Local invention gets a national showcase
Being an entrepreneur and inventor is not for the faint of heart.
Chris and Geanie Rodgers know that from their own business and are the proud creators of an invention called Rapid Rope.
Chris grew up in Prineville, where his parents currently live. He is proud to be a Crook County High School alumnus.
"It's great to be from Prineville and to have went through CCHS," he said.
Chris, Geanie and their children now reside in Eagle, Idaho. He said he and his family have always been avid outdoors people, and he now shares that love with his wife and kids. He added that they always have some kind of utility rope for camping, fishing, outdoors or simply around the house.
"It was always a knotted mess," he said.
Chris is a lineman by trade, which means he repaired and maintained damaged power lines.
"One of the things a lineman prides themselves in is figuring out a better way or a better process, so we started tinkering on certain stuff, and how to make it work," he explained, "so we came up with an idea of having a cordless spool of rope that winds out."
He said the rope is in a canister and pulls out with ease. It has a cutter on top, so it is not necessary to use a separate knife. Rapid Rope is a uniquely designed multi-use dispenser system that can be used for almost every rope application and contains 120 feet of extreme utility rope.
"The theory behind it is you still have your utility rope you can use, and you have no knots that come out. It's kind of like dental floss on steroids," Chris said. "It's kind of like duct tape. It has 101 uses, and you always have it with you. You can use it for anything or everything. There are endless uses."
He said the company has one strength of rope, which comes in three colors, white, green and blaze orange.
"That's (the blaze orange) also a great response with hunters and outdoorsmen — that's a high-visibility rope."
Chris and Geanie work closely in the business, and they pitched their idea to "Shark Tank," a reality show in which contestants pitch business ideas to major investors.
"It's been our dream and our company together. It's kind of our family and our story," Chris said. "We filmed months and months ago. It's going to be airing Jan. 19. We're just crazy excited. We are just so happy and thankful everything worked out."
Recently, the Rodgerses moved the location of their shop to expand the business. They moved onto some acreage that has a large shop, and they hired two employees. Chris said the business started out with only family, but demand picked up enough that they needed more space and help.
"Everything is stepping up and moving up, up — which is great."
The week after "Shark Tank" airs, they have been invited to Shot Show, Fully Loaded at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. It's an official event of the National Shooting Sports Foundation and is one of the largest outdoorsmen shows in the West, as well as one of the top three in Las Vegas.
"We are going to be there presenting Rapid Rope," Chris said.
Since launching two and a half years ago, all five Rodgers children have helped with the business.
"The older kids for sure, are really great help, and they love to be involved and they are super proud of it," Geanie said.
She added that the children, ages 12 to 24, are excited for Chris and Geanie to be on "Shark Tank."
The Rodgerses applied to be on the show three years ago. They were in Africa working on a mission when they got the call that they had been chosen to move ahead on the show.
"It's been almost a year's process to get this far," Geanie said. "It's been a lot of paperwork, a lot of hoops to jump through, but in the end — definitely worth it."
Chris said that they were just issued their first patent on their product recently.
"That took years," he said.
"The whole process in building our business is not for the faint of heart," Geanie said. "It's been years in the making, and it will appear to be an overnight success — but it took seven years."
"I think a lot of the contributing factors was having my mom and dad being there in Prineville, and the support that we've had through them," Chris said. "It's awesome to have their support."
The Rodgerses' Rapid Rope Canister and Cartridg ise available at Ochoco Feed and Farm Supply, Parr Lumber in Prineville and Sportsman's Warehouse in Central Oregon. It is also online at HYPERLINK "http://www.rapidrope.com" www.rapidrope.com
Their business is based out of Eagle, Idaho.
Chris and Geanie Rodgers will be featured with their "Rapid Rope" on the series, "Shark Tank" Sunday, Jan. 19 at 9 p.m. on ABC.
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