Rope. Something we all take for granted. It’s ubiquitous throughout our lives, yet we barely notice unless we are undertaking some type of activity like sailing, rock climbing, or an arborist or if you are a member of the fire department, police department or in the military.
Without rope there’d be no hobby rock climbing, removal of trees, one wouldn’t be able to dock a boat, sail, rescue teams would be less effective, no tents for camping, no mountain climbing, construction, engineering, hammocks, clotheslines to dry clothes, no towing and many other things.
Vintage photos of rope manufacturing and supply companies in New Bedford are extant on just about any photo repository on the city. At one time they were dozens of them spread throughout the city. No rope, no whaling. No whaling, no whaling city! These companies have just about disappeared, but one that still exists is R&W Rope at 39 Tarkiln Place. The family owned and operated distributor of rope and cordage has been in New Bedford since 1985, and at their current location since 2005.
Started by the current owner, Rod McCollester as a “one man” operation out of the trunk of a hand-me-down car, they’ve grown into one of the most diverse stocking warehouses of rope, cordage, and related hardware in the industry. As a wholesale distributor of many of the world’s best ropes, R&W Rope offers wholesale pricing that easily beats “big box” marine and outdoors retailers. They also have the expertise focuses on custom designing solutions specific to a user’s needs. They can splice, swage, or fabricate a solution to almost any cordage or rigging problem.
But, don’t be fooled – while they work with some of the biggest commercial clients, they are just as happy to help an individual select the proper cord for a clothesline when they visit our shop. One of the areas that they are superlative with is their new expanded marine rigging capabilities. Whether your needs are marine, climbing, safety, crafting, architecture, outdoors, or utility – R&W Rope has the products, expertise, and discount pricing to make them a wise choice.
However, this article is about their association with the city they love so much, beyond their business: their annual Rope Fest which began as a huge warehouse sale a decade ago. However, over the years it’s evolved into something much more and is chock full of activities, instructional demos, safety personnel demos from the Boston Fire Department doing mock rescues, and arborists demonstrating their skills. You’ll see line splicing, knot tying that borders on magic, paracord crafting, and fitness experts having a lead contest called Battle Ropes. It’s a genuine festival atmosphere like any of the many festivals held in New Bedford.
The kids will have a blast on the climbing wall which is a great way to have fun and exercise for all ages. The lifesaving and rescue demonstrations by the Boston Fire Department trainers will appeal to everyone, and the kids will take great pride in the paracord crafts where they will learn how to make the cord and take it home to show their friends. There will be plenty of free food and refreshments to wet your whistle. If you are someone who loves a deal, R&W Rope will be offering 20%-40% off on EVERYTHING they sell.
R&W Rope is steeped in the community as is evident by their Rope Festival – something they certainly don’t have to do, but host because they live and work right here on the SouthCoast. This is their community. So, it goes without saying that there will be other “locals” involved in the popular festival like the Buzzards Bay Coalition, Community Boating Center of New Bedford, Schooner Ernestina, New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center, New Bedford Coast Guard Auxilliary, Fids & Fibers Arborist Splicing Workshop, Puzzle & Craft Factory, Busy Bee Nauticals, Paige’s Paracord, Bete-Fleming, Low Tide Yacht Club, The Black Leash, Susan Villarreal, Beetle Cat, and Arborist Patrick Dolan.
So, if the idea of something different to do with the family interests you, then take everyone to R&W’s Rope Fest and have a blast. The kids will have so much fun that they won’t even realize that they are learning a lot. Who knows, it may pique a future hobby like rock climbing or sailing and perhaps even a career in nautical, rescue, or with the fire department.
No matter what you’ll spend a rewarding, fun-filled day with friends and family! Don’t forget Saturday, April 28th from 8:00am-4:00pm!
Here are highlights of the food, events, items and more from last year’s Rope Fest:
39 Tarkiln Place
New Bedford, MA 02745
Facebook Event Page: facebook.com/events/218475395371413
Rod McCollester – Owner and President of R&W Rope. Over thirty years experience in the rope and cordage industry.
Ed Hebert – Sr. Director, R&W Rope. Oversees marketing, creative, and product design efforts across the business units. Former Sr. R&D Manager at Titleist, and holds over 150 US patents.
Corey Butlin – Rigging Solutions Shop Manager – 25 years of marine rigging experience, former head rigger at Hall Spars in Newport.
Joe Mello – Mobile Rigging Manager – 40 years of marine rigging experience. Former owner of Rigging Solutions, former head rigger at Concordia, former head rigger at Mystic Seaport.
Bob Dollar – Traditional Rigging Specialist. Lt. Commander USN (retired with 26 years active duty service), member of International Guild of Knot Tyers, member of Cordage Institute, and over 40 years maritime consulting experience.
Bob Glover – Traditional Rigging Specialist. Former Captain of Tall Ships “Pride of Baltimore II” and “Schooner Virginia”. Over 154,000 logged sea miles. USCG certified instructor and numerous maritime certifications.
Ken Hamel – Outdoor, Climbing, and Safety Specialist. S.P.R.A.T. Level 1 Technician, avid outdoorsman and member of several mountain climbing instructional groups.