No wonder Nate Hunt is so good at what he does for Jackson Motorsports and Events, he had work ethic drilled into him from a young age. Listen in as Nate tells us how he landed the job, what life was like between naps and where he likes to spend his time now. Great listen, good stories, good people – our favorite kind of podcast!
3:06 – meet farm boy Nate
12:21 – third in my class, on the podium
18:10 – You’re only as good today as your practice
25:06 – those tires have been sitting on a concrete barn floor
28:56 – “I got seven trailer loads of tires coming in that need unloaded”
38:15 – I thought I was being hazed or something
52:28 – the people who made my career
1:08:11 – mapping the Baja 1000 race course
We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.Support the show
[00:00:06.310] - Speaker 1
Welcome to Conversations with Big Rich. This is an interview style podcast. Those interviews are all involved in the offroad industry. Being involved, like all of my guests are, is a lifestyle, not just a job. I talked to competitive teams, racers, rock crawlers, business owners, employees, media and private park owners, men and women who have found their way into this exciting and addictive lifestyle. We discuss their personal history, struggles, successes and reboots. We dive into what drives them to stay active and offroad. We all hope to shed some light on how to find a path into this world we live and love and call off road.
[00:00:53.730] - Speaker 4
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.
[00:01:20.350] - Speaker 1
If you still love the idea of a printed magazine, something to save and read at any time, Four Low magazine is a magazine for you. Four Low cannot be found in a storefront or on a bookshelf, but you can have it delivered to your home or place of business. Visit 4lowmagazine.com to order your subscription.
[00:01:41.950] - Big Rich Klein
On today's episode of Conversations With Big Rich, we have Nate Hunt for any of you guys that are running BFGs. You know Nate, but for those that you don't, Nate is the Motorsports Race Operations Director at Jackson Motorsports and Events. And Nate has been around for quite a while, and he's just a super great guy and helpful. And Nate, I want to say thank you so much for coming on board and sharing your story with us.
[00:02:12.490] - Nate Hunt
Of course. Glad to be here. Thanks for inviting me.
[00:02:15.060] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, no worries. So let's find out how you got to be part of Jackson. But to do that, we need to start at the beginning and let us know where you were born and raised.
[00:02:29.170] - Nate Hunt
Well, I was born and raised. I was born in Cooper's Town, New York.
[00:02:33.880] - Big Rich Klein
[00:02:34.620] - Nate Hunt
Baseball hall of Fame, Little League, World Series, all that kind of stuff. Upstate New York. My dad owned a dairy farm in Carlisle, New York, and we had about 100 milking head. And then we have, of course, all the heifers and calves that come along with that and some beef cattle and did all our own oats and hay and corn and silage and all that kind of stuff. So, yeah, I was born and raised in upstate New York.
[00:03:06.280] - Big Rich Klein
So a farm boy.
[00:03:08.530] - Nate Hunt
Yes, but only a farm boy until I was I think we moved when I was about seven.
[00:03:17.870] - Big Rich Klein
[00:03:18.330] - Nate Hunt
So I was on the farm long enough to learn how to push the manure into the gutter, push the silage up to the cows, sweep, did some milking, but I wasn't quite tall enough to do milking on my own at that time on my dad's farm, but, yeah, just that farm kid that go down there and do whatever he could at the early ages, before school and after school and get the ride on tractors. And my dad would put the tractor in gear, let the clutch out, jump off, and I would steer the thing back to the barn and just switch it off when I got there because I couldn't reach the pedals. Whatever we needed to do, we were a long way away from any neighbors and there wasn't any traffic, so it was just kind of that farm life in a remote area and out in the country in New York.
[00:04:17.510] - Big Rich Klein
That's awesome. So that's probably what created the good work ethic that I'm sure that Jackson Motorsport saw in you.
