Auburn, Neb. He said that Ariens is implementing lean manufacturing initiatives, maintaining the EverRide and Great Dane brands but consolidating distributors of both brands for increased efficiency, and ready to go to market this season with some product updates requested by customers.


Visit www.ariens.com for additional information on Ariens Company and its many brands.


Boxer breaks out new products


Boxer Equipment, a division of Compact Power, Inc., rolled out two new ground-breaking products — the Boxer 322D mini-skid and the Boxer 118 dedicated trencher.


The 322D offers robust power in a smaller, lighter package. It accepts all of the same standard attachments as the larger Boxer models, but is designed to cater to the unique needs of landscape contractors, homeowners and especially the rental market due to its ease of operation, smaller footprint and excellent lifting power. The 322D comes standard with 7-inch-wide rubber tracks that only produce 3.3 psi of ground pressure, helping to minimize damage to existing lawns and landscapes. It boasts a 22-hp. Kubota diesel engine and a two-pump, 3,000-psi hydraulic operating system, which combined create a hydraulic flow of 9.4 gpm to power the machine’s auxiliary and propulsion systems. The 332D is 34.5 inches wide with a maximum ground speed of 3.5 mph. These two attributes combined make quick work of otherwise challenging jobs and tight working areas. The 332D features a tipping capacity of 1,325 pounds and an operating capacity of 663 pounds at 50-percent tipping load. The machine is also built to handle more than 50 universal compact utility attachments.


The Boxer 118 is Compact Power’s first dedicated ride-on trencher. Ideal for utility and irrigation contractors, as well as the rental market, the 118 delivers power, performance, comfort and safety. Its 18-hp. air-cooled Kohler Command Pro gasoline engine with a chain speed of 280 feet per minute, and standard discharge auger combine for a clean cut and consistent trenching speeds. The 118 is available in 24- and 36-inch lengths, both of which come with a 6-inch combo chain. The 118 only produces 2.9 psi of ground pressure, thereby minimizing damage to existing lawns and landscapes. With a width of only 35 inches, the 118 is compact enough to maneuver and trench in tight areas and is ideally sized for the rental industry. The controls are ergonomically designed for maximum operator comfort and function, with a foot pedal and sort lever for easy trencher operation. The sort lever allows the operator to engage the trencher by hand. Once the trencher engages, the operator can then use the foot pedal to keep the trencher chain rotating, allowing the operator to focus on the machine’s steering and ground flow power controls while trenching.


To dig for more information on Boxer Equipment, visit www.boxerequipment.com.


Briggs & Stratton continues century celebration with eye on future


Founded in 1908, Briggs & Stratton Corporation is continuing to celebrate its first 100 years with an eye toward its next 100 years.


“Briggs & Stratton is constantly re-inventing itself,” Vince Shiely, president of the Briggs & Stratton Yard Power Products Group (BSYPPG), said at an Oct. 23 GIE+EXPO press conference. “If you’re not…you’re dying.”


The BSYPPG certainly displayed that innovative spirit at the show by introducing several products under its Allis-Chalmers, Ferris, Simplicity, Snapper and Snapper Pro brands.


On the residential front, Briggs recently brought back the Allis-Chalmers name, its familiar orange color and distinctive logo with the introduction of the AC130 lawn tractor. The AC130 is available in two versions: a 23-hp. unit with a 42-inch mowing deck and a 24-hp. unit with a 46-inch mowing deck. Both units feature a Briggs & Stratton Extended Life Series V-Twin engine with spin-on oil filter, advanced debris management system and full pressure lubrication. Other highlights include a single-pedal foot-controlled hydrostatic transmission, cruise control, cast-iron front axle and 14-inch turning radius. “Allis-Chalmers is now our Simplicity brand without rollers,” said Shiely.


Speaking of Simplicity, Briggs broadened Simplicity’s Axion compact zero-turn lineup with an 18.5-hp. Briggs & Stratton Intek engine-powered, 33-inch model to fit through a standard 36-inch gate, making it ideal for suburban homeowners. The Axion is also available in a 20-hp. model with a 42-inch deck or a 24-hp. model with a 50-inch deck. Briggs also introduced a front-tine tiller with three-way adjustable width (11, 16 and 21 inches) under both its Simplicity and Snapper brands.


