Working in his barn near Greencastle,Indiana, Dixie Chopper founder Art Evans knew there
had to be a better way to mow—his first glimpse of a zero-turn-radius (ZTR) mower signaled that slow, old fashioned yard tractors with a steering wheel were on their way out. So in 1980, the result of his efforts was the first zero-turn radius lawn mower built for commercial use that would soon revolutionize the lawn and
garden industry. A drag racing fan, Evans’ emphasis was on quality… and speed. Stainless steel construction, industry-first hydrostatic drive, and a host of other innovations followed in the next decade from his Coatesville, Ind. factory.
A TV star ZTR
To prove that a stock Dixie Chopper mower can handle a whopping 150 horsepower, Art Evans built a jet
powered lawn mower using a Chinook helicopter engine. The jet mower was made famous by Tim Allen and Bob Vila in a 1993 episode of the TV sitcom Home Improvement.
Evans’ engineers continued to improve their mowers—including developing innovative CNG and propane-powered ZTRs—and to make faster machines that give a high quality mow job. With those successes, Dixie Chopper joined the Jacobsen/Textron family of products in 2014. But what seemed to be a great idea ultimately meant Dixie Chopper no longer fit, so after four years, the parent company announced
that it would cease production of the ZTR mower. As Home Improvement’s Tim-thetoolman
Taylor might say: “Huuuuh?”
Too valuable to fade away
It turns out that the Alamo Group Inc. was looking for advancements in manufacturing technologies,
efficiencies, and capabilities and the ZTR line had that, and more. In the fall of 2019, the Alamo Group, which also produces rugged RhinoAg mowing and construction equipment, announced the acquisition of the Dixie Chopper business assets from Textron Outdoor Power Equipment Inc. The attraction? Dixie Chopper had been an industry staple in producing high-quality zero-turn mowers for the residential and commercial contractor. Plus, it is a known, iconic American made brand.
Speed equals ‘cult following’
The brand yields itself to a dedicated cult following with customers who continue to depend on Dixie Chopper equipment for their home or business. This combination of excellent quality and brand loyalty was
the perfect combination for a brand available for acquisition. Since then, RhinoAg has incorporated the manufacturing and multiple business functions into their Gibson City, Illinois facility. The “need for speed” continued with Dixie Chopper—the new production line was set up and created the first complete mower only 104 days later. As the assembly team continues to grow, a renewed focus on quality is the foremost priority.
Because of enthusiastic Dixie Chopper dealers across the country, the Customer Service, Inside Sales,
Technical Service, Warranty, and Parts Department functions remain near the original manufacturing site just outside of Greencastle, Ind. Customers and dealers get quality support from veteran Dixie Chopper
employees ensures dealers. In addition, some of the new Territory Managers are returning salespersons
from recent or many years ago, and dealers have welcomed the return of these folks to their prior roles.
The two brands—RhinoAg with their line of mowers, landscape, construction and hay equipment, and Dixie Chopper ZTRs—continue to exist independently for the sales teams, but work in the marketplace as complimentary brands.