Bushnell business cruising to success with American-made Jeep parts

BUSHNELL, Illinois – As Luke Conner climbs into a custom Jeep on Wednesday, it’s going to be a four-wheel thrill ride. “Personally, it’s...

BUSHNELL, Illinois -

As Luke Conner climbs into a custom Jeep on Wednesday, it's going to be a four-wheel thrill ride.

"Personally, it's pretty impressive," he said.

Taking a spin on the Steinjager Test Track, it's a chance to experience life's ups and downs.

"We also built this course to test products for longevity," he said.

Each bump is about business.

That's because this company makes custom parts for Jeeps.

"People love the ability to make whatever they've got unique," said Steinjager President Mark Rauschert, who runs the third generation family business.

Rauschert pleases Jeep enthusiasts with his American-made creations from Bushnell, Illinois, population 3,200.

"You can still buy something in the U.S. that's high quality, comes with service and made by American people," he continued.  "It's a great thing."

After making parts for big-name clients since 1967, Midwest Control Products also taps that talent for its own line.

Steinjager business doubled in 2015 and is becoming a hit at shows all across the country.

"It amazed me how many people actually know Steinjager," said Anne Rauschert, 22, a third-generation employee.

The company isn't afraid to change with the times.

It survived challenges like the recession and global competition without disrupting its workforce of 70.

"It's a challenge to take on," said welder Terry Hynek.  "It's worked out well."

While the new test track looks like a lot of fun, it's also an important part of the local economy.

Each bumpy ride symbolizes trial and error with their projects.

These days, it's so rewarding to see their products on the road.

"That put a huge smile on all of our faces," said Conner, who started with the project three years ago.

Through each twist and turn, there's a promising future.

"We can do it here in this small town in Illinois," Anne concluded.  "It just blows people's minds."

Steinjager is hosting a Jeep Blitz in Bushnell from April 15-17.

Friday's Show and Shine will feature up to 200 Jeeps.

On Saturday, visitors can take a ride on the test track and enjoy the fun.

Sunday's wrap-up includes a church service and cruises on guided trails.

Check out http://www.jeepblitz.com for more details.