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When we first introduced the Rhino to the fishing world, the mission was clear: Build The World's Toughest Tackle. And that's what we did.We've given Rhino a new, meaner and tougher attitude, and added more metal, oversize die-cast aluminum handles, stronger forged-brass gears and technologically advanced rod materials.

Engineered like no other reels in the world, and built with even greater durability, we've also given Rhino a face-lift. And we've expanded the Rhino product lineup to include an oversized spincast reel, a learge levelwind baitcast reel, and four new spinning models for medium-duty to heavy-duty fishing situations.

We've built these reels just as nature built their namesake...and when it comes to fishing, there's nothing in the world that can stop a Rhino.

REMEMBER THE ALAMO, and the Rhino too

Recollections are a funny thing. Some items that get locked away forever in the memory bank are never questioned as to why they are there. For example, few will probably ever forget where they were and what they were doing at the time the terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. Same is true for when the Challenger exploded shortly after take off. And others will never forget the day President Kennedy was assassinated.

But why is it that other more trivial information gets stored for later recall too? After all, why would anyone hang on to the fact that the average human eats eight spiders in their lifetime during the night. Or who really cares if a cockroach can live nine days without its head before it starves to death. And that a goldfish has a memory span of only three seconds.

Well, we know you're not a goldfish. But since you're here, we do know you like fishing. Therefore, the odds are three to one that you will have recollections of the Zebco Rhino. Sure you do, that huge animal that looked totally out of place in all the fishing magazines and on the TV fishing shows? The Rhino is a big, tough, awesome animal that stood for all those same things in Rhino fishing rods.

But do you remember the year that Rhino rods were first introduced? Here are a couple of clues. In this year's Super Bowl, Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers to a last minute Super Bowl win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Or maybe you're a baseball fan. The World Series featured the Oakland A's and the San Francisco Giants. But even more memorable than the match-up was that as TV cameras focused on the start of game three, an earthquake in the Bay area measuring 7.1 on the Richter shook Candlestick Park for millions to witness firsthand. It was 12 days later before that game and the Series resumed. This was also the year that President George Bush and Vice-president Dan Quayle took office.

The year was 1989, and if you followed fishing at all back then you can probably still vividly remember a lot of the elements of the original Rhino advertising campaign. Through print ads and television commercials, the Rhino was portrayed in absurd, human-like situations, giving it a personality of its own while delivering the same message over and over again, "super-tough, but sensitive."

There was the print ad of the huge rhinoceros being balanced on the tip of a Rhino rod, showing that big and tough didn't have to also mean heavy and bulky. And later, as other rods and a Zebco 33 reel joined the Rhino line, there was an ad that showed the huge animal standing in the kitchen over a baby bottle being warmed on the stove to prove he was now a "family man."

The Rhino television commercials were just as memorable. There was the one with the nervous fishing tackle store clerk checking out an obviously BIG man who was standing with his back to the camera. Only at the commercial's end, and in sync with a musical score similar to that of the famous shower scene from "Psycho," did the "customer" turn to the camera to reveal he was the Rhino man.

Another TV spot had a Rhino man sitting in his living room, flipping channels only to find that everyone on the tube from newscasters to cowboys were also Rhino people. The message was clear, "everywhere you turn, there's a Rhino." And to make sure that everyone understood tough didn't have to come at the expense of "sensitive," there was the commercial with an actual Rhino standing next to an old phonograph that was playing an emotional, opera-type record. When the Rhino turned to the camera, a tear glistened as the voice over said, "tough, yet sensitive."

And it seems everybody took advantage of the free Rhino t-shirt offer that came with every Rhino rod. You know, the t-shirt that had the Rhino's head pictured on the front and its posterior pictured on the back, along with the slogan that read, "Indestructible from tip to butt."

But for most people, the best memories are those that came from actual outings with Rhino rods and reels. More times than not, such memories are tied to significant "catches:" a child's first fish, a good-sized shark, a huge snapping turtle, a giant flathead catfish, an endless stringer of crappie. But that wasn't always the case.

Some used the fishermen's license for stretching the truth to take their Rhino-tough tales to a whole different level. One angler boasted of having used his Rhino catfish rods for tent poles when his were accidentally left at home. Another claims his Rhino rod was a formidable weapon used to convince an inquisitive bear that he wasn't an angler to be messed with.

There were even love stories too. One gut-hooked angler says it was easy buying birthday and anniversary gifts for his wife the first couple years of marriage. At least that lasted, he says, until she started giving him dresses on his special days.

But even though all the wonderful memories such as these have never faded over the years, the Zebco Rhino did. By the late 90s, the Rhino name was little more than a graphic on rods and reels in the Zebco line. For whatever reasons, the spirit that had always made the Rhino brand bigger than life was gone.

Some put the blame on the company's marketers, saying they were too focused on trying to deliver a new generation of product. Others thought anglers were to blame because they had become "too sophisticated" for a $20 rod. A handful simply thought the Rhino had headed to the big pasture in the sky. But all were wrong.

Anglers still wanted the Rhino. Proof was in the continual stream of cards, letters and phone calls inquiring as to its whereabouts. Product managers still wanted the Rhino because it was a dang good product. They knew it still had a place in the market.

So, as they say, the rest is history. The Rhino is back, and this time he's got lots of company . . . rods, spincast reels, spinning reels and baitcast reels.

Just as the original Rhino rods were built for toughness, so are the new ones. And what better way to carry that message forward than by adding a "bulletproof" tip? That's right, one with KevlarŪ, the same stuff used in bulletproof vests. The red-colored strains of KevlarŪ fibers are visible right there in the transparent section of the tip.

Of course, there's also still the famous Rhino-tough blank, but add to that an improved reel seat, better guides and great-looking graphics. The result is a dramatically stronger, better performing Rhino rod.

But now there's also an entire family of Rhino reels, too - spincast, spinning and levelwind. Although each has its own distinctive characteristics and features, it is easy to tell all are members of the Rhino family.

Red and black exteriors are rich with red accents, quality features and durable designs. Designs built for toughness and performance - smooth, ball bearing drives, dependable drag systems and easy-cranking retrieves.

The RSC3 spincast reel and the RSP2 and RSP3 spinning reels come in traditional sizes, but also in XL, meaning extra large for going after extra large fish. The RBCXL levelwind reel is already a big reel designed for bigwater trolling and built to live up to the Rhino-tough image.

There are Rhino combos, too, featuring special versions of rods with reels matched to meet a variety of popular fishing needs.

And just as all Rhino products carry-on the tradition of being tough, they do the same for value. Rhino reels range from $24.99 for spincast models to $39.99 for spinning to $49.99 for the levelwind. Rhino rods retail for $19.99. Combinations range from $24.99 - $39.99.

The Rhino is back. Start building your new memories today.


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