It's been an awesome two years of podcasting at Conversations of Big Rich. In this episode we share the stats and some highlights.
102 guests: 91 men, 11 women
8114 minutes of content
52,000 downloads with over 4 million minutes listened to
Bob Bower – Episode 55 and 56
Jack Bettio – Episode 75
Emily Miller – Episode 29
Larry McRae – Episode 15
Rob Bender Park – Episode 8
Charlie Melchner – Episode 4
Then enjoy a replay of Episode #1
The first, the pillar episode of the Big Rich podcast is live! In this episode Shelley interviews Big Rich about the beginning of rock crawling for him. It’s a perseverance story, a succeed at all costs, a bootstrapping, I want this so bad, I’ll do whatever it takes. Almost twenty years later, WE Rock is still strong. Come along for the journey, see where it all began.
Season 1, Episode 1 with Big Rich Klein
7:20 Who yells “What’s the name of your club?” to guys he’s never met before?
16:56 Cease and desist ordered delivered at his very first rock crawl
24:32 You want how much money? How a county judge helped us out.
30:13 Why we needed a 'Noise Study' at a gun range
33:39 The penalty for being trashy
42:32 The birth of WE Rock, but not without some controversy
52:31 No sleeves allowed! Reno Rocks is off the hook
54:31 Debacle in Farmington 2009
64:39 The Taj Mahauler lives
74:36 Dirt Riot is born
82:44 2020 begins, here's what it looks like
85:34 How 4Low Magazine comes with 20 years of plans
92:14 The history of off-road and why it matter
[00:00:00.610] - Big Rich Klein
Welcome to Conversations with Big Rich. This is a special episode for us. It's episode 104. That's two years of weekly releases. We're going to do things a little differently with this one. As you can tell, there was no intro music, but we are going to talk about some of the guests that we've had on and some of the stats that we've had and just kind of go over general what Conversations with Big Rich has been all about. There is a special on the end of this. This part will only be a few minutes, and then we're going to replay the original episode. And that's the conversation with me that Shelley asked me the questions instead of me asking my own questions. And so we'd really like to encourage everybody to take the time, listen to not only the people that you know, but also to those that you don't know, maybe somebody you've heard of, but you don't really know them. You haven't met them. All of the guests that we've had on here have had a very interesting life. We all have. The one thing in common is off road, whether it's rock sports or it's off road racing, it's the love of motorsports off road.
[00:01:22.850] - Big Rich Klein
With this episode being 104, that's 102 guests. That's 103 weeks. The ages of our guests have ranged from 30 to 85. We've had eleven women, 91 men; over 80% are business owners. Let's see, we've had 8112 minutes of content, five times of that prep. Yes, Shelley, these things don't just happen live and we put them on the air. I edit the conversation. We clean up some of the vocabulary or take some things out that aren't necessary. Do a lot of editing on my own voice because I sometimes talk like a blithering idiot and it works out to 135 hours, over 4 million minutes listened to, that's eight years of time. We really appreciate that. We have approximately I think it's like over 52,000 downloads now, which is very nice. We have a few episodes that are over a thousand. We are a small niche market, but we hope you enjoy what we're bringing to you. Remember, it's the history of offroad of those that live the lifestyle. In April for our third season, we will be releasing on YouTube, as well as all of the podcast services that are available. I've picked out a couple of my favorite episodes, and it's not so much because of the people that I interviewed, but more about the content and who that person was.
[00:03:11.990] - Big Rich Klein
I've got a lot of friends I've interviewed on here. I've got a few people that I didn't know, and we interviewed. I really thought it would be easier just to interview people I know, but it's been just as easy to interview people I've never met. It's amazing how people have opened up and allowed me into their lives, which in course allows you into their lives. One of my favorite episodes was with Bob Bower. That's Baja Bob Bower, we needed two episodes just to get his word out there. And I probably could have talked to him for another five or 6 hours. But we wanted to make it realistic. So we talked to Bob two absolutely fantastic episodes. The background in history that he has and what he has done for off road racing and for rock crawling that many people don't know is amazing. Without Bob Bower, we wouldn't have that famous letter to being safe in what it means to be safe in Baja. We also wouldn't have a lot of the safety standards that are set now in rock crawling. He's the one that forced me. Bob Bower was the one that asked me to bring safety to the forefront in rock crawling.
[00:04:40.910] - Big Rich Klein
He said, you got to have the guys in fire suits, you got to have window nets, you got to have fire extinguishers, you got to have helmets, you got to have the right harnesses. Those things were very important to him and in turn very important to us to get to you guys. There was a fear at one time that if we did that, we would lose drivers, meaning drivers would go away. They didn't want to spend the money for safety. And we found that's really not the case. And we appreciate everybody for stepping up and being safe. Bob Bower's episodes are number 55 and 56, by the way, if you wish to listen to those and you haven't. Jack Bettio is another competitor conversation that I had. He was probably the oldest rock crawler at this point. Now he's not rock crawling anymore, but that put him probably at the high end of the spectrum at that point when he was crawling. In the early days, I learned a lot about Jack. From drag racing to piloting to business. His episode was number 75. Jack was a big influence on the East Coast, Wheeling. And a lot of guys learned a lot of things from Jack on everything from sponsorship to just putting your nose to the grindstone and getting stuff done.
[00:06:02.090] - Big Rich Klein
Episode number 29 is a special Lady, Emily Miller. Emily brought the US a woman's event called the Rebelle Rally, which actually is our favorite event to attend. As staff, we willingly go out, spend twelve days with a great group of people and drive all over Nevada and California to help with this all women's navigational rally. No electronics, nothing but map and compass the maps that they have. Don't have cities on them. They have landmarks like the mountains and the Rivers. Typical topographical map, but without the cities. So the whole time that they're out there, they're turned off from their electronics. They have no cell service. They are doing everything from map and Compass to get from point A to point B, which can be somewhere around up to 2200 km. I think was the longest one over eight days of competition. It's absolutely a phenomenal life changing event. And I encourage all the men out there that are listening to get their wives, girlfriends, significant others, or somebody in their business involved with the Rebelle Rally. I first met Emily Miller when she was racing for Rod Hall in the early 2000s. Was racing with Rod and part of his Rod Hall Hummer experiences.
[00:07:37.370] - Big Rich Klein
And just an outstanding woman and super strong. You look at her.
[00:07:45.040] - Big Rich Klein
She'S this tiny little thing and she is just a whirlwind. She gets stuff done. And she's been doing the KOH media for a number of years now and is just absolutely fantastic in everything that she's done. Number 15, episode 15 was Larry McRae. Larry has overcome a lot of things in his life and overcome them all and made it to the other side. Everything from health, health issues, business acumen, and learning what it takes to get stuff done. Another one of those that just won't quit. Episode number eight is Rob Bender Park. Yes, I know Bender. If you listen to this episode, you're going to know Bender. Rob Park is always the showman. He is a fantastic fabricator and just a great mind and a great guy. One you should listen to. I think the easiest episode in conversation that I ever had with anybody was my good time old friend Charlie Melchner. Episode number four. Typically, I'll ask questions during the interview and try to get information out of somebody to get them to tell a story or a situation that happened during their lifetime. Charlie. I asked one question. That one question was where were you born and raised?
[00:09:25.010] - Big Rich Klein
And from there I learned all about Charlie in chronological order. And I don't think I got another word in until I said goodbye. Charlie is a phenomenal Wheeler. A great guy will help anybody, and he's bringing up the next generation of rock crawlers with his son, little Charlie. There are so many more that have made an impact in my life after doing these interviews that I really hope that everybody takes the time to listen to all of the interviews. I know that's a lot of work, a lot of time. But you know what? Every time you drive, start it up from where you finished it off the last time. If you're sitting around the house and you're watching TV and it's some dumb show like the Academy Awards or something, turn that off and learn something about the history of offroad and rock sports. Motor sports. All of these conversations have had moments where I would like to call jaw dropping, eye opening surprises that I didn't know about the people that I'm interviewing, even though I may have known these people for decades. I have a really long list. I mean, we've done 102 guests.
[00:10:46.370] - Big Rich Klein
I have another 200 to 300 on my list of people I want to get to. And every week I meet somebody new or somebody recommends somebody else trying to hunt down some of these people has been pretty difficult that are still on the list. That's why I haven't interviewed them yet. There are some great names from the past, but if you have any recommendations that you would like to throw at us, please send me an email, drop me a text, let me know on Facebook and we can try to hunt those people down. And better yet, if you have their contact information, provide that as well. So hang on, start at the beginning again or get your friends to listen and enjoy conversations with Big Rich thank you.
[00:11:42.590] - Speaker 2
Welcome to The Big Rich Show. This podcast will focus on conversations with friends and acquaintances within the four wheel drive industry. Many of the people that I will be interviewing, you may know the name, you may know some of the history, but let's get in depth with these people and find out what truly makes them a four wheel drive enthusiast. So now is the time to sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation.
[00:12:10.950] - Speaker 5
Whether you're crawling the red rocks of Moab or hauling your toys to the trail, Maxxis has the tires you can trust for performance and durability. Four wheels or two, Maxxis tires are the choice of Champions because they know that whether for work or play, for fun or competition, Maxxis tires deliver. Choose Maxxis tread victoriously.
[00:12:37.630] - Big Rich Klein
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank 4low Magazine for contributing to the success of this podcast. 4low Magazine, an enthusiast magazine for the four X four off road community. Okay, I thought we would start off the conversations with Big Rich with a conversation with Big Rich. So none other than Shelley Krehbiel, my wife and partner in life and crime, is going to interview me to give you listeners an idea about who I am.
[00:13:11.650] – Shelley Krehbiel
One of the things that we realize is, that it's so hard to just talk about yourself and, where do you start What do you remember That kind of thing. So we thought, well, this is a good opportunity for me to continue practicing my interview skills. And I, I get to ask about some of my favorite stories because when rock crawling started, I was not part of the conversation. I got in about mid way through from what the career has been so far. So there's a lot of stories that I just really enjoy. So I'm going to start by asking him some questions. Rich, when, when you saw your first rock crawl, where were you? What was that about
[00:13:56.900] – Big Rich Klein
Well, myself, my son and a buddy of mine, Dave Burling, we were living in Cedar City. We had heard that there was going to be this rock crawling event called the Warn Nationals down in Johnson Valley Means Dry Lake. We took off on a Friday night. This was, I want to say it was 98 is when it was, I'm not particular sure on which date, but we'll say 98. We drove down in the middle of the night. We got from Cedar city up in Big Bear, California, realized that we were in the wrong place. Went back down the Hill, got into Johnson Valley but into the Bessemer mine area and out to what, there's some rock formations out there, a couple of miles out, camped there overnight, got up early the next morning, realized that we were in the wrong area or confirmed that we were in the wrong area. We thought we were that night. And so we packed up and headed another 10 miles or so down the road to the Means Dry Lake entrance.