In addition to the aforementioned tiller, Briggs introduced two more Snapper brand products with both being Pivot-N-Go walk-behind mowers. The Pivot-N-Go variable-drive system allows operators to adjust the speed of the mower to their own pace; the more the handle pivots forward, the faster the ground speed. One model is equipped with a 21-inch mowing deck, rear-wheel drive and a 675 Series ReadyStart engine, while the second one has a 22-inch mowing deck, front-wheel drive and a 650 Series ReadyStart engine. Both Pivot-N-Go mowers have 3-N-1 versatility, so they can be used to mulch, bag, or side discharge clippings.


On the commercial side, Ferris introduced the IS 3100ZP propane-powered mower with an 895-cc Briggs & Stratton Vanguard Big Block V-Twin engine and a 61- or 72-inch cutting width. “We are very pleased to be offering a Ferris commercial mower that utilizes alternative fuel,” said Bill Shea, vice president of commercial sales for BSYPPG. “Operators now have the best of both worlds, a mower that is comfortable and productive while being better for the environment.” Ferris also expanded two of its existing lines with the additions of a 36-inch model to its 48-, 52- and 61-inch ComfortControl Dual Drive commercial walk-behind mowers and a 61-inch model to its 44- and 52-inch IS 500Z commercial zero-turn riding mowers. Plus, Ferris announced that it is now offering a low-rpm option 30-hp. Vanguard Big Block engine on both the IS 2000Z and IS 3100Z Series zero-turn mowers.


Snapper Pro unveiled a compact 36-inch mower to each of its SW20 Series walk-behind and S50x Series zero-turn mower lines. It also added the rugged and robust S800x outfront zero-turn mower with a 28-hp. Kawasaki engine and 61-inch cutting width. “The acceptance of this machine is outstanding,” Shea said of the S800x. “It meets the needs of customers who are looking for a versatile mower that can be used in conjunction with multiple attachments for increased productivity.”


Briggs & Stratton also announced that it was in the process of launching two new Web sites.


On Oct. 20, it started an interactive Web site for OEMs and commercial engine owners to take interaction to a whole new level. Engine owners and operators can visit www.vanguardengines.com to find engines, locate product support, and participate in the industry’s first Web site designed to include user-generated content on commercial engines. “OEM engineers told us locating engine information was difficult,” said Dan Roche, marketing manager for Briggs & Stratton Commercial Power. “We designed a new way to speed the process by making the search tool extremely flexible. And, if an owner has a specific question about an engine, they will find everything they need on the engine page.”


Briggs also said that in November 2008 it would initiate The Power Channel, an innovative, global, Web-based training site that would allow support technicians, managers and owners to be able to supplement traditional instructor-led classroom training with a full range of online technical training and business management courses. With the Power Channel, Briggs will deliver training on more products to more people in more places by capitalizing on technology and the convenient, 24/7 nature of the Internet. “The Power Channel will help our dealers to save time and money in meeting their training requirements,” said Tim Schreiber, director of customer education and business development for Briggs & Stratton. “The Power Channel will feature a library of courses on engines, consumer products and other topics.”


Visitors to The Power Channel will also find podcasts, mini online classes, test out options, key resource downloads and troubleshooting tips. Information on sales and marketing programs and business management best practices will be another area of focus. “Our motto is ‘Powering Knowledge to Succeed,’” said Schreiber. “We want to offer dealers and technicians a best-in-industry training experience.”


CGC and SPI offer plenty of treats at Block Party


Halloween came about a week early for people of all ages who attended the fun-filled GIE+EXPO Block Party thrown by affiliates Commercial Grounds Care Inc. (CGC) and Schiller-Pfeiffer Inc. (SPI) at their block of booths.


CGC, manufacturer of BOB-CAT, Bunton, Ryan and Steiner brand equipment; and SPI, manufacturer of Classen, Little


Wonder and Mantis brand equipment, treated guests to several new products and new features for existing products, a day-long racing event, giveaways such as three Wii Family Bundle Packages, and even glow-in-the-dark Halloween goodie bags.


