These motorsports enthusiasts take creative thinking to a new level.
by KIRSTEN ARMLEDER
When two brothers with innovative minds, an entrepreneurial spirit and a solid passion for motosports put their heads together, the entire industry is affected.
Born and raised in Lethbridge, Alberta, Randall and Don Bowman – owners of Bowdriks Industries and creators of the Superclamp – spent most of their youth riding snowmobiles, motorbikes, street bikes and PWCs.
"It wasn’t unusual for us to have a couple of each." said Randall.
Two years after taking his first motorbike ride on a Kawasaki KDX 175, Randall started competing in motocross for Kawasaki Canada. He raced for four years in the early ’80s, but after breaking an ankle when he was 22, Randall got into jet-skiing – and of course, modifying the equipment.
At that time, Don was enjoying a career in cross-country snowmobile racing. He raced Kawasaki Invader 440 snowmobiles – so, naturally, that was how Randall got into sleds.
"That was basically the first snowmobile I ever rode," said Randall.
A Turning Point
Whenever Randall and Don went for a ride – it didn’t matter if it was on a dirt bike or snowmobile – they always came up with ways to make it better. That’s how their company, Bowdriks Industries, got started. It was in 1990 that Randall and Don came up with their first invention – a traction rail for snowmobile running boards – which was an immediate hit.
"We invented this product for our own sleds so we wouldn’t fall off," said Randall, "but everyone that saw our sleds started asking where they could get some for theirs – and that’s where traction on the running boards got started. Later, we improved the products and called them Sno-Slips and Sno-Grips."
From there, the ideas kept pouring out and Bowdriks Industries took off. Among the products they have created for snowmobiles, motorcycles and ATVs are Superclamp II, Superclamp Rear and the latest innovation, Super-Glides.
Not only do Randall and Don design these products but they build much of the machinery that is used to manufacture them.
A Full-time Passion
Today, the brothers spend most of their time running the business and trying out new inventions. Randall, who lives in Calgary, takes care of sales and promotions while Done looks after production and oversees the research and development facility in Lethbridge. They still like to ride motorbikes, snowmobiles and ATVs, but Randall said the testing process never stops.
"Our job is not nine to five," said Randall. "It is 24/7, 365 days a year. It’s our life.
"We enjoy the fact that we are able to use our ideas that we work really hard on to make life simpler or better. That’s the gratification we get – being able to build something that people recognize and love using."
*This was taken from the Fall 2007 edition of SnoRiders.