Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The FenceMaster Trailer

The Prairie Star: Montana Ag Newspaper

New ATV trailer FenceMaster goes through rough country, carries tools, spraying system

Monday, September 27, 2010 12:48 PM MDT

The FenceMaster is a versatile Montana designed and built trailer that helps producers get more out of their ATVs. Photo courtesy of Tom Spika.  

Building fence in rugged country just got a whole lot easier; so did checking and doctoring livestock, spraying hard to reach areas, and a lot of other jobs. The reason is a new ATV trailer capable of carrying a day’s worth of fencing materials, tools, medicines and more.

The FenceMaster is a four-foot wide aluminum and poly trailer built on tandem axles. Compact and maneuverable it has a 1,500 pound payload capacity. Spika Welding and Manufacturing, of Lewis-town, Mont., designed and manufactures the innovative trailer.

“We called all of our production people and all of our engineers. We said, ‘let’s figure out what we can do, what we are good AT, and what we know,” Spika said.

The crew at Spika knows agriculture and they know fencing. They designed the FenceMaster to carry a full day of fencing supplies. It has three rotating wire spools on the back and self-closing staple and post clip bins.

"It pretty much is ideal for fencing", says Tim Crabtree of Denton, who should know...he spends the majority of his time building fence.

"Everything you could want for making fencing faster and easier is there in the design.”

That is because SPIKA went the extra mile. After they came up with the initial design they built a prototype then asked ranchers, fence contractors, and implement dealers to come in and evaluate the trailer.

“We asked them what they liked and didn’t like about the trailer,” Spika said. The result is a fine-tuned workhorse. Their trailer organizes supplies and can be pulled behind an ATV over rough terrain or down a freeway at 70 miles per hour. The FenceMaster is freeway stable and comes equipped with lights and all necessary features to be licensed and street legal - a great solution for stockmen who must travel to pastures several miles apart.

Crabtree is thrilled. “I knew as soon as I saw it that it was just what I needed. It will save me a ton of work carrying posts and wire where my pickup can't get. Four-wheelers are cheaper to operate and a lot handier, but they just can't carry much by themselves."

Spika also said the trailer is safer.

“When you have to use a four-wheeler for fencing you strap a handful of steel posts to the rack, tie a fence stretcher across the handle bars, bungi-cord on a roll of wire and try to go. It’s dangerous and can get top heavy that way. You also loose stuff halfway down the trail yet there are places with fences that you just can’t get a pickup to easily. This trailer is designed to go almost anywhere an ATV can go and you can take enough supplies to cover several miles of fence repair. There’s no going back to get something else. You have everything right there with you,” he explained.

The FenceMaster retails for $4,995 which may give some producers initial sticker shock but Spika said once they see what the trailer is designed to do, they realize it has tremendous value and versatility and get excited to own one.

“When you think about contracting $8,000 for a mile of fence or investing $14,000 in a post drive, the cost of the FenceMaster is more justifiable,” he said.

The whole concept of the trailer is to expand the capability of the ATV’s most producers already own. Available accessory packages, such as the hydraulic power pack allows producers to run hydraulic post hole diggers, tampers or other hydraulic equipment far from a power source.

“It’s far more versatile and handy than trying to run that equipment off a skid steer.” Skid steer's hydraulic systems have to be modified and most people don’t want to mess with that, he explained.

The power pack kit is equipped with a 9-horsepower Honda engine that attaches to the back deck. You get up close to where you need to work, start up the engine and plug in whatever tool you have.

Spika explained that the trailer can be positioned close to where you need the power so long hydraulic lines aren’t needed. Also, it’s far easier to get on and off a four-wheeler to move than into and out of a skid steer, especially a hundred times a day.

The weatherproof trailer is also great for calving season. A calf rack can be secured to the trailer and multiple storage compartments make it easy to carry calving tools, ear tags, medical supplies, even record books.

“It is great for checking your herds. If you’re out in the field with this and you see a calf with scours, you have the medicine and syringes right with you. If a cow is having difficulty calving, you have your calf puller and ob chains right there. You can even weigh the calf and carry your record books so you can record that information right in the field. You have all this capability where you need it, not back in the barn,” Spika explained.

There is also a powerful spraying system accessory kit, complete with a 110-gallon tank. The pump can run up to 300 psi, deliver four gallons per minute and spray vertically as tall as a 35-foot tree. A boom-less nozzle bar can cover a 30-foot swath for range or cropland weed treatment or liquid fertilizer application in places where regular sprayers cannot go.

Four-wheelers are a vital tool in agriculture. The trailer expands the ability of the four-wheeler.

“This is really another important tool, an implement like a tractor, and has been built to work hard and last for years,” explained Spika.

The design allows producers to keep all their tools and supplies in one place, ready to go. If cows get out, “you just hook it up to your four-wheeler, run out to get the cows in, and have what you need to fix the fence right with you. You don’t have to return home to find and retrieve the tools and supplies. It’s all ready,” he said. Whether it’s taking out salt or protein blocks, using it as a parts and tool cart during haying or harvest or just general farm work, the FenceMaster helps producers master more than fence work.

“The more they think about it, the more they see where it will be justifying itself almost every day. It's kind of like a skid steer; once you have one, you don't know how you ever got along without one," said Tryg Williams, Spika's sales rep for the northwestern region.

“This is an investment that makes sense,” Spika said. “Producers will use it for so many different operations that it will become extremely valuable. They will soon feel lost without it.”

Spika will have a FenceMaster trailer and accessories on display at the NILE. Producers will be able to see how it works and what the FenceMaster can do for them. Ag and livestock equipment, implement and ATV dealers in Great Falls, Havre, Lewistown, Geraldine, Fort Ben-ton, Roundup, Billings, Butte, Missoula and Kalispell are already handling the FenceMaster with more being added weekly.

For more information, stop by their booth at the NILE, contact Spika at 888-915-5678, or through their Web site at

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Recovery Church

I am embarking on a new venture this evening... doing something I've done hundreds of times, but tonight it becomes official.  I have my church's blessing to start a new church at the Jeremiah House on saturday nights focusing on helping others to recover from the mindset of alcoholism and homelessness.  I was once there.  I remember exactly what kept me alive and turned my life around...  I will give my testimony in person to anyone who wants to hear about the incredible power of Jesus Christ anytime.  Come as you are tonight and each Sat. Night at 7pm.  Corner of 12th ave and 12th street in Scottsbluff.  Jeremiah House Director Brian Hale.