The Cannonball Bale bed was first perceived of in November of 1999, when two friends started talking about how cool it would it be if a bale bed could have a dumping mechanism as well as arm action. These two friends were Terry Schrag and Dewey Hostetler. Three days later they had a working model. Other than patent protection nothing much was done until the following year, when actual production began on a very small scale. We are honored to have the first Cannonball production bed still in service today, on a farm in Arlington, KS. When we tried to buy the bed back recently, or trade for a new one the owner said, “I think I’ll just hang on to it.”
The name Cannonball comes from the old Cannonball stage line that ran past the original Schrag homestead in the late 1800’s. Terry can remember the old timer’s reminiscing about the Stage Coach and how the drivers would stop to water the horses at an old stone tank there on the Schrag homestead while in route from Wichita to Medicine lodge KS. The Cannonball Stage line also had a route from Wichita to Greensburg Kansas on what is now Highway 54/400. The State recently designed the highway to be called the Cannonball Stage Line Highway. Ironically enough our corporate offices are located on this very highway, 1005 E US Hwy 54 Kingman, KS.
The Cannonball Story
Terry Schrag has been a farmer his entire life, as well has a mechanical arts teacher and an athletic coach. Growing up on the farm brought to light Terry’s incredible ability to solve mechanical and electrical challenges and to develop practical solutions to everyday farm/ranch chores. He built the first ever moldboard flex plow. He built the first hopper bottom farm to market grain trailer, finding it easier and more efficient than a tandem farm truck. He’s designed, a self-loading and unloading Semi Hay trailer, as well as Grain trailers that convert into combine header transports for the Customer Grain Cutters. Many other ideas, too numerous to mention, have been brought to fruition over the years. It is obvious Terry has a knack for engineering. His gift of mechanical insight has benefited many in their everyday farm chores.
The Cannonball bale bed is successful because of innovated design, quality workmanship, and reasonable prices. “I don’t know of any customer that wouldn’t invite us over for dinner,” says Terry. “We take care of our people, because we care to earn that kind of respect. We don’t want to be the largest bale bed manufacture; we want to be the best. “Debbie, Terry’s wife and business partner mentioned that when the first beds were marketed, people drove in from all over the country to buy this new type of dumping bale bed. The original customers came out to the farm, as they did not yet have facilities in Kingman. The kitchen served as the office and the farm shop as the manufacturing plant. It was a big day when they were able to purchase a small 1950’s block building in Kingman for use as the corporate headquarters. Although they have expanded many times and spread the plant out over several empty lots, they still maintain office space in this original building.
13 years and 5000 beds later Cannonball is still growing and still going strong. Both Debbie and Terry are confident in their ability to continue serving existing customers in an exemplary fashion; all the while gaining new Cannonball followers by producing the highest quality bale bed available.