My Dad was always a believer in giving back to the local community. After Dad purchased Certified Slings, Inc. in 1978, he soon got very involved with supporting the local Seminole Community College (currently Seminole State College).
Every year, Seminole Community College would raise money by holding a live auction and they would have Artie Grindle, a well-known car dealership owner who came to life with his famous “I want to sell you a car!” tagline, as the master of ceremonies.
Dad would always support the auction by buying a 10-seat corporate table as well as always donating something to be auctioned off at the Live auction. In fact one year he donated “own a racehorse for a day” which included an all-expense-paid trip to Florida Downs race track, now known as Tampa Bay race track in Tampa, an owners pass to the clubhouse with free lunch as well as any purse earnings the horse that Dad donated at the races for that day would potentially win. The horse Dad donated to own for the day at the races was “Lordship”. As luck would have it, Lordship won his race and the owners for a day were treated to a trip to the Winners Circle and photo op with Lordship, Dad and the trainer, yours truly.
The Syndicate of 14 folks bought the “Day at the Races” for $3,500 that went to the benefit of Seminole Community College. It was the highest bid auction item of the night. The winners’ share was $5,000, so it was a win for all parties and a great day at the track that I still remember to this day!
Now on to how Jake and the Certified Slings & Supply Donkey came to be. In another year as Dad was attending the Seminole Community College auction, one of the items for bid was 1-hr with Jake Vest, a well-known syndicated cartoonist. Dad bought the hour with Jake Vest for $1,000 and he created what is now very well-known and recognized as the Certified Slings, Inc. branding of our mascot Jake operating a crane holding up Bucky the donkey. Our slogan “If Yours is in a Sling…Make Sure It’s Certified!”
Dad at heart was an entrepreneur, innovator, salesman, and marketer.
He always said, “you may have the best company or product in the world, but if you don’t humbly tell folks about it, it really doesn’t matter”.
Dad quickly made Jake’s cartoon a major part of the Certified Slings & Supply marketing and branding material which carries on his legacy over 35 years later.
Bucky the Donkey and Jake the crane operator remain a current part of our branding and an important aspect to Certified Slings & Supply.