Feb 5, 2021No-Contact Hydration System Reaches Super Bowl
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Indiana-based business Wheelin’ Water, LLC, recently developed a new sports hydration system that requires no physical contact for users to operate it.
The Wheelin’ Water No Contact, Hands-Free System, which has a patent-pending, employs electronic sensors to detect motion and activate the flow of water to athletes wanting a fresh drink of water. Available in seven different models, the new system conveniently shoots individual streams of water much like a drinking fountain. Its hands-free operation minimizes the spread of germs and eliminates the need for disinfection practices in between users, making the new system an ideal way to hydrate athletes during a pandemic, according to Wheelin’ Water owner Greg Parks. The new system is quickly gaining popularity among schools and professional sports teams, he said.
Parks notes that in addition to the new No Contact, Hands-Free System, Wheelin’ Water continues to sell and service its original hydration carts. Available in 10 different models, eight with pumps and batteries and two that attach to a sideline garden hose, they allow sports teams to efficiently hydrate their athletes during practices. Most area high school and college teams use Wheelin’ Water hydration carts, and they also have been sold to sports teams all over the U.S. and Canada, according to Parks.
Parks notes that five of the eight final NFL football teams participating in the 2021 Super Bowl playoffs used Wheelin’ Water Sports Hydration systems to hydrate their players during recent practices. These teams include the 2020 Super Bowl Champion team Kansas City Chiefs, who will be playing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend for the 2021 Super Bowl championship.
Wheelin’ Water owner Greg Parks, center, is pictured with his production team and a couple of the firm’s new No Contact, Hands-Free sports hydration carts.
Parks launched Wheelin’ Water in 2005 with help from the Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center. His original goal was to provide an activity for his 16-year-old son Steve, who fell off a golf cart and suffered a severe, life-altering closed head injury that prevented him from participating in any more sports.
“He had always been a very active kid . . . and still wanted to be involved in sports and to be a part of a team,” Parks said.
Instead of playing sports, his son became manager of his high school’s state-ranked football team and part of his job was to help hydrate the team, which led to the idea of developing a more efficient system.
“Steve and I put our heads together and made our first prototype out of a barrel cart and lawnmower wheels,” Parks recalls.
After many revisions, their first hydration cart became the inspiration for Wheelin’ Water. With Steve now having limited involvement in the business, Parks and his wife Ann, who co-own Wheelin’ Water, have hired five part-time workers to help with production. The firm’s sports hydration carts can be customized for individual teams, finished in official school or team colors, and even modified for unique needs not related to sports. For example, Wheelin’ Water has designed and manufactured custom carts for use as a lemonade stand, a showering system, and for hydrating a farmer’s field workers.
A sign in the firm’s New Haven office sums up Parks’ philosophy: “Thinking ‘here goes nothing’ could be the start of something.” The wheels of innovation are always turning for Parks and his team at Wheelin’ Water, and carts over the years have evolved and been perfected by trial and error.
“We make each cart the way we would want it to be for our own use,” Parks said, stressing the quality construction and components that go into each cart.
This has resulted in many satisfied repeat customers, he said.
The years of experience also have helped Parks form valuable business relationships with several local entrepreneurs and companies that contribute in some way to Wheelin’ Water, from business mentoring to design, parts, or financing. These include Jerry Korte, owner of Korte Does It All, who helped Parks develop his business, to manufacturing and design partners or suppliers such as Metals Supermarket, U.S. Automation, Batteries Plus, All-Phase Electric, Neff Engineering, Faztek, Hightech, and Amos Graber & Sons. STAR Financial Bank, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Brightpoint program have been good funding partners, according to Parks, and the Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center continues to serve as a resource for Wheelin’ Water.
Parks also likes to be involved in the community. In 2017, Wheelin’ Water partnered with several local businesses and suppliers to donate 24 20-gallon hydration carts to Team Relief Houston after the hurricanes devastated that region.
Future plans are to eventually partner with the Special Olympics to provide hydration carts and possibly a custom water tunnel for the participants.
For more information on Wheelin’ Water and how to purchase their equipment, visit www.wheelinwater.com. The company has a network of more than 10 distributors across the country, or you can purchase directly from them at (260)-452-6478.
*This is an issued press release from Wheelin’ Water.