CHINOOK, Mont. – Cord Schneider, a high school ag education graduate in Chinook, creates his ‘Mega Fab’ bumpers that he forms into unique bumpers, with designs that the customer wants.

“The bumpers are put over a truck or car’s front grill to protect their vehicle from wildlife on the road,” Schneider said.

Schneider recently competed against 10 other students from across the U.S. at the Youth Entrepreneurs Start-Up Challenge in Michigan.

After pitching his idea to a panel of judges, he won $6,000 to go towards his custom bumper business.

“I do design all the bumpers myself, and I build them on my own,” Schneider said. “I paint the bumpers with an air gun according to what color the buyer wants.”

This summer, Schneider will work part-time on his family’s farm and full-time for another farm, as he has done all through high school.

He is also in 4-H and is working with his fair animals.

“I work part time with my dad on his farm and ranch, where we mostly farm, along with a small herd of cows. We have some irrigated land, where we grow many different crops, and we have dryland acres, along with some CRP,” Schneider said. “During the week, though, I work full time for Olszewski Farms helping farm and doing whatever is needed. I enjoy farming for them, and we have fun.”

One Montana is a state group and Jim Masker is the program manager for One Montana’s Youth Entrepreneur programs.

Schneider’s ag education teacher, Robin Allen, took on the Start-Up Challenge and encouraged Schneider to compete.

Schneider was grateful for all the help he received along the way.

“I want to thank Jim Masker for all the work he does with both groups, One Montana and Montana's Youth Entrepreneur programs. I also want to thank my ag teacher, Robin Allen, for helping me through the process and Bear Paw Development for helping me professionalize my business summaries,” Schneider said. “Lastly, I want to thank my parents for allowing me to use their garage to build bumpers as well as the support and help they've given me.” 

Masker and Allen encouraged Cord to submit his bumper project to YE’s Big Idea Startup Challenge, where he was selected as a finalist after two rounds of judging.

To help Schneider prepare for the national finals, Masker helped him network with business development specialists at Bear Paw Development Corporation in Havre.

Schneider said he was busy building his bumper business before he had ever heard about the scholarships.

“Once I learned about them, I completed the application for One Montana and Youth Entrepreneurs, hoping to win money to purchase my own tools,” he said.

Schneider said he wants to pursue a diesel mechanic degree at MSU-Northern, while growing Mega Fab and continuing his interest in farming.

 “Usually once I’m off work at the farm, I head home to work my fair animals and help my dad on whatever he is doing and work on my bumpers,” Schneider said. “It’s very dry in our area and we haven’t any rain lately, and it is definitely showing. Pastures are drying up and crops could use some moisture.”