Rifle four-wheel driver has a ball with his new invention
Special to the Post Independent
RIFLE ” Bryan Dorr has designed a “winch ball” that will save his four-wheeling buddies a lot of money at the Laundromat.
As a four-wheel driver, Dorr often sees fellow drivers ruin their jackets when they put it over their vehicle’s winch line for safety.
“I was just trying to think of something that wouldn’t destroy everyone’s clothes,” said Dorr.
Four-wheel enthusiasts place a jacket or blanket on the winch line when it is under tension so that if it breaks, the broken cable won’t whip through the air, said Dorr.
“The cable can ricochet,” said Dorr. If the whipping cable hits someone, “it’s enough to cut your legs off,” he said.
Dorr has designed and patented a 6-pound winch ball that attaches to the winch line. In case the winch line breaks, the weight of the ball will bring the winch line to the ground, instead of letting it whip through the air.
Dorr used the same basic idea of a coat hanging over a winch line for his new invention, but improved on it substantially.
Better than a coat hanging on the line, the steel ball can be moved up and down the line and locked into place. It also can’t be sucked into the winch, like a coat or jacket can, said Dorr.
Dorr got the idea “from watching everyone’s coat get drug through the mud and sucked into the winch.”
Dorr, 27, a painter at Red Canyon Auto Body in Rifle, has a wife, Jennifer, and a daughter, Jordan.
Dorr got the patent for his winch ball just last month, even though he designed and thought of it three years ago.
Dorr’s father is a patent attorney in Denver and helped him get the winch ball patent.
Dorr’s father also helped him get a patent on a previous invention.
In 1996 Dorr obtained a patent for a snowboard glove he designed with an integrated wrist guard.
Like the winch ball, Dorr invented the snowboard gloves when he saw a need.
Dorr was a snowboarder and in-line skater and broke his wrist doing both sports.
After both breaks Dorr’s friends asked him why he wasn’t wearing wrist guards, he said.
Dorr wasn’t wearing wrist guards when he was in-line skating because he left them at home, he said.
But when asked why he didn’t wear wrist guards snowboarding he had a better answer.
Wrist guards for snowboarders didn’t exist, so Dorr invented them.
Dorr had an offer from Simms snowboard company to buy the patent, but turned it down, he said.
Dorr would also rather sell the patent rather than market and manufacture the winch ball.
“I’m not going to try to market it. I was going to see if I could find somebody to buy the patent from me,” he said.
Dorr has only made one winch ball and sometimes gets strange looks from his fellow four-wheel drivers.
“Everyone’s like, ‘What the hell is that?'” he said.
Once he explains the idea of the winch ball, said Dorr, most people think it is a good idea.
The winch ball, which is only slightly larger than a tennis ball, is left on the winch cable so it is always ready to use.
Dorr thinks he may be able to sell his idea to a company.
“Everyone may laugh at it, and everyone may not,” he said. “You never know.”
Regardless of whether or not he can sell his invention, Dorr thinks it is a necessary safety device and should be sold with winches.
“It’s like selling a car without a seat belt.”
Contact: Ryan Graff 945-8515 ext. 534
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