ROGERS, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas-based air rifle company that created the Red Ryder BB gun for the 1983 movie "A Christmas Story" has new ownership and is merging with a Florida-based air rifle manufacturer.
Daisy Outdoor Products in Rogers, Arkansas, is merging with Gamo Outdoor USA, The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports. Daisy spokesman Joe Murfin says the company history and brand reputation caught the interest of Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill & Co., which owns Gamo.
Bruckmann purchased Daisy for an undisclosed amount. Officials don't expect any immediate changes in the Rogers plant's staffing or operations. Daisy employs 65 people year-round. The staff increases to about 100 in the months leading up to Christmas and peak hunting season.
Daisy, which has manufactured air rifles for 130 years, moved from Michigan to Rogers in 1958.
"By combining the two companies, there's very little overlap in the product line," Murfin said. "So it allows us, together, to go to market with a comprehensive assortment of products that cover the whole spectrum of consumers."
Gamo markets its air rifles to adults, while Daisy markets to adolescents. The details of the relationship between the merged companies have not been finalized.
Daisy worked with Jean Shepherd, the author of the book series that inspired "A Christmas Story", to design the BB gun and produced six for the film.
Murfin said Shepherd had insisted that he owned a Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and a sundial when he was a child in the 1940s, but Murfin said that no such rifle existed.
Every five years, the Rogers plant produces a limited number of commemorative Red Ryder carbine-action, 200-shot range model air rifles with a compass and sundial.
J.R. Shaw, executive director of Visit Rogers, a division of the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce, said the Daisy plant and the Daisy Airgun Museum attract tourists to the Northwest Arkansas City.
"It's an American icon, an American success story that's become an integral part of tourism in Northwest Arkansas and Rogers, in particular," Shaw said.