Gary McFarland knows how badly it hurts to smack your leg against a trailer hitch protruding off the back of a truck.
That’s part of the reason why McFarland, a 69-year-old Santa Fe resident, wanted to make it easier for others to get their hitches off their trucks and safely store them instead.
Enter the Hitch Holster. McFarland spent more than a one year creating the product, a 2-square-inch device meant to hold the hitch securely on the side or floor of a truck bed.
“People run into these hitches all the time,” McFarland said. “The holster is kind of like the Hula Hoop; it’s something that we’ve needed for a long, long time, but no one ever thought of it.”
The homegrown inventor has patented the product and will soon begin to raise money through Kickstarter, an online fundraising website where people financially back a project to help the seller reach a goal amount. If the amount isn’t met, the inventor doesn’t receive the money.
Too many people leave their hitches on the back of their trucks, or throw them haphazardly in their truck beds, McFarland said.
The Hitch Holster is drilled into the side of the truck for easy storage, he said. Most standard hitches, which are usually long and made of steel, are able to fit perfectly inside the holster, he said.
“It’s convenient and there when you need it,” McFarland said.
He’ll sell the holsters, which are made of aluminum, for about $40 each.
The path to becoming an inventor was a surprising one, McFarland said. He’s now retired but used to be a technician in the oil and gas industry.
After finding inspiration from hitting too many steel hitches on the back of trucks, McFarland went to the Houston Inventors Association. There, he was connected to resources that helped him develop his invention and learn how to put it on the market, he said.
Although the business side of inventing is new to him, McFarland said he has always been mechanically inclined. He has developed all of his prototypes of the Hitch Holster himself, McFarland said.
“I grew up on the West End of Galveston Island,” McFarland said. “If things broke down there, we would fix it.”
For now, McFarland awaits the success of his Kickstarter. If he reaches his goal amount, he’ll begin offering the product to retailers, he said.
His wife, Lillie McFarland, will be glad when the process is over, she said.
“It’s just been a long, drawn-out thing,” she said.
McFarland cannot see himself inventing any other products, but he is hopeful about this one, he said. Some of his holsters are even burnt orange and maroon, to appeal to University of Texas and Texas A&M University fans.
“Maybe I’m just naive,” McFarland said. “I really think they’re going to sell.”