[00:04:29.930] - Nate Hunt
Yeah, I would definitely say I definitely learned some work ethic from being on the farm. My dad was a Cornell graduate. He wrestled in high school, won state Championships in wrestling, went to Cornell on a full ride for wrestling, was a farm kid. This is a family farm that he bought from my grandfather and his father before him. So it was a family farm for a long time and my dad grew up in that environment. And of course, his parents were survivors of the Depression, Great Depression. So it was a very stingy, if you will, I guess, or however you want to call that, where you're squeezing every little bit of toothpaste out of the tube and adding water to the liquid soap to make it last longer and saving all the slivers of bar soap until you had another bar that you could use just that kind of really conservative lifestyle and pinching everything. I remember when I earned my first dime and of course, I had to put half of that in the savings and you had to work for everything that you got. So, yeah, definitely from that. My dad was also a Vietnam vet, so he had a little bit of that military in him and then bought the farm from my grandfather.
[00:05:57.130] - Nate Hunt
So, yeah, I think with all that tied in, I got quite a bit of work ethic from my dad, both on the farm and then what he went on to do after that, which I can get into that if you want.
[00:06:09.970] - Big Rich Klein
Well, we will.
[00:06:11.410] - Nate Hunt
[00:06:14.210] - Big Rich Klein
One of the things that I find with families that went through the Depression and maybe carried over those same survival skills, I'd almost put it with their kids is that they became collectors, meaning you didn't throw anything away. I wouldn't say so much, Hoarding, because hoarding is it normally includes trash and everything else nowadays, but my grandfather worked at Bethlehem Steele as an electrician and worked on the Navy ships for World War II and things like that. The guy had electrical stuff up until the 70s in boxes and in coffee cans and everything that were so outdated it was like a hob and nail or the tube and nail, whatever they call it, electrical that you see in really old houses where the wire runs through the insulator and you kind of just pinch onto it. That's the kind of stuff that he had collected and didn't throw away. And then finally my dad started throwing it away in the 80s. But it was like, why do you have this stuff? It's nothing ever we're going to use.
[00:07:47.150] - Nate Hunt
Yeah, I definitely saw some of that. I think to me, the difference between, as you call it, collecting versus Hoarding is at least I'll just speak about my dad and my grandparents. We're going to hang on to this in case we need this again and we won't have to buy it again or have to spend money to get the same thing again. But the difference between Hoarding and collecting, I think, is that I was tall ever since I can remember, was to take care of things if you own it, like take care of it. And so there wasn't probably anything broken laying around. It was all something that was maintained. And I can always remember my dad said, until you learn to take care of what you already have, you're not going to get any more or I'm not going to give you any more or I'm not going to let you buy anything anymore until you learn how to take care of what you already have. And I guess to me, that's the difference between Hoarding and collecting, because they took care of what they had, because they didn't have much.
[00:08:53.190] - Big Rich Klein
[00:08:53.640] - Nate Hunt
But what they had was taken care of.
[00:08:55.240] - Big Rich Klein
And it wasn't just tossed in the attic and forgotten about being a graduate of Cornell and then owning the farm. Was he in an agriculture studies?
[00:09:07.430] - Nate Hunt
[00:09:08.070] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, so he was a studies. Okay.
[00:09:10.320] - Nate Hunt
Yeah. So he likes certified for, I don't know all the terms, but all the agriculture, judging cows, like state fairs, all that kind of stuff. When you just look at a cow, it's kind of like how we look at maybe. I'm sure you too. How I look at a tire, I see way more than just something that's black and round and on the car or truck.
[00:09:36.230] - Big Rich Klein
[00:09:37.430] - Nate Hunt
That's how he would look at a cow, I guess, if you will.
[00:09:40.910] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. I understand that to put it in these motorsports terms. So it's seven years old or up until about seven, you guys were on the farm. What changed? So that you weren't on the farm?
