AKRON—The line dance is over for Roadeo Boots. The private brand strode onto the market several years back with a unique sidewall featuring a stylish cowboy boot, hoping to capitalize not only on booming pickup truck sales, but also the popularity of "country and western" paraphernalia.
Today, the tire is likely in permanent limbo, an "inactive brand" no longer being manufactured by Goodyear.
Art Borgeson, the former president of Grand Island, N.Y.-based Roadeo Inc., which marketed the Boots, gave it his best kick, but said an agreement he had to market the Boots through Arizona's Discount Tire Co. went sour after the retail dealership told him the tire wasn't reaching the sales the company hoped to achieve. He, on the other hand, said he was relatively pleased with the numbers.
While Discount had a contract with Goodyear, Mr. Borgeson only had a licensing agreement providing him with a fee for each tire sold.
"It didn't take off like we expected," he said.
The problem apparently lay in gender preference.
"What we discovered was that, because the sidewall was very fancy, women liked the tire but guys didn't—they thought it was too frilly," Mr. Borgeson told Tire Business.
"That hurt it. It wasn't masculine enough, and was considered too feminine for pickup trucks, since men buy the majority of them."
Phase out of the Roadeo Boots began about two years ago when Goodyear was left with several thousand tires after Discount Tire bowed out. "A lot were sold off shore at deep discounts to liquidate them," he said.
"It was very disappointing, especially when you put all of yourself into it just to get it to market, which is an accomplishment in itself," Mr. Borgeson continued. "If I had the wherewithal to do it, with the Internet going the way it is, I could probably have marketed the tire myself."
But in the end, "It got to the point where I really had to put bread on the table," he said, although he believes the brand still has value as an "intellectual property."
So the former Dunlop Tire Corp. veteran moved on.
About a year and a half ago, he took a job in Akron as plant manager for Tennecast/Cable Design Technologies Inc., which manufactures tire mold castings and machine models.
That's kind of full circle for Mr. Borgeson, since he entered the tire industry as a designer.