By Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University.
“If life gives you lemons, then make lemonade. If life gives you coronavirus, then make hand cleanser.” Of those two statements, you may have heard the first, but you probably have not heard the second. But that is a way of describing the strategic change that has been made by an entrepreneurial company in rural Kansas, in response to the current coronavirus pandemic.
Hayes Kelman is the founder and CEO of this company which is now producing hand cleanser for free distribution to the public. The company is Boot Hill Distillery in Dodge City.
Hayes is a fifth-generation farmer in western Kansas. According to the distillery website, he “has always looked for … new uses for the grain he grows.” Hayes was seeking innovative alternative uses for his corn, other than cattle feeding or ethanol fuel. His solution might be considered coming full circle, given Dodge City’s history as a Wild West town with saloons dispensing whiskey. Continue reading “Kansas Profile – Now That’s Rural: Hayes Kelman, Boot Hill Distillery”→
A major road construction project is underway in North Africa. An industrial sweeper is being used to prepare the road surface for the application of asphalt. Where do you suppose that sweeper was built? Would you believe, halfway around the globe in Kansas? Today we’ll learn about a remarkable ruralpreneur and his company who is building these sweeper machines for markets across the nation and beyond.
Alan Vance is CEO of Broce Broom, the company which produces these industrial sweepers. Mark Chalfant is chief operating officer.
The history of this company goes back to Alan’s grandfather, Ray Broce, who was born in 1902 in the rural community of Attica, population 626 people. Now, that’s rural.
Mr. Broce worked for the Kansas Highway Department and then went into business for himself in Dodge City. “He mortgaged his home and bought his first piece of construction equipment in 1937,” Alan Vance said.
Illesheim, Germany. This audience is excited because authentic cowboys from Kansas are performing cowboy music. One of them is even the official marshal of Dodge City. He’s a man of many talents who comes from rural Kansas.
Allen Bailey is the western performer who carries the title of Dodge City marshal. Allen grew up at Cimarron, Kansas and went on to a varied career, working for the gas company, building saddles and cleaning hats, working for a hospital and senior citizens home and then in education.
Several key interests surfaced early in his life. First of all, his dad had a cow-calf operation. Allen loved horses and the cowboy life. Second, he enjoyed history – especially Kansas history. Third, he liked to draw and create art. Fourth, he enjoyed music.
“One guy called me a Renaissance man but I told him I’m just a nut who likes to do lots of things,” Allen said. “I do love Kansas.”
Ron Wilson, director of the Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development at Kansas State University writes Kansas Profile. The weekly posts highlight individuals or companies in rural Kansas who are making a difference to their community and state.
The Huck Boyd National Institute for Rural Development is a public / private partnership between Kansas State University and the Huck Boyd Foundation. The mission of the institute is to help rural people help themselves. Learn more at www.huckboydinstitute.org.