Mother of the Republic creates a possible solution for outdoor sports parents

REPUBLIC, Mo. — A mother from Republic says she invented what might be a solution for outdoor sports parents. OzarksFirst tested Melissa DuVall’s new product, “Ponchairo”.

The product is a combination of a blanket and a poncho that attaches to a chair. DuVall says this comes in handy when you have to watch your kid’s game in bad weather.

“I remember going to a game in Nevada, Missouri at my son’s baseball game and my husband turned to me, it was so cold outside,” DuVall said. “He said, ‘The state is going to stop and take our kids from all of us parents because we had them playing in this early spring weather and it was so cold. So we were joking about how cold it would be at some of these ball games and of course the kids were unconscious, and then we were just standing there freezing.

DuVall has three children who participated in outdoor sports growing up. She thought about inventing Ponchairo seven years ago and started selling it two months ago. Ponchairo took a year to make. It is waterproof, windproof and breathable. The product is stored in a pouch that can fit on the back of a folding, collapsible or stadium chair.

“Athletic parents are funny,” DuVall said. “When we started pitching the idea, moms got it instantly. For some reason, I think we’re very cold. Maybe it’s because we’re juggling preparing the kids, with their equipment. We think about our kids, snacks for the team, all those things. So you kind of forget yourself.

Some fathers, however, had doubts about the invention.

“Dads, on the other hand, were like, ‘I don’t know about that,'” DuVall said. “But now that we’ve made it and they’re actually seeing it, I think one of the The most gratifying things for me was these men who were skeptical at first saying, ‘Oh wait now, I get it. So this piece has been really cool for us.

She says some people who have purchased her product have used it in ways she hadn’t even thought of.

“We had someone order Ponchairo for their child in a wheelchair,” DuVall said. “We had someone ordering because they go through the mud in jeeps. We have a licensed camo pattern as one of our colors. This almost creates a portable blind, hence the chase.

No matter how her creation is used, DuVall says she’s just happy to be on the roster of inventors. The United States Patent and Trademark Office reports that in 2019, the rate of female inventors was nearly 13%.

“As a woman with a patent, I had no idea there were so few of us,” DuVall said. “We look at Shark Tank, we see Spanx, Sara Blakely. There are plenty of women with patents who have been wildly successful. The number of female patent holders is really a very small percentage.

DuVall tells OzarksFirst that she’s grateful she got through the invention process.

“It’s special and I think it was a painful process,” DuVall said. “Engaging in investment is a big step. I think of the number of people who probably have incredible ideas who are not able to take this step or are afraid to take this step.

She says her family is helping her sell Ponchairo. Her son does the shipping and her husband helps with the manufacturing.

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