Wind Turbine Construction Starts

Welcome to our construction site!

Here's the alignment ring which is the same diameter as the turbine's column

The rebar in concrete

As these pictures show, construction on our wind turbine generator (WTG) has finally begun!  The excavating was done last week, and this week S&S Forms started laying out the reinforcing bars.  By the time they are done, there will be two dense layers of rebar – top and bottom of a five foot thick cement pad.  In total, they are going to pour 188 yards of cement.

The actual turbine is going to ship from India on December 11 or the 18th, and from there it is 32 days on the water before it gets to Newark.  I am expecting to have more photos towards the end of January of them putting everything together and putting it up.

As for the foundation, we will have photos of that being poured some time next week.

If you are interested in seeing the progress, go to http://hodgesbadge.viewnetcam.com for a live picture.

Rick

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Dos and Don’ts for our Cover Contest

I am fresh from reviewing all of the entries for the Hodges Badge Company 2011 Equestrian Catalog cover contest.   Thank you to everyone that submitted an entry! With next year in mind, I want to offer you a few tips on what works (and what doesn’t).  While the next deadline isn’t until October 2011, we will accept your submissions at any time during the year.

Here are the Don’ts:

  • Don’t submit another company’s ribbon or trophy.  The awards must be from Hodges.  No exceptions.
  • Don’t submit an out-of-focus award.  We need to be able to read the print.
  • Don’t try too hard to be cute. 
  • Don’t demonstrate unsafe riding.  Make sure your helmet fits, and don’t stand next to a horse while barefoot.
  • Don’t fail to consider your background composition- a porta-potty behind your horse, or telephone pole sprouting from the rider’s head etc.
  • Don’t cut off heads or feet!

And the Dos:

  • Do send photos of less frequently awarded items  such as trophies, medals and plaques. 
  • Send entries that are different- llama or donkey shows, driving, side saddle, vaulting, sledding rallies.  While I realize the majority of our customers ride English or Western, we need to represent all horse pursuits.
  • Feel free to send multiple photos.  If you send more than 10, please vary the composition, lighting, etc.
  • Follow the rules for your discipline – helmets on in the ring, keepers in place on your bridle, etc.
  • Respond when we call you! Every year at least one ‘winner’ fails to get back to us and we have to dig deeper for another photo.
  • Use a fill flash on sunny days – otherwise foreheads under helmets are too dark for us to use.

Rolex 2010 – Day 2

Our second day in Kentucky started wet and dreary, with forecasts of heavy thunderstorms and hail.  The schedule was shortened up, with no lunch break and riders starting every 4 minutes.  This enabled most rides to take place under hazy skies, moderate breezes and just wonderful conditions.  The rain held off until about 30 minutes after the last ride, so it was a really great day.

The Rolex web site (rk3de.com) has the ride by ride summary of the day, I just have a bunch of photos to share with you.  So look below for some of my best photos from Saturday’s Cross Country competition.

#12 Peter Atkins and Henry Jota Hampton over fence #6A, the Ducks.

Rider #17 over fence #4, the Covered Bridge.  This would be Kyle Carter of Canada on Madison Park.

#24 Will Faudree on Pawlow over fence #23, the Keeper’s Brush.

#36, Boyd Martin on Remington XXV dropping into the Hollow, fence #21.  This jump proved to be difficult for several riders, with three falls over the course of the day.

#41, Jonathan Paget of New Zeland on Clifton Promise over the first of the two Squirrels (fence #17).

#67, Tara Ziegler on Buckingham Place dropping into the water at #15B -the Head of the Lake.

#69, Oliver Townend of Great Britain on Ashdale Cruise Master over part C at the Head of the Lake. Just a few minutes later, he suffered a serious fall  and was brought to the UK hospital.  Reports say that thankfully both he and his horse are OK.

After the Cross Country we headed out to dinner, and returned to the park for the WEG Stadium Jumping Grand Prix Test event – only to find out that it had been canceled at the last minute.  So I am sorry, but no stadium jumping pictures until we report back from phase 3.

Live from Rolex 2010 – Day 1

Our team made it out to Rolex with less difficulty than some of this year’s European competitors.  Unfortunately we got just as wet today as they did.  Showers and occasionally moderate rain dogged today’s early rides.  By noon things were looking up and the riders after lunch all had dry rides.  The competition is stiff, and even with this year’s difficult test, 9 riders have scores under 50 going into the Cross Country phase.  To see the latest scores, click here.  To see general news about this year’s Rolex Three Day, click here.

