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Author Topic: How did it go from machinery to snowmobiles??  (Read 5278 times)
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« on: January 07, 2011, 11:23:41 AM »

What caused Roll-O-Flex to stop making farm equipment and start making snowmobiles? Did the production of the farm equipment stop in 1970?

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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2011, 03:15:17 PM »

Wow !!... now this is really testing my memory...
This is how I remember it going... Initially the company was the Sask. distributor for both Boa Ski and Snow Jet in the late '60's ... Larry Fay was the general manager when I was first introduced to "getting-involved". Like most snowmobile distributors of that era, racing was the best selling tool at the time. I was full time farming at the time so my Winters were slow as I gave up hockey in 1962.. The night before John F. Kennedy was killed ... to be exact. Larry hired me to "make h.p. and speed". The only skill I had at the time was from my Go-Kart 2 cycle. engine success. The Hirth motors used by both Sno Jet and Boa Ski were basically built for stationary use such as water pumps, generators and the likes. High torque at low R.P.M. was about all they had going for them. I mainly concentrated with the Sno-Jets as their sled was much better overall. Eventually Larry Fay approached Boa Ski to produce private brand sleds under the Wild One name. Shortly after that Sno-Jet didn't like this idea and canceled Roll-O-Flex's distribution contract and went looking for another. Doug Catling was the provinces most respected and successful Snowmobile dealer but Ski Doo was his brand... Doug approached me and another fellow (can't remember his name right now, sorry) if we'd like to take on the SJ distributorship... of course we jumped at the offer and began distributing I think in 1968. Roll-O-Flex continued with the Boa Ski/Wild One sleds. Their race team was headed by Larry Fay with (as I remember) Brad Pernise and Wade Collins were their main drivers. My partner and I had no trouble finding drivers for our SJ race efforts and I think that Tenold Farm Equipment of Estevan supplied most of them. It wasn't long before our Sno-Jets were beating the Roll-O-Flex sleds pretty consistant. Wade may argue that statement but ...
Larry Fay then approached me with a "deal" ..... "Lets build our own Roll-O-Flex sleds... !!" He then introduced me to Herb W. Padwick who at the time worked for Kramer Tractor Ltd... (Catipillar Tractor Dist. in Regina) Herb had the connections for us to receive a Gov. Grant to start the company... I think Kramer owned the building soooo away I went ...and away from the SnoJet partnership. It wasn't long before the first true ROF was born.
To answer your other question .... Roll-O-Flex did manufacture Deep Tilage Cultivators before the snowmobile boom.... and only supplied replacement parts once we started manufacturing the sleds.
I hope this answers you question properly... Jack Jahnke worked for Kramer or Herb's son Paddy may be able to add more info regarding the Kramer involvement. One other small but important note ... Larry Fay chose NOT to join us in our venture which was somewhat disappointing to me as he was a great salesman. He could have made a big difference for us, I'm sure. 
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