Oujé-Bougoumou’s favorite snowmobile-racing son, Katejun Coonishish, has been tearing up the World Power Sports Racing circuit, currently holding down second place in the overall standings.
Coonishish also made his second appearance recently at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, where he finished fifth against the world’s best snowmobile racers.
Although still considered a semi-pro, Coonishish – who’s only 19 years old – will be turning pro next year and along with it will come more cash and more sponsorships.
Coonishish talked about the adrenaline running through his body as he qualified for the final round in the January 25-28 X games, something he failed to do last year.
“My sled was running perfect over there and I got a hole shot, I came out first of the line,” he said. “I was leading the race for a little while, but Ryan Simons is really fast, so he got by me. I was going to put a move on him again, but I couldn’t so I just thought that second place was just as good as a first in that race so I could go straight to the final.”
Coonishish said that because the racers at the X Games are so good and the altitude so high, it made it harder for him to breath. He is also still learning how to compete at the prestigious event.
“In the final I got a really bad start,” he said. “I got rammed off the track and I was 12th or last place and then I worked my way up. I managed to get by a whole bunch of fast guys, and I finished fifth. I felt pretty good to get by all the Skidoo riders, so I was the top Skidoo rider and I was happy about that. I also ended up being the top semi-pro rider there.”
Coonishish was scouted early on in his youth by the Blair Morgan team and other snowmobile manufacturers and racing teams. Once he finished high school in O-J he had an open invitation to join the tour. So he moved south and is currently based in Minneapolis.
Second- and third-place finishes in the first two national events have bolted Coonishish into the second overall position in the modified snowmobile category of the tour. He currently sits 12th in the stock or unmodified category.
His season opened on November 15 and wraps up in mid-March. He has also participated in regional races that don’t count towards the points on the tour.
“It feels pretty good,” he said of the tour. “Especially when you beat one of them, you’re like, ‘I used to watch this guy on TV and now I beat him.’ It’s a great feeling.”
When he first started out, Coonishish had a few interested sponsors to help him out. Just over a year into the WPSA Power Sports Snowmobile Tour, he has already picked up numerous sponsors including the main one, Warnert Racing. He left Blair Morgan racing last year.
Coonishish said that he has learned a lot since he joined the tour. He hopes to practice on O-J’s sawdust track and can’t wait to get back to the Winter X Games next year.
“I hope to get a podium for sure next year,” he said. “This year I finished fifth, but I’ll be more confident and more ready next year.”