Big rich: And we went in there, found a bunch of people camped out there. When I say a bunch of people, there was like maybe 50, 60 camps. And so we camped out on the Lake bed and we found where they were doing the rock crawl and I think it was Wrecking Ball I think as the the area that they used. But I'm not sure it was my first trip down that way. I wasn't driving, but we went down there, we watched the rock crawling event. It was super windy that weekend. There was all sorts of people to talk to and to see and getting into the rock crawling, figuring it out. Like I said, we were living in Cedar City. We had an area up there called Three Peaks and Three Peaks wasn't really, it was just part of the County and BLM land wasn't a park at the time.
Big rich: It was just open area. And we used to use it for rock crawling. The equestrian people would use it for riding horses and mountain bikers and all sorts of people would use the area. But it was, it was really trashed. And we as a club adopted the area and started cleaning it up. And it was around that same time that we were introduced to Ranch Pratt, who started ARCA, the American Rock Crawlers Association. We, we're in the process of trying to get that rock crawl to come to Cedar City to use that area. So we went down, saw the first event, which was, like I said, it was a, a Warn National. It became later on became Pro Rock, but it was the first event that we went to. It was pretty exciting.
[00:16:50.470] – Shelley Krehbiel
Before that, you had obviously been in the Wheeling scene. So it's not like you randomly said, oh, they're doing cars on rocks. I should go do that. What had you been doing before then?
[00:17:02.370] - Big Rich Klein
My first trip going Wheeling was with Dan Hartwig, who was my first father in law, and we went into Barrett Lake, which is in the same area as the Rubicon, Northern California and the Sierras. And I had no clue what rock crawling or that kind of offroad was. I went for a trail ride with him and a buddy of his and the Buddy's son. So it was the two vehicles, four of us, and we went into Barrett Lake, had lunch, and turned around and came back out. What was interesting about that trip was, first of all, when we drove up to the gate and there's just a bunch of rocks right on the other side of the gate, I'm like, so where are we going? Because we're going to go right up that. And I'm like, yeah, right. Well, okay, we did we went in just as we were getting started. A bunch of guys in Toyota's came up behind us. Dan and Buck said hello to them and we loaded up and we took off. And they were obviously I don't know how many minutes behind us, but they were airing down and getting ready while we took off.
[00:18:09.230] - Big Rich Klein
We went in uneventful, had lunch, kicked it back for an hour or so, turned around and started on the way back, and we came across these guys, the same group of Toyotas in an area called what is it? It's like rock pile or something like that. And these guys were broken in various degrees. I mean, transfer cases, axles, I don't know, transmissions, who knows? But they had parts everywhere and they carried enough parts to rebuild their cars. And by then I probably had a couple too many beers. I wasn't driving. I was told by Dan that the name of their club was Toys on the Rocks. And I was kind of a smart Alec back then. And I asked one of the guys, I said, so what's the name of your club? And he goes, we're the toys on the rocks. And I looked at him and I said, you mean toys all over the rocks? And I started to give him shit going on. This is my first trip. I'm never going to buy a Toyota because we just drove in with two Jeeps and we had no, absolutely no problems. And the only reason we're held up is waiting for you guys to clear the trail.
[00:19:24.790] - Big Rich Klein
And I don't think I made a lot of friends that day. In fact, Dan was like, Rich, just be quiet. Just be quiet. These guys are friends. Be quiet, be quiet. Well, that was the way I was back then. And we later became friends and wheeled some with those guys. But yeah, my first experience was Barrett Lake on that trip. And then we made a couple of trips into the Rubicon as well. And I have to say that I was hooked.
[00:19:56.170] - Shelley Krehbiel
So for those of you listening, we generally refer to those years as his BS years for lots of reasons, but we like to call them before Shelley, because now he's the Kindler, gentler, Rich, but not so much back in the day as some of you would have experienced, including those guys that were toys on the rocks. So that's how you started wheeling. You ended up in Cedar City. What did you do in Cedar that was related to Wheeling?
[00:20:27.070] - Big Rich Klein
Well, first of all, I went there chasing a job working for a tire store. I was like manager of two tire stores, one in St. George, one in Cedar. And the whole idea behind going there was the company hired me because they were going to expand. They wanted to do eleven or twelve stores throughout what we call the Tristate area there. That's Mesquite, Nevada, St. George, Cedar City, and like Page and Flagstaff and maybe Kingman kind of area in Arizona. And when I went there, went to work for this tire company, a lot of people came in, made friends with a couple of guys. And Dave Burling was the first guy that I really made friends with. And he owned a company called Auto Trim Design. And it was an aftermarket parts installation and sales. And he did spray in bed liners. He did truck steps and window tinting and all the Bolt on Chrome and stuff. And he had a Bronco. And we'd go wheeling. And then I got involved with the club there, the Color Country Four Wheel Drive Club. Eventually I became President of the Color Country Four Wheel Drive Club. Got into that period of time where we were trying to get Arca to come in to put on the event.
[00:21:46.870] - Big Rich Klein
When we went to Johnson Valley to watch that event down there, we had no idea that it was not that Arca, that it was somebody else. And it was Bob Hazel, which became Prorock putting on the Warren Nationals. He did a couple of single events under the name Warren Nationals and then Ranch. When he started Arca, he did the first series of events. And that first year after that trip to Johnson Valley, we ended up in Phoenix in that area, Florence Junction, for what would have been, I believe, Arca's second event of the year. I think they started off in Farmington, and then we did is where the upper and lower woodpeckers, the trail systems that they used.
[00:22:39.990] - Shelley Krehbiel
Okay. So following that, obviously your relationship with Ranch began because you guys actually hosted or helped to host one of those archive events in Cedar, correct?
[00:22:53.680] - Big Rich Klein
Correct. We did what we could to help Ranch get through the jump through the hurdles of BLM processing. And we cleaned up the area, did a lot of advertising or helped with guerrilla marketing for them. When it came around time for getting judges, I called on our club, Color Country Four Wheel Drive. There was two clubs down in the St. George area. One was the Rebel Four Wheel Drive Club. And then there was I don't even remember what the name of the other club was, but it was like Milt Thompson and from Dixie Four Wheel Drive and some of his friends and guys. And even though the two clubs intermixed quite a bit, there was more big pickup trucks and different types of vehicles where Milk's Group was more Jeep Orientated. But we got everybody together up in Cedar City at Dave's Shop and we did a training session that Ranch came into and provided training on how to judge one of these rock crawl events. I had already read through the book that his rule book and pretty much understood. Nobody else in the group did. Ranch was trying to explain things, and I would pop up and saying, well, I think what he means is this.
[00:24:16.880] - Big Rich Klein
I helped him out, even though he probably won't remember it, but that's my first intern with really heavy interaction with Ranch was during that judge's training. And of course, that first event.
[00:24:30.350] - Shelley Krehbiel
Of course, we hate it when guys do that for our judge in our judging events, he might have as well.
[00:24:36.000] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. Probably didn't matter to me. My guys were looking there dumbfounded, like they were looking into a blank wall.
[00:24:43.730] - Shelley Krehbiel
[00:24:44.560] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, here, let me help explain this. It's just the way I am.
[00:24:50.450] - Shelley Krehbiel
So that event came off. Were there any others after that that you were involved in before you got to your own thing?
[00:24:58.820] - Big Rich Klein
No, we went to events, both Dave and I. But I never worked as a judge for any events. I was just observing, trying to learn what the promoters were doing then. And of course, that was Bob Hazel and Ranch. I just wanted to see how things were run. I've always been one of those kind of people that just organizes things. My idea was I'm not going to stay in Cedar City forever. When I go back to California, I'm going to try to find a piece of property, and I'm going to put on an event in California. That was my plan. Arca at the time was pretty much concentrated in that Utah, Arizona, New Mexico market. Pro rock was. I'm not even sure it was Prorok at that point. They were still just doing, I think they started doing the events in Johnson Valley, and they were doing some events in the Midwest, and I was like, nothing's going on in Northern California. That's where I wanted where I was from. So I wanted to get back to with that. At that first event, I met a guy named Randy Burlson, and Randy and I were talking he was from Northern California Sacramento area, and he said he knew of a place that might want to host a rock crawl event, and he would talk to the people.
[00:26:22.170] - Big Rich Klein
So when I moved to California, I started talking to Randy. We hooked up. We found property owners that were down there at Lake Amador in Amador County outside of Jackson, California, and we made plans and we put on our first Cow Rocks event in November of 2001. I moved back to California December of 2000, just before Christmas. Yeah. We spent the next year getting ready to try to put on a rock crawl event.
[00:26:55.400] - Shelley Krehbiel
Okay. So this story needs to be told. This is what I've heard a number of times, but I think it goes so well in showing your perseverance. So here we are it's December November 2001, Lake Amador in Amador County. And it is the Friday of your very first rock crawl.
[00:27:21.870] - Big Rich Klein
What happened leading up to that Friday? On Monday, I received a call from a guy who said he was a potential spectator. He made mention during the conversation he worked for the Amado County Sheriff's Department, and he wanted to know about what this rock crawl event was. And so I told him, oh, it's four wheel drive event, trials type competition, and it's going to be really cool. We're going to have wild action to watch. And he goes, well, how many people do you think are going to be there? And I said, Well, I've got like 42 teams signed up, and I don't know how many people are going to be there, but there was an event in Utah that there was 10,000 people that showed up, and that was that first Cedar City event. At least that's what everybody was saying was there. All I know is the most people I'd ever seen in Cedar City up in Three Peaks. So it could have easily been 10,000 people. Well, this guy was obviously phishing for information because we get out to the event site we're setting up, and Friday morning at like 10:00 in the morning, a Sheriff's officer shows up, serves me and the property owner with cease and desist orders.
[00:28:41.900] - Big Rich Klein
A court date that day at 05:00 Friday in court so that we could fight the cease and desist order. And so, of course, I started to freak out a little bit.
[00:28:58.010] - Shelley Krehbiel
You're not the only one on site.
[00:28:59.820] - Big Rich Klein
I mean, Friday we had all the teams were already there. I would say probably almost all of our judges were there. Everybody that was working staff, the toilets were already there. Everything for the event was underway. I mean, it was Friday. So at 05:00 Friday, I needed to be in court fighting the county over a cease and desist order because we did not have a mass gathering permit. Well, when I first got there, in the conversations with the people that owned Lake Amador or leased the property, one of the things I asked him was, hey, am I going to have to get any kind of permits or anything? And the guy assured me, no, you won't need any permits. We've had concerts here. We've had drag boat races here. We've had thousands of people out here on site, and we've never needed a permit because we're zoned recreation. And I said, okay, great. So I took his word for it. Well, Friday morning at 10:00, when the Sheriff handed me the citation, I'm like, okay, this isn't good. Bob Rogue was helping me at the time. I looked at Bob and said, what do you think?
[00:30:10.850] - Big Rich Klein
And he goes, Well, I think we need to call a lawyer. And I said, yeah, I think you're right. So we called a lawyer that he knew. The lawyer called a civil engineer that he knew. We met out on site. We started looking over everything that we had done before the civil engineer got there. He had pulled up what the county required for a mass gathering permit. How many toilets per 100 people, all this kind of thing. We had far exceeded everything that they would have wanted for a mass gathering permit, except we didn't have a permit. We never applied for a permit which was like $200 or some ridiculously low number, which would have been a ridiculously low number if we didn't know. Well, we go to court, we make a plan, we go to court, we hear the county and I mean, we're talking the County Attorney's, their permit Department is there, the Sheriff is there. We're fighting everybody in Amador County. And I think it was just me, the lawyer, the civil engineer. So we're sitting there, we go through the proceedings, everybody testifies, and then I get called up, and the judge has already heard from the county that we don't have a permit and that we're not ready because we haven't met the permit.
