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Archives for January 2016

2015 US Auto Industry Sales Set New Record [INFOGRAPHIC]

In six years, the US auto industry went from a recession to an all-time sales record in 2015! The United States auto industry sold more cars and trucks in 2015 than ever before.  A total of 17,470,659 vehicles were sold in 2015, an increase of 5.7% compared to 2014 surpassing the previous record of 17.41 million vehicles set in 2000.

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2015 Auto Sales rise

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2015 US Auto Industry Sales Set New Record

What a difference six years can make. The US auto industry set record sales numbers in 2015 as a total of 17,470,659 vehicles were sold, an increase of 5.7% compared to 2014.  2015’s sales numbers surpassed the previous auto sales record of 17.41 million vehicles that was set in 2000. The record breaking sales are due to a variety of factors, and they look to continue into 2016, and even beyond.

First Six-Year Growth Streak Since WWII

US Auto Industry From Recession to Recovery to Record Sales

The six year growth streak is the auto industry’s first since World War II. The industry remained relatively steady after the previous high in sales in 2000, but dropped dramatically in the later half of 2008 and into 2009 due to a global-scale recession. During the recession, auto sales averaged around 10 million sales per year, but since 2009, U.S. auto sales of new cars and trucks have increased 68%.

What’s Behind this Phenomenal Auto Industry Growth?

The auto industry resurgence can be credited to lower gas prices, attractive incentives, and increased demand that doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.  During the recession, consumers held on to their used cars as a cost-cutting measure. Those cars are now six years older.

Incentives Sweetened as New Car Sales Prices Rose

In 2015, the average new vehicle was priced at $33,188, an increase of 20% since 2005 ($27,655). Increased customer interest in pickup trucks and small-to-midsize crossovers played a big part.

Increased sales price has also increased revenue for auto companies. An estimated $570 billion was made from auto sales in 2015.

Average new car sales price is expected to continue climbing in future years; 2008 was the only year since 1995 that the average price didn’t rise was 2008.

Although suggested new car retail price is at an all-time high, gross profit per car sale was down $250 in 2015. WHY? Auto industry incentives are to credit for this decline. Average industry incentives per vehicle rose 3.9% from December 2014 to December 2015, averaging $3,063 of savings for customers.

GMC provided one of the most popular incentives of 2015: zero percent financing on 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 for up to 72 months.

Leasing Vehicles Grew in Popularity

The rise in sales price has spawned a rise in leasing. Edmunds projects that leases will account for a record 29% of new United States auto sales for 2015, an increase of 2% from 2014. 10 years ago, leases accounted for 16.6% of auto sales.

Hyundai presented one of the most popular lease options for 2015, allowing customers to lease the 2015 Genesis for $370 a month over 36 months, requiring no down payment.

Domestic vs. Import: What Americans Preferred

An interesting trend has emerged for auto consumers. Consumers are more likely to purchase an imported car than a domestic brand. However, trucks are the reverse. Truck buyers are more likely to purchase a domestic truck than an imported one.


  • 12.8% of new car sales were domestic
  • 31.5% of new car sales were imports


  • 32.5 % of new truck sales were domestic
  • 23.2% of new truck sales were imports

Overall, imports beat out domestic vehicles in 2015.

  • 45.3% of new auto sales were domestic
  • 54.7% of new auto sales were imports

The Big 5 Market Share

The Big 5 Market Share for the Auto Industry

General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, and Honda accounted for 69% of new auto sales in 2015. As in 2014, General Motors led the way in 2015, closely followed by the other four major brands.

  • General Motors accounted for 17.6% of new auto sales in 2015
  • Ford accounted for 14.9% of new auto sales in 2015
  • Toyota accounted for 14.3% of new auto sales in 2015
  • Fiat-Chrysler accounted for 12.6% of new auto sales in 2015
  • Honda accounted for 9.1% of new auto sales in 2015

General Motors held the most market share, increasing sales by nearly 6% over 2014. Ford leapt over Toyota to finish with the second highest market share in 2015. Nissan motors gained the most out of all automakers with a 19% sales increase over 2014.

