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Coolest Thing Made In Kansas voting underway
Nominations include area firms
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TOPEKA - Voting is now underway for 2022 Coolest Thing Made In Kansas - People’s Choice contest. Kansans have until Sept. 16 to cast their ballots for their favorite nominated products, including four from Golden Belt companies. 

Among the nominees are Creative Mailbox Planters by Fuller Industries of Great Bend, rubber bumpers of Great Bend’s T&C Manufacturing, the Weed Dragon Propane-powered Torch Kit of LaCrosse’s Flame Engineering and beef jerky from Pat’s Beef Jerky of Liebental.

“We are so proud of the work and passion our local manufacturers have displayed over the years,” said Great Bend Chamber of Commerce President Megan Barfield. “It’s exciting that a local business and chamber member is now getting recognition from a broader audience. Congrats to T&C and Fuller Industries for their nominations.”

“There are so many ‘cool’ things made right here in Barton County and T&C Manufacturing and Fuller Industries certainly fall into that category,” said Sara Hayden, president of Great Bend Economic Development Inc. “I’m thrilled to see an area manufacturer nominated for this recognition, it’s a well deserved nomination.” 

“How very exciting,” said Great Bend Community Coordinator Christina Hayes. “Great Bend is truly a great place with great people and great products. The city of great bend is proud to have a Best in Kansas vote and we strongly encourage you to all go vote for T&C Manufacturing and Fuller Industries.”

And, “while your at it, support our region and vote for Pat’s Beef Jerky and Flame Engineering. We always are proud of our local business. We are very glad the state is too.”

“The KMC is excited to get the voting started for this year’s People’s Choice tournament,” said Brandie McPherson, KMC executive director. “There are 60 Kansas-made products nominated this year but only the top 16 vote-getters will move on to the tournament.” 

Presented by regional accounting firm FORVIS, the Kansas Manufacturing Council launched the competition in 2020 to promote and elevate Kansas manufacturers and to highlight products developed and produced in Kansas and distributed across the U.S. and internationally. 

Once in the tournament, the top 16 vote-getters will compete in head-to-head match-ups. The ones that receive the most votes in each match-up will advance to the next round, moving one step closer to winning the ultimate prize – being named the Coolest Thing Made in Kansas - People’s Choice. 

Promoting innovation

The contest’s new category - Coolest Innovation - received 43 nominations. 

“The Coolest Innovation contest will highlight the many ways Kansas manufacturers research and develop new products and work to improve products to address crucial challenges,” said McPherson. “A panel of expert judges will use company-completed questionnaires to narrow the nominees to the top four products and then choose the coolest innovation based on a criteria that includes its impact on the challenge it solves as well as on the business, its employees, and customers.” 

The top four scoring products will be invited to present in-person to the expert panel on Oct. 12 at the Coolest Celebration Reception.” 

Winners for both categories will be announced during the Kansas Manufacturing Summit on Thursday, Oct. 13, at the Kansas Star Casino and Event Center in Mulvane. 

The 2022 competition details include:

Voting rules for People’s Choice contest

• Voting is open to the public. A voter may vote once per day.

• The number of votes received will be reset at the beginning of each round.

• The 16 nominated products who receive the most votes will advance to the bracket-style tournament.

• The products receiving the highest number of votes in their head-to-head match-ups during each voting period will advance to the next round.

•  The final round of final four (4) will be decided by popular vote. 

2022 People’s Choice Contest Calendar

• Aug. 1 – Aug. 26th: Submit Nominations

• Aug. 30 – Sept. 16th: Vote for favorite nominated products

• Sept. 19 – Sept. 25th: Announce Tournament Bracket of 16, open voting

• Sept. 26 – Oct. 2nd: Announce Bracket of 8, open voting

• Oct. 3 – Oct. 11th: Announce Final Round, open voting

• Oct. 12: Coolest Celebration Reception – all 16 products/companies invited

• Oct. 13: Announce People’s Choice 2022 Coolest Thing 

2022 Coolest Innovation Contest calendar

• Aug. 1 – Aug. 26: Submit Nominations

• Aug. 30 – Sept. 7: Nominated products submit Innovation questionnaires

• Sept. 20: Announce Innovation award finalists

• Oct. 12: Innovation award finalists present to judges

• Oct. 13: Announce Innovation award winner