Richard Cottrill was a kid when he fell in love with Indiana Jones.
“That’s what it was for me,” says the downtown Sandusky resident. “From there on out, any movie that features a major protagonist in the film who carried a bullwhip as a weapon or utility became one of my favorite movies.”
For the last few years, Cottrill has channeled his interest in whips into a business, the Maloroy Whip Co.
Through it, he makes and sells a wide range of whips and, of late, earrings, as well.
When he was in his early 20s, Cottrill was interested in buying the type of whip wielded by Indiana, Zorro and Michelle Pfieffer’s Catwoman from 1992’s “Batman Returns.” A good one, though, would have run him north of $1,000, so he purchased a more-affordable nylon whip and lived for a while in whipped bliss.
“I just love the sport of whip-cracking,” he says. “If you ever … go out with your friends to the range to shoot a couple of guns just for fun and do some target practice, you get kind of the same sensation.
“They crack as loud as the gun would fire, and it just becomes really fun. And then when you start getting into the actual sport, there’s all sorts of really cool routines and tricks you can do with it.”
Cottrill with one of his hand-crafted bullwhips. (Photo courtesy of Maloroy Whip Co.)
Fast-forward to a few years ago, long after that whip had given up its crack. Cottrill was making a living in the ministry, working at what is now called Faith Church, on East Strub Road, and then at the Erie County Juvenile Justice Center. When he and his wife, Andrea, had their third child, they decided it made more sense for him to stay home with the kids instead of them paying for even more daycare.
Part of the plan: He finally would learn to make the type of bullwhips he so admired to help make the family’s ends meet.
The name Maloroy is a mash-up of their first three children’s middle names – Mason, Taylor and Joy. A fourth child has since arrived on the scene, he says.
He learned to make nylon whips before adding whips composed of kangaroo leather to his repertoire, preferring the hide of a kangaroo to that of a cow.
“Kangaroo leather is the strongest leather that there is out there, weight for weight,” he says, adding that the animal is considered a nuisance species in Australia.
A short nylon whip will set a customer back as little as $75, while a longer “Roo” costs $650 – and that’s before optional add-ons.
Customers can communicate with him via an email address or phone number found on his website so he can determine exactly what they want as part of the ordering process, he says.
Making a whip is time-consuming, with Cottrill estimating a 10-foot Indiana Jones replica takes him about 12 to 14 hours – time pieced together largely after Andrea comes home from work and he can venture into his basement workshop.
The whip-making process Cottrill explains over the phone is too complex to recount easily, so just know that, like onions and ogres, whips have layers.
“It’s a very, very intense process,” he says.
And Cottrill has added a layer to the business with the aforementioned earrings
, made from leftover kangaroo leather scraps.
Andrea Cottrill models the latest creations from the Maloroy Whip Co.
“I never threw them away when I started because I thought, ‘Sooner or later, I’m gonna find a way to (use them),” he says. “(The earrings were) my wife’s idea. She’s the smart one of the two of us.”
Maloroy offers multiple colors and a couple of designs, and Cottrill says he’s working on more. He laughs when he admits he had no idea what Andrea meant when she called the earrings “boho chic” but says women seem to like them, so he’s happy.
He tends to work on jewelry upstairs while the children take an afternoon nap.
Cottrill is planning to add wallets to Maloroy’s offering once he gets a better handle on making them, he says.
As the home business grows, he’s also going back to work – part-time, as the worship leader at New Life Church on Milan Road, which the family has been attending. He calls the position being offered to him now, when it will be very helpful, “a God thing.”
We couldn’t let Cottrill off the phone without asking him about his level of optimism about “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,”
set for a theatrical release on June 30 with the now 80-year-old Harrison Ford said to be portraying the whip-cracking archeologist-adventurer for the final time. After all, the movie-going public wasn’t exactly enamored with the previous entry, 2008’s “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”
“I’m optimistic,” he says. “You know what, man? It’s Indiana Jones, and I love the character.
“I love everything about it.”