Granger, who moved to Orlando when he was a tot and thus considers himself a Florida native, grew up in central Florida and moved to Eustis in 1969—and ‘never really got into motorcycles’ till he returned from college. His first bikes were dirt bikes, and like many riders, he graduated to street bikes, and rode everything he could get his hands on, including the biggest powerhouses available—all long before the Boss Hoss was ever dreamed of.Then, in the early 2000’s, he recalls, he began seeing the occasional Boss Hoss here and there.  As he began seeing more and more of them at the Daytona events—Bike Week and Biketoberfest—he found himself gravitating toward the tent of Mountain Boss Hoss, and spending time getting to know the staff, and looking over everything on display.“Most of my life I’ve fooled with old cars, especially muscle cars, and still do today. I’ve got a garage full of them,” says Granger. “I’m a Chevrolet nut, and since I used to drag race and run Chevrolet motors, consequently I’m a fairly decent mechanic. So when I first straddled that Boss Hoss with a Chevy engine on it and fired that thing up, that was pretty much the deciding factor.  You don’t even have to roll on it.  Just crawl on it and fire it up and that will pretty much crank your tractor right there!”(It didn’t hurt, he added, that he knew a couple of local Boss Hoss owners who persistently nudged him along, convincing him that he HAD to have one, too!)So in 2004, Granger bought his first small block at Daytona—from his friends at  Mountain.  “It had custom paint and extra chrome, so it was a little bit more than just a stock factory bike.  I rode it for a couple of years while I planned what I would do differently if I were to have another.”Then, in 2006, he took his accumulated wish list to Mountain Boss Hoss and had a new one built—one that is still his current pride and joy.  Resplendent with chrome frame and “everything chromed that you can imagine”, Granger’s Boss Hoss boasts a stretched slicked tank free of gauges, scoops, or other impedimenta.  The fine hand of Chris Cruz is evident in the paint scheme Granger brainstormed with him.The custom touch is also there in the mirrors, handlebar gauges, chrome wheels, “300” rear tire, and even the crocodile seat.  “It makes it just a little bit different,” Granger says with satisfaction.Granger’s wife Beth, a backseat rider, enjoys riding with him, and their grown son Jeremy is also an avid rider on his own motorcycle, and is working his way up to a Boss Hoss of his own someday, Granger reports.  Meanwhile, he occasionally borrows his father’s.Boots for BikersJeremy also serves as Marketing Director of Ridge Footwear, the company Granger and Roy Baker, an old high school buddy, established 13 years ago.  Ridge’s primary product is black boots—which they originally designed and manufactured for law enforcement, fire department, emergency services, military security, and “anyone uniformed that was required to wear black footwear,” Granger explains. The lightweight but durable tactical footwear from Ridge enjoyed immediate popularity and has recorded constant growth and worldwide sales expansion since its 1996 introduction.  Then, just a few years ago, recalls Granger, he realized that a number of motorcyclists he met were buying Ridge tactical boots and raving about them.  “Our whole claim to fame in the black boot industry to date,” said Granger, “and what set us apart, had been the fact that we were the first in the industry to develop air technology and build very lightweight and comfortable boots.  Nike had done it with tennis shoes, but nobody had introduced it in the black boot industry until Ridge did it.”The old style biker boots were very heavy and not very comfortable—especially if you got off the bike and wanted to walk around at a rally or event, Granger points out.  Ridge boots, with their extra comfort factor, were already recognized and embraced enthusiastically by many bikers before the company officially began exploring and designing for the motorcycle market. “The more widely our product became known, the more we started seeing it on motorcyclists; so, in response, we began developing some specific product strictly for the motorcycle industry, in addition to our existing crossover tactical styles.”Drawing on his 35 years of experience as a rider, Granger was able to translate the existing lightweight and comfort features of the tactical styles into durable designs that are more similar to the popular and traditional motorcycle boot.The rest, as they say, is history.  After test marketing in their home state, Ridge took the biker line of footwear global, with gratifying results. “We now have sales reps and stores nationwide carrying Ridge motorcycle boots, and we ship to more than 20 countries.  More styles are on the drawing board, coming soon to a motorcycle shop near you,” says Granger with a grin. Better yet, Granger was at a rally, chatting with Mark Seiber, a Boss Hoss factory representative who was complaining about the back pain he was experiencing as a result of spending all day on his feet in cowboy boots. Granger later sent him a pair of Ridge boots, and “Mark’s been one of my best salesmen ever since!” claims Granger. Boss Hoss Country editor Chad Osborne heard about the miracle boots and asked for a pair—with similar results.“Doing 20+ shows per year with the Boss Hoss Factory Power Tour, I spend 12-hour days on my feet on hard pavement, and by day’s end my feet and back were killing me. I had tried other boots and even running shoes, but nothing seemed to help. Then I got a pair of the Ridge Ghost boots and I can honestly say they saved my feet and back.      “I can't say enough good things about these boots! If you ever see me at a show, look down and you’ll see a pair on my feet.” -    Chad Osborne, Boss Hoss Country Although the biker market at present represents only about 15%-20% of Ridge’s boot business because they have only been targeting it for three years, it is growing rapidly. (It’s likely to boost sales significantly among Boss Hoss riders if Granger continues to prominently feature his Boss Hoss in the Ridge catalogs!)Although the downturn in the economy has affected the boot industry, too—an effect Ridge noted primarily because the government agencies they serve have experienced budget cuts—Granger is optimistic, citing 2008 as their best sales year to date.“We’re not just tied to the U.S. market; and we have close to 600 dealers around the country—it’s a good business.  We’re consistently developing new product in the motorcycle line as well as for tactical use, now,” he points out. ‘We build a little bit of everything—short boots and tall boots, waterproof boots, nylon-and-leather or all-leather, lace or zipper styles. Side zip boots are a big deal these days.  We’ve got something for everybody. “The whole focus is to try to build footwear that is not only useable for riding, but is very lightweight. It’s something that can keep you comfortably on your feet all day, if necessary.”The Ridge line includes about 25 styles and includes a line of U.S. made socks that features the popular CoolMax® moisture-wicking design that Ridge has shipped to U.S. military troops stationed in Baghdad.See it all –along with some cool dynamic videos that include footage of Granger’s showpiece Boss Hoss—on their web site at .Boss Hoss Travels When he’s not designing the motorcycle boots that are winning new converts daily, Granger is busy terrorizing his neighborhood on the Hoss Fly he brought home two years ago. “That sort of completed my whole experience with Boss Hoss,” he chuckles.  “Mine is the kind of neighborhood where you can safely turn your kids loose on four-wheelers.  When they hear me fire up the Hoss Fly, they know I’m coming!” While he’d love to ride his bike every day, he regrets that work often gets in the way of his playing.  In addition to his co-ownership of Ridge, Granger has been a general contractor for 35 years, and divides his time between both businesses. “Fortunately, our construction business is very diverse, and has a great reputation and the advantage of longevity, so we’re doing okay.” His Boss Hoss time is thus limited mostly to short rides around rally destinations to which the bike has been trailered behind his motor home. “If I’m on it 300 miles in the course of a day, that’s probably as far away as we get at one time. We do a lot of traveling, we just don’t do a lot of traveling on the bike. But we do take it all over the country with us when we go.”He reports trips to rallies in Pennsylvania, Myrtle Beach, Dyersburg, and Paris—where he plans to join us again this year for the Boss Hoss celebration.  “We try to stay within 1,000 miles of home when we go to rallies.  Too much time on the road takes away too much fun!”Be sure to look for Granger and his Boss Hoss at Paris Landing in September—and if your feet hurt, be sure to tell him so!

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