[00:31:28.500] - Big Rich Klein
A civil engineer gets up there and says, Well, here's what the county says is required. Here is what Rich has already done. We far exceed what is required. We just don't have a piece of paper signed by them saying that we have a permit and the threshold is 1000 people to get a permit. So if you only have 900 people, you don't have to have a permit. So we were basing our card, show of the cards for that. The judge asked me, So how many people do you expect? The Sheriff officer says that you told them there could be 10,000 people. That far exceeds the permit. And I said, well, let me put it this way. I have no idea how many people are going to show up. So this is the first time an event like this has ever happened in California. It's only like the fourth time or fifth time that an event like this has ever been put on anywhere that I know of, and we have no idea how many people are going to show up. Plus, I'm a promoter. I said, Think about it. If I was a florist and you called me up and said, I need a dozen roses, and I look over in my rose case and I only have two.
[00:32:43.670] - Big Rich Klein
Well, I'm going to tell you, I have a dozen roses. Come on in. And then I'm going to scramble like hell to make sure I got the other ten. That's a being a promoter, a salesman. When I worked for the tire stores, if somebody said, hey, I need this size tire, yeah, come on in. They may want the cheapest $2 tire we have or $20 tire, but I'm going to try to sell them the 40 or $60 tire by showing them the benefits. I'm doing the same thing. A guy calls me up, says he's going to be a spectator. Wants to know how cool this event is going to be. Well, hell, I'm going to tell them it's the greatest thing in the world. People don't want to go out there if they're going to be the only one there. So I told them, hey, there's been events like this across the country that have 10,000 people never told them we were going to have 10,000 people. So the judge looked at me and said, Well, Mr. Klein, what do you think we should do about this? And I said, Well, I'll tell you what.
[00:33:37.200] - Big Rich Klein
I'd like to be able to put the event on. Obviously, we already have people there. We're going through tech and registration. We're ready to put this event on tomorrow morning at 08:00 in the morning, I said, I'd like to do the event. And he goes, what happens if you get 10,000 people? And I said, we're going to be Slam packed. And I'm going to have a smile on my face. And he goes, but then you would have to have a permit and the sheriffs could shut you down because you don't have a permit. And I said, Well, I'll tell you what. We'll do a head count as people come in, and I'll limit it to 999 people on site, not including your Sheriff. And as soon as we hit that 999, I'll shut the doors. And when two people leave, I'll let two more in. And the judge looks at me and goes, year. And it goes, you do that? And I said, yeah, I've got to put this event on. There's no way I can cancel right now. And since the threshold is 1000, I'll stand or a thousand. The judge banged his gavel and said, that sounds good to me.
[00:34:32.290] - Big Rich Klein
You can put your event on. Just don't go over 1000 people. So we beat the county. The county was. When I looked over at their table, they were pretty upset. I don't think they understood what a rock crawl was. My understanding is, a couple of weeks before that, at Comanche Reservoir, some people showed up and put a rave on. And so they figured rock crawling, rock and roll. They thought it was another concert, and so they just wanted to shut us down. And obviously that's not the case, right?
[00:35:08.150] - Shelley Krehbiel
So the next day, gates open. What happened?
[00:35:13.610] - Big Rich Klein
We had a line of cars that went on forever. The driveway in the access road in off the highway is probably a couple of miles long, I think. And I think they were backed up almost to the highway, trying to get in. Once we hit 1000, which was like by 800. In the morning, we started turning people away. Some people waited in line, others left. We did what we said we were going to do. The sheriffs did make one arrest that weekend. They arrested a guy or wrote a citation for a guy for selling a single marijuana joint.
[00:35:54.830] - Shelley Krehbiel
Well, this was in 2001. That wasn't legal yet.
[00:35:59.540] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, nobody under announced is only $100 fine in California.
[00:36:04.590] - Shelley Krehbiel
[00:36:05.420] - Big Rich Klein
The guy got $100 fine for that. I got a bill, like a month later from the Sheriff's Department for $5,000 or overtime for the Sheriff to be at our event. I wrote the Sheriff's letter back saying, well, that's all fine and dandy, but I'm not paying the $5,000 because you weren't under contract to be there. It wasn't part of the mass. I didn't have to have a mass gathering permit. You were never hired to be there. So you can take your $5,000 and file it. Well, they took me to court over that $5,000, and it took me over two years to beat that $5,000 ticket.
[00:36:51.660] - Shelley Krehbiel
And what did that actually cost you?
[00:36:53.550] - Big Rich Klein
It cost me about $3,000 to not pay five. To not pay five. But it was principal at that point. Of course, if I added up how many tickets I got in Amador County because I still had the cow rock stickers on my vehicles, my understanding was anybody that they saw with a cow rock sticker on their vehicle would get pulled over for some bogusass ticket. Yeah, we ended up beating it. The judge that we first saw told the county that it was ridiculous and to make it go away. And then every time we would show up into court again, when it gets rescheduled, that judge wasn't there. So there'd always be a judge pro TEM. And the judge pro TEM would always go, well, I'm not going to touch this one. We'll wait till the judge is here reschedule. This went on like once a quarter for two years. And so I was paying my lawyer to show up each time we'd get a judge pro TEM. And then finally at that two and a half year Mark, whatever it was, the original judge showed up and he was not happy. And he looked at the district attorney and he said, whatever the guy's name was.
[00:38:04.580] - Big Rich Klein
And this is ridiculous. You need to make this go away. And the guy said, well, we're trying to negotiate with Mr. Klein, but he will not budge. And the judge said, no, you don't understand. You make this go away. Drop this or I will. And the guy, the district attorney says, well, he just won't budge. And the judge said, hid his gavel and said, case dismissed. Mr. Klein, you don't owe the Sheriff's Department a dime. And I brought in all my tickets that I had gotten and paid for, and I said, I'd like to have this stop as well. And so he looked at the district attorney and said, yeah, you need to make sure that Mr. Klein is not harassed as he drives through our county anymore. So two years later, after a couple of seasons of putting on cow rocks, we finally got that one off our back. But I guess the moral of the story is, is that you just don't give up.
[00:39:09.950] - Shelley Krehbiel
You can't, because if you give up, you'd never get started. So that certainly has been the case in our career. So it started in 2001, 1st event. It was a one time event. What happened after that? What came next?
[00:39:25.840] - Big Rich Klein
Well, I'd already planned on doing an event series, made arrangements for a place in Apple Valley, California called Deadman's Point that was privately owned, had some really cool rocks on it. And the guy was a real estate agent that owned the property. I go in about a month before our event was supposed to happen in February meeting with this guy, and he's asking me all these questions like, well, I need the contact information for your drivers. I need who your marketing partners are. I need your food vendors. I want to know all the information on how you got your insurance, all these things. And I'm like, that's not the kind of information that I'm going to give a property partner. And he goes, well, maybe I don't want to be just a property partner. And I said, well, then you can start your own freaking event series. And I grabbed all my stuff up and I said, we're not coming at all. And I walked out the door. Of course, I probably wasn't as nice as that when I walked out the door. So Bob Rogey and I go to the Hammers for New Year's and I meet John James, who is with the ten vendors.
[00:40:44.810] - Big Rich Klein
And we started talking about needing a location. We're going to do this rock crawl because it was brought up, hey, you guys are going to still do this? And like, no, I got to find a new location. And John James goes, well, I think we could probably make something work with my dad in the Lions Club on the Lions Pride Park. It's a shooting range in Lacern Valley that they own. And it's got a clubhouse and big parking and all this other stuff. And why don't you talk to my dad and see if we can arrange something to be done there? So it was probably Monday or Tuesday after New Year's. Couple of days after that, I met his dad. We had an initial conversation. The next thing I know, I'm down in San Bernardino at the county building, filing a permit and a mass gathering permit. I learned my lesson. Counties and government agencies are ridiculous. Here we are out in the middle of the desert in a very small community at a gun range where there are large loud noises going off all the time. There's one neighbor or two houses. There one neighbor.
[00:42:02.130] - Big Rich Klein
The one neighbor was already contracted for the parking for spectators. So he was all for the event. The other residence, nobody even lived in it. It was like a second home to him. And I had no way to get in touch with the people I tried calling, found the records through the title and all that kind of stuff. The county required us to have a noise study done. Like we've got dragsters or something, because they were saying, oh, well, if it's a motorized event, it's going to be loud. We have to do a noise study. And I'm like, okay, what's that going to cost me? Well, it's going to take six weeks, and it's going to be $500. And I'm like, well, first of all, I don't have six weeks and $500 for a noise permit out in the middle of the desert. And I laid it all out. And I said, well, it has to be done. I said, well, you need to kick this up faster. They go, well, it's these people that do it. And they say, it's got to be six weeks. And I said, all right, who's the guy ahead of that Department?
[00:42:57.250] - Big Rich Klein
So they gave me the phone number. I called the guy and I said, hey, I'm trying to put this event on. I just found out that I got to have this noise permit. I got to pay you guys $500 to do this noise study. This is the location, and it's a gun range. The normal operating hours of the gun range is when we're going to be doing our event, which is in the daytime, not at night, not early, early in the morning, and the only person that lives nearby is part of the event. So the guy said, okay, well, that'll be fine. Just pay me the $500. I wrote him a $500 check, and he gave me the permit. So I was able to finish the permit. He didn't even go out and look. So then I had to contact the highway patrol because the access road at Rabbit Springs Road is also the highway 18 or whatever it is that goes from Apple Valley, Victorville to Lacern Valley and down to Yucca. So I have to have highway patrol at that intersection. It's not like he's doing out there with white gloves directing traffic.
[00:44:03.930] - Big Rich Klein
He's just sitting there. So I go in and they said, okay, well, here's the hours. Here's the hours. I need them because there's not going to be any traffic in the middle. It's going to be all at the front and at the back of the event. So they said, okay, great. They said, we'll send you an estimate once we figure it out. Again, I'm playing here with weeks because I had a place, and now I'm trying to change my second event. I get this thing from the high patrol, and they're like, It's going to cost $2,500 for the weekend to have this highway patrolman there. And I'm like, what the hell are you guys talking about? Well, he's going to have the time that he's sitting there. It's $50 an hour, and then he's going to have mileage, and he's going to have to be on his route and I'm like, wait, I'm not paying for his route time. I'm not paying for his mileage on the route time. I shouldn't even have to pay that because he goes up and down that road anyway. He's just going to sit at our place for 2 hours every morning, 2 hours in the afternoon.
[00:45:04.250] - Big Rich Klein
And they said, well, he needs to be there more than that. And I said, all right, fine. We ended up getting him for $50 an hour. And it cost me, like, I don't know, $500 or something like that for 10 hours.
