Tire handling device wins invention of the year

Alberta farmer recognized for his Tiregrabber entry at 
Canada’s Farm Progress Show competition in Regina

Necessity is the mother of invention, according to the proverb, and farmer-inventors prove that true all the time.

Darcy Goossen of Ferintosh, Alta. took his Tiregrabber to Canada’s Farm Progress Show last month, where the public voted it the top farmyard invention.

“It’s a machine for handling big tires and putting them on and off sprayers, combines, machinery,” Goossen said.

“We came up with the idea out of necessity for our own farm. We were handling big tires on two sprayers, and the forklift wasn’t cutting it any more.”

He said it took him about five years to get the product to the final version, which was completed last fall. The product was kept mostly under wraps until the patent process was finished.

“We came up with something that we thought was pretty good, and since then it’s only improved with the help of good draftsmen and engineers,” Goossen said.

The Tiregrabber is a three-armed unit that attaches to a skid steer and handles large tires more safely.

The Tiregrabber is a three-armed unit that attaches to a skid steer and handles large tires more safely. | Screencap via tiregrabber.com

“We went to three (arms) because we thought it cradled it at the four o’clock and eight o’clock position underneath; in case the hydraulics release, it still had two arms underneath,” Goossen said.

A turning plate on the back links the three arms together, and the tire is always centred on the main pivot point.

“You can lay the tire down,” he said.

“You drive up with a skid steer, grab the tire and stand it up, the tire is centred. It’s not trying to roll to one side.”

Goossen said the machine offers farmers more protection because they don’t have to stand tires up, put a forklift underneath and hope the tire doesn’t fall over the other way.

The Tiregrabber can be mounted on different types of hydraulic equipment, lift up to 4,000 pounds and grab tires up to 88 inches across.

Although he intended to just build a machine for his own farm, he said encouragement from those who knew what he was working on and the knowledge that all farms struggle to handle tires propelled him to another stage.

He said 25 units built in the home farm shop sold out so production moved to a welding shop and more than 40 more units have sold.

“I’m really happy with it,” he said.

His people’s choice victory earned him a $5,000 gift card from Peavey Mart, which sponsors the Farmyard Invention competition.

Goossen said his career as a “builder” likely began when he was a child and his parents bought Lego.

“We built Lego for days,” he said.

“As we got older, my dad was not a welder, so he bought an old buzz box and said, ‘you’re going to have to start building things’ because no one else was doing it on the farm.”

At age 14 he started building swings for his siblings and other people and moved on to seed drill movers.

“Ten years ago, if someone had told me I’m going to get to a show and win a prize, it’s like, I don’t think you know what you’re talking about because that’s not me,” he said.

Still, while his wife, sons and a hired man take care of the farm back home, Goossen is on the trade show circuit and has more project ideas.

“My wife thinks I might be overloading and I’ve got too many ideas but …” he said, pausing.

For more information, visit thetiregrabber.com.

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