The Year of the SUV

“It was really the year of the SUV.” — Jessica Caldwell, Director of Industry Analysis for Edmunds.com

Increased popularity of the Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV), light duty truck, and cross-overs is a big reason for the new car market resurgence.

  • Light-duty truck sales totaled 9,729,587, up 13.1% from 2014
  • Car sales totaled 7,740,912, down 2.2% from 2014
  • Crossover sales totaled 4,551,632 up 18.5% from 2014
  • SUV sales totaled 1,706,273 up 10.7% from 2014

Car manufacturers have set their sights on the increased popularity of crossovers and have nearly doubled the number of crossover models in the past decade alone. If the North American International Auto Show is any indication, you can expect to see more crossover SUVs in 2016.

5 Top Sellers of 2015

Three pick-up trucks took the top sales spots for 2015, pacing two fuel efficient, midsize cars. The top 5 autos sold in 2015 were:

  1. Ford F-Series pick-up truck: Sold 780,354 units
  2. Chevy Silverado pick-up truck: Sold 600,544 units
  3. Dodge RAM pick-up truck: Sold 451,116 units
  4. Toyota Camry: Sold 429,355 units
  5. Honda Accord: Sold 355,557 units

Ford’s F-Series remained America’s best-selling pickup truck for the 39th consecutive year and the best-selling vehicle for 34 straight years. Toyota Motor Corporation’s midsize Camry was the best-selling car for the 14th consecutive year.

Ford Flexes It’s Muscles

The Ford Mustang has surpassed the Chevrolet Camaro as the best-selling muscle car of 2015.

  • Sales for the Ford Mustang jumped 48% from 2014
  • 122,349 Ford Mustangs were sold in 2015

This is the first time since 2009 that the Mustang outsold the Camaro, and the success can be attributed to increasing numbers of millennial age buyers. Both Ford and General Motors have been targeting younger buyers with updates to their classic cars such as modern interior features and coupling turbo charged engines with fuel efficiency.

A Close Race in Luxury

Consumers were split on luxury brands for 2015 as BMW paced the luxury field, but only sold approximately 3,000 more luxury units than the third place brand, Mercedes.

  • BMW sold 346,023 luxury units in 2015
  • Lexus sold 344,601 luxury units in 2015
  • Mercedes sold 343,088 luxury units in 2015

All three luxury brands, as well as Audi and Porsche, set annual U.S. sales records in 2015.

5 Factors Boosting Auto Industry Sales

Auto sales are up for a multitude of reasons.

  1. Lower gas prices
    The average U.S. gas price at the end of 2015 dropped to lowest since 2009, creating a strong demand for trucks and SUVs.
  2. Lower interest rates
    Many car dealerships are offering low interest rates on their vehicles including 0% financing options.
  3. More demand from public
    Many consumers are replacing older vehicles as current vehicles are on average 11 years older.
  4. Looser lending standards
  5. $3,063 average incentives per vehicle

3 Companies Lost Consumer Trust

While overall sales are up, trust is down for some companies.

  1. Volkswagen/Audi/Porsche (all manufactured by Volkswagen Group)
  2. Takata airbags
  3. TrueCar.com

Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche were caught in a scandal involving diesel emissions. Software was placed in the vehicles that detected when they were being tested for emissions, changing the vehicle’s performance to improve results allowing for the vehicles to pass the test when they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Takata airbags featured a dangerous flaw for many customers. During an accident, Takata airbags inflated with so much force that they unleashed shrapnel into the vehicle. The airbags turned into one of the most widespread safety recalls in U.S. auto history, covering 23 million airbag inflators across 19 million vehicles produced through 12 car companies. The airbags are linked to 9 deaths and over 100 injuries. All deaths occurred in Honda vehicles.

The website TrueCar.com provided a promising website for car dealers and buyers. TrueCar provided customers with pricing transparency while providing auto dealerships with a cheap and easy way to close sales. In July, the stock plummeted 40% in one day as the company admitted that they were failing to turn web prospects into sales.

