Fargo's Hercules Tow Ropes are a farmer's best friend

In manufacturing, as in any business, it pays to be in the right place at the right time. One Fargo business is turning reels of rope into a popular tool on the ranch, farm or marina. 

A man works intently on a large white rope
Matt Smither, owner of Hercules Tow Ropes in Fargo.
Finn Harrison / WDAY News

FARGO — Matt Smithers can be found every day assembling what none of us hopes we have to use but love to have in our truck or tractor — especially in weather like we've had this winter: a tow rope.

"Our best day is everybody's worst. We like snow, the rain and the mud," Smithers said.

He owns Hercules Tow Ropes in Fargo. The business has been around for decades. The nylon comes in on big spools, and Matt and his crew twist, cut and ship the ropes to farm supply stores and farm families around the globe.

"Depending on the year, nearly 3,000 ropes go out," Smithers said.

It's not just farmers from the Upper Midwest buying the ropes. Thanks to the internet, people from across the country are buying rope that's made in Fargo.


"Yesterday, we shipped to California (and) Illinois. We have an order from the Philippines," he said.

Smithers started at the tow rope business as an North Dakota State University student looking for part-time work. Now that he owns the business, he pays it forward and employs students looking for work.

Marinas in Florida use the ropes, as do farmers from Oregon to Maine. A chunk of nylon made right in the heart of blizzard country.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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