By Danielle Cameron
To say that brothers Randall and Don Bowman are passionate about their business would be a hearty understatement. Bowdriks Industries Ltd., based in Calgary, Alberta, was born from a desire to make an impact on the sledding industry, and to make the snowmobiling experience more enjoyable, safe and convenient for their fellow enthusiasts.
The SuperClamp is one of Bowdriks Industries most popular inventions.
By all accounts, the Bowmans have certainly accomplished this goal with their inventive mindset and unique products. Their famous SuperClamp tie-down earned them an impressive second place award from the North American Trailer Dealers Association (NATDA) for the best new product of 2008. The brothers have never stopped creating, and their latest product—the SuperGlides—might just be their best concept yet.
What inspired two avid sledders to start an industry sensation, and what gave them the edge in this competitive market? I had the privilege of speaking with Randall Bowman, and getting some insight into the thought and effort behind these must-have products.
One of the most noteworthy aspects of Bowdriks Industries is the close involvement of the Bowman brothers in all stages of production and beyond.
“Me and my brother Don Bowman are partners,” said Bowman. “We’re the ones who invented these products, and we take them right from writing on a napkin down to production and shipping and marketing—we do it all. We’ve been doing it upwards of 19 to 20 years.”
The concepts we admire in Bowdriks Industries’ products are entirely original and unprecedented. Rather than trying to produce another version of something that has already been done, the Bowmans make it their goal to provide brand new solutions that will improve the sledding experience for everyone. Anyone who has owned a business knows that there are no easy ways to reach monumental success. There are plenty of companies attempting to take the sledding industry by storm, but few are able to do so with the fresh approach and intuitive designs that Bowdriks Industries is known for. How do they manage to stay ahead of the competition?
“Determination,” said Bowman. “(We are) determined to make sure we have a product that helps everybody out and makes a difference in the snowmobiling industry. That’s the goal. We make a product that we’ve tried and tested, and I think it has made a difference in the industry North America-wide.”
In addition to their SuperClamp II and SuperClamp Rear products, Bowdriks Industries is justifiably proud of their newest addition to the family—SuperGlides.
“(It) is a glide with traction on the top,” explained Bowman. “The problem (with traditional glides) was when you went to step off to unload the next sled, or you were walking down the ramp door of your trailer and you stepped on the glides, they were extremely dangerous because they were very slippery.”
The SuperGlide concept originally arose from a very personal moment of inspiration.
“How it was born is we were moving my brother and we used a snowmobile trailer,” said Bowman. “We had the couch in there and that was the last thing to move out, so he grabs an end, I grab an end, and I said to my brother, ‘Hey make sure you don’t step on those glides on your way out the door because they are really slippery.’ Of course he said, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.’ I knew in about two seconds—the couch end drops out of my hands and goes, (and) he’s laying on the concrete with the couch on top of him. Me and my brother that are partners in the business, we looked at each other and we said, ‘You know, we put traction knobs on our Snow-Grips and Slips, why don’t we make a traction knob on little edges?’ Then I started to draw on a napkin like we normally do.”
Before long, the SuperGlides concept was well on its way.
“Then we started to think, what are the (other) things that happen on glides that people just hate?” said Bowman. “In the summertime they start to get kind of wavy because plastic expands and contracts. So what we’ve done is incorporated a little washer, a grommet we call it, (that) goes on the screw. So you can screw it down, but it just barely touches the top of the glide and it doesn’t pinch the glide. The holes are oblong so it allows the glide to expand and contract and your glides always stay flat. It can breathe basically; it will not get warpy in the summertime.”
Interestingly enough, SuperGlides are not only built for sledders—they function just as efficiently for loading or unloading ATVs, so they are a worthwhile investment that can be used year-round. They can also add value to the trailer, due to the fact that they have venting mechanisms which prevent the buildup of moisture and allow for easy cleaning and quick drying—yet another example of the positive impact that the Bowman brothers have made. They plan to continue this trend, and will no doubt discover more inventions in the future.
“We’ve got a new ATV tie-down system that we’re just about finished, that will be coming out hopefully this summer,” said Bowman, “and then we have a hanging system for hanging in your enclosed trailers or garage and shop—you can hang your cords, shovels and brooms—a quality one that is going to definitely open a lot of people’s eyes on functionality."