Danny Stoner carries a metal ring into his office. It’s the kind of massive, metal hoop that looks more at home in a bull’s nose than a man’s hand. Tethered to it lie the keys to an empire—the colors of Cotton Cordell, Heddon and Rebel.
In other hands in other lands, Stoner’s colorful ring could be dangerous. It could be put to use by competitors searching for insight into PRADCO’s future, but in Stoner’s, they’re at home. Each color is his baby, and the thousands upon thousands of paint jobs on hundreds of rings in this Arkansas warehouse are, at least in part, his legacy.
Danny Stoner has roamed these halls since 1975, a time where Rebel Lures was still in its infancy, before PRADCO acquired a gamut of other legendary fishing brands like Bandit, Creek Chub, Arbogast and Bomber; a time before the flashy new lure designs of YUM or BOOYAH. And in that time, he’s seen the fishing world and the universe of color around him change dramatically.
“When I came to work here, we were a custom molder that had a little lure operation going on,” Stoner says. “Lure making was just a sideline.”
But the sideline project called Rebel Lures grew into a goliath, as Stoner breaks down in a touching personal interview:
In 2017, the little molding business on the Arkansas-Oklahoma border that started life as the Plastics Research and Development Company could now just as easily be called People Really Are Deciding Company Outcome due to its unusually talented and tenured employees.
More than 40 years ago, Stoner joined PRADCO; for four decades, he’s created a legacy of lure decorating techniques and colors. Now, as then, he still heads home on the Arkansas backroads atop a Harley-Davidson. Now, as then, he’s busy filling warehouse rings and tackle boxes with the dizzying array of the colors of PRADCO.
What’s your favorite color? Let Danny know in the comments section below.