[00:45:17.210] - Shelley Krehbiel
Who knew that $50 an hour was not a bad deal, right?
[00:45:20.850] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. Later on, we found out from BLM that was cheap. Yeah, we do that. And that highway patrolman had to do. He only had to do one thing that whole weekend Besides sit on his ass. And that was we had a spectator that was there that was pretty obnoxious, pretty drunk. He was going to leave his trash, and some of the spectators over there were yelling at him, hey, pick up your trash, you idiot. That kind of thing. And he got belligerent. I got a phone call from my medical guy going, hey, we've almost got a fight going on over here. And I said, just let him go. Tell everybody to shut up. Let him go. I said, what does he look like? And so I went down to the front gate as him and his wife left. They walked out and got into this red Buick. I called that cop that was sitting at the corner, and I said, hey, there's going to be a red Buick coming by you in a couple of minutes. When he does, you need to pull him over for drunk driving. And this is what happened. And he goes, oh, cool.
[00:46:23.280] - Big Rich Klein
Thanks. Well, he ended up getting arrested. They impounded his car. I'm not sure if she got arrested or not, but this little littering out there and being belligerent cost him probably quite a bit of money.
[00:46:36.180] - Shelley Krehbiel
You know that snitches get stitches, right?
[00:46:39.770] - Big Rich Klein
You know what?
[00:46:45.450] - Shelley Krehbiel
Okay, so now we've started. Do we have a series yet, or are we still just doing one?
[00:46:51.660] - Big Rich Klein
That was the first event of the series. We also had a couple of other locations lined out for that year. Donner Ski Ranch. I don't know where else.
[00:47:03.410] - Shelley Krehbiel
I got a list somewhere.
[00:47:04.800] - Big Rich Klein
It might have been Moon Rocks. I was working on getting Moon Rocks done, but we also did an event, 4 July in 2002, and that was called Carnage for the Con. It was a club event, and there was four or five clubs involved, and it was a rock crawl club against club. All proceeds after the cost of the event were donated to Friends of the Rubicon. And it was the second rock crawl in Northern California, but we held it at Donner Ski Ranch. We didn't have to have permits that are I ignored the fact that we should have permits, but we had this event up there and it was pretty much off the hook. Anybody that was there will tell you that it was a great time was had by all.
[00:47:53.170] - Shelley Krehbiel
[00:47:57.070] - Big Rich Klein
I want to say that Pirates of the Rubicon won that event. Ten vendors came in second, but it may have been the ten vendors came in first, and that's why it ended up going to Southern California for the event.
[00:48:12.160] - Shelley Krehbiel
Well, if you got it wrong, no doubt somebody is going to correct you. Oh, yeah.
[00:48:17.290] - Big Rich Klein
Somebody that has a better memory than me that didn't flush theirs away in a beer bottle.
[00:48:22.210] - Shelley Krehbiel
I don't know that that's the problem. I just know that your memory is a little shaky. So I think we're doing well getting that. Okay, so now we've begun. There are other rock crawling series that are going I want to say I know that you are now friends with other series promoters at the time, but there was a time in which there was quite a conflict between.
[00:48:47.630] - Big Rich Klein
When I was a club President in Cedar City, Utah, we used to wheel with the Delta Crawlers or what. I don't remember the name of their club, Canyon Crawlers or something like that. Anyway, that club, the President was Craig Stump. Dave Burling and I were talking about putting on a rock crawl in Cedar City because we've been approached by the Utah Summer Games to bring in Extreme Motorsports and put on a rock crawl during the Summer Games. By then, we started conversations. I moved back to California. Dave and Craig Stump went to an event together where Dave was actually spotting for Craig, I think, and they started talking about it. And after that event that they had gone to, which I believe was an archive event, Dave calls me up and says, hey, we're going to start a rock crawling series called You Rock. And it was the Utah Rock Crawlers Association or something like that. And I was our Utah Rock Crawling and Off Road challenge, and I was in the process of getting everything started for Calrocks. We started both Europe and Cal Rocks at about the same time. Arco was a national series.
[00:50:09.620] - Big Rich Klein
I was more than happy to stay with Cal Rocks as a regional series. I don't know what you're on plans were at that time, but Dave and Craig Stump started that. It was actually Craig's deal, but Dave was helping him out. Their first event, I believe, first You Rock event was in St. George Snow Canyon area. And I actually sponsored Bob Rogue and Mike Schaefer at that event. So I went down there for the event with them. I looked at the courses and I was like, Holy shit, these things are insane. And I remember Craig Stump coming up to me and going, so, Rich, what do you think of the courses? And I said, these courses are retarded. He goes, what do you mean? I said, you're going to break almost everyone, and you're going to have very few. Finishing any of these obstacles is my opinion. And he goes, yes, I can't wait until I can set up an event where nobody finishes any of the courses. And I just thought, wow, that's kind of fucked up. I want people to have a competition. They're not in competition with the rock crawling promoter. They're in competition with each other on how well they can drive the train.
[00:51:25.030] - Big Rich Klein
But that's the difference between how people are. Some people want to do things their own way, and that's great, or everybody wants to do things their own way. So if we were all the same, it would be a boring world, right?
[00:51:39.860] - Big Rich Klein
So I ended up working with Ranch Pratt. After that, I was doing regional series and doing them all over the place. We had talked and I said, you know what? I don't want to be. I don't want to be the national event promoter. I just want to put on series events. I want to take my trailer with all my stuff, and I want to go put events on in different places and go to the drivers. And so the drivers all having to come to me. I said, I think we can build the sport up by getting more people involved. Our first season, we'd started off with three classes of vehicles. Right away I saw that. I believe that was a big need. So we had a Mod stock Promod and unlimited. And so we took that on the road after the first year, and we started. I still had Cow Rocks, but we did events outside of Northern California and Nevada under the name of Narca, which was North American Regional Rock Crawlers Association. That went on until You Rock and Arca combined. Craig Stump took some partners. Those partners exited Craig. They teamed up with Ranch.
[00:52:52.110] - Big Rich Klein
Then it became EUROk, and they were trying Euroc was going around. They got E Rock and all these other organizations that were putting on Rock Falls at that time. They got them all together under the Europe banner. And they kept trying to get me and Little Rich to come under their banner as Cow Rocks. And I kept saying, no, wasn't interested. I was running Valley Off Road Racing Association Bora at that point as well. And I had no desire to become part of something that was bigger. I didn't mind working with them, but I didn't want to work for them. That's a whole other story that doesn't need to become public. Some people know it. If you find it all the old records on Pirate, you can probably see a lot of the conversations that happened, but we never really saw eye to eye everybody. It was more of a contentious relationship. Even though I'm friends with Ranch Pratt now or considered friends because we're no longer in competition with each other. There was some contentious times at times through rock crawling history.
[00:54:04.730] - Shelley Krehbiel
So they had all come together under the Europe name. So instead of Utah, they were thinking of it as United, correct?
[00:54:13.560] - Big Rich Klein
That is correct.
[00:54:14.680] - Shelley Krehbiel
[00:54:15.460] - Big Rich Klein
In 2005, we were trying to figure out how to keep doing what we were doing. Of course, we couldn't use Narca anymore because it just didn't make sense. You rock were really actively going after everybody. And I said, well, let's let them have the United States. Let's contact people in other countries and see if we can make deals with them to where they'll run under the Werock banner. So we did that. We had Australia with Sam Overton, and we had Naizumi Suda in Japan, and we had a guy in Chile and Brazil and Russia, and they never ended up putting on events, but if they did, they were going to use the name. We went up to Canada and put on a couple of events up in Canada under we rock. And I ended up giving using the name up there, get calm with a promoter up there that never did anything more than with his off road shows, which were great. So that's the way we went until You Rock decided to not do any rock crawling anymore is world extreme rock crawling or depending on the day.
[00:55:40.590] - Shelley Krehbiel
Sometimes it feels like weather extreme.
[00:55:43.190] - Big Rich Klein
But it was meant to be the world extreme rock crawling Championship series. It was actually, I think, Dean Bullock that coined the term weather extreme as we rock instead of world extreme.
[00:56:00.870] - Shelley Krehbiel
But that goes with any outdoor event. I mean, let's face it, if we were concerned that much about the weather, we'd find an arena to do stuff in rerock has now begun. Cal Rocks has been shelved. We're in the 2005 2006 era, is that correct? It's very strong. There's a lot of competitors. Tell me about Goldenville.
[00:56:28.710] - Big Rich Klein
Golden, Dale Washington. The first year we were going to go to Goldendale, Washington, it was under the Cal rock banner. What I did is I looked where guys were putting on motorcycle trials, and I contacted the property owners to do the same thing, putting on the rock crawls where the trial riders work. Well, we got up to Goldendale, Washington. I went up there to look at the rocks and realized that the rocks and the photos with the motorcycles on them looked a lot different than with a car on them or when I was standing there looking at them, and I was like, these things are pebbles. They weren't rock. I canceled that event. Well, the internet was not as effective back then as it is now. So the weekend that we had scheduled to have that rock crawl in Goldendale, of course, we didn't have it. And people were showing up to the Chamber of commerce and going, hey, Where's the rock crawl? And the lady that was running the Chamber at the time, Glenn Mossbacher, she goes, what rock crawl. I don't know anything about it. So finally she got the information. She said there was like 200, 200 and 5300 people that showed up over that Friday, Saturday, looking for the rock crawl.
[00:57:43.470] - Big Rich Klein
She calls me on that Monday and said, okay, what is a rock crawl? And why were you supposed to be here and why weren't you? I told her the location wasn't as good as I thought it was going to be. We had to cancel. I put it out on the Internet. I tried to get over pirate four by four, tried to get it out there, all the word out as I could. And even with Pacific Northwest rock crawlers up there and everybody I could think of, but people still showed up. So she goes, well, I want to have this event here. And I said, well, I can't unless I can find rocks. And she goes, what if I find you rocks? And I said, okay, fine. She goes, well, you need to come up here and take a look at my rocks. So I think by Wednesday, I was on my way up to Goldendale, and she showed me rocks on the side of the County Fairgrounds, which was this steep Hill that had these rock formations on it. And we camped out at the fair grounds, went through the fence and out onto this hillside.
[00:58:50.490] - Big Rich Klein
And it was great, except that the cars there wasn't a lot of rock there. And so we didn't have enough room, really. And when the cars would roll over, they had a tendency to keep rolling over. So instead of rolling over once or twice, they might roll over four, five, six times. So they got to the bottom of the Hill. That was a little crazy. We ended up going over to I think we did it. That event is one day there at the Fairgrounds and then another day over what is now called Broken Boulder Farms, Mark and Rhodey Schillings property. So they have this nice Canyon, lots of rocks, and we put on an event over there. Well, the next year when we did it, that was with, again, very little notice, but we put it on. I don't know how many teams we got. I don't remember. The next year we put it on well in advance, all on Rhodey's property. We had, I think it was 82 teams. I want to say 14 courses set up or something crazy like that. But we had A, B, and C courses. So we may have had even more than that because I think at that time we were running like seven courses a day, which was way too many.
