Second Annual American Made Outdoor Gear Awards Open for Entry

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Kokatat, a paddlesports apparel and gear company dedicated to American manufacturing, will be accepting entries for their 2014 American Made Outdoor Gear Awards until November 8 with dozens of “made in America” companies expected to vie for honors and the Sassy — the three-foot-tall, hand-carved, redwood Sasquatch trophy.

“Last year more than 50 of the most innovative domestic manufacturers in the outdoor market shared their stories with us,” said Jeff Turner, Kokatat sales and design manager. “This year we hope that many more will join them as we honor their stories and salute the leaders in American-made quality, craftsmanship and creativity in the outdoor world.”

Although these awards are only in their second year, Kokatat founder and president Steve O’Meara has recognized the value of keeping production local since founding his Arcata, Calif., company in 1971. O’Meara believes this strategy is vital to his company’s quality control and innovation.

It is in this spirit that Kokatat created the American Made Outdoor Gear Awards, helping drive awareness to other companies who have made a commitment to American manufacturing and sourcing. Entries are open to all companies dedicated to domestic production and who have a compelling story to tell.

The company with the best “made in America” story will receive one-year ownership of the Sassy, a traveling Sasquatch trophy originally from Humboldt County, Calif. Runners-up will receive miniature versions of the award, and all entrants will receive a certificate of participation.

“The Sasquatch may be a thing of legend, but we hope by sharing these companies’ stories we can keep American manufacturing from becoming a myth,” added Turner.

This year Kokatat recognized overall winner Liberty Bottleworks (www.libertybottleworks.com) of Yakima, Wash., and four category winners during an awards presentation at the 2013 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in January. Category winners included: Cilo Gear (www.cilogear.com) of Portland, Ore., for companies with less than 10 employees; Branches LLC (www.bendingbranches.com) of Osceola, Wis., for companies with 10 to 50 employees; Stormy Kromer (www.stormykromer.com) of Ironwood, Mich., for companies with 50-100 employees; and Jackson Kayak (www.jacksonkayak.com) of Sparta, Tenn., for companies with 100+ employees.

This year’s winners will be announced on November 29. An official “Sassy” presentation will be made at the 2014 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City in January 2014.

Applications for the Sassy award may be completed online, or downloaded, at Kokatat.com/sassy.

Send downloaded application materials to Kokatat Inc. attn: 2014 Sassy, Kokatat Inc., 5350 Ericson Way, Arcata, CA 95521.

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