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Steel

Cowboy up

By Lisa Rummler

March 2010- Everyone dreams of something different when thinking about the perfect place to get away from it all.

From some, it's a white-sand beach. Others seek a lodge in the mountains. Then there are those who want nothing more than to retreat to a ranch. For people who fall into this camp, there is one place they need to turn for any required products: Priefert Mfg., Mount Pleasant, Texas.

"In a lot of urban areas, there are folks who want to get out of town," says Rocky Christenberry, production manager. "They want to buy that 10 acres, and they want to get a cow and a dog and set up their own little ranch. We have everything they need to do that. We have gates, panels, fencing. We have squeeze chutes that you want to use to work your cattle. We have the kennel that you need for your dog. We have the barns, we have the shelters. We have everything, all the way from the bed in your bedroom to the flag pole in your front yard."

Broncos and bulls
Additionally, Priefert manufactures products for rodeos, including bucking chutes, holding pens and even complete arenas.

"We furnish equipment for the National Finals Rodeo and the Professional Bull Riders," says Christenberry. "That's an ongoing thing that we do year after year." Although Priefert had been building roping chutes and other products for many years, it didn't consider itself a major supplier of rodeo equipment until four or five years ago.

"We had always thought that maybe we wanted to get into the rodeo business because we were already building gates and panels and things that you need for your farm," says Christenberry. "We just listened to what [customers'] needs were."

Eventually, the PBR asked Priefert to furnish equipment for one of its events in Baton Rogue, La., which was held in July or August.

"They came back from that event so excited about our equipment that they actually scheduled the finals in [November] using our equipment," says Christenberry. "It was shocking for us. We were hoping to get our toe in the water to find out what it took to be in the industry and begin to build a business. And we went from nobody to the leader in the industry overnight."

Home base
Priefert operates out of a 700,000-plus-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility. The property on which it sits is connected to the Priefert family ranch.

"They run a family-owned business--their own cattle operation and hay operation," says Christenberry. "It's actually a good testing ground for much of our equipment."

Priefert has a sister company called Priefert Complex Designs and a trucking company called Priefert Logistics. It also has its own concrete and construction workers, as well as its own electrical engineers.

"We're a very vertically integrated company," says Christenberry. "We build much of our own machinery, and we have our own machine shop."<P. Priefert works primarily with steel from 22 gauge to 2 in. thick, and the company processes material from the beginning to the end of the manufacturing process. "We literally bring in raw steel coil, we slit the coil, and depending on which way we're going with it, we either blank it or roll it into tubing--we have two tube mills," says Christenberry. "Then, we're going to shape it, form it, weld, paint it, package it and ship it."

In regard to equipment, Priefert's machine shop includes CNC plasma, CNC lasers, CNC robots, hydraulic brakes and CNC turret punch presses, as well as a great deal of proprietary machinery specific to Priefert's applications.

Looking ahead
Christenberry describes Priefert as a hub of activity--he says there is always something going on and that the company's 600 employees continuously set the bar higher for themselves in terms of product development and improvement.

"Priefert believes in being on the cutting edge," he says. "We're coming up with something new all the time. There's always something exciting happening at this company."

One of the most recent examples of this is Priefert's line of farm implements, which includes rotary motors, box blades, rotary tillers, hay spears and landscape rakes.

"When the economy slowed down at the end of 2008, we said, 'Hey, this is a great opportunity for us to launch our implement line,'" says Christenberry. "It's our version of taking lemons and making lemonade. That business has also taken off very fast, and we're pretty excited about it, as well."

And going forward, Christenberry says he expects Priefert's implement line to grow to the point that the company is a leader in that industry, as it is for ranch and rodeo equipment.

"We're just going to get bigger and better," he says. "We are in Texas--everything is bigger in Texas." FFJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources

  • Priefert Mfg.
    Mount Pleasant, Texas
    phone: 903/572-1741
    fax: 903/572-2798
    www.priefert.com

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