COTTONWOOD - Millions of Americans flocked to quick-e-marts this week in the hopes of winning a $500 million Powerball jackpot. Instead of looking for wealth through random chance, Cottonwood resident Chris Rice has developed what he hopes to be a million-dollar idea. Called the Rattler or Rattle Ball, it's a training device to help football players secure the rock and lessen the possibility of turnovers.
It looks just like a regular football, but a three-pound weight moves freely inside the bladder. The weight bounces around and makes the ball tougher to handle -- when you make a catch the ball wants to bounce out of your hands and when you run with it you have to hold it high and tight or else you'll lose it.
Over a year ago Rice came up with the concept and created a prototype. He melted down lead and poured it into a makeshift sand cast to create a half-dome weight. Then he cut open a football, placed the weight inside and sealed it with Superglue. The original Rattle Ball didn't hold air for very long, but Rice knew he was on to something -- he had to find a way to get the ball rolling on production.
Rice didn't know how to go about it, so he made countless phone calls to manufacturers all over the world. Mostly they told him they couldn't do it, they didn't understand, or that they simple weren't interested. Finally Rice found a company in China willing to develop the process of forming a bladder around a three-pound weight (it's more complex than you think).
Two perfectly formed Rattlers came in the mail this week and Rice's idea took a big step forward toward becoming a viable business venture.
Rice is married to Jenni (Kinkade) Rice and they have two girls and a boy. He works at a resort in Sedona and has all the required firefighter certifications -- he's just waiting for the opportunity. On top of all that, he's about to complete EMT certification. Now he'll have to wear a salesman hat and sell the Rattler Ball idea to football coaches and trainers.
Rice said he pitched the idea to Mingus HS trainer Mike Boysen and he said the Rattle Ball could also be used as a rehab tool like a medicine ball, but the added unpredictability of the Rattle strengthens muscles in a different way, lessening overcompensation.
If you're interested in owning a Rattler, message Rice through his Facebook page: Rattler Technologies.