Rather than speculate, we sent our questions straight to the source: Randy Hopper, president and 45-year veteran of Ranger Boats.
Hereís how Hopper answered.
How do you think this change is going to help Ranger Boats in the upcoming years?
RH: It gives us a strategic home with an owner that understands the marine business and is already heavily invested in it. Two teams pulling hard in the same direction will always out-pull one.
Do you anticipate this change affecting production of boats in Flippin, Ark.?
RH: No, our performance over time has demonstrated an ability to improve both product and process continuously.
The Ozark region is steeped in bass fishing history, from the first bass tournament to the founding of Ranger Boats, and itís the home of Bass Pro Shops. The Bass Pro acquisition of Ranger only further strengthens the regionís influence on bass fishing. Can you comment on this?
RH: There is no doubt that the area has produced some great individuals and great companies. The influence of the White River and its chain of lakes canít be overemphasized as a key reason for that success. We truly are blessed to live where we do and to enjoy the quality of people that this area produces.
We know that Ranger signed a multi-year agreement with FLW in the spring, but do you see this changing Ranger and FLWís historically unique relationship in the future?
RH: FLW is such a great partner and a crucial part of our being able to reach our loyal customers and offer them opportunities to compete at every level. We expect our relationship to continue to strengthen with time.
The industry has come a long way since Platinum Equity acquired Ranger a few years ago. Is the Bass Pro acquisition a reflection of the uptick in the economy and the health of Ranger in the long term? And do you think Rangerís presence in the aluminum market and elsewhere will continue to grow as a result of this change?
RH: Louis Samson (Platinum Equity partner) and the folks at Platinum have become great friends and will remain so. Their level of expertise brought a lot of stability at a time when it was much needed. We have plans to continue our growth trend, but just as importantly, to do it the right way. Being the biggest hasnít been our goal it just came as a by-product of our folks trying to be the best.
Does Rangerís dealership system stay all Ranger, or will Bass Proís boat brands be offered to Ranger dealers?
RH: Some of our existing dealers carry those brands already. We donít anticipate much change in that moving forward.
What do you anticipate the general reaction of Ranger dealers will be?
RH: Their expectations are for us to continue to deliver the level of quality and service that they are accustomed to. We will do that and more. This will create some synergies and give us scale that can only enhance our ability to deliver products to our end user at a great value.
Did Forrest Wood and Johnny Morrisí relationship influence the acquisition, and how will their friendship and passion for fishing help Ranger going forward?
RH: I believe it was a very strong influence. This alliance going forward will not only help our company but the entire sport. We need icons like these two to continue to promote all the things that are important to all our success. I doubt people realize just how much of their personal time and effort go into things that will benefit us all longer term.