[00:09:55.310] - Nate Hunt
Yeah. So major life change for all of us, our whole family. My dad grew up in Church, and he decided at that time that he wanted to go into the Ministry. And so he sold his half of the farm, basically to my uncle, his brother, who was a co owner on the farm with him and packed us up and moved us to the city. So that was a little bit of a life change. And he went and got his master divinity in effort to become a pastor. And we did that for three years and then actually moved back to New York for a little while while he candidated or applied, I guess a different churches around. And we landed at a Church in northeast Pennsylvania, right up on the Delaware River. Delaware river separates Pennsylvania and New York. So we're still pretty close to upstate New York, but probably two and a half hours away from where I grew up. And it's just a small Church and in a farm community because that's his kind of people where he thought he could Minister the best two is the people that he understood. So moved from one farm community to another farm community just in a different role.
[00:11:30.700] - Nate Hunt
And once we moved there, of course, with all the farms around, I was able to walk next door or walk down the street a little bit and keep working on dairy farms, which is what I continued to do most of my rest of elementary, junior high and high school was still on different dairy farms in the area.
[00:11:53.870] - Big Rich Klein
So if you were working and doing especially dairy because that's all year long, it's not like some farming where it's very seasonal. There's always things to do. But I mean, you have the planting season, you have the harvest season, and then the rest of it is just basically maintenance. But did you participate in school sports or anything as well?
[00:12:21.930] - Nate Hunt
Oh, yeah. So being in the farm community, which was already not very populated with my dad being a preacher, there was a Christian school attached to the Church. And so I grew up in a very small private Christian school. I like to tell people I graduated third of my class because there was three of you. Now there's four. Yeah, I got that one spot up on the other guy. Yeah. On the podium. But yeah, there were 76 kids from kindergarten through 12th grade when I graduated my senior year. And so let's just say with that many kids, we had to go all the way down to fourth grade in order to get enough guys for the soccer team. So we started sports kind of early, if you want to call it varsity. We're on varsity because we had no junior varsity. It was as many bodies that could actually run around and play. So, yeah, I started playing soccer, I think when I was in fourth grade and then in 7th grade, I was allowed to get on the basketball team. Basketball takes less players in soccer, of course. So I started playing basketball. And honestly, I became obsessed with basketball.
[00:13:52.980] - Nate Hunt
We didn't have a TV growing up, so I didn't watch NBA games or really follow or be able to see sports played on TV. I just kind of figured stuff out. We watched some Pistol Pete Mervich videos. The team would watch and then read a lot of books. Larry Bird had a book on rebounding. And so I just would read and do as much as I could without following sports on TV. To this day, I don't really care to watch TV on sports or sports on TV. I'd rather go out and do something, whether it's playing or just be outside. But anyway, so yeah, I played basketball, became obsessed with it. I would go to school. I would have basketball practice in the afternoon after I got off to school. Then I would go work, do chores, milk cows, maybe do homework. If my mom's listening, I went and did homework. And then once I got my driver's license, you have to drive about 30 to 40 minutes to even get to a stoplight or a gas station or anything. So we are still out of the country pretty good, but find a basketball court, outdoor basketball court where there's actually people around to play.
[00:15:15.150] - Nate Hunt
So I drive into town and I would play until about midnight and drive back, get up, do chores, melt cows, and do it all over again. But it was all about basketball. So I thought I was pretty darn good because in that little small community, I was a decent athlete and thought I was going to go to College, walk on and show everybody how great of a basketball player I was. Kind of had a rude awakening when I got to College and found out I wasn't quite as good as I thought I was.
[00:15:52.390] - Big Rich Klein
I've heard that from a number of people. There was a guy that I went to high school with that was the well, he was like the point guard on the basketball team and one of the captains. He was one of the pitchers and then played shortstop. When he wasn't doing that on the baseball team, he was a quarterback on the football team. Every sport that he went out for, he was basically the top dog. And he went to San Diego to go to College. It was on a football scholarship and he never played it down at College. And immediately when he got there, he was thinking, okay, I'm pretty hot shit, and then realized that he wasn't. And it was interesting listening to him tell me that because when I knew him in high school, he was pretty conceited. And then now he's completely different than that. Even though he ended up coaching high school football and teaching in high school and stuff like that, he came to a realization that, okay, I'm not as good as I thought, but didn't give up on his dreams.