A Promising Road Ahead

The increase in auto sales is expected to continue into 2016. Total auto sales for 2016 are projected to range around 17.5-18 million as Americans will look to continue purchasing family friendly vehicles like cross-overs and SUVs. “We expect to see a second consecutive year of record industry sales in 2016,” GM Chief Economist Mustafa Mohatarem said in a statement.

eBay Purchase Turns Business Dream into Reality

Have you heard the saying “One man’s truck donation is another man’s business dream”? No? Well, meet the Canuck Pizza Truck! The Canuck Pizza Truck is a business endeavor conceived by Ted Lafleur and his family from Ottawa, Canada. All they needed was the right truck, and they found it on Rawhide’s eBay store. Another person donated the truck to Rawhide which was then auctioned off on eBay. Ted bid on the truck and won!

He remodeled the truck, equipped it with an authentic Italian pizza oven, and spends sunny, summer days feeding happy customers. The Canuck Pizza Truck is the only pizza truck roaming Canada.

“You’re Not a French Fry Guy”

Ted dreamed of owning a food truck. He originally intended to build a french fry wagon, but when he found a pizza truck, he fell in love. Ted’s brother told him: “Ted, you’re not a french fry guy. You’re a pizza guy. Don’t fight it.” Ted listened.

Ted began researching successful pizza truck businesses. He reached out to a few, and they helped him develop a business plan. With a plan in place, all Ted needed was a truck.

The Hunt for the Canuck Pizza Truck

Ted called Vintage Truck Magazine and asked if they knew where he could find an appropriate vehicle. They directed him to a variety of websites, including Rawhide’s eBay store. Rawhide auctions off donated collectible, vintage, and classic vehicles on eBay. And as luck would have it, Ted found the perfect truck for the job on Rawhide’s store: a 1946 Chevy Stovebolt.

Ted was impressed with his Rawhide eBay purchase for a variety of reasons:

  1. Rawhide took great pictures of the vehicle from all angles, allowing him to make a decision without seeing the truck in person
  2. Rawhide employees were knowledgeable about the truck and were excited for him
  3. The truck was in great condition and came with an inspection report
  4. The price was right
  5. Rawhide customer service is excellent and made the entire process easy

Once Ted completed the purchase, the truck was shipped via New Jersey to Ontario.

eBay Purchase Fulfills a Business Dream

eBay Purchase Canuck Pizza Truck

Turning a vintage vehicle into a fully operational pizza food truck took some work. Ted discovered that a friend’s neighbor had the right skill set, and they set about repairing the frame.

Once the frame was reinforced, Ted ordered an authentic Italian pizza oven straight from Italy. In order to enlarge the truck body to house the oven and provide work space, Ted and the renovation team placed the oven on an axle and built around it. Once everything was complete, it was time to sell some pizza!

eBay Purchase Canuck Pizza Truck Driving


Pizza Treatza!

Watch the food truck team in action, baking pizzas in an authentic Italian brick oven!

Ted’s wants each visitor to enjoy their experience, so they use the freshest ingredients, homemade sauce, and hand-tossed crusts.  They specialize in gourmet pizzas such as:

  • Meatza
  • Canadian
  • Greek
  • Maui
  • Broccoli, Red Pepper & Asiago
  • Artichoke & Black Olive
  • Perogy (Potato, caramelized onion, bacon)
  • Smoked Gouda & Salami
  • Margherita
  • Fungi Amore

They even take requests!

The Art of Cooking with Italian Pizza Ovens

eBay Purchase Baking Canuck Pizza Truck


Ted admits it took a while to get the pizzas perfect when using a 900 degree oven. A lady who grew up cooking pizzas in Italy using a similar oven happened to visit the truck. When Ted relayed a problem he was having, she advised moving the fire closer to the pizza. Problem solved. Soon, perfectly cooked pizzas were served!

For Ted, the best thing about the Canuck Pizza Truck is how it brings his family together and the excitement people have when they see the truck. Whenever the Canuck Pizza Truck is cooking pizza, it’s almost always a family affair and people always notice the truck. It’s even created many return customers! “People are intrigued by it and that’s what makes it fun!”


eBay Purchase Canuck Pizza Truck Baking

Find Your Inspiration at Rawhide

Rawhide’s eBay site helped get the wheels rolling for the Canuck Pizza Truck and might be just the thing to help kick-start your small business idea. Check out some of our vehicles up for auction. Maybe you’ll find your very own eBay purchase that inspires your new revenue stream for 2016.


