US Builders Review excerpt
Ropes Courses Inc.
A global leader in high-flying, family fun
Written by: Matt Dodge | Produced by: Shaun Emery
Founded in 1989 by Jim Liggett, Ropes Courses Inc. is the world’s largest manufacturer of ropes courses. Based in Allegan, Michigan, Ropes Courses high-flying obstacles courses can be found at amusement parks, tourist attractions and cruise ships across the globe. The towering courses typically feature horizontally strung cables, ropes and boards strung between steel poles to create a challenging, vertigo-inducing circuit of elements.
With one division dedicated to the manufacturing of ropes courses and another that operates a chain of courses across the country, Ropes Courses is both an industry leader and the patent holder for many of the innovations used at ropes courses.
“We don’t really have to go head-to-head with anyone because we have a lot of patents that people like,” says Jim Liggett, founder and owner of Ropes Courses. “That gives us a competitive advantage because we have the intellectual property and everyone wants it.”
Ropes Courses produces most of its patented ropes course system in-house, with on-site manufacturing, design, engineering, verification, painting and shipping capabilities. The company has built over 1,000 courses in the last 26 years, including both domestic and international work that has taken Ropes Courses as far as Shanghai, Kuwait and Australia.
“I built my first overseas ropes course in Kuwait about eight years ago and folks just kept calling,” says Liggett. “We have one going up this week in a Dubai mall and in five weeks at another mall in Kuwait.”
Today 35 percent of Ropes Courses’ business is on the international market, including some high-profile cruise ship and amusement park projects. “We have one that will open up in February at Shanghai Disneyland Park that will be the world’s largest ropes course,” notes Liggett.
The Disney ropes course marks two milestones: not only is it the world’s largest ropes course, but it’s attached to the world’s largest man-made waterfall. “The ropes course is on the outside, then actually goes through the waterfall and comes back out,” he says.
Continue reading the full US Builder’s Review case study, “A global leader in high-flying, family fun“.