Bullfighter, rodeo clown Burelle acquires Groundmaster stall flooring business
A chance meeting nearly two decades ago turned into great friendship for Bill and Jan Pearson and Andy Burelle. It’s now become much more than that.
Burelle and wife, Robyn, has recently acquired Groundmaster Products LLC from the Pearsons, taking their relationship to a new level.
“Bill and Jan have been amazing friends and mentors to me, and this is a great opportunity for Robyn and I as we move on to the next phase of our lives,” Burelle said.
In 1997 as a young bullfighter, Andy Burelle suffered an ankle injury in his first job protecting cowboys at a PRCA rodeo for J Bar J Rodeo Co. at the fairgrounds in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.
That same day, after watching their horse run at the fairgrounds track, Bill and Jan Pearson stayed around to watch the rodeo that evening. Bill had attended college on a rodeo and football scholarship, so rodeo was in his blood; horseracing was in Jan’s.
The two noticed that Burelle was fighting through a lot of pain; after the rodeo, the Pearsons approached the bullfighter and asked him if he would allow them to alleviate his pain. At the time, the couple was in the Nikken magnet business and had helped many young bull riders with their devices.
“They gave me the magnets they had with them, and Bill promised he’d bring more products to me the next morning,” Burelle said. “The next day we basically forged a lifelong friendship.”
Burelle had an exceptional bullfighting career, earning world championships in both cowboy protection and freestyle bullfighting. It’s a rough business, as the athletes place themselves in harm’s way during bull riding to keep all others in the arena safe. Burelle has had more than his share of stitches, plates and screws over his career. In January 2015, he suffered a career-ending knee injury.
Again Bill and Jan Pearson had a solution to Burelle’s injury: a new career as a businessman. Groundmaster is now based in Ardmore, Okla., the Burelles’ hometown.
“This is a very exciting time,” Burelle said. “The plant is in full operation in Ardmore, and we have a vision of providing our customers with the world’s only one-piece, polyethylene stall flooring for the next 25 years and beyond.”
ABOUT GROUNDMASTER: It is the best stall-flooring product on the market today, with the ability to drain and breathe, thereby giving the horse a healthier stall environment. It is easily disinfected right from the top without having to remove it. Like no other stall flooring, Groundmaster is made of a high-density polyethylene in one-piece to fit stall requirements. It provides a level floor for fewer leg and back problems, and the edges will not curl up. With all the economic benefits Groundmaster provides, it will pay for itself over and over, plus the owner can spend more time with the horse rather than cleaning its stall.