U.S. Auto Sales on the Rise with Online Buying [INFOGRAPHIC]

Auto sales in the United States have risen recently. 54 million new and used cars, trucks, and crossovers were sold in 2014, accounting for $1.1 trillion in sales. Total sales are expected to jump to $3 trillion by the end of the decade, but where are sales coming from? Enter a new car buying venue: the internet! Car buyers are abandoning trips to various dealerships and choosing instead to research and even buy cars online, causing dealerships to change sales tactics to accommodate new demands of car shoppers.

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US Auto Sales online car buying

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U.S. Auto Sales on the Rise with Online Buying

United States car sales have recently risen, accounting for $1.1 trillion in sales during 2014. Car sales are expected to reach $3 trillion by the end of the decade, but where are customers buying cars from? What if we told you consumers are now choosing to forego the traditional car buying process and buying cars online instead.  Negotiating with car dealers and calculating how much car they can afford has caused car buyers to change the way they purchase their car. In turn, car dealerships are making changes as well, building more responsive websites, devoting online sales staff to 24/7 customer support, and keeping inventory that consumers want.

Consumers Unhappy With Traditional Car Buying Process

Consumers are moving away from the traditional car buying process  to avoid pains of the process:

  • 38% don’t like negotiating with a dealer
  • 13% don’t like signing loan paperwork
  • 11% don’t like calculating what they can afford

Some car buyers claim they’d give up their favorite luxuries for a week to avoid haggling over price:

  • 42% would give up social media
  • 42% would give up dessert
  • 38% would give up coffee
  • 18% would give up their smartphone

To avoid the less pleasant aspects of car buying, customers are going online and taking control of the car buying process.

  • 72% want to complete the credit application and financing paperwork online
  • 56% want to start the negotiation on their own terms online
  • 45% want to remain anonymous until they are locked into the deal structure

Online Car Buying Streamlines Process

Turning to the internet is helping car buyers streamline the process.

  • 97% of buyers research their car purchase online
  • Consumers spend an average of 19 hours online to research before buying

When car buyers finish their research, they visit car retailers an average of 1.4 times before completing a purchase, a drop from the average of four visits in 1998.

Mobile is a Key Piece for Auto Sales

Instead of driving from lot to lot to gather information about vehicles, potential car buyers are taking advantage of the wealth of information at their fingertips. 41% of all online automotive sales activity takes place on mobile devices, eight times higher than 3 years ago. Car buyers are utilizing mobile devices for timely answers to pertinent questions such as price and vehicle specifications to ensure they can trust the retailer. Two different mobile platforms are utilized during initial car buying research:

  • 34% of mobile ads initiate car buying research
  • 34% of tablet ads initiate car buying research

5 Areas Online Car Buyers Research Most

Online car buyers are focusing research on five main areas:

  1. Price – Consumers compare prices from dealerships to make sure they’re getting the best price and are ensured top resale value.
  2. Specs – Consumers look at miles per gallon, acceleration, 0-60 rate, turn radius, handling, and performance in crash and safety tests.
  3. Finance – 72% want to complete the credit application and financing paperwork online.
  4. Value – Consumers read about customer satisfaction, other customer’s reviews, and if a vehicle was nominated for any awards. Consumers will also analyze how one vehicle compares to similar models.
  5. Sales – Brand, model, and dealership reputation is taken into consideration as well as the sales process, financing, and warranty involved.

The wealth of research being done online is causing car buyers to become less attached to the dealer and more attached to the best deal.

Where Are Buyers Getting Information?

80% of prospective car buyers compare prices and cars from an average of 10 online dealerships. They may also check car manufacturers’ websites. Car buyers visit third party sites like:

Online car buyers also rely on specific content from dealers and manufacturers.

