Rake it, quick like
Warren Bowden came to Chico in 1947 when he was just 7 years old. Originally from Minnesota, he moved to Paradise in 1958 after marrying his wife, Darlene, who passed away in 2009. The Ridge resident spent nine years as a Safeway grocery clerk before he became a Cal Farm Insurance agent, a position he would hold for 17 years. After spending 17 more years as a clerk at Raley’s, Bowden retired. Having grown up around agriculture his entire life, Bowden came up with an idea to solve the time-consuming task of raking up hazardous pine needles and leaves around Paradise and the other fire-vulnerable surrounding foothills areas. So he put together “The Beast,” as he calls it, or the patent-pending Rake It, Pile It, Move It! EZ (RPM EZ) hand rake. The invention has an ability to save up to 75 percent of normal raking time. For more info on where to purchase the rake, call 870-4290 or go to www.rpmhandrake.com.
What brought you to the idea of the EZ hand rake?
Well, I’m not a fan of working that hard when you don’t have to. It’s all about working smarter, not harder. I’ve had familiarity with agricultural products and equipment just from growing up around them—agricultural tools, vehicles, stuff like that. So, I had an idea of what might work with pine needles and raking duties, and this was it. Just a small idea that I knew I could make happen, so I put it together. I’ve gotten this far, so I’m pretty confident it’ll be patented sooner rather than later.
What does your invention do that other rakes can’t?
If you rake pine needles with any other rake, it’ll clog. It’s like using a broom; the pine needles get stuck between the tines. It’s a real pain in the neck when the leaves get clogged up, you know? With mine, it never clogs. The tines are farther apart and longer, so the pine needles work in a way where they roll and make a full 24-inch area for you to continue working. It’s like you’re mowing the lawn.
What’s been the feedback to the product?
Well, first off, the Butte County Fire Council has said that pine needles are a real problem, especially when it comes to fire safety and those sorts of things. It’s a real summertime hazard! This RPM rake gets rid of needles near properties in an easier, faster way. Those who have seen it fully endorse it. Not to mention, it’s easier on the body, too. It is less taxing on the back, and I’ve seen it save up to 75 percent of normal raking time compared to normal rakes. It’s gotten support from all around.