Written By: Katie Purcell
(PSSSSST: CLICK HERE IF YOU WANNA CHECK OUT THE RULES FOR THE TWISTER GIVEAWAY ASAP!)
Whatup, #FierceFam !!
At the time of this writing, I (Katie Purcell) am hosting a giveaway on Instagram with a company that you need to know about if you're into OCR/want to be into OCR/if you enjoy playing on obstacles of any kind.
Race Ready Obstacles, LLC is a small business with a huge heart...and they're churning out some high-quality obstacles (each handmade!) that could rival - or surpass - anything you'd see on Race Day.
A great company deserves a great giveaway...and a great giveaway includes spreading the word so that YOU know who Race Ready Obstacles is, what they're about, and why you should definitely check them out.
Husband and wife duo Aaron and Dana never set out to start an obstacle-building company...but the OCR community is so lucky that they did!! In 2016 they did their first OCR (a Spartan Sprint, of course!) and they knew they had found something special. According to Aaron,
The first obstacles they made for people were the usual suspects: 8' walls...6' walls...rope climb...spears...monkey bars...etc....but it wasn't long until he moved onto some more elaborate/signature obstacles like Olympus, Twister, and even customized rigs. No matter the request: as long as it was possible, Aaron figured out a way to make it happen...even in compact indoor areas like garages (see below!).
Next he expanded into producing smaller grips as well: in response to requests from customized rig customers seeking additional add-on options. Offerings include steel nunchucks, T-bar grips, stirrup grips, and "Floating Monkey Bars" (the RRO version of the Force5 Gibbons).
Now of course we can't give away all the details here...because some of the techniques that Race Ready has perfected are part of the "secret sauce" that makes their stuff so high quality! But they did agree to give a little bit of a behind-the-scenes peek into how the process works. They make every single part from scratch, and it's pretty cool! Here is the basic idea:
...Pretty cool, right?? Here's a video of the Twister in the shop, as it is being put together:
For those of you who might be considering getting your own Twister (which I highly recommend that you do!)...firstly: I would definitely recommend going through these guys vs. trying to DIY it. As backyard obstacles go, this one is definitely more advanced, and it took them several tries to get it "just right". If you want to build your own backyard obstacles, I recommend checking out some tutorials for less complicated builds like this one: "How To Build A Killer Obstacle Course Training Wall."
You may also have noticed that I left out the details for how to actually put your newly-acquired Twister together/install it (as it currently comes in 2 separate pieces, to save the customer a ton on shipping costs). The step-by-step instructions for how to do THAT is coming soon...so check back for the link!
And now, for a few fun pieces of Race Ready Obstacles trivia! I caught up with owners Aaron and Dana and asked them a couple additional questions to learn more about what makes them tick. Some of the responses are pretty funny, and they definitely show the personality behind the company! Take a look:
Katie: What would you say is your favorite obstacle to make? Why?
Race Ready Obstacles: The custom rigs that I build for people (either in their yards, basements or garages) are my favorite. I like learning what they want for their obstacle (like size and feature details) and then getting to come up with a design and layout to make it happen. I love seeing it all come together, and the excitement on people's faces when I have finished building something for them.
Katie: What is your least favorite obstacle to make? Why?
RRO: Pegboards. It just gets so repetitive drilling the holes over and over again.
Katie: any epic obstacle fails of something you tried to make that didn't work the first time? Why? What happened?
RRO: Something that wasn’t working was the 8 foot Twisters, because the shipping fee was outrageous! At a race, one section of the Twister is typically 8 feet...so it made sense to make mine 8ft as well. But to ship one that size would cost me $200 or more: because shipping companies price by dimensional weight. So an 8ft Twister was fine for people in my area who could do local pick ups or who lived close enough that I could drive and meet them halfway for a drop-off, but it wasn't reasonable to expect a shipping fee of $200+ to appeal to people. So I designed the Twister to be split into 2 sections: to save the customer as much money as possible.
Katie: How do you come up with the designs for the stuff you make? Have you always been a builder? Was it easy to "back into" the designs, or did you have to do some research?
RRO: For Twister, I had pretty much had it figured out by reverse engineering it from being out on the courses. And then before I started making them I reached out to Amber Klein and Robert Killian to ask them if they could confirm what I thought the measurements were, which I was right on. I did the same thing for Olympus.
For the smaller grips, I had seen firsthand what other companies were doing and knew that I could make the same thing as well as they could, or better. And not only could I make it better, but I thought I could probably sell it for cheaper (or the same price) and people would get a better product. But being the "cheapest" isn't necessarily my goal: my goal is to make the best quality product that’s going to last.
As far as build stuff, I’ve been building all my life. I grew up on a farm (still live on a farm) and have always worked with my hands. I’ve built fences, did complete remodeling projects on houses, built stuff for monster truck shows, rebuilt engines, and more. And yes: I’ve always been pretty handy. If it’s something I don’t know how to do, I can probably figure it out pretty quickly.
