Dragon’s Den beckons Yukoners

Dragon's Den is coming to Whitehorse. Producers from the popular CBC television program will hold auditions at the Gold Rush Inn on Tuesday, March 30 from noon until 7 p.m.

Dragon’s Den is coming to Whitehorse.

Producers from the popular CBC television program will hold auditions at the Gold Rush Inn on Tuesday, March 30 from noon until 7 p.m.

The show gives would-be entrepreneurs a chance to make a five-minute pitch to a panel of wealthy and irritable business tycoons.

Those few who succeed walk away with enough cash to get their proposed business off the ground. Most contestants leave with little more than a bruised ego and an earful of scorn.

Chris Ross will be ready. The 40-year-old Whitehorse resident is a longtime fan of the show, and he thinks he has the perfect contraption to pitch.

It’s certainly goofy-looking enough to capture the imagination of television producers. It’s a piece of wooden doweling attached to a black stretchy belt, that’s designed to dangle between your legs.

“What’s so funny?” he asked. “It’s a stick. It’s not a dildo.”

The device is called Position Right, and it was designed by a friend of his as an aid for golfers to ensure they’re standing the proper distance from the ball.

It’s a problem that beginning golfers struggle with, he said. The stick helps solve the puzzle because it helps properly line-up the club’s shaft with the body’s core, said Ross.

The stick is striped green and white, providing a visual cue to remind you of the proper height to grip the club, he said.

The device was designed by Ralph Renger, a sports psychologist who works at the University of Arizona. He’s asked Ross to help market the gadget.

Ross envisions the product being sold by golf instructors to their clients. It would retail for $19.99 and includes an instructional DVD.

There are plenty of gadgets to improve a golfer’s swing on the market, but nothing to fix a golfer’s position from the ball, he said.

He runs through some numbers to shore-up his pitch: The Professional Golfers Association has 20,000 members; the Worldwide International Golf Teachers Pro Association has more than 12,000 members; 36.3 million Americans golf at least once a year; $6.1 billion is spent annually on golf in the United States alone.

“The market’s there,” said Ross.

The paperwork for a patent has been filed. Renger has even scouted for contacts in China to have the product manufactured.

The gadget helped Ross make modest improvements to his own game, and he’s golfed since Grade 4.

It showed him that his clubs were too long. He choked up on his grip and his score improved.

As for concerns that golfers may snub the product because it looks silly, Ross has a simple solution: when you’re done using it to gauge the club’s lie, give the belt a twist so that the stick is dangling at your side, rather than between your legs.

Ross hasn’t yet decided how much money he’d ask for from the dragons. “It’d probably be five figures,” he said. The money would go towards hiring a roving sales agent to hit-up trade conventions. Demonstrating the product in-person is crucial.

“You can’t just send this in the mail,” he said.

Regardless of what you think of his idea, it sounds like an improvement over the last local contestant’s pitch.

“The last Yukoner I saw on the show had a rock for menopause,” said Ross. “She went out in flames.”

This is the first year Dragon’s Den’s producers plan to venture north. Trips to both Whitehorse and Yellowknife are planned.

The show has enjoyed positive ratings and a growing audience, said associate producer Justine Lewkowicz. This has allowed them to expand their scouting for quirky candidates.

“It just made sense to try the North this year,” she said. “We’re really curious to see what we find up there.”

Contestants will need to come with a completed application form, found at the Dragon’s Den website.

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