Idaho couple created an outdoors-inspired tool. They’ll appear on ‘Shark Tank’ this weekend
Nicole Blanchard, Idaho Statesman
BOISE — An Idaho couple is hoping to make a splash when their invention is featured on “Shark Tank” this weekend.
Chris and Geanie Rodgers, of Eagle, brought their utility rope product on the ABC show, where a handful of well-known investors hear pitches from entrepreneurs hoping for financial backing. The episode featuring the Rodgers’ product, called Rapid Rope, will air on ABC at 8 p.m. Sunday.
Rapid Rope is a flat utility rope that’s packaged in a canister so it can be easily dispensed and cut to size, the couple told the Statesman in a phone interview. About eight years ago, Chris and Geanie conceived of the idea for a new version of the essential item that wouldn’t impede their outdoor adventures.
“I’ve been a huge outdoorsman for my entire like,” Chris said, “… and we always had some kind of utility rope with us. It was always a mess, but you had to have it with you.”
A video on the Rapid Rope website shows people using the braided nylon rope to tie down gear on ATVs, hang hammocks or craft a makeshift dog leash.
“It’s a benefit for camping, backpacking, hunting,” Chris said. “It fits perfectly in your ATV.”
Canisters the size of a large fountain soda hold 120 feet of rope with 1,100 pounds of tensile strength. The canisters are water-resistant and feature a blade on the lid that can cut lengths of rope.
Chris said Rapid Rope’s uses have expanded far beyond the original outdoors focus. Since the couple launched the product three years ago, they said it’s used on farms and ranches, at lumber operations and more.
Rapid Rope is made in the United States, with most of the materials and labor coming from Idaho, Geanie said. The Rodgerses even worked with the New Product Development lab at Boise State University to help design the project and get it off the ground.
“That was something Chris would just not even bend on,” she said. “We definitely wanted to do everything we could in Idaho.”
GETTING IDAHO’S RAPID ROPE ON ‘SHARK TANK’
The third time was the charm for the Rodgerses when it came to “Shark Tank.” The couple had applied to be on the show twice already when they submitted another application in February of 2019. To improve their chances, they went to an open call audition to pitch to producers, who said they’d be in touch in three weeks if they wanted to feature Rapid Rope on the show.
“Those were a nerve-wracking three weeks,” Geanie said.
The couple was in Africa on a service mission when they got the email that they’d booked a spot on the show. They scrambled to find a printer, sign documents and scan them back to ABC immediately. By the end of September, they were filming for the show.
“We were the last filming day for season 11,” Geanie said. “It was such an intense experience. I don’t think either of us were prepared.”
The Rodgerses can’t give away the results of the audition before the show airs, but Geanie said it was a positive experience.
“We felt like the sharks were kind to us,” she said.