SPI showcased several new products, including a line of Classen hydrostatic-drive sod cutters, two Mantis reel mowers (manually operated push model and battery-powered cordless model) and a Little Wonder Optimax commercial walk-behind blower with a 9-hp. Subaru engine.


On the CGC side, BOB-CAT launched two new mowers and added new features to several existing mowers for 2009. Designed for residential and entry-level commercial users, the new BOB-CAT FastCat RZ Series consists of two models: Model #942311F with a 22-hp. Briggs & Stratton ELS engine and a 42-inch side-discharge deck and Model #942313F with a 26-hp. Briggs & Stratton ELS engine and a 52-inch side-discharge deck. New features on many of the BOB-CAT FastCat Pro Series include a heavy-duty canister filtration system and an EZ suspension seat. The BOB-CAT ProCat and Predator-Pro lines have also been improved with new adjustable dampeners, on-the-fly adjustable tracking controls (precision straight line control) and Versa-FLO adjustable deck opening (cuts all grass types and conditions); increased height of cut (1-1/2 to 5 inches in ¼-inch increments); and larger control levers and thicker cushion grips (more comfort and less vibration).


NASCAR and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Marc Davis, who was sponsored by SPI for 15 races in 2008, was scheduled to make a personal appearance at GIE+EXPO on Oct. 24, but could not attend due to a race the following day. In a show of support for Davis, CGC and SPI kicked off GIE+EXPO with a Celebration of Racing on Oct. 23 at their booths. The day-long event featured giveaways and signed NASCAR memorabilia, information on Power Tool Drag Racing and the creation of the Little Wonder Long Body Dragster, and a Wii racing competition.


For more information about CGC and SPI, visit www.cgcequip.com and www.littlewonder.com.


Cub Cadet rolls out new Tank and more


Cub Cadet believes that it has raised the bar for zero-turn mowers by “removing the bar” with the introduction of the new Cub Cadet Commercial Tank S. In addition to the latest Tank, Cub Cadet showcased three more new products in its arsenal: the Cub Cadet Commercial 3-in-1 XP Stand-On Sprayer/Spreader, Cub Cadet Yanmar Ex450 compact tractor and Cub Cadet Volunteer 4x4D utility vehicle.


The Tank S boasts patented Synchro-Steer technology that offers intuitive zero-turn control, replacing traditional lap bars with a steering wheel and offering dual foot pedal operation. Synchro-Steer technology provides full directional control of the front wheels — unlike free-rotating front casters of standard zero-turn mowers — for more stability on any terrain, even on steep hills that previously required a walk-behind mower. Available in three models with a 60- or 72-inch Select Cut System deck and a 31- or 37-hp. Kawasaki V-Twin OHV engine, the Tank S also makes true zero-degree turns and tight maneuvers around any obstacle, while virtually eliminating the potential for turf damage. It is backed by a three-year commercial warranty.


“Professional cutters deal with many challenges impacting their productivity and profitability,” said Allen Baird, product manager, Cub Cadet Commercial. “Most challenges deal with equipment efficiency and operator fatigue and experience. The Tank S is clearly innovative, and not just because of the revolutionary Synchro-Steer technology, but because it can handle any job the first time – regardless of terrain, obstacle, condition or even operator experience. It’s more than solid engineering; it’s solid business.”


The 3-in-1 XP Stand-On Spreader/Sprayer is designed to provide application landscapers with a productivity boost by offering granular, liquid and spot-spray capability in one machine priced under $4,000. It features an electric-start 6-hp. Kawasaki engine with a charging system and a hydrostatic, variable-speed drive. It can hold 10 gallons of liquid in two separate five-gallon tanks that can be used independently, giving operators the ability to apply two different types of liquid material through the spot-spray wand, or by using the boomless sprayer nozzles that have an effective spray width of nine feet. The hopper has a 125-pound capacity for dry material spreading. For landscapers who own a Lesco HP or Cub Cadet Commercial XP, a retro kit is available.


