Seven Months after devastating fire, Classic and Rattler Ropes are back producing
After nearly seven months of rebuilding what was left of the rope factory burnt to ashes, Classic and Rattler ropes took rope orders from retail partners for the first time on Monday, June 20.
On Nov. 30, 2015 at 4:00 a.m. a fire started and destroyed the 70,000-square-foot rope manufacturing facility despite the efforts of nearly 50 firefighters. The fire goes on record as being one of the largest in Hood County’s history and thankfully there were no injuries. While the ashes were still smoldering, plans were implemented for the rebuilding process. All 74 employees of the facility were promised no loss in wages, and the mass clean up began. After a thorough investigation of what started fire, the Hood County Fire Marshall deemed the results inconclusive.
By January of 2016, string and fiber production commenced in the only structure on the property that did not burn and shortly after, the fabrication team began working on the production of the first and only ones of its kind rope machines. At the end of March, down from the count of eight, two machines were fully operational and prototypes were developed and tested by a select group of professional ropers. Even through this devastating castrophe, Equibrand is very thankful for the support of the consumers, retailers, professionals, and industry partners.
Ken Bray, CEO of Equibrand, said, “We are humbled by the outpouring of support from our customers and industry partners. We understand our responsibility is to exceed expectation.”
On Monday, June 20, 2016 the first rope orders to retail partners were made for the first time since the fire. Quantities and selection of only Heats and GT4’s were limited at time of purchase. The machines are running day and night to get production back up and crews are working tirelessly to get the remaining machines built to get stock back in every rope. This is just the first phase of the Firestorm.
Equibrand is a holding company for several premium branded products in the western performances equestrian industry.
Early morning November 30, 2015 a fire broke out at Classic Rope, Rattler Rope and Classic Equine manufacturing facility on Highway 51 in Granbury, Texas. The fire spread rapidly despite the hard fought efforts of more than 50 firefighters. The flames burned throughout the day, and the fire was not extinguished until some 12 hours later.
Control of the blaze was complicated by manufacturing materials involved in the burn, including high quantities of nylon, polyester, and other flammables which produced intense heat and resisted normal firefighting practices.
There were no injuries associated with the blaze, but by the evening, the 70,000 square foot location that produced ropes, string, and saddle pads for over 29 years and employed over 80 employees was reduced to smoldering rubble. The cause of the fire which appeared to have started at or near a maintenance building is unknown.
News of the fire spread quickly across the country throughout the day, sending shock waves to both retailers and consumers. The facility was the epicenter for rope production, turning out 1,800 to 2,000 Classic and Rattler Ropes daily, which accounts for at least 50% of the market for team ropers and calf ropers around the world.
The facility housed all the fiber production used in the manufacturing of ropes and piggin’ strings as well as served as the production nucleus for all Classic Equine saddle pad production, as well as other Classic Equine products.
Equibrands’s CEO, Ken Bray weighed in on the destruction and what it means.
“First, we are the most thankful that no one was injured and no one was in the building at the time the fire started. Second, the outpouring and demonstrated support from the entire western industry has been overwhelming. Local businesses and friends have come forward to offer aid in everything from clean-up services, breakfast for employees, to warehouse space and office equipment. We are grateful to be a part of such a supportive community.”
Bray explained that an action plan for rebuilding was in place even before the flames had died out. Thanks to a solid crises management plan, the continued care and financial support for employees will be in place throughout the rebuilding process.
“At Equibrand, we are like family, and taking care of our people is very important to us. The focus now, is on taking care of our dealers and our customers. The building and its contents can be replaced, but what’s most important is getting things back up and running as soon as possible to service those retailers that depend on our products and to keep our customers supplied with the products they depend on.”
Classic Equine saddle pad production is anticipated to be up and running by the end of January. Plans are being finalized, custom tools are being fabricated, and our skilled team with unwavering leadership are laying the ground work for a new state of the art rope facility. We are rebuilding to be better and stronger than ever.
“Our products are the trade tools of the sport, from the weekend roper to our professional team of ambassadors that make a living with them, we want them to know this team is working tirelessly to regroup, restore, and rebuild in an effort to meet their product demands as soon as possible.”
As most of you know, this is a crazy, busy time of year for the rope shop and for ropers practicing for the big upcoming events. Lots of ropes are being made and lots of ropes are being used! In our second segment of Rope Talk with George McQuain, we asked for tips on the proper way to break in and store ropes for longer life expectancy, quality, and integrity.
What is the best way to break in new ropes?
George: “The general rule is to rope 2 or 3 steers and put them up for a few days — the longer the better in my opinion. I like to let mine set a couple weeks, but at the minimum I would say a couple days. If not the life expectancy of the rope will be much shorter.”
How should ropes be stored for maximum amount of use?
George: “I think as long as you store them somewhere it is not hot or really humid they should be fine. As far as eye position, you just want to make sure if you store them in your rope bag that eye is straight and not jammed in there where it could make it turn one way or the other. A lot of people like to lay them out in big coils on the floor of their tack room or in their house, but I think as long as they are in there normal coils or bigger it is fine either way.”
We hope these tips help with your routine and remember that SUCCESS IS IN YOUR HANDS!
Fall weather has graced us with its presence again, and it is prime time to get the horses legged up and the ropes broke in for all the awesome ropings coming up in the sport of team roping. The USTRC Finals in Oklahoma City are the last weekend in October and the World Series of Team Roping Finals are in December at the South Point during the National Finals Rodeo.
Ropers of all competitive levels get the chance to rope for hundreds of thousands of dollars…literally.