  • 38% of consumers look at automotive blogs/publications
  • 36% of consumers visit the manufacturer’s website
  • 32% of consumers visit dealer websites
  • 32% of consumers rely on social media

More Consumers are Completing the Entire Car Buying Process Online

Some car consumers are skipping the trip to the car dealership altogether and completing the entire purchase online. 16% of consumers have bought a car online and 75% of buyers would consider going through the entire car purchase online. This includes:

  • Financing
  • Price negotiation
  • Paperwork
  • Home delivery

While 56% of customers say they would miss test driving a car before they buy, the pros of completing a car purchase online outweigh the cons of buying a car in person for some.

Who are the Buyers?

The average car buyer who completes the entire car buying process online:

  • Has an average income of $96,000
  • Has an age range of 18-34

Price isn’t the deciding factor for individuals buying cars online. 63% of online car buyers say the car must be the right fit for them rather than the most financially sound.

Car Buyers Arrive Ready to Buy

If a car buyer chooses to buy from a dealership in person, 66% of buyers arrive knowing the exact car or truck they want, changing how car dealerships handle customers. To meet customer demands, dealerships have committed to:

  • Responsive websites
  • Dedicated 24/7 online sales staff
  • Online sales prices
  • Inventory consumers want

Online sellers are even offering guaranteed condition, warranties, and no-haggle return policies that meet or exceed auto industry standards.

Dealerships are also finding they must have the right inventory. If dealers don’t have the exact model with the right options, the customer may buy elsewhere due to convenience.

Customers also expect to be able to test drive a car when they want. 67% of all respondents expect a confirmation within eight hours of sending a request for a test drive.

Major Brands are Catching On

BMW recognized the change in the car buying industry and became the first major brand to modernize their process. BMW Sales and Marketing Chief, Ian Robertson said “We are the first car manufacturer to offer a digital sales solution for the entire product range and the full end-to-end buying or leasing process online. Now, the customer can do it all from the comfort of their home.”

Volvo followed suit and decided to make the first edition of its XC90 model available only online. 1927 cars were sold within the first 48 hours of the release, an average of over 40 cars an hour.

Offline Still Matters

Many car buyers still prefer face-to-face interaction and are apprehensive to complete a car purchase online. Security is the main reason customers are hesitant. Others feel they would miss aspects of the traditional car buying experience.

  • 88% say they would not buy a car without test driving it first
  • 47% prefer to review a model in person
  • 42% say they would miss negotiating with a salesman

While a strong online presence is important, the in-store experience is crucial as well. Hyundai CEO John Krafcik believes that staying on the cutting edge and embracing trends is the key to making the overall car buying experience better.


Bart Starr’s Birthday: 15 Reasons to Celebrate

We can list a hundred reasons to celebrate Bart Starr on his 82nd birthday, January 9, 2016, most of which are off-field. For brevity’s sake, however, number 15 has worked for him before (his Packers jersey number), so why mess with success?

Throughout the decades, he has impacted lives and inspired many. In celebration of Bart Starr’s birthday we dug through our archives and found fun facts to share. Some facts you may know, others you may not.

1. 1950s TV Ad: No Greasy Kid Stuff for Bart

Early in Bart Starr’s career, he did TV commercials for Vitalis Hair Tonic. A competing product was known to leave men’s hair feeling and looking ‘greasy.’ So Vitalis launched a campaign with the slogan “Are you still using that greasy kid stuff?” featuring Bart Starr. In the video clip below, Bart coaches Sam Wade, an actor, in men’s hair grooming.

2. Bart Starr Line of Athletic Shoes

Starr’s first major endorsement was from the La Crosse Rubber Mills. The company made a special line of Bart Starr athletic shoes in the 1960s-70s.

Bart Starr's Birthday fun fact: Bart's own Line of Athletic Shoes

Photo courtesy of: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/402016704207946105/

3. TV Ad: Bart through the Looking Glass?

Rawhide has occupied a huge space in Bart’s heart, and he has always been honored to leverage his celebrity status to help the ranch raise funds.

Check out this TV commercial Bart did for Rawhide.

