JOPLIN, Mo. — What do kids like to do outdoors when they get too old to play on a swing set? For many, the answer is skateboarding or biking.
And if you’ve been to one of those parks, there’s a good chance a local company built it.
It all started back in 1998 inside someone’s garage with three people. Years later The American Ramp Company has 100 employees and has sold skate and bike ramps throughout the Four States and beyond.
“You know, we built skate parks now in 47 countries, some north of the Arctic Circle you know in a town called Inovik, uh, and we built stuff in Central Africa and Nigeria and Egypt, the Middle East, really all over the world,” said John Hunter, V.P., Owner, American Ramp Company.
“There are as many as 350 skate and bike ramps produced at this facility in Joplin, enough to keep production going 24/7,” said KSN’s Stuart Price, Reporting.
And with a new laser manufacturing machine about to be installed, that number of ramps they’ll be able to manufacture will also increase.
“We used to have to go out and introduce to communities and say ‘hey, here we are, now.’ I think people kind of recognize us just through the couple decades of work and development as the leader in the world really for action sports, in the world of design and operation of active sports. Which is crazy, you know, sitting here in Joplin, Missouri and a lot of people from our community don’t really know that,” said Hunter.
Not only are there a growing number of ramps manufactured in Joplin, even the sports themselves have grown exponentially.
“Skate boarding is in the Olympics, BMX Biking, Free Style BMX, all those things are Olympic sports now. You know a lot of communities, you know are like soccer or basketball, they recognize a need for those facilities, and so some real forward thinking communities are looking at like playgrounds,” he said.
The company also owns and operates The Canadian Ramp Company with offices and employees in that country as well as a bike park business called “Progressive Bike Ramps.”