Perry Competition was first incorporated in 1979 as a result of all the ideas that rolled around in Gary’s head. He had been thinking outside the box for years before I (Sue) met him. His parents had laughed when their 4 year old announced that someday toothbrushes would have batteries.

I had listened to numerous ideas that at first seemed so silly, but later were introduced by others or became technically doable. I looked at many designs sketched on napkins. There were so many that we forgot them, until they came up again in another context.

Finally, in 1979, we decided to develop one of these ideas. We were drag racing at the time, one of many hobbies that will suck the money right out you. We thought if we could sell enough of the shifter that Gary had designed for our dragster, we might be able to go racing on a national level. That was the birth of the Perry shifter. About 5 years later, we had several national records, and the inevitable reality of having our design copied by an established company. No patent, no problem. By then, we had begun building trailers, which gave rise to the Perry Air Ride Suspension.

For the next 10 years or so, our focus shifted to raising our kids, Ben and Emily. We did Scouts and swim meets and backpacking and all those things that families do. Then the kids wanted to know what ever happened to Perry Competition. So we re-incorporated and this time started with handmade knives and a novel folding knife (change of hobby) that could be mass produced.

OK, that never went anywhere, and believe it or not, the next idea was mine. I was sitting in the shop while Gary was cleaning his 1911 (change of hobby). As he was disassembling it, he said, “I can’t believe there’s not a better way to do this.” That’s usually my clue to start listening to his new idea, but he didn’t say anything else.

Sure enough, as he began to release the pressure on the tool, everything went flying. “See what I mean?” he asked. Yes I did. I decided that I didn’t need to be in the shop while he was cleaning his guns.

Later that day, not in the shop, I gave him my suggestions for a tool that would correct the problems I had seen with his “demonstration.” It needed to fit down over the end of the gun, be big enough to grip with your hand, and have a rod down the barrel for control. I don’t know much about guns, but problem-solving is what I do. After all, I’ve been married for 39 years.