By Ainsley Jacobs
The Stroud Safety name is synonymous with top-quality safety gear in drag racing and in motorsports, but despite the company’s global distribution, Stroud Safety still proudly offers personalized attention that can be traced to its racer roots.
A motorsports enthusiast since his teenage years growing up in Oklahoma, founder Bob Stroud saw a need for a better drag racing parachute design around 1989.
“Relying on his experience as a skydiver with over 1,300 jumps in sport competitions across the United States, as well as his military experience in the US Army Special Forces and his engineering degree, he developed the patented the tri-panel Stroud drag ‘chute,” explained Mary Jo “MJ” Jerome, Chief Operations Officer at Stroud Safety.
Initially, Stroud assembled his innovative parachutes in his garage workshop at home but as the business billowed, he decided to take it to the next level. Stroud officially incorporated as Stroud Safety in 1991, and the company’s first official home was a modest, 900 square-foot operation located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with a staff of three employees.
“The Stroud Safety drag parachute was the first product offered by this new company, but Bob soon realized that there were many other safety products in the motorsports industry for which his company could improve and develop,” Jerome continued. Stroud got busy ideating, and expanded the line to include seat belts, window nets, transmission blankets, and more.
Before long, Stroud had outgrown its original location and the company was relocated to a larger 30,000 square-foot facility, also in Oklahoma City. “It also included a 4,000 square-foot showroom and production area equipped with industrial sewing equipment, a state-of-the-art digital cutting table, and a fire bottle/suppression system assembly area,” added Jerome, who is a part of a team of 25 production, staff, and management personnel. Efficient inventory storage and order fulfillment areas rounded out the impressive facility.
Now, nearly 30 years since its inception, the Stroud Safety team continues to follow their founder’s lead for continuously developing new, innovative designs all focused on keeping racers safe. Stroud himself is still an active part of the company and spearheads much of the design and development, with custom design being his specialty, while Mary Jo Jerome, Chief Operations Officer, and Anne Stroud, Chief Financial Officer, also keep things running smoothly at Stroud.
From its grassroots beginnings to its position as a worldwide leader in performance motorsports safety applications, “Stroud supplies fire suppression systems, custom SFI rated fire suits, racing harnesses, restraint netting, ballistic containment blankets, and general racing and shop accessories in addition to its flagship drag parachutes.”
NMRA and NMCA racers in all categories trust Stroud to keep them safe so they can continue racing, and all Stroud products are SFI rated with re-certification available for required intervals.
Customer specialists are available to answer questions and offer advice on product selection, installation, and operation, but, above all, Stroud Safety’s commitment to customer service and satisfaction is their number one priority. Thanks to Stroud’s pioneering spirit, the company has made racing safer for drivers, cars, track crew, and spectators.