Here is a shot of Oliver Townend warming up on Ashdale Cruise Master.  The pair is currently in 6th place.

A groom’s job is never done!  This is Amy Tryon’s Horse Coal Creek after their test.

Finally, a shot of Phillip Dutton warming up on Waterfront.

After the Dressage Test wrapped up, we headed in to Lexington to see the sights.  We ended up at Thoroughbred Park.

Update on our wind turbine!

I know we’ve talked about a wind turbine here on the blog before, but I wanted to let you know about another piece of good news that will help us make our dream of being entirely wind powered a reality.  Today Rhode Island Governor Donald Carcieri and the Office of Energy Resources announced that Hodges Badge Company has been awarded $156,250 in funding through the Department of Energy’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) State Energy Program.

The Governor himself said proposals “exceeded expectations,” as Rhode Islanders “thought creatively” in pursuing green energy projects.

We were one of 45 businesses, municipalities, organizations, and citizens awarded money, which was granted based on job hours generated by the project, total energy production, and cost effectiveness.

The 225 kilowatt turbine will be put up behind our Portsmouth factory and should cover 100 percent of our Rhode Island facility’s power needs, making Hodges the first manufacturer in Rhode Island to be entirely run by renewable energy.

Update: we are featured in a story in today’s (4/12) Providence Journal- click here.

Winter weather?

Well, we got an email from Bob Bell this morning (Classic Company and Gulf Coast Classic) that today’s events were being canceled due to snow.  In Gulfport, MS – who would have thunk??  Meanwhile our shipments from Baltimore are delayed due to 50″ of snow, and the places where I would normally head for some skiing are crying that they don’t have any snow.  What a strange year.

I spent this morning laying out the first draft of our upcoming Championship catalog.  Lots of new items, like etched glass bowls, hardwood plaques from Indonesia  and some really nice pewter are going to grace the pages of this book.  The whole idea is courtesy of my friend Paul O’Reilly of Newport Harbor Group who innocently asked me if I sent all of my customers the exact same catalog.  Of course I said yes, and well, maybe that wasn’t the right answer, so now we are doing a book featuring higher end pieces than we have ever shown before.  We are promising that it will be ready by ‘spring’.

Finally, it isn’t a big secret around here that we are working on a new web site.  It was originally scheduled to launch in January, but we held off while we fine tuned the shopping cart, and updated all the product photos.  With some luck, it should come on line around March 1st.  The technology in this site is going to be 9 years newer than what we currently have so it should have the look and feel that people expect from the web today.  Among the features it includes are multiple sized photos of products, easier online ordering, support for micro sites and (probably not on day 1) the ability to see your printing and colors on the ribbon you are ordering.

I will keep this post updated as the launch date approaches.

Kentucky Horse Park Visit October 2009

Today was a beautiful day to visit the KY Horse Park – site of the 2010 World Equestrian Games.  I am here to visit with USEF, USDF, USPC and USHJA – a busy couple of days!  I had not been here since Rolex in 2008, and wow, has it changed a lot

Welcome to the KY Horse Park!

It is obvious as you enter the park that a huge amount of money has been spent on improvements.  The most obvious changes are the new open air stadium and the indoor arena.  Scott Carling of USEF told me that they began construction of the open air stadium seating immediately after Rolex in 2008, and it was actually completed in time for Rolex 2009!  Here are some shots of the stadium on a day when the occupancy was 1.

View from the top of the stadium arena.

Here is a shot from the courtyard outside.

Bruce Davidson in the courtyard

After climbing the bleachers (all the way to row AA) I made it over to the new indoor arena.  It is kind of landscaped into the hill to hide its size, but as you can see, it seats about 5,000 in climate controlled splendor.  One of the early events in the venue will be the 2010 IHSA championships next May.

Inside the Arena

Here is a shot from the outside.

The new indoor arena.

Looking across the horse park

Outside the arena.

Fall is always an interesting time to visit the horse park as many things are changing.  One change is the new USHJA building.  Almost complete as you can see in these photos, but I was unable to go inside for a look-see.

USHJA Headquarters

As always, the horse park is a great place to visit.  If you are coming for WEG, make your plans early – and think about flying into Cincinnati – it is only 70 miles away and has much better access.  In addition, don’t be surprised if accommodations are not available nearby.  Hotels have already upped their rates, so an hour of driving may just save you a lot of $$!