By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
R.L. Wilson started a business a few years ago making metal corrals that can be pulled into a pasture, then taken out again.
The idea proved to be so popular that he has manufactured more than a thousand, which he sells to dealers across the United States.
The company, Burlington Welding LLC, is located in Cherokee and employs 19 people. It recently moved its offices.
Betty Mitchell, company accountant, said the corrals can be pulled like a trailer from pasture to pasture when gathering cattle.
“It’s basically a corral. You drive the cattle in and load up from the front or back of the corral. When you get loaded up, fold it up and pull it to the next one and gather the next herd,” Mitchell said.
The company also recently began manufacturing a sorting corral, which is a much larger unit, but still transported the same way. A large gooseneck unit, it can open into a very large enclosure, or set up as four separate pens for sorting cattle. All of the sorting can be accomplished without opening and closing the same gate twice, Mitchell said.
Wilson designed both corrals.
“The idea came as an accident,” Wilson said.
An area farmer mentioned to him that he would like to have a pen of that type. He looked at several ideas for them and did not like any of them, so he designed it himself. Wilson began manufacturing them in 2007.
When he designed it, word began to get around and dealers started asking whether they could sell them.
Wilson now has sold more than 1,000 of the corrals, and also is manufacturing the new sorting pen.
The idea for the sorting pens came at a farm show in Missouri where pens were being sold. Someone told him they liked his gathering pen, but could not sort with it. Wilson began to design the sorting pen and began working on it a week later. He started working on it on a Monday and the product was “out the door” by Saturday.
“I think it will take some of the market away from the other one because it does so much more,” Wilson said.
Wilson likes to “play around” — he has ideas, people bring him ideas and he begins to design potential products and figure how to make them work.
“I enjoy the challenge,” he said. “There have been a few that made me stop and think a while. Some I had to show them where the idea would fail.”
Wilson had a company, but left it to have back surgery in 2005. When he returned as general manager of Burlington Welding, he started the repair shop again when people began to need parts.
He won a a national award at a recent national Farm Bureau convention, where he was presented the People’s Choice Award.
“I’ve been blessed with the way things have been. I couldn’t have done it without God,” he said.
There are 19 current employees who do oil field work and build corrals every day, plus building the sorting pens, working chutes and alleyways.
“We do all types of work,” he said.