Roanoke entrepreneurs balance careers, canoes with Wingman invention

Device uses coolers to steady canoes

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The sun was just burning through the morning mist as a pair of sport utility vehicles followed a bumpy road through a number of farm fields separated by a series of gates.

Riding on the bumper of the lead vehicle, Austin Bousman was able to hop off and open the gates. 

All the quicker to get to the water.

Once at the edge of the James River, Bousman opened the hatch and called to his black Lab, Porter.  The dog jumped down and wagged his tail in anticipation of a nice canoe ride.

"I like to take him every single time I go because I can tell how much he enjoys it," Bousman said.  

Porter played a small role in the creation of a device Bousman and business partner Drew Arney created called the Wingman.  Once strapped to a canoe, the device secures a large cooler on either side to prevent the craft from flipping over.  

It really works.

Bousman and Arney assemble the units in their garages and market them primarily on social media.  

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