How did you get started in the GameTote business?
In the summer of 1993 my son, John, told me about a game cart he had welded for a friend. He said it was a good one with a single motorcycle wheel and thought perhaps if we could figure out a way to break it down for shipping and storage it could be something we would like to add to our product line. He was well aware of the problems with carts then being marketed and felt that the single-wheel design provided the best foundation for a cart to work best in most situations an elk or deer hunter would be likely to encounter.
As the owners of CycleTote Corp. we manufactured an aluminum bicycle trailer and had become familiar with the telescoping of metal tubing. We found that available steel tubing included 1 ¼ inch DOM tubing with a .120” wall thickness and regular 1 inch HREW tubing with a wall thickness of .065”. The one would telescope inside the other very tightly, allowing for the needed breakdown-ability (without the usual joint weakness) and a multi-triangular design which was incredibly strong. With this as our base we continued to collaborate until each of the perceived areas of concern was considered and the design was ready. John’s experience and knowledge of problem areas were critical.
John and 5 of his fellow firefighters were rewarded for his efforts when the first GameTotes were completed and ready for hunting season. 900 happy GameTote owners and 21 years later, we have received nothing but compliments for having the best game retrieval cart on the market. With the exception of the height adaptors now being offered and the harnesses we declined to offer, there has been neither a perceived need nor a suggestion for improvement or change of any kind.
For his ideas and for pushing them through to fruition John deserves the lion’s share of credit.
For the first 21+ years (900+ GameTotes) we used salvaged motorcycle wheels with drum brakes on our carts. These generally required a lot of refurbishing and replacement of components such as tire, tube, rim strip and bearings. These had become rather scarce in the surrounding area and no longer available in the numbers that we needed. So we searched and finally found a suitable import replacement. This is a brand new 300 X 19 solidly built motorcycle wheel (also with spokes and drum brake) that will do the job nicely and which has allowed us to introduce a new innovation that we know will be popular. You can now select one of five axle holes and thereby the size (height) to fit best for a more comfortable use.
We operated GameTote from 1993 until early 2008 as part of the CycleTote Corporation, a bicycle trailer company. When we sold CycleTote we kept GameTote and have operated since as GameTote Corporation. We changed the name, address and phone number, but we're still the same people.
First Warranty Claim
In 2007 we received the first and only warranty claim. With an elk on it's side and secured in the basket of the GameTote, the hunters were lifting one end as per the recommended procedure for loading an animal into the tote. While doing this one of the extensions on which the handles are mounted was somehow bent, rendering the GameTote unusable. Rather than returning it to the factory for repair or replacement, we paid a local welder for the necessary repair.
The GameTote owner is Stewart Budge of Norwood Colorado who reports that he is one happy guy, that he has never been so well treated in his whole life. Stewart works with outfitters in the area and said that it was especially nice to have something this good to pack the animals out and that you don't have to feed the rest of the year. He further commented as to the ease of loading a large elk onto the GameTote and from there onto the truck.
We originally offered three options, (1) plans for making a GameTote from scratch, (2) a kit version where we provided the welded frame together with the necessary parts and instructions for completing it and hooking up the brakes. The buyer provided his own motorcycle wheel with drum brake, and (3) the completed version. After a couple of years we discontinued the plans when we were told of the difficulties involved in obtaining the requisite steel outside of large cities and in getting consistently acceptable bends using a hand bender. We have now discontinued further sales of the kit. With the introduction of the new wheel and the height adjustment feature it has made possible, we have found that it is not practicable to continue offering the kit. Proudly, we now offer the completed GameTote to all.