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WMC & Johnson Financial Group Announce 2019 Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin

MILWAUKEE – After more than 240,000 votes were cast, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) and Johnson Financial Group announced the Henry Repeating Arms Big Boy All-Weather Rifle as the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin. The winner was unveiled at the WMC Foundation Business & Industry Luncheon on Tuesday in Milwaukee.

The fourth annual contest featured nearly 160 nominees that competed in a popular vote in early September to get into the Top 16. The Wisconsin-made products that clinched the Top 16 were placed into a tournament-style bracket known as “Manufacturing Madness.” Head-to-head matchups took place until four finalists were determined.

The Top 4 competed once again in a popular vote, and the Big Boy All-Weather Rifle – manufactured in Rice Lake – came out on top.

“The Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin contest is meant to showcase the top industry in our state and all the cool things we make here every single day,” said WMC President & CEO Kurt Bauer. “Not only do we make cool things in Wisconsin, the careers available in manufacturing are pretty cool, too. As we celebrate manufacturing month this October, it is important to recognize the nearly 500,000 Wisconsinites who make not only the coolest things in our state, but in my opinion, around the globe.”

Nominees for the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin covered a wide range of products. From metal fabrication and food production to automation components and machinery, Wisconsin makes a long line of cool things.

Past winners have included Uncle Mike’s Sea Salt Caramel Pecan Kringle, Oshkosh Corporation’s Joint Light Tactical Vehicle and Harley Davidson’s Milwaukee Eight Engine.

“When a product is ‘Made in Wisconsin,’ it means something,” said Johnson Financial Group President & CEO Jim Popp. “We are proud to have meaningful partnerships built with local manufacturers in communities throughout the state. Wisconsin is a true leader in manufacturing, and we congratulate all manufacturers who choose the Badger State as their home.”

Rice Lake’s Henry Repeating Arms received the Coolest Thing Made in Wisconsin trophy on Tuesday in front of a crowd of 500 business leaders. The trophy – also made in Wisconsin – was manufactured by E.K. Machine in Fall River and is made of machined aluminum block with a powder-coated finish.

Over 30,000 votes were cast in the last round to determine the ultimate winner. The other finalists were LDV, Inc. and its custom specialty vehicles (Burlington), MEC Outdoors and its 400 Defender Clay Target Machine (Mayville), and Mercury Racing and its 450R Outboard Motor (Fond du Lac).

All nominees can be seen by visiting To find out more about Wisconsin Manufacturing Month, please visit




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