[00:17:15.450] - Nate Hunt
[00:17:19.210] - Big Rich Klein
You didn't make the basketball team in College?
[00:17:22.150] - Nate Hunt
Well, I did. I made the second team, which drove me crazy, which is actually kind of funny because that was a little transition when I figured out I wasn't as good as I thought I was going to be. I actually took a physic class and learned how to play volleyball, which I thought volleyball was a girl sport. And just a game like you play at a picnic with a bunch of people on a weekend. I didn't realize that there was actually men's volleyball, of course, on the East Coast, not quite as popular as out west. So once I figured out, by the way, I'm in College in Northern Wisconsin, not that far away from Crandon, actually. But I had no idea that Crandon existed back then.
[00:18:10.970] - Nate Hunt
But yeah, I took a physical class in volleyball. Of course, I could jump already from playing basketball, and turns out I could jump and actually play pretty well. So I picked it up and ended up playing volleyball for six years up there in Wisconsin in the Wisconsin Volleyball Conference. And volleyball took on a whole new passion for me. It was so technical and every little thing had to be right in order for it to work. Right. So it kind of goes back to my basketball days because I can remember I scored, I don't know, 46 points in a game or something. And I was pretty proud of that. And by the way, I didn't get a chance to be too confused because my dad was really good at bringing me back to reality. I'd get in the car and I'd be like, dad, I scored 46 points and be like, yeah, you would have scored 47 if you wouldn't have missed that foul shot. Of course, I'm shooting foul shots for the next three weeks every day. But yeah, just that you can always do better. You're only as good today as your practice. And what pushes you?
[00:19:29.250] - Nate Hunt
I think kind of the less amount of that was like, you've got to work hard for something, especially if you're not naturally talented. You've got to work really hard for it. And then once you get it or get some success, there's always something you can do better. And I think that's kind of how well, I know we're jumping ahead a little bit to the Pit program. That's how I feel about the Pit programs. And boss like, man, it was really good. But if we could do this a little bit better, that would make everything a lot better anyway, right? I know where all that started.
[00:20:02.770] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. That's part of that work ethic is being brought down when you are at the top of your game, so to speak, by either family or friends that push you to be better. And some people get it and some people don't. You know, the ones where it comes absolutely naturally, the athletics, where they may just be like the fastest person around or great hands or really tall, whatever. They've got the body for it physically, they've got it, but they don't necessarily have it mentally. I saw that a lot in high school football or pre high school football when I coached was the kids that first day of practice, you go, oh, my God, this kid is going to be a star. He's got the chance to go pro if he really works at it. And then you see that they become lazy because they are so much better than everybody else. They don't realize that there is another level.
[00:21:07.290] - Nate Hunt
Oh, yeah. I was always jealous of those guys who guys ain't girls. But I was playing against guys who could just show up at practice, go through the motions. When game time came, they turn it on and they do so well just because they were so natural at it. And I'm going to the gym after practice to try to get jump a little bit higher, be a little bit quicker. But yeah, sports was definitely a big part of my life. And I think with the work ethic from just working as well as playing team sports and driving myself in that area, I think and having great coaches along the way be remiss to say, obviously my dad was a huge influence in my life growing up and even today. But I had some great teachers and great coaches along the way who were always pushing you to do better. And I couldn't ask for much more than that. Did I have everything? No, but I had enough and I had what I needed and very grateful for the life lessons I've been able to learn and hopefully continue to learn the people that have been placed in my life.
[00:22:29.520] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. So what did you study while you were in Wisconsin? Well, Besides girls and volleyball, yes.
[00:22:40.710] - Nate Hunt
I didn't really have much time for girls, actually. I never had girlfriends. Wouldn't call them girlfriends. Didn't have much time for all that kind of stuff. It was more classes and work and volleyball, I guess volleyball is my girlfriend, if you want to call it. That was the only recreational activity I got into.
[00:23:06.040] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, that's good.