[01:00:04.690] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. You've been at that park or that place. I don't know how we set up that many courses where we did. I think Lil Rich at the time had started doing the course designing, and he did a phenomenal job up there making it work, having all those courses. It was absolutely crazy. I think we had close to 3500 spectators. The city was behind us full blast. We had the downtown Park, Econi Park. We had it set up with a beer garden at night, showing off road videos on a big screen, a band playing. The park was packed. A lot of hangovers every morning, and it was pretty crazy.
[01:00:49.890] - Shelley Krehbiel
I'm always a little bit jealous when you guys talk about that event, because that's bigger than anything that we've seen in my tenure. But this is 20 06. 20 07. Before the housing bust.
[01:01:04.930] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. Actually, the biggest events we had were even before that. They were still under the Cal Rock days before we even became We Rock. And that was Nevada Moon Rocks. The Goldendale and Donner were huge events. Even the ones that we did down in Cougar Buttes were huge. Probably Cougar Buttes ones are probably the smallest. And they were closer to what we see nowadays. Yeah. Before the housing market crashed in whenever that started. Yes. The events were larger.
[01:01:46.810] - Shelley Krehbiel
Why do you think that had such an impact on the recreational rock crawling, the competitive rock crawling?
[01:01:55.810] - Big Rich Klein
Well, for one thing, most of our competitors, the people that were competing in our events, were contractors or had off road shops and a lot of their businesses. Their business was from guys building cars or buying cars, buying parts that were contractors. People in the housing industry, I mean, everything was blowing up. They were building houses everywhere, right on top of each other, out in the middle of nowhere. You drive 20 minutes out of a town on some two Lane back road, and all sudden there'd be, you know, 500 houses out there that somebody was building and selling them. Well, everybody was overextended. Everybody had three or four mortgages, it seemed like, and had boats and cars. And when the housing market took a dump, everybody started losing everything. All those contractors were out of work, and it's not a trickle down. It's like turn off the faucet. So a lot of different industries got hurt really bad. The strong in off road survived or the stupid. Sometimes I put myself in that category, not the strong, but the stupid. We loved what we were doing, so we tried to make it work.
[01:03:11.130] - Shelley Krehbiel
So I came along. First part of Ten and my first few events, well, they were okay sized, but they started to trickle, and that got pretty small.
[01:03:24.000] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. 2009 was the first event you came to. Was Renown okay, right. Was the Reno Rocks. I want to say that that was probably the last big event.
[01:03:35.460] - Shelley Krehbiel
And it was, but that was there are a lot of people that deserve credit for that one, including Barbara Rainy in particular. But there were a lot of folks involved in making that one big. The boys from Pirate helped. It was quite a good time. It was a good introduction for me into the community.
[01:03:56.570] - Big Rich Klein
You got to meet all the crazies.
[01:03:58.290] - Shelley Krehbiel
I saw things I never expected to see in my lifetime. Yeah. I've never heard of a party in which you had to rip your sleeves off to get in the door. I mean, just never seen anything like that.
[01:04:12.540] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, that was quite a night when those bikers. We had the whole upper floor to the Casino Hotel and it's where all the suites were at the big suites. Rich was in one, the rest of some staff in one across from us. And then we had one and Rich decided to throw a party. All that whole upper floor was ours except for one room. And that one other suite was a bunch of bikers. I don't know what club they were or whatever, but they came down to Rich's room and there's 50 6100 off Rotors in that room. They walked in there like they were going to take over the party or whatever. And as soon as they walked in, people are ripping their sleeves off of these bikers T shirts. So I guess things got a little contentious at one point. And then I think the bikers looked around and said we might be bad asses, but there's a shit ton of these guys. So it ended up just becoming a party.
[01:05:13.270] - Shelley Krehbiel
I'd like to believe they just went, oh, these guys are cool.
[01:05:19.390] - Big Rich Klein
I think they came down there looking to kick some ass and take some names. Not everybody's stupid, right?
[01:05:29.470] - Shelley Krehbiel
That's right. Okay, so you're right. So that was 2009. It was pretty big event. But as we progressed, they started to get a little thin.
[01:05:39.670] - Big Rich Klein
[01:05:40.550] - Shelley Krehbiel
So where were you mentally? Where were you with that? Knowing that it's hard to make some money doing what we're doing.
[01:05:49.150] - Big Rich Klein
As I said, 2009, that event was big. The rest of them were struggles. I was looking at retiring, closing the doors on We Rock in 2009 being the last season, I hadn't made any commitments to marketing partners at the time. We finished the season in 2009 down in Farmington.
[01:06:10.990] - Shelley Krehbiel
There's a story. Can I tell that one?
[01:06:13.820] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, that one was rough. The community down there, the four wheel drive community, Rick Jenkins and that whole group of Cliffhangers and all the other clubs, cherry Canyon. No, Cherry Canyon Crawlers, 606 Crawlers or whatever they call themselves. Those guys were phenomenal. They were really behind us. We made the deal with the Farmington BLM office to be down there at Brown Spring. It was a brand new office manager or Department manager, whatever you want to call field manager. And I think most of the staff there was new hadn't been there when any events had gone on previously and they had just not just instituted. But it was like the first Rock Crawl event like that that they were going to do cost recovery on. And cost recovery is this thing that BLM does to screw over small businesses. Promoter.
[01:07:09.860] - Shelley Krehbiel
I'm certain that's not their intention. It does not feel like it.
[01:07:15.610] - Big Rich Klein
It's their intent. If they don't have to put on events, then they don't have to associate with events, then they don't have to work and they still get paid the same amount of money. So it's easy for them to go, okay, this is going to cost you 25, $30,000 to put on a two day event. So that's what it's going to cost recovery that chases everybody off. Well, that event, we were looking at like a $3,000 bill, $3,100, $3,200 bill or something like that. And then post recovery comes around because you pay that cost recovery upfront. So for that event, I think I had written them a check for like $3,100 or something. They come back and say, okay, well, here's the part that we didn't know. And this is all of our staff time beyond the permit. And so they hit me up with law enforcement and some other people walking around out there with BLM shirts on, law enforcement. They billed me for 107 and 105 an hour as their benefit rate. What it cost me per hour for the Leos to be out there, law enforcement officers. And then the law enforcement officers decided it was probably a good time to get vacation pay.
[01:08:31.640] - Big Rich Klein
So they would be there at six in the morning till seven, 809:00 at night. Even though our event was only nine to three or four, they charged me for all that other time. And by the time everything was said and done for the law enforcement and the permit and everything else that they added on, we were like 82, $8300. And that event, it was cold.
[01:09:01.150] - Shelley Krehbiel
First weekend in October, it was miserable.
[01:09:03.920] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, it was miserable. And we did like $8300 or $8200 at the gate. So my whole bill just to BLM, not including toilets, hotel rooms or staff, everything that we used to cover and all my other expenses was paid. Every dollar I made on that event went to BLM for cost recovery. And I freaking lost it. I told the clubs down there and the Chamber and everybody, we're never coming back. We love you guys. But BLM office is out the door. And at that point I said I'd never work with BLM again. I had already said that after dealing with the moon rocks, debacle everything that happened up there with Carson City office. But when we went to Farmington and I got well, I always call it prison rate because that's what it felt like. I was never going to go back to BLM land. So since then we've always done everything on private property. And then it was what, five years ago?
[01:10:10.700] - Shelley Krehbiel
Yeah. You're skipping ahead. Needless to say, what we need to say here is just that we love the Farmington BLM office now.
[01:10:20.570] - Big Rich Klein
Yes, but why we love them now.
[01:10:23.400] - Shelley Krehbiel
Exactly. Everything has changed. Okay, so you stuck it out 2009. So this happens. You're now out of money. It's the end of the season. What happened?
[01:10:34.100] - Big Rich Klein
We didn't go to offer at Expo. I didn't go to SEMA. I was ready to hang it up. I moved in with you up in Idaho. I was being a really good housemate.
[01:10:44.780] - Shelley Krehbiel
[01:10:45.620] - Big Rich Klein
[01:10:47.590] - Shelley Krehbiel
We weren't married yet, but, yeah, you were really good at that.
[01:10:52.330] - Big Rich Klein
I did dishes, I did laundry. I cleaned the house.
[01:10:57.250] - Shelley Krehbiel
[01:10:57.990] - Big Rich Klein
It was my off season and I was broke, so I wasn't going anywhere. I talked about quitting. You said, well, let me help you. And I was like, no. He said, no, because I didn't want you to get involved with something that was so financially screwed up at that point. It was just a nightmare. Everything was a mess and I was burned out.
[01:11:22.210] - Shelley Krehbiel
And the other thing that you told me often was, no, you have a full time job. Don't worry about this. But let me help. You let me help. And you finally know. And finally I insisted it's like, no, we're going to be partners. I'm going to help. But I had my own motive because I was ready to retire from my job and I didn't know what came next. And I thought, well, I had been looking for some adventure. The Sabbath adventurer. Let's go do this. So you finally let me help.
[01:11:59.000] - Big Rich Klein
Yes. You started helping and you saved rock crawling.
[01:12:04.030] - Shelley Krehbiel
I loved that. That gives me a whole lot of credit.
[01:12:06.330] - Big Rich Klein
I appreciate it, but I'm pretty sure everybody that was around then knows it. Okay. They understand well.
[01:12:14.870] - Shelley Krehbiel
And there were some pretty thin crabs. So we got to know people really well because there wasn't a lot of people to talk to.
[01:12:20.720] - Big Rich Klein
[01:12:21.000] - Shelley Krehbiel
There was literally trying to save that.
[01:12:22.980] - Big Rich Klein
People jumped out of rock crawling. Some of them went racing and started going to King of the Hammers races. They were still because that had just begun. Xra was still going on, but their numbers was starting to grow smaller. Dave with King of the Hammers was pre Ultra four. The numbers there were growing, but first couple of races, first couple of years. It wasn't like it is now by any means. There was one class, and if they had 40 cars, 50 cars, it was phenomenal. I helped Dave King of the Hammers by helping them with insurance and tech, not registration.
[01:13:07.690] - Shelley Krehbiel
No, that came later.
[01:13:08.840] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, that came later. And then put on the first UTV race at Koh when they decided this might be popular. So they started doing them after that, we had some lean times. Some of the events we have like six competitors.
[01:13:29.330] - Shelley Krehbiel
Yes, absolutely. And it got thinner on the East Coast than on the West Coast. Or should I? Maybe the better way to say it is the West Coast came back faster.
[01:13:38.280] - Big Rich Klein
Yes, West Coast came back faster.
[01:13:41.450] - Shelley Krehbiel
Okay, so now we're into. You've made the choice that I'm retiring. We decided that we rock is still going to hang around. And King and Hammer is just getting started. So there are race cars being built all over the country. What happens then?
[01:14:00.430] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, race cars being built around the country. And then XRA decided to hang it up and not go any longer. So Mike and Jody Weaver stopped putting on events. I said, here's the perfect opportunity to do something for those racers that want to go race. But we can spend more time on the road doing events instead of coming back home because it's always really expensive to go out and then come back and then go out and come back. And we discussed it. And we decided, let's try to make it work traveling full time. So we started we did our first dirt riot race, I want to say, in 2011 or twelve. And we did two races. We did three races that season. We did two races at copper mines. And then we did in Altos, Oklahoma. And then we did one race at Ram off road park in Colorado Springs.
