My Other Gig: Bob Ferguson

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In 2008 at the World Series of Team Roping Finale III Bob Ferguson and Daniel Nowlin pocketed $165,000 winning the #11 division. The Arizona team had come back fourth high call, making a clean 8.66-second run in the short round. They watched and waited as the next three teams made costly mistakes allowing them to clinch the championship title.

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“I’ve been there every year since,” said Ferguson, who partnered with Nowlin again in 2014 to take home another $11,000 in the #11 Ariat WSTR Finale IX. “Las Vegas has been very good to me. I always say, ‘I don’t want to be sitting at home when it’s my turn to win.’”

Two weeks prior to the 2008 Finale, Ferguson had caught his foot on a rail, twisted it backwards and subsequently broke his ankle. His biggest challenge wasn’t the hours of practice he knew he was going to need in a short amount of time—it was convincing his doctor that he must rope. He persuaded them to cast it and had a special stirrup made to accommodate the cast. When he went back after the Finale he was grinning from ear to ear as they prepped him for a walking boot.

“My smile hasn’t gone away yet,” said Ferguson. “Nothing compares to that win. I don’t team rope for a career, but when the weekend rolls around that’s where you’ll find me.”

An Eloy, Ariz., native, Ferguson made his living as a farrier for 16 years, while training occasional horses on the side. But where he truly sets himself apart is in his passion for inventing. In 1998, he introduced his first product, The BackJack Horseshoeing Tool (thebackjack.com). With a spring-loaded seat and harness system, The BackJack reduces the load on the legs and back allowing farriers to be more comfortable in all shoeing positions. The BackJack is still in production today and is sold both domestically and internationally—including Canada, Europe and the Netherlands. Ferguson went on to invent and patent a number of different products including a golf club (he’s also an avid golfer) and a team roping app called Go Ropin (which is currently being re-developed in anticipation of a sizeable re-launch soon). But it’s his most recent product, SkullTec, which has Ferguson spending longer hours at the office and seeking to broaden his horizons as an inventor and entrepreneur.

The SkullTec protective gel cap is an innovative safety product that fits comfortably under most conventional sports helmets. At 5.0 ounces, the eco-friendly sport safety accessory is designed to lessen physical impact drastically.

“There is a tremendous need for this product,” Ferguson said. “Most people associate wearing a helmet with contact sports such as football and hockey. However, each year thousands of athletes in non-contact sports sustain traumatic brain injuries that could have been prevented by wearing a helmet. In fact, according to Neurosurgery Today cycling accounts for more head injuries than any other sport.”

SkullTec is still in its infancy as both a company and product, but after only four short years its application and potential have been noticed everywhere from the NFL to the PBR, from high school athletic programs to the NCAA, and far beyond traditional team sports to industries such as horse racing, skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing, BMX and even skydiving.

Jockey Carlos Lopez Jr. recently began wearing the SkullTec cap under his racing helmet.

“Carlos explained to me that head trauma is a major problem in the horse racing world, but it’s just not in the mainstream media,” said Ferguson. “We’re thrilled to have him endorsing SkullTec.”

Top 15 PBR Bull Rider Cody Nance of Paris, Tenn., is also wearing the cap.

“SkullTec gives me the confidence I need to compete at the highest level,” Nance said.

In additional to numerous, high-caliber athletes the SkullTec brand is also backed by one of the nation’s top neurosurgeons, Nicholas Theodore, M.D., F.A.C.S.

With its soft, flexible and comfortable design the SkullTec cap is designed to fit under any helmet and can also be worn independently. Ferguson has spent countless hours and thousands of dollars researching with the top neurologists, head trauma and concussion specialists in the nation to ensure that the SkullTec cap is an appropriate application for impact reduction management. With a strong commitment to the environment the insert material in the cap is 100 percent biodegradable. As the company continues to grow, SkullTec’s mission is to give back.

“Statistics have shown that there are 52,000 deaths, 275,000 hospitalizations and 1,365,000 Emergency Room visits annually due to concussion injuries,” said Ferguson, who will donate a percentage of SkullTec’s profits to groups that share similar views and are willing to join the campaign for safety, and minimizing head injuries in sports.

“Our philosophy is that we’ve never seen a concussion without impact first,” said Ferguson. “So we start at the impact zone.”

PREPARE FOR IMPACT

Credit: Courtesy SkullTec

Credit: Courtesy SkullTec

So how does a small town Arizona team roper transition to successful inventor? Here are a few key factors and what Ferguson had to say about his winding path to the formation of SkullTec.

I was always an athlete in high school. I played football and was a wrestler too. It seems like I put two and two together pretty quickly.

When SkullTec came along I knew what steps needed to be taken up front because I’d learned from my past experience. The testing, the patents, making sure you cover your bases. We’ve spent thousands testing this product.

Our largest independent laboratory test was conducted at the University of Southern California last November. Those results were off the chart and we took them straight to the NFL, MLB and the NHL. Hopefully there are some exciting opportunities in the works for SkullTec.

As you develop products they evolve. SkullTec is different than it was four years ago. It’s really an ongoing process still today. We are continuously improving and working on additional applications.

The first two years I don’t even think we can count. You just spend a lot of money and try to make sure you actually have something. It eats the money right out of your pocket. But we’ve grown significantly last year to this year.

I travel a lot—San Diego, L.A., Seattle, Tennessee, all over Northern California. You have to get out there and show people you’ve got something. Once someone puts a hand on the actual product, it makes a big difference.

SkullTec is growing. We are currently building a strong corporate and sales team with people all over the country and they are out there seeking new opportunities all over the U.S. and worldwide.

I’m always thankful for God. He has done things for me that you probably wouldn’t believe. I’ve been married 34 years to my wife, Narda, and we have two beautiful daughters Natay and Tess.

When I graduated high school I was looking for a hobby and ran into a guy who said you should try team roping and so I got into it and I’ve been a die hard fan ever since. I was around good friends and they showed me the basics and then it just becomes a matter of how dedicated you are. I think it’s the same with inventing a product—you just have to keep working at it and always believe in it.

Learn more at:SkullTec.com