Big tires on 'Really Big Things'

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 28, 2007

Discovery Channel to show how RDH retreads super-size trucks on Jan. 30

By Paris Goodnight

Salisbury Post

If you want to see some really big tires in operation, the Discovery Channel will show you ones that passed through a Cleveland plant on the way to getting really dirty.

The new Discovery Channel series “Really Big Things” profiles the inner workings of massive manmade wonders that keep our world moving.

That’s where RDH Tire & Retread comes in. The Cleveland company specializes in off-the-highway retread manufacturing and repairs for earth-moving equipment.

Host for the show is Matt Rogers, an American Idol finalist from season 3. The show focuses on big machines, giant telescopes, massive structures and other really big things that are changing the way we live in a “world where some things continue to get smaller and smaller while others that once only existed in science fiction have come to life in mammoth proportion.”

Someone in the industry sent the Discovery Channel folks the idea of featuring RDH Tire, which will be in one of three segments on the season’s fourth episode on Jan. 30. The show airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m.

Another segment will focus on the largest dump truck in operation, a 1.375 million pound behemoth in Alberta, Canada.

Film crews arrived in December to get footage at the plant over a couple days.

Ty Smith, sales manager at RDH, said the biggest tires they retread are 13 feet tall and weigh 12,000 pounds. The smallest ones they deal with are 4 feet tall.

Smith said one retread (sometimes two) is all the really huge tires can handle. But smaller ones could get three or four retreads. They try to get 3,000 or 4,000 hours of use out of them.

Bridgestone, Goodyear and Michelin are the major manufacturers in the industry, which is seeing a shortage in availability of new tires. Smith said his plant is able to keep mining operations rolling while saving them some money by providing retreads cheaper than new tires.

RDH Tire’s Cleveland manufacturing plant repairs and produces about 60 to 70 tires per day, which meant they used about 6 million pounds of tread rubber in 2006. The process includes inspecting the original tire, buffing it, repairing the tread, capping the tire and putting it through a curing chamber.

The company, which serves more than 200 dealers in 25 states east of the Mississippi River, is owned by Homer Huskins and Brad Ragan Jr., who sold his operation on Jake Alexander Boulevard to Goodyear in 1986.

Smith said the plant has 106 employees, most on first shift and a smaller crew working a second shift.

For more information on “Really Big Things,” visit

Contact Paris Goodnight at 704-797-4255 or