CENTRAL MN MADE: Watkins Man’s Rescue Sleds Saving Lives Around the World [AUDIO, PHOTOS]
WATKINS - In remote places around the world - places ambulances and regular rescue can't scale - you might find snowmobile or ATV-drawn sleds made by Dean Hendrickson of Watkins.
20 year-old Orion Sleds and Trailers is today's featured "Made in Central Minnesota" business.
A farmer and machinist by trade, as well as a snowmobile enthusiast, Hendrickson singlehandedly designs, fabricates and ships customized sleds.
Hendrickson says many of his designs end up being used by rescue crews in places with snowy or mountainous terrain - places as far away as Chile and Antarctica.
There are many aspects of owning his own business which please Hendrickson, but he says the best moments are when he hears about lives that have been saved by crews using his sleds.
"You can't beat that feeling," he says.
Hendrickson makes his sled parts in bulk - around 10-20 at a time - and can then assemble a sled in several hours.
He relies on word of mouth and trade shows to spread the word about his product, which he says are not made in very many places in the United States.