LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Many schools across the country have a piece of West Texas in them. Leighton Knox, owner of Wildcat Manufacturing Company, builds customs athletic lockers in Tahoka that are purchased nationwide.
But lockers are not the only things he makes. Knox invents and manufactures a variety of products from farming to fitness equipment, but what he is most known for in Tahoka are his custom-built trains.
Knox has lived in Tahoka for 64 years. He said his favorite thing about the town is the people who live there. He loves that in a small community, everybody knows everybody, and everybody knows Knox can build just about anything.
“I’ve been inventing everything that anybody needed for 50 years,” Knox said.
Leighton Knox started out with farm equipment, building grain elevators and feed mills, but his latest enterprise is building athletic lockers for schools.
“I was on the school board and they needed some lockers and me and the coach decided he would let me build some and donate them,” Knox said.
Knox said he started inventing as a way to make manual labor easier.
“Being lazy and don’t want to work, trying to find a better way,” Knox said.
But he said some of his inventions were made because he opened his mouth when he should have kept it shut.
“My wife’s 50th anniversary school reunion group was trying to figure out what they were going to ride in the parade,” Knox said.
They asked him if he could come up with a trailer.
“I said, we don’t need a trailer, I’ll just build something,” Knox said. “I’ll just build a train.”
The train, which Knox named the Blue Weed Special after an old railroad that used to run through Tahoka, has become quite the attraction for adults and children alike.
It travels to Slaton, Lubbock, Ropesville and O’Donnell for a variety of events.
“They come every time it’s in town to ride it,” Knox said.
Knox is known by most people in Tahoka, something he says makes him proud.
“It’s neat for people, when they need something to know they can get it probably taken care of out here,” Knox said.