Sterling Rope Company was named the overall winner of the third-annual American Made Outdoor Gear Award at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, UT Jan. 22.

Conceptualized and hosted by Kokatat Inc.,  the leading US manufacturer of technical apparel and gear for paddle sports, the American Made Outdoor Gear Awards were open to all American manufacturers with a compelling story.

“Sterling’s story of creating not only a strong domestic manufacturing company, but helping grow domestic within their community is to be commended and celebrated,” said Jeff Turner of Kokatat, the founder and host of the American Made Outdoor Gear Award.

Sterling of Biddeford, Maine, has been producing premium safety rope, cord, and hardware for climbers, first responders and arborists since 1992.

“It is an honor to be recognized among this great group of manufacturers and brands especially since three of the finalists were from our great state Maine,” said Carolyn Brodsky, president of Sterling Rope.  “It is fabulous that Kokatat does this program and I want to thank them for helping to elevate the Made in America conversation in our market.”  

As winners of the American Made Outdoor Gear Award, Sterling will take one-year ownership of the “Sassy” travelling trophy — a two-foot tall, hand carved, redwood Sasquatch from Humboldt County, CA.

Over 110 of the most innovative domestic manufacturers in the outdoor market entered the third-annual “Sassy” award program – a long overdue chance to raise a glass to the leaders in American made quality, craftsmanship and creativity in the outdoor world.

Kokatat’s hosting of the awards is rooted in its own history, as the brand’s founder and president, Steve O’Meara, recognized from the start that keeping production local was necessary in order to control quality and continually develop the finest and driest paddling apparel in the world.

The 2015 American Made Outdoor Gear Awards harvested a variety of intriguing data regarding US manufacturing and sourcing.   A sample of statistics from entries include:

  • 42% of applicants were founded in the last 10 years;
  • 76% of applicants created new manufacturing jobs in the last year totaling almost 1000 new jobs;
  • More than 64% of the applicants reported that 90% or more of all the goods they sell are made in the US.

The data also revealed interesting geographical insights.  Over half of the applicants representing 26 states hailed from six states: California, Colorado, Maine, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington.  Sixty-one percent of respondents source a component of their product within 50 miles of their facility.

In addition to the overall winner, winners in several categories based on company size were also awarded.  The category winners received a miniature version of the Sassy award during the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market celebration.

Category winners of the 2015 American Made Outdoor Gear awards include:

  • Under 10 Employees: Voormi ( of Pagosa Mills, CO, wool apparel manufacturer.
  • 10 to 50 Employees:Dahlgren Footwear ( of West Linn, OR, a sock manufacturer.
  • 50-100 Employees: Polar Bottle ( of Boulder, CO, water bottle manufacturer.
  • 100+ Employees: Cascade Designs ( of Seattle, WA, producer of various outdoor products including the MSR, Therm-a-Rest, and SealLine brands.

For more details about the results please email