4. Milwaukee Journalist Hitched Rides with Bart as a Kid

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writer, George Stanley, recently wrote a thank you letter to Bart Starr. Bart used to see George walking home after his school’s football practice and offered George a ride home to ensure his safety. Bart had just left football practice as well, but went out of his way to make sure George got home safe.

5. Bart Invited Rawhide Founders to Dinner Without Knowing Them

When John and Jan Gillespie, Rawhide founders, were trying to get Rawhide off the ground, they picked up the phone book to find Bart’s number. They had no prior interaction with Bart, so they dialed and prayed. Bart answered the phone.

Ten minutes into the conversation, Bart and Cherry invited them to dinner and offered to help raise funds and awareness for Rawhide. The Starr’s have offered Rawhide support ever since and have been instrumental in Rawhide’s success helping at-risk and troubled youth and families.

Rawhide founders

6. Bart Still Holds Unbroken NFL Records

Bart’s nine post-season victories in a row and 90% post-season winning percentage are still NFL records. Bart is also the highest rated playoff passer in NFL history.

When Bart retired he held the record for highest career completion percentage. Many believe that Bart could have played well in any decade of the NFL and that his style would make him a great quarterback, even today.

7. Bart Helped Start the Chalk Talk

Bart has remained an active supporter of Rawhide since he and Cherry invited the Gillespies to dinner over 50 years ago. In 2013, Hall of Fame Quarterback, Steve Young, asked Bart how he could help, so the two came up with the Chalk Talk Luncheon. The first Chalk Talk was held that year, and Hall of Fame running back Paul Hornung made a surprise appearance! The event has been held every year since, and the 2015 Chalk Talk brought in over 1,500 guests!

Paul Hornung with Bart Starr

8. Wisconsin Governor Makes Two Official 2015 Proclamations

  • Favre-Rodgers-Starr Day, 4-12-15, (April 12, 2015)
    Officially proclaimed by the Governor “in honor of The NFL’s Most Victorious Quarterback Trio Ever, recognizing Brett Favre #4, Aaron Rodgers #12 and Bart Starr #15 as having achieved league leading success in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers respectively during their careers.”
  • Bart Starr Week, Nov. 1-7
    Governor Scott Walker proclaimed November 1-7 as Bart Starr Week throughout Wisconsin. The week honors all of Bart’s contributions to Wisconsin on and off the field.

9. Bart and Cherry Starr Received Key to the City of Green Bay

Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt presented Cherry with a key to the city for both her and Bart, for their significant contributions to the community over the years.

10. NFL Names Bart as 8th Most “Clutch” Quarterback

Bart Starr led the packers to 19 fourth quarter comebacks and 18 game winning drives.

Clutch quarterback Bart Starr

Bart was at his best in the playoffs, going 9-1 in his career and winning five championships including two Super Bowls. In one of the most memorable games in NFL history, Bart Starr threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns… with frostbitten fingers.

Bart ended the Ice Bowl with one of the most memorable plays in football history.

11. Bart’s Home Office Displays Charity Work, Not Sports Accomplishments

Cherry Starr often tells a story regarding a younger relative stopping by and asking Bart if he’s famous. The relative found out in school that Bart played in the NFL but never knew because Bart’s office isn’t decorated with sports accomplishments, rather with pictures of Rawhide guys and other charity events.

12. Bart Starr Donated MVP Corvette for Rawhide Fundraiser

Bart Starr MVP Corvette

Bart won the Most Valuable Player award for Super Bowl II and with it came a brand new Corvette. Instead of keeping it, Bart donated it to Rawhide for a raffle fundraiser. 40,000 people bought a $1 ticket, helping provide fundraising for Rawhide’s early stages.

13. Bart Encouraged Other Packers to Support Rawhide

Bart had just won the 1966 NFL’s Most Valuable Player award and wanted to leverage this honor to help Rawhide. He convinced his teammate, Fuzzy Thurston, to hold a fundraiser at his Left Guard Charcoal House. Bart also convinced 15 other players to join in. It reads like a list of who’s who:

The fundraiser helped raise awareness and necessary funds to keep Rawhide operational for troubled youth and families.

