Rob Kincaid Tribute

Snowmobile Industry loses friend, ambassador

October 2020 Feature Ryan Harris

Special thanks to Stephen W. Clark and Justin Stevens for photos

On April 3, 2020, we learned that Rob Kincaid—you may know him better as RMR or Rocky Mountain Rob—was caught in an avalanche.

Here’s the original post from that evening as the sad news was confirmed:

It’s with a heavy heart that we report that Rob Kincaid perished in an avalanche Friday, April 3. Our deepest condolences and respect go out to his family.

Rob has a special way with people, and it’s no surprise he has become a household name in our little sport. Rob has a gifted way of making people feel like they’re his closest friends from the first handshake. Doesn’t matter if you met him in a dirt field in Minnesota or a parking lot in Idaho, Rob always takes time to visit with anyone. His personality transcends backgrounds and preconceptions. He can get a laugh out of anyone, just a question of how many seconds it will take. Rob’s impact will last well beyond any winter. The snowmobiling family lost a good friend today.

We’ll miss you Robby. 💚💚💚

Unfortunately, ours is a sport where this danger is real. And while we have lost many loved and respected riders to avalanches over the years, Rob’s passing hits close to home here at SnoWest.

Although we have covered Rob in various hillclimb results since he began racing in 1998, we really got to know this wild Teton Valley rider in the spring of 2010. Rob and Dave McClure were racing together and that led to riding together the majority of the time. And that all led to the most well-known duo of brand ambassadors our sport has seen. 

Many people—us at SnoWest included—saw this friendship between Rob and Dave as something very unique. Add to that Rob’s one-of-a-kind way with words and magnetic personality, the Rob and Dave duo was something that had to be shared with the entire snowmobile community, not just the local boys in southeast Idaho. 

SnoWest helped Rob and Dave put together a proposal in the summer of 2012 that would launch an official backcountry Arctic Cat team, with Rob and Dave leading the way. Rob and Dave became RND, a brand that would soon become legendary in the annals of Arctic Cat. Together, RND traveled to snowmobile shows across North America, signing posters, hats, jackets and baby foreheads (for real… with a Sharpie). 

Dave recalls their first trip to Hay Days in 2013. Still unproven as a marketing asset, they paid their own way to get to the industry’s biggest trade show that year. “I remember telling Rob on our way to Hay Days that we were gonna be a couple nobody’s. I didn’t even know if we’d get invited to the FOX party!”

Dave says they ran into Sahen Skinner and a bunch of other riders after landing in Minneapolis, and eight of them together piled into Rob’s rental car and drove to the show. Things went extremely well for the duo at that show, with Dave quickly learning that Rob could talk his way into anywhere. 

As for being a marketing asset? RND quickly took center stage in Arctic Cat’s booth, showcasing some of the coolest mod mountain sleds and leading off at the autograph tables. 

“Going to the shows,” Dave says, “we went from starting out asking people if they wanted an autograph to being the last guys to leave a show because people wanted to stay and talk to us after shows.” 

The next several years would see the RND duo appear in every major snowmobile film series and national print media. Together, RND travelled the world as ambassadors. Overseas, they rode in Sweden (three trips together, and Rob went once by himself when Dave broke his back during a film shoot in 2018), Japan twice, Iceland and Norway.

All the while as Rob and Dave were attending just about every snow show each season, riding for Arctic Cat photo and film shoots, riding abroad and traveling the country, they each remained fully committed to their hillclimb racing careers. 

“We were more busy than any racer on the RMSHA circuit, but we would still win world championships,” says Dave. “It was validation. Everyone looks good on social media, but winning races is different.”

Rob began racing RMSHA hillclimb events in 1998, winning Semi Pro King in his first race at Soda Springs. 

Rob raced one snocross event, competing at the SnoWest SnoCross in West Yellowstone in March 2001. His wife, Kim, recalls that Rob didn’t like the jumps and stuck with hillclimb racing.

Rob first qualified to race at the World Championship Snowmobile Hillclimb in Jackson Hole in 1999. He qualified regularly throughout his career. 

Rob also competed in a cross-country race once with Mike Foster, where the two-man team finished second. 

Kim recalls one of Rob’s favorite racing moments came at a Canadian hillclimb where you could pay an extra entry into the King of the Hill runs. Rob went through the day’s races well, but entered the King of the Hill class and won. 

Rob’s best results year racing was in 2012 when he won the 700 Improved class at the World Championship Snowmobile Hillclimb in Jackson Hole and followed that up by winning the RMSHA season points championship in 700 Improved at the end of the season.

Another highlight of Rob’s racing career came in 2014 when he won Pro Masters Stock at the World Championship Snowmobile Hillclimb in Jackson Hole. 

“Rob never got the recognition he deserved for that win,” recalls Dave. “He won a world championship on a stock Arctic Cat 800 when nobody was winning anything on a stock Arctic Cat 800.” 

Rob and Dave starred in Arctic Cat’s Destination: Elevation film series, hosted countless demo rides for the brand, and each had limited-edition replica 2015 Arctic Cat M8000 Mountain Cat production snowmobiles made following their wildly popular 2014 custom mod sled builds. 

Rob was loyal to his sponsors, almost to a fault. Through thick and a lot of thin, Rob carried the torch for Arctic Cat and MotorFist, as well as his long history with 509, Fox, TKI, Speedwerx, Octane Ink, SLP and others. Not just using and promoting the brands that helped him become known through the industry, but fiercely defending them.

But what appeared to be the pinnacle of Rob’s snowmobiling career came over the past two seasons as his son, Riley, began racing—and winning—Semi-Pro classes on the RMSHA circuit.

Rob told us in an interview last season that he believed Riley was ten times the backcountry rider Rob was, and has the skills to win a lot of hillclimb races. Rob worked hard the last couple seasons at getting Riley in a position with Arctic Cat to take on some of the riding responsibilities. RND was becoming RRND. In the background, Rob was trying to shift the focus from himself to Riley so Rob could begin to step out of the limelight. 

We just didn’t think that time would come so soon. 

From all of us at SnoWest: Thanks for the good times and the memories, Rob.

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