Ag Pride 2022: Jhett Hauk creates a business out of paracord
Jhett Hauk knows that good equipment is vital. He grew up horseback, and now, at 12, has more than once made it to the pay window in jackpot team ropings, something he’s been doing since he was 7.
Jhett’s parents, Michael and Tracy Hauk, moved their family from Miles City, MT to a ranch south of Wall a few years ago. They also have another son named Jaxon, who competes in rodeo and helps on the ranch.
That ranch and rodeo experience gave him an appreciation for good equipment, that holds up to the lifestyle. So when a neighbor by the name of Kyle Edoff offered to teach Jhett how to round-braid, Jhett took him up on the offer. Kyle shared the technique, and Jhett found he enjoyed making tie strings and started selling them last fall.
For those who aren’t familiar, Jhett explained tie strings “can be used for anything. You put them on your saddle and when you’re off doing ranch stuff they come in handy. You can tie a gate shut, tie the feet of a calf or tie a horse trailer door shut.”
Jhett buys paracord and braids it onto heavy welding rings in lengths with four strands, six strands or eight strands of cord. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to make each one, depending on how long they are. “It’s relaxing and doesn’t take a lot of concentration. I can listen to music or watch a movie with my family while I work on them,” Jhett said.
“When Kyle comes over to help, he continues to give me more tips on braiding. He said six-strand are the hardest ones to make and he helped me with that.”
Jhett has made ties in several different colors: orange and yellow, blue and white, green and yellow. If someone wants certain colors, he’ll work to make his customer happy.
“I’ve made about 40 of them and have sold some on Facebook. They are also available for sale at the Bottle and Vet in Philip, SD. That’s the first place where I’ve sold them wholesale so that’s pretty cool. They go for $15 apiece. I’ve also sold some at some rodeos and at the Black Hills Stock Show.”
Paulette Ramsey, owner of Jones Saddlery Bottle & Vet in Philip said, “The ties really sell themselves. People come in, see them and know how they can use them. For those ranchers who are calving, it is really handy to keep one on their horse. My husband has one on each side of his saddle. They really helped during the storms when they’d tie up a calf and then get a sled to bring the calf out of the storm. The bright colors are popular as they are easy to see.”
Paulette praised Jhett for his initiative. “Jhett is a go-getter, and when people know he made the ties, they are really impressed. He does a great job on making them and it is a great product. I see a lot of them used to keep the tops on back seat coolers. And you could use them as a lead rope for a horse.”
Jhett’s mom, Tracy Hauk, said, “It’s been fun to watch him. He picked up on the technique really quickly, according to Kyle. I didn’t think he’d enjoy it as much as he does. He’s pretty dedicated.”
Jhett has worked out where to get the rings and cord and says he’s making some good money from them. His measurements are exact when he cuts the cord. “If I want a 10-foot tie string, I measure out 18 feet, 9 inches as I lose 8 feet, 9 inches with the braiding.”
“When working on them, sometimes my fingers cramp, but then I just take a break. The hardest part is tying the knots on the end. I trim it off and then burn the ends with a lighter or a torch. It works best when I can tie the knot and melt the ends, so it’s one big square at the end,” he said.
With eyes to the future, Jhett said, “I want to expand by making other things. I started on a set of paracord reins for my pony. I want to get some leather strips and make some reins or headstalls, which are the straps that go over a horse’s head. I just like to make stuff. It is a lot of fun.”
If people are interested, they can purchase tie strings at Bottle & Vet in Philip. Also check out Jhett on Facebook.