Ninja Dad’s local-grown adventure business primed for takeover
Ben Hanrahan reckons Dad’s “too old” to be running the Indoor Ninja Dash this Friday, and it’s time for the son to take over the Rockhampton side of the business.
Ben is six.
When Dad, Wayne, was Ben’s age, he played tennis and junior sport around Central Queensland.
When he grew up and he became a mining engineer, a career which took him away to Western Australia for 10 years.
When he came back to help his Dad run the family property west of Rockhampton, the idea for a play-based adventure business was supposed to be a sideline.
Fourteen years later, the director of Pumped Sport employs coaches in both Rockhampton and Gladstone, and delivers events from Mackay to Hervey Bay and out to Emerald.
It all began with Kindy Sport, which focused on fine motor skills and team work, but as the clients entered school, they demanded more age-appropriate adventure.
“Pumped Sport was a response to kids who said Kindy Sport was too young for them,” Mr Hanrahan said.
“We rebranded about five years ago, and we came up with a range of inflatable courses which would let kids just get out and run about.
“We come up with new themes every school term and we’ve got about 25 different inflatables now.”
Some of the events were inspired by popular TV shows such as Survivor and The Amazing Race.
This weekend it’s the Ninja-themed obstacle course which will kids up to 12 entertained at the Adani Arena.
Mr Hanrahan said the “trickiest” part of the business plan was communicating with the manufacturers.
“The inflatables would have cost about $8000 to get made in Australia compared with less than $1000 overseas,” he said.
“Once we found a really good supplier, and got the sizing right, we’ve been able to come up with new designs.”
Like many businesses, Pumped Sport took a hiatus as the team worked out how to deal with COVID-19 requirements.
“We’d usually have between 100 and 300 kids to every school holiday session: Easter, June/July and September,” Mr Hanrahan said.
“We shut down for three months this year but, now we have an industry-approved COVID plan, we can cater to more than 30 kids at a time.”
And it’s not just the young competitors who are keen on the Dash.
“Last month we launched a new program which is more a Survivor-style experience,” Mr Hanrahan said.
“And the feedback from school parents was it would work really well for adults – for end of year events and team-building corporate activities – so our next phase will probably involve more mazes and puzzles.”
Meanwhile, Mr Hanrahan said it’ll be a couple of year before Ben gets to take over, “but I’m watching my back”.
Ben and his older sister have team uniforms and enjoy helping out on the course during school holidays, training for the day when they can become coaches.
Mr Hanrahan had no idea when he started the business that it would grow to employ so many CQ locals and, ultimately, be something he could hand over to his own children.
“A lot of our coaches are Uni students, probably doing three years of sports science, so we train them up and then they get a job and move on,” he said.
“But just a month or two again, I heard on Facebook from a kid who’s done Kindy Gym with us as a four year old and now, as a high schooler, wants to begin training with us to become a coach”.
Indoor Ninja Dash
- Rockhampton – Friday 25 September
- Adani Arena (previously Hegvold Stadium), Sir Raymond Huish Drive
- ‘Toddler Town’ (ages 5 and under, $10) from 9-10.15am
- ‘Open Play’ (up to 12, $15) from 12.30 to 2pm
- Pay cash or card ‘at the door’, no bookings required
See facebook or pumpedsport.com.au for Gladstone (Monday September 28) and Bundaberg (Tuesday September 29) details