Giving 'tanks' is key to Kasota business - St. Peter MN: News

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Giving 'tanks' is key to Kasota business

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Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 8:00 am | Updated: 2:20 pm, Fri Jan 4, 2013.

Many people know about the important role the tank has played in the most significant military battles of our world, but the closest most people will ever get to them is history books or TV documentaries or the big screen.

What most St. Peter residents may not realize is that there is a chance to experience these awesome machines up close and personal, but in a safe and controlled manner, right in their own back yard at Drive A Tank, located on the western edge of the small town of Kasota (550 West Cherry Street).

For the past two years, owner Tony Borglum and his staff — Kessa Baedke-Petersen, Roman Petersen and Mike Petersen — at Drive A Tank have welcomed visitors from around the U.S. and other parts of the world to test drive British-made tanks, each of which has been disarmed, but still possess their amazing ability to maneuver over a lot of different kinds of terrain.

Drive A Tank has around a one-mile trail through a mainly wooded area, including a wetland area, in which they drive these tanks through on their 22-acre site.

Throw in a chance to shoot a machine gun or two or other types of high-powered weapons at the adjacent Vantage Point Indoor Range and you have the perfect combination for that adrenaline-seeking person or someone who simply is interested in military or U.S. history.

“I got the idea for this business back in 2006 but we really didn’t get things up and running until about 2010,” Borglum said. “I have always had an interest in diesel engines and anything mechanical and in 2006 I started looking around for a Ferret Scout Car (a British armored vehicle used for reconnaissance purposes) and my interest in tanks grew from there.”

The U.S. military does not surplus its own tanks so as Borglum’s interest grew in possibly starting a business --which allowed people to actually experience driving a tank — he had to look overseas to find the right equipment. All of the tanks he owns are British military surplus.

Among those tanks Borglum has bought:

• FV 433 Abbott — the one that most visitors get to drive when they purchase either a 3-Star or 4-Star package.

• FV432 APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) — which is the second tank visitors can drive if they purchase a 4-Star package.

• A 120,000-pound Chieftain Main Battle Tank (affectionately named “Larry”) — which can be used to crush a car.

“One of the biggest misconceptions people have with people that own tanks is that they must be terrorists or bad people,” Borglum said. “All of these tanks have been ‘demilled’ according to U.S. laws and are not capable of firing ammunition.

“Our purpose is to educate those who visit here about the role these machines played in our history and give them a first-hand look at how they operate and maneuver.”

Those visiting Drive A Tank and Vantage Point Indoor Range will notice immediately from the signage on the walls inside their building and during the requisite training session that safety is the business’s top priority.

Spectators and participants have be 11 or older to take part in any of the activities at Drive A Tank and Vantage Point.

“We want this to be as enjoyable of an experience as possible for our visitors, but we want them to be safe as well,” Borglum said. “Our staff is well trained in all the equipment we have out here.”

Those interested in visiting Drive A Tank and Vantage Point Shooting Range can visit While reservations are not taken online at this point, pricing information and available dates are shown on the company’s website.

“We only had about 6 percent of our visitors in 2011 come from Minnesota, but that number is slowly climbing,” Borglum said.

The business is open most weekends and also is available for private outings as well.

Drive A Tank has gotten its share of state and national press having already been featured in the Minneapolis StarTribune, Washington Post, Fox News, Forbes magazine to name a few.

Comedian Dan Whitney (aka Larry the Cable Guy) was a recent visitor, stopping by for a full day to shoot a segment for his “Only In America” TV show on the History Channel.

Other TV shows featuring Drive A Tank include “Red, White & New” on the Travel Channel, “Wreckreation Nation” on the Discovery Channel and “Attack of the Show” on G4TV to name a few.

“It’s amazing how word has gotten out there about us, but we still have many people who we run into right around here who haven’t heard much about us,” Borglum said. “It definitely is an enjoyable business, but we our goal is that everyone has a safe experience as well.”

Reach News Editor Kurt Hildebrandt at 507-934-3655, or follow him on @SPHKurt

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1 comment:

  • marie_borglum posted at 12:37 pm on Wed, Sep 12, 2012.

    marie_borglum Posts: 1

    Nice article! Thank you St. Peter Herald for taking the time to research our family business. We are happy to be located in Kasota, and look forward to supporting the St. Peter and Mankato retailers.
    Marie Borglum


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