“Commercial and maintenance crews want a compact, lightweight product that can handle big jobs with the flexibility of a walk-behind and the speed and efficiency of a ride-on or stand-on spreader,” said Baird. “For the first time, we’re giving them a unit that can handle large acreage at multiple speeds, reach the areas traditionally covered by a walk-behind, and can still power up hillsides.”


Cub Cadet Yanmar expanded its line of compact tractors with the release of the Ex450. Built on a large chassis to accommodate a wide array of attachments, including a front loader with a universal quick-attach bucket, backhoe and three-point implements, the Ex450 can be used for everything from cutting grass to backhoe trenching and excavation. Designed for a wide range of users, including small farm and ranch owners, landscapers, lawn and maintenance crews, material handlers and even construction crews, the Ex450 is powered by a 4-cylinder liquid-cooled 45-hp. direct-injection Yanmar diesel engine to provide more torque reserve so the power is there when it is most needed. The result is a quieter, more powerful, fuel-efficient engine.


“The Ex450 is a real workhorse and stacks up very well to the competition in terms of features, ease of use and total lower cost of ownership,” said Roger Gifford, product manager, Cub Cadet Yanmar. “This product is the next step up in our product offering of tractors that deliver a superior experience. Customers want a tractor that is easy and comfortable to operate, that has the power do what needs to be done, and the styling to make it a machine you’ll love to own.”


The Cub Cadet Volunteer 4x4D is the industry’s first diesel engine utility vehicle with an independent dual a-arm suspension. The Volunteer 4x4D combines the rugged simplicity and low maintenance of an 854-cc 3-inline cylinder Yanmar diesel engine with the advanced performance of a fully independent suspension. This combination makes it one of the only diesels that can handle both big jobs and off-road challenges.


“The work-play approach to UV product development has long been the industry’s gold standard,” said Aaron Hanlon, product manager, Cub Cadet. “Diesel vehicles have always had the working advantage with more torque, lower maintenance and better fuel economy. Gas UVs, on the other hand, have dominated the off-road market with long suspensions and smoother rides. We’ve combined both the best in diesel engines and a fully independent a-arm suspension with the Volunteer 4x4D to give customers the best of both worlds. Whether you’re a customer who earns a living outdoors, loves the outdoors, or both, this is a UV developed with you in mind.”


For additional information, visit www.cubcadetcommercial.com and www.cubcadetyanmar.com.


Dixon celebrates 35th anniversary with grand product introduction


To kick off its 35th anniversary in 2009, Dixon is introducing its Kodiak SE Series zero-turn mowers and redesigning its Ram Series and SpeedZTR zero-turn mowers.


The Kodiak SE Series zero-turns are built with commercial-grade features that allow large-property owners to mow like professionals without paying a commercial price. These comfortable, user-friendly ZTRs come with a 2-inch by 3-inch tubular steel frame, a commercial-quality pump and wheel motor drive system, and a new Tri-Force cutting deck in 52- or 61-inch cutting widths.


Dixon redesigned its Ram Series with five new models that offer two transmission options (ZT 2800 or Kanzaki) and two deck design choices (Tunnel Force or Tri-Force). The new SpeedZTR models are available with 30- to 54-inch deck sizes and 16.5- to 24-hp. Kawasaki, Kohler and Briggs and Stratton engine options, as well as a new heavy-duty 1.5-inch by 2-inch tubular frame design.


Ecosport introduces all-electric lawn tractor


Ecosport unveiled an all-electric residential lawn tractor at GIE+EXPO. Known as Whisper Mow, this virtually silent, zero-emissions tractor combines the ruggedness, reliability and maneuverability of a commercial-grade lawn tractor with the ease of use and affordability of a residential lawn tractor.


Whisper Mow is available in 36- and 48-volt models that quietly and efficiently mow up to 80 and 100 minutes, respectively. Requiring no gas, oil, spark plugs or filters, the tractor comes with a fully automatic on-board high-frequency battery charger (rated at 30 amps), which can recharge the battery pack from a standard 110-amp household service outlet in approximately 10 hours. The Whisper Mow comes standard

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