14. Bart Made His 2015 Return to Lambeau Field about Brett Favre

After some 2014 health challenges, Bart worked hard to recover so that he could walk onto Lambeau field for Brett Favre’s jersey retirement. Bart did return for this ceremony and gave Brett a big bear hug on the field. Bart’s wife Cherry even shared something not many heard:

“…I don’t know if you all could see this, but when he got off the cart and Brett walked over, Bart looked at him and said, ‘I love you Brett’ and Brett looked down and said ‘I love you too Bart’, and hugged him so sweetly…” – Cherry Starr, November 2015

15. Bart Remains a Loyal Packer Throughout the Decades

Bart played 17 seasons with the Packers for a then franchise-record 196 games. After Bart retired from playing, the Los Angeles Rams offered him a coaching job. Bart turned it down, hoping the Packers would offer him a coaching job, which they did shortly after.

Bart has stayed active with the Packers since stepping away from football. He still calls current and former players to offer support when they are going through difficult situations. When Eddie Lacy was drafted by the Packers, Bart Starr was one of the first people to call and congratulate him

These are just some of the many reasons why we love Bart Starr!

Please wish Bart a happy 82nd birthday and share some of the reasons why you love Bart in the comments section below!


Rawhide Alumnus Shares Life-Changing Story

Rawhide alumnus Shawn was shuffled around a lot as a young child. He didn’t know what a stable home life felt like. Finally, he ran away from an abusive situation, and his social worker placed him at Rawhide. Shawn soon experienced a healthy family dynamic and developed a passion that led to his existing career. He recently returned to the ranch for the 50th Anniversary celebration and shared with us how Rawhide’s family style homes and love made the difference in his life.

The Family-Living Model

“The core of family living at the house is: you have a father, you have a mother, you have brothers and sisters, plus it was functional.”

Shawn first noticed how much the staff at Rawhide supported the guys. His houseparents welcomed him with open arms, and the rest of the staff showed care and compassion that made Shawn feel like he was part of a large family.

“Everybody was there for the kids. They weren’t distracted by daily life. They were there for the kids, and you could tell.”

Shawn believes the family-living environment as well as structure like a consistent bed time and regular family meals together helped him the most.

“It was comfort and security. It was a security blanket.”

Rawhide Houseparents Have Lasting Influence

Shawn’s houseparents are his favorite part about the Rawhide experience. He felt they were perfect compliments to each other.

“It was nice to have a mom that provided the soft side of life and a dad that gave firm, loving direction and guidance.”

It seems other guys shared his feelings about the home’s housemother. They often raced to see who would hold open a door for her first.

Extracurricular Activities Spark Future Career for Rawhide Alumnus

Rawhide provided many new experiences for Shawn. In addition to a healthy family environment, Shawn also experienced new outdoor adventures like fishing, canoeing, biking, and hiking along the Wolf River and on Rawhide’s 700 acre ranch. Consequently, he developed a love for the great outdoors and nature which he would later turn into a full-time career.

Life After Rawhide

Shawn admits that he struggled after he left Rawhide. Leaving such a kind, loving environment was difficult, but he knew that Rawhide laid a foundation and it was up to him to make better choices now.  He had hope.

Shawn enrolled in college and pursued a degree that would land him a job in the great outdoors, a place he learned to love while at Rawhide. And he succeeded in making his dream come true.

Today, Shawn continues to work for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and is married with children. He credits Rawhide with changing his life.

“I love my job; I love my life.”

What Would He Say to Rawhide Guys Today?

If Shawn were to meet a current Rawhide guy, he would tell them that they are very fortunate even if they don’t realize it at the moment. “You ended up in a beautiful place with people that care for you.”

Shawn would also say,

 “You can do whatever you want in life. I did it, and you can do it as well.”

More Success Stories Like Shawn’s

Shawn is one of the many Rawhide alumnus with success stories. If you would like to help a troubled youth succeed in life, you may donate a car, truck, boat, motorcycle, other vehicle, cash or stock. 83% of proceeds fund programs that directly impact troubled youth at Rawhide.