Can-Am’s Defender Invades Heartland Lodge!!

can-am-defender-trailer If you are an ATV enthusiast, then you are familiar with the name Can-Am. To be honest, until the first part of October, I knew the name but had no idea of the impact they have on the personal recreation industry…and had no idea that the company had invaded Heartland Lodge. Now invaded might truly be a strong term but that’s exactly what they did when they chose Heartland Lodge and Pike County as the location to launch their new 2016 line of UTVs called the DEFENDER!

Each time Can-Am unveils a new product to the media, they select a spot that fits the design of the vehicle. So this year, Heartland Lodge was chosen as THE location to launch the DEFENDER, their new side-by-side utility vehicle, and to host both national and international media. Over 50 writers and several film crews represented over 70 publications throughout the week. Pretty exciting when you think of all the publicity that the lodge, Pike County and West Central Illinois received…and will continue to receive…from this event!

can-am-in-front-of-prairie-ridge Representatives from Can-Am began arriving at the lodge on September 27th, and pulled in with three semi-trailers loaded with the much-anticipated DEFENDER. I wasn’t there the day they unloaded the valuable merchandise, but I can only imagine the excitement in the air! So once Can-Am had everything in place, the writers began arriving and continued to arrive in three waves. Now when I say writers, these guys came from all over the United States, Canada and Australia. They will be writing articles and featuring photographs in such publications as Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Successful Farming, Dirt Wheels, UTVPlanet, UTV Sports Magazine and many more! You’ll notice that Successful Farming and Field & Stream was included in this list. That means that Can-Am is expanding into the farming and hunting industry with the launch of this new side-by-side…and that is indicated by the three words used to describe the DEFENDER on their website…Tough, Capable and Clever.

can-am-on-sporting-clays-course I wasn’t there the day the new side-by-side was unveiled…but I’m sure everyone was buzzing about the new product line. However, I was able to join in part of the fun on the last day of the second wave. The ‘waves’ that I keep referencing is actually the schedule that Can-Am used in bringing in the media to cover the launch. The first wave of writers were with publications that focused on the farming and hunting industry. When the first wave left, the second wave, consisting of UTV enthusiasts, came in and when they left, the international media arrived…with some as far away as Australia! With shuttle service to and from the airport, three home-cooked meals each day, and the ultra-comfy beds that Heartland is known for, there wasn’t anything more to do than to come and have fun with Can-Am’s new UTV.

can-am-riders-giving-thumbs-up And enjoy they did! However, bringing in media usually means someone has to work. But like me, these guys can combine work with play and this YouTube video by is proof that they came to work AND play! The video also showcases one of the reasons that Heartland Lodge and its miles of ATV trails were the perfect setting for the testing of Can-Am’s new product line by knowledgeable and experienced riders. You can also check out the review by Rocks & Ruts Off-Road. These are just two of the many reviews and videos that I’m sure are going to surface regarding Can-Am’s new product AND the hospitality at Heartland.

photographingcanam So how did I spend my day? I grabbed my camera (of course)…and headed out to see what all the excitement was about! Now I’ll admit…riding ATV’s is normally not my thing…but I’ve decided that I might need to give one a try sometime after seeing how much fun these guys were having. Not only were some of them headed out to the trails, but there were guys who were loading up the DEFENDER to check out its load capacity…but then they were also staging photographs. Keep in mind…these are media people and many of them were not only writers, but photographers and videographers as well. Part of the fun was seeing how they worked and their perspective on getting the best shot!

As many of the media were leaving for the airport that afternoon, I heard them all say that they had a great time at the lodge, that the food was incredible, the scenery and trails of both the original ATV park and our new OHV park provided the perfect setting for their task at hand…and that many were already planning return trips with family and friends.

row-of-defenders-showing-mud So even though I wasn’t able to go out on the trails during my day at the lodge, I was able to visit with a representative from Can-Am who was very willing to share information on the history behind Can-Am and their other recreational vehicles. I also learned the process behind choosing a location for their product line launch. It amazes me the details that have to be worked out in advance to provide a positive experience for all those attending. The transportation to and from the airport, the accommodations, the perfect setting in which to showcase the strengths and capabilities of a new product.

It was apparent at days’ end, that Can-Am and their invited guests, enjoyed their experience at Heartland Lodge. Even though the lodge is known to many as a great place to spend an anniversary or honeymoon, plan a wedding or hunting trip, it’s also a great location for companies to bring clients and guests for an experience that everyone will enjoy!

Lori Biehl
Sixteen-Year-In-a-Row Guest

Last Updated: October 29th, 2015

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