Perfected conversion hitches

From left, Keiselyn Ellsworth, 8; Erica Ellsworth; Tyson Jensen; Tegan Jensen, 10; Daja Jensen, 8; and sitting Addisyn, 3; pose in Jensen’s shop where he makes conversion hitches — center — that he sells around the U.S., Europe and Canada. Ellsworth and Jensen were engaged last summer and Jensen said Ellsworth and her daughters have been supportive and helpful to the family and business.

A conversion hitch made locally and sold around the U.S., Canada and Europe makes changing a fifth wheel hitch to a ball hitch quick and easy.

Gooseneck–style horse, livestock and hay trailers commonly used on farms and ranches are towed by hooking up to a ball in a truck’s bed, while fifth-wheel camp trailers use a more elaborate set up.

Tyson Jensen, of Shelley, modified and perfected adapter hitch designs that free a truck’s bed for other uses on the farm.

That was five years ago, and today in his backyard shop, he manufactures an assortment of hitches. They’re sold primarily on Ebay and Amazon Prime, but can be purchased directly at Jensen’s shop, too. Jensen also installs converters by appointment at his shop.

“Our adapters give more flexibility to trailer owners and ranchers who want to have an open bed for other uses once they drop their RV,” he said.

Jensen’s main business is manufacturing multiple hitch adapters with a variety of different set ups for any size truck bed. The hitch is recommended for trailers weighing 24,000 pounds or less. Some of the other products he makes are a forward hitch that is off-set 7¾ inches, making it ideal for short-bed trucks, and an adjustable hitch that goes from 12 to 17 inches in height, is also available.

“Our products are some of the least expensive, yet well-built conversion hitches on the market,” he said.

Jensen draws from his experiences growing up on his parent’s Lost River farm near Arco.

“We raised spuds, cattle and hay, and I learned to weld,” he said.

When he was a junior in high school, his parents, Kirby and Sharon Jensen, gave him his first wire feed welder.

“Because that’s what he was interested in ― welding,” Kirby Jensen said.

The younger Jensen worked after-school jobs while in high school. His first job was as a production welder in Pocatello where he built metal shelving. Then he moved to Logan, Utah, and welded exercise equipment. At another job there, he built horse trailers.

It was when he and his dad had a warehouse delivery service at Idaho National Laboratory that Jensen made his first conversion hitch in his garage for his fifth-wheel trailer. He eventually sold the trailer, but marketed the hitch separately.

“Tyson advertised it on the internet and sold it. Then he thought, ‘Maybe I can sell another one,’ which he did, and as they say, the rest is history,” Kirby Jensen said. “It took a few years to build up the business, but what is kind of awesome is he never made a hitch that wasn’t already sold until about a year or so ago. Now he keeps Amazon stocked with hitches, and then just ships one when one sells to maintain their stocking level.”

The father and son still work together.

“We ship the pipe to Dad, he cuts it at the farm in Lost River and delivers it back to us. Then we weld, clean, paint, pack and ship the final product from here,” Tyson Jensen said.

In his spare time, Jensen shares his welding skills with other young men in the area. One protégé is in the instructive video on his website. His business allows him to be a stay-at-home dad since he’s raising his two young children, Tegan Jensen, 10 and Daja Jensen, 8.

“I have kids at home so it lets me work and be at home with them at the same time,” he said. “They are the reason for all of this.”