Jim Phelan Passes THUNDERSTRUCK FILMS Torch to Clay Hockel

Hockel has ridden for Thunderstruck for 5 years


After over 20 years of building the Thunderstruck brand, Jim Phelan has decided to pass the proverbial owner’s torch to current Thunderstruck Athlete, Clay Hockel. Jim started the company in 1996 with a handy-cam and a few friends and built it into the household name it has become in the snowmobiling industry. Known for many years for their tight-chute climbing and huge mountain ascents, Thunderstruck has evolved in the last 5 years to be the only snowmobiling film in the world that incorporates every genre and style of western riding. While still the talk of the chute-slaying community, the athletes are now riding technical trees, steep v-bottom gullies, throwing huge backflips, massive air, epic deep powder and so much more. And the tradition will continue with Clay Hockel taking the helm.

Jim welcomed Clay to the Thunderstruck family 5 years ago when he watched Clay air-out a Yamaha sled 160 feet in the backcountry. “It was unreal seeing that sled fly that far!” Phelan said. They became fast friends and Clay folded nicely into the family dynamic Thunderstruck is known for. Clay solidified his place in the Thunderstruck world 4 years ago when he dropped one of the largest and craziest cliffs ever filmed in the backcountry, and he also did that on a Yamaha!

Clay is elated for the opportunity to jump into Jim’s huge footprints (size 16) and run with Thunderstruck, building its brand, venturing into new adventures, and continuing to build its reputation and award-winning film catalog. “Snowmobiling for Thunderstruck was my goal since a young age, and to be taking over ownership is a dream come true,” Hockel says.

Clay also added that Thunderstruck fans should stay tuned for new and exciting things coming from
Thunderstruck Films throughout this season. Thunderstruck Films’ direction will be enhanced with Beckyn Hockel (Clay’s wife) opening Thunderstruck Adventures in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Along with a full fleet of new 2020 Arctic Cat Alpha Ones up for rent, fans will also be able to learn Riding skills, have custom photo and films shoots, practice snowmobiling safety, and take avalanche seminars and education ALL IN ONE PLACE! Thunderstruck Adventures opens December 20 th , 2019. Stay tuned to see what riders, talents, photographers and Avy educators will be making house-calls to Thunderstruck Adventures in Steamboat Springs!

Phelan will continue to have a role in the company, filming, editing and shooting photos, and helping Hockel and Team Thunderstruck along the way. New owner Hockel will run day-to-day operations and has no doubt that Thunderstruck will continue to be a powerhouse company in the sledding world.

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