I was born and raised a farmer’s son. By the time I was thirteen I knew I wanted to be a welder / fabricator; the welder on the farm intrigued me!
My interest in welding continued throughout high school working as a co-op student in a local Hardin County business. Upon high school graduation, I continued to work in the welding and construction industry while attending Elizabethtown Vocational Technical School. Upon graduation, I worked a short stint in a factory, followed by a construction job welding pipe. From there it was on to wrought iron, steel staircases and fabrication!!
While working these jobs, I decided to enter the trailer fabrication business. In 1982, I constructed my first car trailer to haul my personal drag car. In 1983, I purchased my first gas drive welder, a Miller Big 40 which was used to help establish a mobile welding service.
In 1986, I ventured full time into the welding and trailer fabrication business under the name of Ratliff Welding and Fabrication, working from a rented building in Rineyville Kentucky. The trailer business prospered; soon Gates Rubber Corporation, AM Brake Corporation, many area farmers, and local business were regular customers! But by 1993 the local business environment had changed. I closed the shop to return to the road welding on construction sites until August 1995 which brought a devastating on site accident.
Against all odds, I reopened my shop in September 1997. The name changed to The Hitch Shop, and the location changed to Munfordville Kentucky focusing again on the trailer industry, installing hitches as well as servicing living quarters horse trailers, campers, cattle trailers, flatbeds and expanding to fabrication jobs.
The Hitch Shop has blessed me with some of the most challenging, interesting and exciting fabrication jobs to date! In 2000, I engaged in the design and construction of the Prairie Grass Stripper, Roundstone Native Seed.
2003 brought the design and construction of the Tractor Rollover Simulator for The Department of Agriculture, which is used to demonstrate the need for tractor rollover bars. The Tractor Rollover Simulator is set up at farm safety and machinery shows throughout Kentucky and neighboring states.
2007 brought involvement in the construction of “Ain’t Misbehaven” which can be seen at local area tractor pulls. Soon to follow came CCR registration and my first federal contract; the design of four prototype trailers now being used by the Air National Guard Aqua Rescue Units in Anchorage, Alaska.
In 2009, the website was established. In the fall of 2010, construction of a 6000 square foot expansion will began which allows room to expand the services offered. We now encompass various fabrication projects and all types of trailer servicing, as I continue to expand my knowledge in the welding, fabrication, and trailer industry with continuing education and seminars.
Thank you to all my customers for allowing me to service your welding, trailer, and fabrication needs throughout the years!! Remember to “’Hook Up with Us!!”