A new bass-boat builder called Vexus Boats cut its ceremonial opening ribbon on Friday. Keith Daffron, president of the Flippin, Arkansas company, has a strong tie to the freshwater fishing sector. His grandfather was Forrest Wood, who launched Ranger Boats nearly 50 years ago. Ranger remains the sales leader in the bass boat category.

“The Vexus brand represents more than a new line of fishing boats,” said Daffon at an event in front of the Forrest L Wood Outdoor Sports Gallery in Flippin. “Today marks a historic time in our industry as we continue our revolutionary commitment to product excellence. With so many talented craftsmen and committed dealers, and even customers vying for the first completed models, it’s a humbling and exciting time.”

Daffron said that he intends to carry on Ranger’s legacy in the new line.

The company will manufacture both fibreglass and aluminium fishing boats. Its initial facility will be about 23,000sq ft but as orders come in, it has the footprint to expand to 115,000sq ft. Vexus expects to show its first completed models at the Bassmaster Classic in May. Daffron says he expects to product hundreds of units once the facility is running.

“I’m just humbled and excited to be a witness to this,” Flippin Mayor Gerald Marberry told the Baxter Bulletin at the opening ceremony. “We’ve had some tough months recently with the news of Orscheln Farm and Home leaving town. Something like Vexus Boats will be good for the city.”

Daffron wants Vexus Boats to be known for quality and innovative features. “We know that talk is cheap,” he told the paper. “That’s what I like about our team, they don’t spend a lot of time talking. They speak with their results, with what they produce and how they produce it.”