CQ entrepreneur's invention could be world first
STEVE Moody had the perfect invention but lacked the support to turn it into reality until an email to his Inbox changed everything.
A fitter and turner by trade, Mr Moody, 37, has lived in Rockhampton for the past 13 years with his wife and three children has always been good with his hands and has had a fascinating career working with animals.
One day he hit upon a way of transforming these skills and knowledge into a horse catching device called 'Handy Catch' that was poised to explode on Australian and international markets in the new year.
Mr Moody's road to developing the invention started growing up in Gympie, when at the age of 14-years-old, he rode his first bull and "it stuck”.
Eventually his passion for being on the back of a bucking bovine was transferred to staring one down as a protection rodeo and comedy clown which took him firstly around and Australia and eventually around the world.
It was his unique "speciality act” (that Mr Moody believes no one else had replicated), that earned him significant audience adulation during his clowning career.
"I've got a set of stilts and my feet would be 5ft off the ground and my crutch is 9ft off the ground and a bull will come running at me,” Mr Moody said.
"A 100 per cent of the time, a bull will close its eyes and drop its head before it hits something.
"When it closes its eyes, that's my opportunity to spread the stilts and he just runs between my legs and out he goes.”
Nowadays, Mr Moody is studying to be Manual Arts teacher while also busying himself mustering cattle and helping to organise rodeos like the highly successful event held at the Caves in September - where he demonstrated his "speciality act”.
"It's been 23 years that I've been in the game and I've trained numbers of horses, dogs and even show cattle,” he said.
"I just developed this idea around my experience of handling animals and combine my engineering background into a simple idea that just really works.
"I made a prototype in about 30 seconds out of a piece of Bunnings rope and I showed a few friends at work and they said I should get a patent on it.”
He dismissed the idea as being too simple and didn't think more on it until he received an email from CQU titled "Have you got an innovative idea?” and he answered "yes I do”.
After successfully applying and participating in a three day innovation business development program run by CQU, Mr Moody received another email from the organisers of that event where he learnt about Rockhampton Regional Council's Smart Hub initiative and the Start Up Stars program.
He was one of six business to win a $20000 business mentor-ship packages which were funded by local and state grants to learn under the tutelage of entrepreneur Mark "bare foot businessman” Philips and his marketing expert wife Linda.
They guided Mr Moody through the through the patenting process, and product development over the past eight months to the point now where he now had 10k units on their way, ready to deploy firstly into the Australian market before branching out into the US market.
For the time being, Mr Moody's is concentrating on selling his product to the retailers on wholesale basis, in packs of 100 or 1000, because he remains focused on completing his degree.
Mr Moody met The Morning Bulletin at an Etna Creek to demonstrate the principle behind his 'Handy Catch' invention where a compact halter and lead rope were concealed in a small hand sized bag.
He started by coaxing over some reluctant horses that hadn't been handled often with a bucket of feed.
"If I had a halter or a bridle in my hand, they wouldn't be anywhere near me,” Mr Moody said.
"I've got my little 'Handy Catch' here, they don't know I've got in it in my hands, it's just a little handful and all they're happy to do is just eat.
"Basically I've let them know I'm here,” he said slipping the halter casually around the distracted horse's neck.
"Once he knows he's caught, we slip that up over his head, do some fine adjusting and that's been an effortless ordeal and I've got this horse caught that has probably only been caught twice in the last 12 months.”
He explained that one of the pains of having several different sized horses is that you need several different bridles
"But this one halter will fit a whole range of horses even though they all have a different sized heads, no knots required, it just works its way through a little friction plate made at Emu park,” Mr Moody said.
"It's lightweight, it's compact and it's got more of a breaking strain than my body can produce.”
Mr Moody said not only does his 'Handy Catch' promise to take the frustration out of catching a horse could also be applied to other animal varieties from dogs right up to Clydesdale horses.