With all these things considered, we went to our rope guru to find out what is the most popular right now and who is winning with it. Some know him as the “rope god,” some know him as the man behind the brand, and some know him as George McQuain.
What is the top seller at Classic Rope?
George: The Heat is the top seller overall. Jake Barnes, Junior, Brady Minor, and Colby Lovell frequently use it.
The Spydr would be a close second. This rope is used by Luke Brown and also sometimes by Colby Lovell and Jake Barnes.
The Heat and Spydr are popular among both headers and heelers. The GT4 would round out the top 3, and is predominately used by heelers like Kollin VonAhn, but it’s not uncommon to see them as head ropes.
Best of luck to all you ropers during this busy season and remember SUCCESS IS IN YOUR HANDS.
It came down to a photo finish this last week in the regular season! The highs were high, and the lows were low. Some dreams came true, and some had to lick their wounds and come back home. All in all 2015 was an exciting year and we will be excited to see what 2016 has in store. Members of Team Classic that will be competing at the National Finals Rodeo will be: Derrick Begay, Aaron Tsinigine, Colby Lovell, Erich Rogers, Jake Barnes, Luke Brown, and Clay Smith on the head side. Team Classic heelers are: Ryan Motes, Paul Eaves, Cory Petska, Junior Nogueira, and Brady Minor. Fans will be able to meet and greet Team Classic at the newly updated Classic Rope booth at Cowboy Christmas at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Stay tuned for an autograph schedule! Here are the final results from the big weekend rodeos and official updated standings:
2015 Top 20 Headers
2015 Top 20 Heelers
Clay O’Brien Cooper
Jim Ross Cooper
San Bernardino, CA
Team roping: 1. Tom Richards/Tyler McKnight, 4.1 seconds, $2,400 each; 2. Darrin Finan/Bronc Boehnlein, 5.1, $2,147; 3. (tie) Ryan Reed/Cody Pearson, Riley Minor/Brady Minor, and Lane Santos Karney/Jordan Ketscher, 5.5, $1,642 each; 6. Travis Tryan/Russell Cardoza, 6.0, $1,137; 7. (tie) Wes Lockard/Chad Davis, and Matt Sherwood/Quinn Kesler, 6.3, $758 each; 9. Lane Lowry/Mike Monighetti, 6.5, $379; 10. Brandon Bates/Nate Preuit, 6.9, $126.
Team roping: 1. Joel Bach/Jim Ross Cooper, 4.4 seconds, $3,371 each; 2. Manny Egusquiza Jr./Jonathan Torres, 4.6, $3,016; 3. (tie) Coleman Proctor/Jake Long, and David Key/Boogie Ray, 4.7, $2,484 each; 5. Cory Clark/Ethan Cory, 4.8, $1,952; 6. Nick Sartain/Rich Skelton, 4.9, $1,597; 7. Chad Masters/Travis Graves, 5.2, $1,242; 8. Brandon Webb/Mickey Gomez, 5.7, $887; 9. (tie) Justin Davis/Zane Bruce, and Garrett Tonozzi/Jett Hillman, 6.0, $355 each.
Team roping: First round: 1. Cody Snow/Dugan Kelly, 4.1 seconds, $5,865 each; 2. Luke Brown/Kollin VonAhn, 4.3, $5,100; 3. Jake Cooper/Tyler McKnight, 4.4, $4,335; 4. Aaron Tsinigine/Ryan Motes, 4.5, $3,570; 5. (tie) Riley Minor/Brady Minor and Matt Sherwood/Quinn Kesler, 4.7, $2,422 each; 7. David Key/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 5.3, $1,275; 8. Joel Bach/Jim Ross Cooper, 7.4, $510. Finals: 1. Colby Lovell/Kory Koontz, 4.7 seconds, $400 each; no other qualified runs.
Wrangler Champions Challenge Finale- Omaha, NE
Team roping: 1. Jake Cooper/Kollin VonAhn, 4.1 seconds, $6,800 each; 2. Erich Rogers/Ryan Motes, 9.8, $5,200; 3. Dustin Bird/Paul Eaves, 10.4, $3,800; no other qualified runs.
The pressure is heating up with only 10 days left in the 2015 season. Where did the time go? This past week was filled with action as the famous Pendleton Round-Up concluded and cowboys were spread throughout the U.S. like a spilled jar of marbles trying to fit in as many rodeos as they could. Highlights of the week were Travis Woodward and David Key setting a new arena record at Pendleton with a 4.6 second run. Rainy conditions made the grass a little slick for slack causing a few wrecks and the already unique set up a little more challenging. A few might have tried to make the trip from Pendleton to Pasadena which is a mere 2,170 mile trek. Or from Pendleton to Albuquerque or to Abilene. Needless to say no matter where they were traveling, some cowboys put some miles on their trucks this week. Here are results from some of the big rodeos this past week and the updated world standings!
Only 17 short days until the 2015 rodeo season wraps up! As with any year, this has been a year for highs and lows for the rodeo cowboys. Some are still out there fighting tooth and nail to climb back into the Top 15, some of the very fortunate top gunners have secured their spot and have a heavy weight lifted off their shoulders. The new revised payout at the 2015 NFR will make the world title anyone’s game at this year’s finals, making a qualification as crucial as ever. Here are the rodeos going on this week and the Top 20 teams in the team roping.
Pasadena Livestock Show & Rodeo
9/11/2015 – 9/17/2015
Albuquerque, New Mexico
New Mexico State Fair & Rodeo
9/15/2015 – 9/20/2015