Plympton-Wyoming inventor Jason Cates stands next to his Rollinator. April 3, 2019. (Photo by Colin Gowdy, BlackburnNews)

Wyoming inventor keeps rolling after big win

If you take a look out your front window, a Plympton-Wyoming celebrity may just be rolling by.

Jason Cates won the $25,000 grand prize in the Princess Auto Ultimate Figure-It-Outer contest in August for his custom-built “rollinator” machine– the results were announced in March.

Cates said now that the weather is warming up, he’ll be spending plenty of time on his one-of-a-kind invention.

“We’re just getting into lawn-rolling season now so the rollers back, I just filled it with water last week and it’s getting ready to come out. I’ve already gotten a few calls so that’s basically my project for the next few months is doing that and keep the roller maintained.”

The 49-year-old Enbridge millwright was chosen from a field of 600 as the winner of the inaugural Figure-It-Outer reality show competition.

Over the four-episode miniseries, challenges included building a log splitter, a can crusher, a ball-launcher, and a go-kart, the final challenge for Cates and fellow finalist Bryan Coughlin.

The two had 12 hours to piece together their mini motorized machines before racing them in a winner-take-all final. Cates came out on top.

“I couldn’t believe it. It all came down to that last race. Just the circumstances of what happened with the go-karts, and I think the race didn’t actually show which machine was faster,” said Cates. “We battled back and forth and basically came down to steering design, the front wheels on the machines, and how long they could last with the torture we were putting them through.”

Cates said it’s a true honour to be named the first ever Ultimate Figure-It-Outer, but he certainly never expected to be called an inventor.

“It’s just stuff that you pickup growing up on a farm. You need to be able to fix and repair things on the fly at relatively low costs,” said Cates. “It’s just something that I’ve done all of the time growing up, and it lends well to the job I do now as a millwright. It continues to develop and I really enjoy doing it.”

Jason Cates' Rollinator. April 3, 2019. (Photo by Colin Gowdy, BlackburnNews)

Jason Cates’ Rollinator. April 3, 2019. 

Cates encourages all aspiring inventors to give it a try.

“There’s all sorts of opportunities out there, and I’ll give the shameless plug to Princess Auto, they’ve got all sorts of stuff to design things and to build things that you wouldn’t expect to see anywhere else. That’s really a go-to spot.”

Cates said since being named the Ultimate Figure-It-Outer, community support has been overwhelming.