[01:14:58.210] - Shelley Krehbiel
Right. Because XRA had always traditionally had an event on father's day weekend. So we wanted to capitalize on the people being this crowd, the spectators being used to coming out to do that. I remember. But in the meantime, we had bought what is now the Taj Mahalr.
[01:15:22.290] - Big Rich Klein
Correct. And we looked at using pickup trucks or top kick and trailers, which was what we had been doing before going on full time. And it was just wasn't going to be enough room for everything. Didn't think it was going to be as comfortable. We started off with a race trailer that we had started to build. We picked it up. Somebody had started building it out as a toy hauler. I'd done some work to it to try to finish it off and make it better. And we were running with pickup trucks. And everything was just a nightmare using older equipment and everything breaking down. We were going to do this full time. So we looked at do we get an expediter type box truck, semi truck, or do we get a semi truck and a trailer?
[01:16:10.380] - Shelley Krehbiel
We looked at working place. They seemed a little too fancy for what we were going for. And then you saw this one for sale.
[01:16:20.460] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. Rick Dermo had this semi truck that he had picked up, semi truck and trailer, and he had built it out as a weekend warrior. The price was pretty good. So I called him up, and I really wanted it, but I didn't want to spend that much money because we didn't have any money. So we were looking at an expediter trying to just put a small living quarters in it. And instead I remember I woke up one morning going, okay, I made a decision. I said, this is what we're going to do. And you said, no. I made a decision. And this is what we're going to do. So I called Rick and I said, hey, I want the truck, semi truck and trailer that he built out. And he goes, well, you know, these other guys want it. One of them was Randy Rod. They've told me they want to buy it. And I said, But I got money in hand right now. I can be down there in two days, and we will hand you the cash, and we'll drive away. So he called me back, and nobody else that wanted it could come up with the cash that quick.
[01:17:29.050] - Big Rich Klein
So we ended up with the truck. We drove down there. I hadn't driven a truck of any size since I was like 19. We went and picked it up. We dropped off. He took and trade that racetrailer toyhaul that I was building. We unhitched the truck from the trailer, and Rick and I drove from Dove Creek out west toward the state line, which was only like 15 miles or something like that. 20 miles turned around and drove back. And he taught me in that time frame how to drive, reintroduce me to driving a large truck with multiple gears without using a clutch. So everything's speed shifting. So I thought, okay, this is fine. We get hooked up. You jump in the car. Now. You were following me.
[01:18:16.540] - Shelley Krehbiel
No, I got in the cab in the cab. I remember that. I have no idea. I don't remember. You know what? I think we might have left the truck because we hold the trailer down. And then we picked the truck up on the way back because I know I was in the cab with you.
[01:18:34.500] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, that's right. That's what we did. Because then we went down to Arizona. We were getting ready to go to Baja or something, I think.
[01:18:40.520] - Shelley Krehbiel
I think maybe something like that. I don't remember. But I do remember getting into the cab with you and driving down through the nation and thinking, oh, my God, we have no idea what we're doing.
[01:18:54.950] - Big Rich Klein
[01:18:59.010] - Shelley Krehbiel
There wasn't a lot of traffic.
[01:19:01.830] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, it was crazy. Yes. Luckily, there wasn't a lot of traffic. And a couple of times that I didn't make really smooth starts or shifts and had to stop and start over again. It was an interesting drive. We got to Flagstaff, cutting across the nations, and then we're down. I think we ended up down in Gilbert and we parked at Campbell. At Campbell Shop while we went on to Mexico, I believe.
[01:19:29.330] - Shelley Krehbiel
Yes. I don't remember how we did all that, but I don't remember this met it was a while ago, but that's okay. So the task of a holder now is very different than what it was when we picked it up.
[01:19:43.560] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. Like I said, Rick had built it out as a weekend warrior. So the foundation of the vehicle, the trailer was there. And I had a bathroom. A nice bathroom. It had countertops, kind of a wall unit. And then another piece that came out almost like an island.
[01:20:00.330] - Shelley Krehbiel
A Peninsula. Yeah.
[01:20:01.610] - Big Rich Klein
Peninsula. Yeah. And it had the bedroom, but everything in it was 110 volts. So it had like a little six gallon apartment sized water heater. It had a 110 refrigerator. I think it was a 7500 Watt Honda generator on the back of the truck. All the lights were 110 power outlets and everything else. And no heat. The heat he had to all plug in heaters. So the first couple of days that we had that thing.
[01:20:31.280] - Shelley Krehbiel
Don'T forget the air conditioning.
[01:20:32.890] - Big Rich Klein
Oh, yeah. The air conditioning was a window unit that was stuck in the loft, in the bedroom, in the wall between the garage and the bedroom. So that wasn't even heat. That was just AC. It wasn't real efficient, to say the least. So you would always freeze or you'd always get too hot. So we had that for a while. Then we took it the next winter. For that first year, we used it like it was then. I think it was the first year we went up to Idaho. And Andrew Paulson in Pocatello, he did most of the work.
[01:21:09.000] - Shelley Krehbiel
So that would have been not until the end of 2012. So we ran it for two years because we picked it up in ten or eleven. So we ran it for a couple of years just like it was. Eleven was just rerouted, plus those three additional because I was still working. So at the end of eleven, we still were in the house. So we ran it the full next season like it was. And it was the end of twelve that we went back to Idaho and it was cold.
[01:21:42.580] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. There was snow on the ground. It was frozen. And we did a dual hot water heater. So you had ran off a propane or electric. We put in a propane forced air heater, so you would heat the one vent into the bathroom, one vent into the bedroom and one vent into the living area, the office, kitchen slash. We changed it from an island or I did that when I was down at the Hammers, like cut that thing up and moved it around and it was a cluster. And we put some low voltage in there lighting, did a bunch of stuff to make it more livable. We moved the AC from inside that area to the bulkhead of the trailer so that it was outside and then inside so that it was taking the cold air like a window. Like a window AC unit should supposed to work, right. So we ran that and I think we replaced that one a year or two later and then it died again at the end of the year before. And we said, okay, before the season starts, we got to go with that AC system.
[01:22:53.760] - Shelley Krehbiel
So it's been through a lot of transformations now. Oh, yes, it has. The bathroom, remarkably, is still the same, correct? Yeah. But that's about the only thing the bedroom has been remodeled. You added an additional level of floor, put us on an egg crate type system for the bed so that there's space for baskets because the one thing we don't have is a ton of storage.
[01:23:18.750] - Big Rich Klein
[01:23:19.090] - Shelley Krehbiel
So fix that. We put a mini split in so we've got good air conditioning. The bathroom is the same, but the kitchen the kitchen is my favorite. And that's all thanks to Ken Goodall out of Phoenix and the work that Goodall cabinetry did. Ken came to me at a race. One of our dirt racers, obviously, is an ultra four racer as well. And he walks up and he pokes his head in and looks around. And of course, Rick's idea of keeping track of cabinets and keeping them in good shape is when they start to fall apart, you put in that glue shit and you glued together and the yellow stuff pokes out and you just leave it. It's good. And you know what? I was fine with that.
[01:23:58.500] - Big Rich Klein
He had some screws and things.
[01:24:00.120] - Shelley Krehbiel
Too, but they started with those. Yeah. So Ken kind of looks in and he looks both ways in my kitchen. And he goes, Shelley, can I put new cabinets in here? I said, cabinets are not in my budget, so thank you. And he looks again and he goes, I didn't say anything about your budget. Can I put new cabinets in here? And I said, can I hug you? And I gave him a big hug. And at the end of the season, might have even taken us two seasons. We finally got it worked out. And he put in these fantastic cabinets a year ago. And they're absolutely beautiful. And they're everything that I wanted. We did carbon fiber finish because it's a race trailer. I mean, that's what we've got. But everything now has a space. And when we left it there, of course, like any contractor, it took a little bit longer than I wanted. But I'm a woman. That's what we expect, right? When we finally got it back, we're looking at it. We're looking at the kitchen cabinets. And I'm like, oh, my God, that's so nice. And Rich goes, look at the floor.
[01:25:05.850] - Shelley Krehbiel
And I looked at the floor and went, they did the floor, too. No way. And then we started to actually stop and look. And they didn't just do the floor. They gave me a desk. They built all my cubbies in everything that had been there. And we didn't anticipate them doing any of that. We thought the deal was just for cabinets. It was fantastic. So I hats off to Ken. Goodall. Thank you so much for that. I'm still loving that. In fact, I love the trailer. It's tiny house living before it was cool.
[01:25:40.480] - Big Rich Klein
[01:25:41.640] - Shelley Krehbiel
Yeah, it is. Because home is wherever we're parked.
[01:25:45.730] - Big Rich Klein
[01:25:46.430] - Shelley Krehbiel
Yeah, that's cool. Ok. So it's now let's fast forward a little bit. It is now 2020. We have survived the downfall of the market. Now, let's start at the beginning. You survived your first events Where you began as a rock cowing promoter. You survived the flux of the housing market in which everybody stopped working. You survived starting dirt riot. Tell us a little bit more about what dirt riot was about and why you did that.
[01:26:17.580] - Big Rich Klein
We looked at the racing back then, and like I said, the XRA had done had closed their doors. I thought that there needed to be a way for racers to learn how to race and other places for them to race than just the desert races like best in the desert or score or any snore or any of those other ultra four was just becoming a thing where it was more than just one race where they were trying to put together a series. We jumped on and said, let's do a series where we could help the teams learn how to race. Rock crawlers and trail rigs are not necessarily built to go fast for long periods of time. A King of the Hammers race was an eight to 14 hours race. Even back when it was only 120 or 130 miles long. Those cars were not built to hold together the teams. Most of them had never desert raised or even understood what they needed to do for pit support, how to have enough fuel to do that. We wanted to teach them how to go faster and how to be successful. The best way we thought for that was to put together races where they did multiple laps on a set period of time and where the courses were never more than four to 8 miles.
[01:27:34.650] - Big Rich Klein
9 miles is what I wanted run for two or 3 hours, and they could get in plenty of time. First race we wanted to do was 4 hours. I remember Derek West calling me up and saying, rich, you're crazy. There's no way we can race for 4 hours if we're going to do nine mile lapse. I was like, yeah, you can. Come on. I think that first race. I think we did that race at 3 hours, but it was the only class of vehicles. We didn't have everybody else that first year. So then by 2 hours, I think three quarters of the cars were broken out. A lot of recovery to do. Guys were like, this is crazy. I'm getting seasick out there, going around and around in circles. I still felt it was the best way for people to learn, because if it becomes repetitious Where you're seeing the same corner, you get to practice that corner for the whole race. You learn how to you go into it the first time you're rough, you figure it out. The next time you race somewhere else and you see a corner that's like that. Now you know how to set the car up to get through that corner, whether you've ever made that corner or not.
