Making It: Battle Toss Brings On the Family Fun
MAKER: RUSSELL HORNER
BUSINESS: BATTLE TOSS
WORKING WITH WOOD: Certified Public Accountant and Private Investigator by day, Russell Horner wanted a creative hobby to fill his spare time. He originally thought about painting, but his wife, Debbie, had another suggestion. “I’m pretty artistic, but she thought I’d be better off doing something in woodworking,” Horner said, laughing. “So I said fine.” His woodworking shop is next to their home in Brook Park, where he loves spending time on projects to unwind.
PROTOTYPE TO PATENT: After a trip to the hardware store, Horner and his wife worked together to develop a prototype of Battle Toss, which he keeps in his garage. “The first prototype weighed about 150 pounds and used tennis balls, so we knew we had to scale it down,” he explained. The final version of the game is smaller, lighter, and uses ping pong balls. When developing a new product, Horner said it’s a long process that requires patience. “Getting a patent for a game takes a year, two years sometimes.” The wait is almost over: Battle Toss should have its patent by the end of the month.
GETTING THE WORD OUT: The popularity of Battle Toss keeps growing, and so far, Horner has had sales in 42 states. Locally, it’s about getting the name out there. “I’m either promoting it at picnics, local events, I have tournaments at bars,” he said. Horner has held several tournaments in the Cleveland area, where the game was well-received by participants. “I’m taking this very slow. It’s a lot of money to invest in a product like this. I’m going to build it and see how far it goes. But I think it can go across the country and become very popular.”