Katie: It seems like you've made a lot of different things! Have you made anything that's not currently on the site? Or are you open to making other obstacles?
RRO: If I get a request for something, and if it’s something I can make for a reasonable price, I will.
In case you didn't know before you showed up here....surprise!! This isn't just your typical blog article...it comes with a giveaway!! and you've already (almost) earned 12 points which is a huge advantage, so you might as well read the rules (below) then go check out the Instagram post to enter.
--Contest Runs 8/17/20-8/24/20, Winner announced on Instagram--
--Winner must be located in Continental USA--
⚙️ What You Win: A Twister built by Race Ready Obstacles, just for you!
⚙️ Dates Of Contest: 8/17/20-8/24/20...winner announced on Instagram
⚙️ How To Enter: Multiple options!
🔩 MANDATORY: "Like" the original Instagram post about the giveaway
🔩 MANDATORY: Follow @pretty_fierce_spartan & @racereadyobstacles on Instagram
🔩 FOR 1+ ADD'L ENTR(IES): Tag a friend in original Instagram post about the giveaway (note: 1 additional entry for each friend tagged!)
🔩 FOR ADD'L 16 ENTRIES: Sign up for Race Ready Obstacles email list by clicking this link, and type your Instagram name in the body of the email (to ensure your entries are counted together!)
🔩 FOR 12 ADD'L ENTRIES: Read & comment on Fierce Gear OCR blog article all about Race Ready Obstacles (PSSSST - That's what you're reading right now!)
🔩 FOR 40 ADD'L ENTRIES (The WOD&DONE Bonus!!): Follow WOD&DONE and Read & comment on Fierce Gear OCR blog article all about WOD&DONE
🔩 FOR ONE LAST CHANCE TO GET ADDITIONAL ENTRIES: Check Instagram post on @pretty_fierce_spartan account on 8/24/20
So there you have it! In the midst of the pandemic yucky-ness there are still a lot of cool things going on out there in the world, and Race Ready Obstacles is one of them!
I'll finish this up with a quote from Aaron. I asked him if there was anything else he wanted to say to people, or any specific message about his company that he would like to communicate, and this is his response:
"I guess some main points to cover about me are: Race Ready Obstacles is a veteran-owned, small, family business. I say veteran-owned because I am a proud veteran of the United States Coast Guard. And when I say 'small business' I mean it - it's just me and my wife, and we make everything by hand.
And, I'm all about making quality items. Things that will hold up...things that will last and that are safe."
...I couldn't have said it better myself.
September 28, 2020
September 07, 2020
August 25, 2020
I loved this article! I’ve been a. BIG, BIG fan of Race Ready Obstacles since day 1 and am so happy to see how much success they’ve had!
August 24, 2020
I appreciate what these people are doing for so many reasons. Not only am I not savvy enough to design and construct these things, but so many obstacles you only get to see once in a race and it’s not enough time to build confidence. Nice to see quality products made by awesome people who understand the needs of their customers because it came from their own needs as well.
August 23, 2020
I love that you have been able to make a lucrative business as a result of building your own practice obstacles! So cool!!!
August 20, 2020
August 19, 2020
🔥 love it! Killing it 👊🏼🇺🇸💪🏼! Perhaps our paths will cross on a course somewhere, until then keep on grinding and doing awesome things!
awesome story. hope to see u on a course some day.
I’ve been following RRO on Instagram for about 6 months. It’s truly amazing what they are able to create! They seem like such a cool OCR family too! @nicolina6
I hope I win the twister I could use some practice, I’ve only gotten twister in a race once. It’s so hard to replicate!!
Great article! Fun to learn. About Aaron and Dana. @TimothyRegan7
We love Race Ready Obstacles! I just wish we had a back yard to fit their awesome rigs. Good luck with your build. I know you won’t be disappointed.
August 18, 2020
Love all these obstacles. I hope to be able to do an OCR soon!
See a lot of quality work coming from race ready obstacles! Would love to add a twister to my training arsenal! @tony.im.coach
Great company. I attended my first OCR in Holiday Hills, IL, Highlander Dark Ages. Race Ready Obstacles built the obstacles. Great quality, challenging obstacles!!!!
Love all the products and design by Race Ready Obstacles!
I love Race Ready Obstacles! I ordered a climbing rope around the time quarantine first started and Aaron was so great about answering my questions regarding which rope I should order and kept me updated on shipment during this crazy time. I am a customer for life!
Good info! Race ready life!
Great article, and love the infographic! Aaron and Dana are awesome— I wish we lived closer to have them come build our backyard out!
So awesome!! I’d love to have a twister to practice on.
I love being able to run across this family at so many races! Now to talk my other half into letting me get a custom built rig for our backyard LOL