[01:28:38.750] - Big Rich Klein
It's something that may be familiar. I felt that it was a really good way for people to learn how to drive their cars fast. Plus, we never had anything where the guys like dry Lake beds, where the guys were going to do 100 and 3120 miles an hour, unless your Bill beared. The shorter courses, the repetitious driving and repetitious, I mean, by doing multiple laps. And we finally figured it out that two hour 4400 race and a 1 hour race for all the other classes were probably the best scenario. The race courses started getting a little shorter because some of the parks that we went to, we just couldn't find seven or nine mile lapse. We would go shorter races on courses that were shorter so that guys wouldn't just beat themselves up going over and over and over in a lot of terms, because there were times when guys were coming in after an hour and a half race, oh, my God, I can't even lift my arms. The steering. And of course, everything is much more refined nowadays. The steering components are better. The teams understand what they're doing better building the cars we built our racing around that teaching people how to race.
[01:29:55.570] - Big Rich Klein
When Dave Cole first got wind that we were putting on races, I can remember a phone call from him where he was slightly agitated. I think I ended up hanging up on him.
[01:30:06.990] - Shelley Krehbiel
I'm sure you did. I missed that.
[01:30:09.130] - Big Rich Klein
I'm trying to do this nicely.
[01:30:11.290] - Shelley Krehbiel
[01:30:12.850] - Big Rich Klein
So we had our conversation. Had part of it. He didn't want competition. I was trying to convince him we're not competition. We ended up deciding that we should. After about three or four tries having a conversation on the phone, we finally decided we had to have a conversation in person. You and I drove down to Big Bear where Dave and Lujan lived, and we had our conversation, and we struck a deal that was kind of bizarre. We were structured in the way that we would always be regional series, grassroots, grassroots. We would feed Ultra four. We also went to work for Dave during Koh, where you would help or run registration, and I would help where needed. Plus run the trail that is Chocolate Thunder, which was a high exposure area. It was a spot where previously, somebody had rolled over, created a big traffic jam. Everybody trying to get around them had made things really dangerous. So Dave felt that they needed somebody. There a strong personality that the drivers would listen to to kind of keep things under control in that area. And I think at about the same time, my son was working over on backdoor, basically doing the same thing.
[01:31:38.360] - Shelley Krehbiel
Yeah, you started first. We've done that for one or two years before Little came in.
[01:31:43.910] - Big Rich Klein
[01:31:44.680] - Shelley Krehbiel
Took over the other one.
[01:31:46.070] - Big Rich Klein
And then. Yes. So Rich was working back door and on recoveries, didn't have the spectator problem there as bad because of the way the Canyon was shaped. And then over the years, this thing got things got crazier out there, and the race went from one day to 200 days or however long the race is.
[01:32:05.690] - Shelley Krehbiel
Now just how long it feels, right?
[01:32:08.130] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. Two weeks on that Lake bed feels like 200 days.
[01:32:13.150] - Shelley Krehbiel
It's a lot like the self warranty.
[01:32:17.230] - Big Rich Klein
We ended up working for him for a few years, but still working together on Ultra Four being the professional series, Dirt Riot being the Grassroots series. And then this last year, we decided to hang it up with Dirt Riot for the simple fact that it was physically becoming impossible to do 20 events a year between ten rock rolls and ten Dirt Riot races to have enough time to do it and not do too many weeks in a row. Back to back.
[01:32:52.080] - Shelley Krehbiel
Right, because the season has just never been long enough, the weather doesn't cooperate soon enough, and we have to finish too soon. So it was a tough emotional decision, though, because what we've always said is that this is not just how we make our living. This is our lifestyle. This is what we do. These are the people we do it with. And so it's been really hard to let go of that family and know that it's okay that we all do our own thing. But here we are. It's 2020. We're now 492 days into self warranty. Maybe not that long, but it feels like it. Can you imagine what we would be doing if we had to? Because we've already had to reschedule now to we Rock events. What if we had half a dozen more events?
[01:33:43.580] - Big Rich Klein
And no, we would have had two Dirt Riots as well by this time. And so we'd have been four events, either cancel or postpone reschedule. And right now we have the weekends available to us, but we haven't had to cancel anything. All we've done is postpone them and reschedule, and we still have room to reschedule those rock rolls and still get all the season and depending on how much longer the recovery takes with all of this bullshit.
[01:34:16.530] - Shelley Krehbiel
But we've done some other things Besides that. So while we Rock has come up and it's growing, tell us about the first event in 2020. What did that look like?
[01:34:26.010] - Big Rich Klein
Our first event in 2020 was up in Baghdad, Arizona. It was our third year in Baghdad. Luckily, we were able to get a lot more area cleaned up thanks to Aaron Armstrong and his guys down there in Baghdad. The Rock crawlers in the town. We work with the mine there with FMI, and they have been really good about supporting us and giving us what we need to make the event bigger and better. And this year, last year, they put a road in for us, but the road was put in in the last three days before the event. There was still snow on the ground. It was way too wet. That road became we couldn't get anything up except for a four wheel drive, basically. And the parking area was really small. We couldn't expand it any this year they expanded the parking area up above the road was in great shape. We even drove the semi truck up there. Fmi and the crews up there did a great job, and Aaron did a great job in providing us a great place to have an event. And it was perfect timing because we ended up having somewhere between 25 and 2700 people on site spectators.
[01:35:39.370] - Big Rich Klein
We had 52 teams. We were supposed to have three food vendors, and we ended up with one.
[01:35:45.810] - Shelley Krehbiel
They're always flaky no matter what you're doing.
[01:35:48.690] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, unfortunately, they always say they want to come back, and then for some reason they don't. I think the food vendor we had this year will be back.
[01:35:57.690] - Shelley Krehbiel
He did awesome.
[01:35:58.770] - Big Rich Klein
He did phenomenal. And still talking to him over Facebook and stuff. And he's been even more successful because most of our clientele there for that event is people from Arizona. So there was a lot of people that came in from the Prescott area, Prescott Valley area, and to the event, since it's only 40 minutes drive or so, that's where his business is at. So he's been really popular and his business has been doing really well. So I think it'll be back. If not, we'll find other food vendors. But we had a phenomenal start to the season, and then it all came to a screeching halt.
[01:36:39.710] - Shelley Krehbiel
Right. But it's not just our business.
[01:36:42.600] - Big Rich Klein
No, it's not just us. It's the whole US economy.
[01:36:46.460] - Shelley Krehbiel
Yeah, I think it's the world economy, but, yeah, it is. So here we are. We're just waiting it out. We're filling in our time, doing those things that we can get done and preparing for our season because we believe it to be still a full season available. That may prove to be different, but right now we're good. But we don't just do we rock you're not just ahead of that. What else? Tell him about fourlow.
[01:37:15.770] - Big Rich Klein
Fourlow is a magazine that was started by a guy named Ty June. We took over the magazine. Issue 18 was our first wholly owned issue. We did kind of a split issue with issue 17. I think it first started in print with issue twelve or 13. I'm not sure when Ty put it up for sale. I mean, I always wanted to be. I always wanted to do a magazine. My degree in my College education is in photography, product advertising. I worked for an ad agency in the San Francisco Bay area for about a year and then started my own business up in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Did some work all throughout mining towns all along there with helping small businesses with their photography needs and brochures and things like that, and did some work in the San Francisco Bay Area for some smaller companies. And one, I got married back in 81, 82. Whenever it was, I got married 82. I realized that being a photographer was great when you're single, because you can make a bunch of money one month, and if you didn't work for a month or two, no big deal. But being married, and then all of a sudden kids, it was like, all right, you got to have a regular income.
[01:38:30.770] - Big Rich Klein
Plus, that was about the time when things started going all digital. And I had a lot of money invested in film cameras, and I didn't want to reinvest, especially with a family. Digital cameras at that point were really expensive, just like everything was when they come out brand new, and I had no interest. I just kind of burned out on it, decided to go to work for somebody else. And I did all sorts of odd jobs and landscape contractor with a California license and worked for Sears as an automotive manager and did all that kind of stuff. But when I got into rock crawling, that's when I realized that's what I wanted to do. It's going to be my life profession. I was going to do it till the day I die. Well, I was going to need to because I'd have no retirement, right.
[01:39:16.250] - Shelley Krehbiel
Well, there's that.
[01:39:17.500] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. So I figured I was going to be out on the rocks sometime and fall over dead, and the kids bury me out there somewhere. That would be that first year that we did Cow Rocks 2002. I really wanted to put together a magazine. There was nothing out there that was like super extreme. All the magazines out there, four wheel drive magazines or off road magazines. There was a lot of desert stuff. There was a lot of big trucks with Chrome on them. There was like, the fall guy truck is what I want. Chrome shocks on them, that kind of thing. And it was like, we need to have a magazine for rock crawling enthusiasts. So put together an idea, talked to some people. We kind of laid out how the magazine should look. And then I got a call from a guy named Dave Fiola, and he said, hey, I understand you're doing a magazine. And I said, well, I wrote something up, but I'm not going to do it because I just don't have the time. And doing the events full time was enough. So we talked, give him my ideas. And I said, why don't I just send you over all the stuff I have email wise, and you run with it.
[01:40:25.100] - Big Rich Klein
And if you decide to do a magazine, just give us some love. Well, they did that. And then that magazine was XOM Extreme off road magazine. There's a whole big story behind that. And then it changed names, and that's a different world. But I still wanted to always do a magazine. So Ty had been coming out to our events as a freelance photographer. He was doing an online magazine, decided to go to print. I remember having that conversation with him. I think it was either at Roush or it was at Rash.
[01:40:55.220] - Shelley Krehbiel
You know where it was at? Chaos. Chaos at the race. Yeah.
[01:41:00.710] - Big Rich Klein
And he said that he wanted to go into print. We were shaking our heads like, no, Ty, you're going to need advertisers to afford that. And he went for it anyway. And I think he got burned out on the whole thing, trying to work as well, a full time job and then do that. So he put it up for sale. I jumped on it. I talked to you and I said, hey, I want to buy this. We talked about it. You said, yeah, go ahead. We bought the magazine. You had a really sharp learning curve to learn how to put together a magazine. And I sat back and took credit for it.
[01:41:40.190] - Shelley Krehbiel
Oh, thank goodness this has been recorded.
[01:41:44.250] - Big Rich Klein
But I can erase that if I need to anyway. No, you've done all the work, or at least 99% of the work.
[01:41:53.850] - Shelley Krehbiel
It's only because that's the side of the business that I do. Not very many married couples have a really distinct separation of duties when they're working full time, living together full time. I mean, we don't have our time in which we go away to go to work. We are together. And because of that, we've had to distinguish who does what, because otherwise I was always getting mad at him because he was stepping on my toes and infringing on my work. And I don't like that. I want to know that if I've been given responsibility for something, it's mine. I own it. I don't have to worry about anything else. There are times in which that doesn't work out so well for me, but for the most part, I like that. So for love, though, is really about community. It's the same community because it's all about Rock Sports. Anything with four wheel drive. It's the same community that we serve with we Rock. Would you agree?
