The Great Texas Adventure, Canada Style
At the July 10th grand opening of BRP’s North American headquarters in The Shops at Legacy, Plano had a lot to celebrate. Street cred among recreational adventurers? Check. A whole bunch of brand new Canadian friends? Check. Another opportunity to see Mayor LaRosiliere in a perfectly tailored suit? Check. The list goes on. But, I’ll be honest, my favorite part of BRP’s move to Plano is the fun.
Have you ever spent a perfect summer day jetting across a mildly choppy lake on a Sea-Doo? Or, maybe you’ve gone on a winter vacation that included some quality time riding across packed snow on a Ski-Doo? If so, you can thank BRP, the Canadian parent company behind those brands as well as Evinrude Outboard Motors and Can-Am.
“Texas is the biggest, best market in the world for off-road vehicles,” says BRP’s senior vice president and general manager of Global Retail and Services Sandy Scullion, when explaining the big move to Texas. “Plano is a starting point for new business strategy in North America. Here, we are able to get close to both our customers and our dealers.”
Plano became the top choice for many reasons. “The people were a critical factor,” Sandy says. And that is something that this author heard repeated by many BRP executives. Sandy continued, “We knew that many big companies like Toyota were moving to Plano, and we had to come see why. And then we were surprised to find that right here in Texas, there is an almost European center of business and culture.”
There is an energy in the BRP office building that is only appropriate for a company that caters to adrenaline junkies and adventurers. Architecturally, the building is open. With snow-white walls and the occasional framed photo of a a scenic vista, it’s as close as these Canadians will get to a Canadian winter. But it’s more than the new digs. People are excited. They are excited to explore Texas and they are excited to promote their brand.
One of the highlights of the grand opening was the successful Lone Star Edition Can-Am Defender, a utility task vehicle (UTV) so sturdy yet smooth that it keeps up with side-by-side vehicles (SSVs) half its size. I found this out firsthand while dutifully gathering information in what turned out to be the most thrilling assignment of my three years so far at Plano Magazine.
After the grand opening ceremonies, I found out why the Canadians at BRP will make perfect Texans. Namely, that Texas is the state where everything is bigger, and BRP is a company where they do nothing small.
After the ribbon cutting, two helicopters picked us up about 100 yards away from BRP’s headquarters. In the five-seater, I rode with one sports enthusiast/podcast journalist, one member of the BRP finance team, and my two graceful and charismatic hosts, Marc-Andre Dubois, the global marketing director at Can-Am, and Catherine Moreau, senior advisor in media relations.
In the other chopper, a smaller four-seater, Plano Magazine Publisher Luke Shertzer rode with two BRP employees and another journalist.
From The Shops at Legacy, we took a 30-minute helicopter ride to Midlothian, where we touched down on a grassy pasture within TexPlex Park, a veritable paradise for riders of all terrain vehicles (ATVs), UTVs, dirt bikes and more. The website calls it “an innovative, thousand-acre development meant to be enjoyed by friends and families, where memories are born out of the excitement and awe of our remarkable attractions and recreation parks.”
Just outside of TexPlex’s grand Blaine Stone Lodge, a handful of Can-Am Maverick X3s and Defenders awaited our test drives along a serpentine track that slithered its way around a canvas of trees, over straightaways that beckoned the foot to press harder on the pedal and over intermittently rolling and resting hills.
I am a complete SSV/UTV amateur, but it didn’t seem to matter. My time behind the wheel of the Can-Am Defender can only really described as transcendent.
With every drift through the dirt and mud, I felt the joy of my youth, when my brother and I raced go-karts through a track of our own design. With every inch of air I caught, flying over carefully designed jumps, I felt the adrenaline of a true adventurer.
There’s this other transcendent thing about BRP. We live in a time, and in a country, where it’s become really easy to focus on what makes us different. This can lead to a lot of derision, even between allies like Canada and the U.S.
Let me tell you that none of that exists when you put five people in a helicopter and drop them off to dart through forests, make hairpin turns around a track and drink a cold beer after recreation in the hot Texas sun. No, when that happens, there’s only people trying to come together to accomplish something really special.
Now, whether that something special is an international business venture calling a town in Texas home, betting on its people, its diversity and its progress, or whether that something special is a long ride down a dirt road, that’s all up to just how far you want to take that ride.
After two hours of driving SSVs and UTVs, we were back in the helicopters, zipping over 5 o’clock traffic on Highway 121 all the way to Plano.
If you get a chance, stop by the BRP offices and check out the display of the newest line of Can-Am, Ski-Doo and Sea-Doo products. They represent a lifestyle of adventure and style, culture and exploration. A little bit of Canada, a little bit of Texas.BRP >