Justin Matlack's Stinger Stacker 8500 is bigger, better and faster than the low-cost bale retriever introduced by his dad and uncle, Larry and Bill Matlack in 1999 (Vol. 23, No. 2). That bale retriever was based on the Matlack Brothers' first truck-mounted bale hauler which was built for their own use in the early 1990’s (Vol. 17, No. 5).
"Our customers are mostly commercial hay producers from Kansas and points west,” says Matlack. “The smaller guys are getting out and the bigger guys are getting bigger. The equipment has gotten bigger, too."
Nowadays Justin runs the company with his brother Karl and cousin Jake. The 8500 Stinger can travel down the road at 55 mph and carry eight 4 by 4 or up to fourteen 3 by 4 big square bales. It has a field ready weight of 42,500 lbs. and can move an average of 150 bales an hour. It’s powered by a 460 hp, Detroit 13L with 1,650 ft.-lb. of torque.
The early bale haulers were designed to be mounted on any medium or heavy-duty truck frame, including used trash trucks or schoolbus chassis. What hasn't changed is the basic design with arms that grab bales ahead of the unit, lift them over the cab, and deposit them on back. Unloading is done off the back end of the unit, stacking up to 14 bales at a time in 2 layers of 7 each.
Each Stinger 8500 is built from the ground up with over 500 man-hours in each unit.
"When my dad and uncle started out, it was pointed out that at $25,000, their bale hauler (without the truck) was about the price of a new house," says Matlack. "At $395,000, the 185 is still the price of a new house in many markets and it is completely self-propelled."
The company also makes the 6500 Sticker model for round bales, as well as a cotton modulator (Vol. 44, No. 3).
Matlack shares that the company has had pretty consistent sales for 28 years. The manufacturing arm averages about one unit per week.
"We try to get ahead in the winter months, but by June, we usually have only half a dozen unsold," says Matlack.
He is also working on the next generation of Matlacks to carry the company forward. "I have two boys 7 and 8 with another child on the way," he says. "The older boys' whole life already is Stinger equipment."
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Stinger, Inc. 302 E. Dean St, Burrton, Kan. 67020(ph 620 463-8000; toll free 800 530-5304 firstname.lastname@example.org; www.stingerltd.com).