[01:42:57.860] - Big Rich Klein
Absolutely. We Rock Dirt Riot, all the events that we go to throughout the year, it's all the same people, whether it's Easter, Jeep Safari, Jeepers Jamboree, Teradel, Sol, Koh Trail Hero, the Toyota Land Cruiser runs. Those are all the people. Same people or the same. We all have the same love of this off road, four wheel drive and Rock Sports. It's a great place to live in that community. The magazine is just an extension of everything else that we do. And now this podcast hopefully brings all that together and we bring in more of our marketing partners and advertisers and bring back some of the history, the new people that are in the enthusiast market and offroad. The people that have come over since Jeep put out the JK are completely different than most of the people that started a long time ago. It's a completely different mindset. They don't know the history of the sport, like the guys that were driving the CJS and the YJS and even the XJS and the TJS. The people that are first time Jeepers that come out in a JK or JL don't know the history behind the sport.
[01:44:29.970] - Big Rich Klein
How did it come about? Why are there lockers available on a vehicle from the factory? Why are they do they have piggyback shocks? Why is the link suspension? Why is all this cool stuff that's on these vehicles now, even from the factory? How did that happen?
[01:44:50.520] - Shelley Krehbiel
Well, isn't it because competition drove the technology and the change?
[01:44:56.420] - Big Rich Klein
Absolutely. Because the guys competing when we first started putting on rock crawls, 37 inch tires, 35 inch tires were huge. In the 90s, there was people running Swampers, but most of them, those guys were mud, whom are guys bouncing off of trees in the East Coast. And that was the only tire that was available in anything bigger than a 35. And then Goodyear stepped up and made some 40s and then BFG and some of the other manufacturers got in, but none of them did a competition compound except for BFG and then Goodyear and then eventually Maxus and then Pro. Comp got into it. Or Cooper was making the Pro. Comp tires and it just evolved. And the guys that were trailwheeling were watching in the magazines and the videos what was happening in the rock crawl events. And then they'd come out to the rock crawl events and they were seeing guys with Jeeps that looked like theirs, but with all this really cool stuff on them and bigger tires and link suspensions and the things that were happening to make the cars more capable for competition, we're starting to trickle down into the trail guy.
[01:46:14.400] - Big Rich Klein
The trail guys used to be you drive to the trail, you drive the trail and then you drive home. And only except a few really hardcore guys would take the really gnarly lines, certain clubs around the country, clubs that most of the people know, at least here on the West Coast, like Pirates of the Rubicon and the Tin Benders. And there's a bunch of them that are out there that did the same thing where they were doing the extreme stuff. They brought their vehicles, even if it was a Jeep or a Toyota pickup truck. They were so low geared, big tires, whatever. They cut them up so much they couldn't drive them on the streets anymore or they expected to break them. So they'd bring a trailer so they could get them home. It started off with guys like Jeepers Jamboree and Jeep Jamborees USA. And some of these organized trail rides were like, no, we don't want anybody with tires over 35 inches. And then it became we don't want buggies because guys started putting 37s on and then 39s and 44s because of the Swampers. And it was one of those things where the organizations were like, okay, we have to start allowing these people because that's the way the market is going.
[01:47:33.320] - Big Rich Klein
It was kind of a copycat thing. The guys that were trail wheeling wanted all the cool stuff that the competitors were building and designing, and companies in the aftermarket were starting to make for us so they could compete at a higher level. The guys that were trail wheeling started buying that stuff. It just brought the whole market along and created just a huge Spider web of businesses that cater to the aftermarket for four wheel drive and especially Jeeps and Toyotas and Samurai. Those are the three big names in the Ford Broncos. But it's been great watching the development over the last 20 years or 24 years with rock crawling where it's gone from. That very first event that I can think of, which was Las Cruces, that event they didn't even have. They had the courses set up in a trail. You started on course one, and everybody went through one, then to two, then to three, and eventually people were spread out where they were doing course four, and guys were still down here doing course one.
[01:48:37.990] - Shelley Krehbiel
[01:48:38.690] - Big Rich Klein
Well, you get a couple of broken cars in that trail system and you're still trying to get spectators and the rest of the competitors up there. It becomes a nightmare. I never looked at an event site with anything in mind to ever have a trail system that was always like, no, we have to have an area we can get vehicles in and out, and there might be some areas that we wanted to use within those areas that were like, this is really cool. Look at this obstacle. But how are we going to do the recovery?
[01:49:08.650] - Shelley Krehbiel
Yeah, always have to look at it with, how do we get them out?
[01:49:11.810] - Big Rich Klein
Right. We had an event down in Johnson Valley one time where we had a Unimog that came out to compete and he broke and we couldn't move him. We ended up like, I think we scrapped that course. We didn't finish that night. We'd finished the first day on Sunday morning. I believe that basically that vehicle was like part it was taken apart or they swapped out a whole axle assembly or something. I don't even remember. I let everybody else deal with that while I dealt with the rest of the event. From then on, it was like, okay, we always have to look at how we can do a recovery when we build a course.
[01:49:48.100] - Shelley Krehbiel
[01:49:48.430] - Big Rich Klein
How are we going to get to that guy when he rolls over in that crack that's led to some really cool recoveries and some really good footage. Yeah. Everybody learns.
[01:49:58.800] - Shelley Krehbiel
Absolutely. So we've got We Rock, which continues on. We have four Low magazine. Tell us about the podcast. What's your goal?
[01:50:08.070] - Big Rich Klein
My goal is to bring back the history of Rock sports, where we all started how competition started, how people businesses got started in rock sports. There was no such thing as rock sports until the rock crawling competitions and then the racing and then the term rock sports was coined or four X four off road competitions over the last 2024 years. There's a big history there that's already lost. We've lost a lot of the original drivers and team guys like Harold Off, Jack McCullen, just a ton of guys that aren't with us any longer and some that may not be with us much longer. There's guys that are up there in their 80s already. What I want to do with this podcast is bring back those memories for posterity and to give the new people in this sport a base of history of how the lifestyle started. And even beyond the competition scenes, I want to go back into those early days of the clubs. Jeepers Jamboree, Mark Smith and Jamboree USA and TDs and Red Rock, four wheelers, Easter Jeep Safari. There's so much out there that people show up to enjoy as part of their lifestyle, off road lifestyle.
[01:51:37.810] - Big Rich Klein
But they have no idea where it got started or how it got started, who the people were behind the scenes that pushed it to where it is right now. And my goal is to bring all that together, okay?
[01:51:48.850] - Shelley Krehbiel
And with that, because one guy's version of it may not be what anyone else remembers, because that's the best part about oral history is that we get to tell it from our perspective. So you've been in the middle of it all. So that gives us a unique perspective not only to hear, but also to know so many of these people that have been there. So I'm going to tell a little story. When Rich and I first got together, we were consenting adults. We'll go with that. So our first weekend together, we were in a hotel room in Boise. We had met on E Harmony, so we didn't know each other, we didn't have mutual friends. And Sunday morning he turns on the television and he's sitting there and he's watching and it is a race out of Baja. And he's like, oh, look, there's selfish. And he just kept throwing out all these names. And as soon as he would say it, then it would pop on the screen and it would tell me who it was. And I was like, I guess this guy knows people who knows? I didn't come into this relationship from this industry.
[01:53:07.270] - Shelley Krehbiel
So it was all new to me who the people are. I've been fortunate, so fortunate to meet them all. Now this truly has become our lifestyle. And I used to ask Rich if he would share some stories so I could write them for our grandchildren. And it turns out that all the stories he could tell involved alcohol or stuff that maybe we shouldn't be recording for our non adult grandchildren. There's maybe a whole section they could read what they're 18. But this gives us a way to talk a little bit, to meet our friends, to have a conversation with him, to be able to because he has history and remembers things that the rest of us who weren't there never will. So I'm really excited. I think the podcast is going to be fun.
[01:54:00.060] - Big Rich Klein
Well, and what's nice is with some of the interviews that I've already done and recorded is that they're bringing up things that maybe I forgot, right. Or some of the things that I didn't know that happened even during events. I'm at one end of the event doing something, and they're at another end of the event as a competitor and dealing with things. So I'm getting stories now that I didn't know.
[01:54:26.290] - Shelley Krehbiel
Yeah. It looks different to them. It looks different to every one of us at every event. I know even the ones that were there together. You're doing your job, I'm doing mine. And when we get done, we start to tell a story. Hey, so did you hear about this? And we both look at each other going, no, I never heard that. So I think that'll be a great perspective to hear what people remember.
[01:54:49.710] - Big Rich Klein
I mean, it's amazing how many people were at that very first event, put up her shut up in Lake Amador and had no clue that at 05:00 that night during tech and registration, I was in court fighting for the life of that event to go on.
[01:55:04.420] - Shelley Krehbiel
You were fighting for the life of We Rock. We wouldn't be here today had you not been successful there. That's very cool. So we would like to encourage everyone to subscribe to for Low to the magazine because it comes out by monthly. It's $20 for the year. It's awesome. The writers are great. My job is to edit it and put it together. Rich is the one who talks to everybody and make sure that all that content is coming our way. But I can tell you, as of today, I'm really happy that we didn't intend for that to be a comp magazine because a competition magazine in today's market would be really difficult to fill content with.
[01:55:44.730] - Big Rich Klein
We're not doing any events.
[01:55:48.030] - Shelley Krehbiel
So we try to talk about absolutely everything under the sun that has to that is four wheel drive related, and I think that's good for everyone. Any other words, since this was your introduction to your podcast audience, anything else that you want to share with them?
[01:56:05.580] - Big Rich Klein
Not that I can actually think of at the moment. I know that as I discuss things with the guests on the show that things will come to light. I'll have stories to add to what the drivers say. I think my goal with the interviews is to let the guests tell their story. I'll ask questions to get them started. I'll try to fill in some gaps. I'll try to add a little bit of some color or flavor to a particular story that they're talking about or an angle on which they're discussing. The interviews are going to be more hands off than hands on. It's not going to be like here's 40 questions. It's like, okay, tell me how you got started. Where did you grow up? What did you do as a kid? What was your first car? And then boom, they're just rolling with it and that's the game plan. We'll see how that all works out over the next I think I got 70 some people on my list right now, so if we can get to them all, it'll be great.
[01:57:13.370] - Shelley Krehbiel
I hope that we do it would be a great oral history of the sport of rock calling and why we do what we do in the community that we love.
[01:57:23.590] - Big Rich Klein
[01:57:24.180] - Shelley Krehbiel
[01:57:24.930] - Big Rich Klein
A lot of business owners a lot of people that were business owners. The story of pirate four X four story of all pro off road of red Bull in North America, things like that. Those are the stories that people just don't know.
[01:57:38.360] - Shelley Krehbiel
[01:57:38.680] - Big Rich Klein
And we hope to share that with everybody.
[01:57:41.650] - Shelley Krehbiel
Excellent. Well, thank you. This is fun.
[01:57:44.680] - Big Rich Klein
I hope you think so. I think we should do this maybe every once in a while.
[01:57:51.790] - Shelley Krehbiel
I think so, too. All right. Signing off.
[01:57:55.040] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. I'll see you in the hallway. Bye. Well, that brings this episode to an end. Hope you enjoyed it. We'll catch you next week with conversations with big rich. Thank you very much.