December 2, 2023

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Plentiful sunshine. High 77F. Winds N at 10 to 15 mph..
A clear sky. Low 49F. Winds light and variable.
Updated: September 11, 2022 @ 9:46 am
Fanestil Meats’ Party Time Ham is nominated for the “Coolest Thing Made in Kansas.”
The Polar Vortex Snow Broom and Ice Scraper, made by Hopkins Manufacturing, is nominated for the “Coolest Thing Made in Kansas.”

Fanestil Meats’ Party Time Ham is nominated for the “Coolest Thing Made in Kansas.”
The Polar Vortex Snow Broom and Ice Scraper, made by Hopkins Manufacturing, is nominated for the “Coolest Thing Made in Kansas.”
Imagine an election with not two or three candidates on the ballot, but 60. Including four entries from Lyon County. And only one can win.
That’s the challenge facing voters in selecting the “Coolest Thing Made in Kansas” this fall.
The Kansas Manufacturing Council, a branch of the state Chamber of Commerce, has held this online “People’s Choice” vote for several years. But never before has the Emporia area had so much representation.
“We got a phone call from a company, people that do business with us,” Dan Smoots with Fanestil Meats said Thursday. “They wanted to know if they could nominate us.”
Fanestil’s Party Time Ham is one of the “coolest thing” contenders. So are items made by Glendo LLC, Green Dot Plastics and Hopkins Manufacturing.
Since this is an election season, we asked the four companies to make a campaign pitch. Why should their product be chosen as the Coolest Thing Made in Kansas?
Smoots noted his company has a ham history. It’s one reason why he and his wife purchased Fanestil.
“It’s been around for the last 60 years,” he said. “It’s a product that has spanned generations.”
His children liked Party Time so much, Smoots added, “we’d have to hide it from them in order for there to be any left for the weekend. We knew it was a good product if our kids would eat it.”
Glendo hopes to garner votes for its GraverMach AT. But first, the company has to explain what that is.
“The GraverMach AT is the latest model of pneumatic hand engraving system,” marketing manager Chris Correll said by email.
It’s used in more than 130 countries to cut metal at 3,600 strokes per minute, much faster than the old-school hammer and chisel.
“It is a product that has been used to create masterpieces in jewelry worth millions of dollars,” Correll continued. “They can be found in the most notable and prominent jewelry facilities and in the hands of individual artists doing work in precious metals, steel, copper, and more.”
Green Dot has the only local entry appearing for the second year in a row: its TerreTek BD.
The company’s website calls it a biodegradable resin that will lead to “sustainable plastic production,” with less plastic landing in landfills.
Hopkins Manufacturing’s entry sounds like it’s perfect for a “coolest thing” contest. It’s the Polar Vortex Snow Broom and Ice Scraper.
“The best performing scraper ever made” is how promotes it online. Menards calls the scraper blade, sold under the brand name Mallory, “revolutionary.”
Green Dot and Hopkins did not respond to messages for this story.
Online voting in the preliminary round of “Coolest Thing Made in Kansas” is open through next Friday. Online visitors may vote once a day. Then the field of 60 will be trimmed to 16 for a bracket-style playoff.
This year’s winner will be announced at a state manufacturing summit Thursday, Oct. 13.
Last year’s coolest thing came from Coffey County: the EMP Shield, used to protect against electromagnetic pulse surges.
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