[00:23:07.820] - Nate Hunt
Yeah. But no, I was trying to graduate debt free, so I was going to school for adolescent psychology and it's and elementary education and time graduate.
[00:23:20.710] - Big Rich Klein
The adolescent psychology is right up your alley with what you're doing now.
[00:23:27.430] - Nate Hunt
Amazingly enough, people always ask me like, well, you really want a different direction. Actually, I'm kind of right in the wheelhouse of what I studied. I enjoyed working with kids and teaching a little bit. I figured out I wasn't going to be a teacher. I couldn't stand being in a classroom for that much. Originally kind of wanted to work in boys homes, juvenile homes, and I did some summer stuff with that and turned out the paperwork and government regulations and all that kind of stuff. Took away from being able to just work with the kids and then sending them home to the same parents that screwed them up in the first place and then having them come back with even more walls up and harder to deal with and get back on the right track and the first time they left, so just kind of got a little bit frustrated with some of that. But I was still kind of thinking going down that path. I was working a couple of jobs towards the end. I was working on my master's and I was working third shift at a hotel in town and would get some homework done during the middle of the night when nobody was around and go to class, take a little nap, go to volleyball practice, take a little nap, go to my second job, which was refereeing sports leagues out in the town, take a little nap after that and go to the job at the hotel.
[00:25:06.460] - Nate Hunt
So it was kind of a little bit of a blur trying to work and get school work done, but kind of leads to the next stage of my life, which was finishing up school. So when I graduated out about $750, graduated with my Masters $750, and didn't want to move back in with my parents and that whole cliche of things. So I had a buddy that lived in Greenville, South Carolina, and he had a two bedroom apartment. He was by himself. He's like, come on down here, dude. And he's like, that extra room anyway, so you can get down here to get a job and get caught up. So that's what I ended up doing. I packed up my 73 old cutlass that I had bought from this old lady in town that had us sitting in her barn since her husband died and got it for pretty cheap and loaded up everything into it and started heading south and Ironically enough, got a flat tire pulled off the side, changed it, went down the road a little bit further and got another flat tire and pull off to the side of the road. And then as I'm pulling off, I got another flat tire.
[00:26:26.950] - Nate Hunt
So basically those tires have been sitting on a concrete barn floor since her husband passed away years and years ago. And as you know, in Northern Wisconsin, a lot of frozen concrete and freezing weather and some pretty dry rotted tires on that car. And for a guy who never really looked at tires, kind of ironic how all that worked out. But I was sitting there with three flat tires and I started walking down the highway. Cop picked me up and actually put me up in a hotel and exit down. And there was a tire shop next door. So I got in the morning, walked over, I said, hey, I got a car up there on the highway. I need to figure out how to get some tires for it. And he's like, actually, I already towed it over here. And I was like, oh, I don't have very much money. I may be working for you for a while. And they started asking some questions. And long story short, he ended up giving me four used tires put them on the car. And it actually gave me some cash because he didn't think he had enough money to make it to South Carolina with that 74 old cutlass.
[00:27:34.650] - Nate Hunt
And of course, I argued with him for a while, but he wasn't going to take no for an answer. And basically said, I have kids, and if my kids in College and is trying to do what you're doing, I would hope somebody would help him out, too.
[00:27:48.510] - Big Rich Klein
One of those pay it forward type moments kind of that.
[00:27:51.770] - Nate Hunt
Yeah. So made it South Carolina, and the timing of it worked out. It's kind of funny how the timing and the reason why I'm talking about the story is not only the funny tire part of it, but so obviously I was getting in much later than I would have if I would have had a perfect trip and pulled into the driveway, my Buddy's pulling out and he's like, hey, jumped in. I'm going to a softball game. Cool. Didn't even unpack a thing. Jumped in his car, went to a softball game, sitting on the bench talking to a guy. And he said he works at this place called Jackson Motorsports and all the stuff that they did. And I was like, man, I'm looking for a job. I'll do anything. And he's like, well, a lot of people want to work here because it's racing and all this cool stuff. I was like, well, that sounds cool. But I was like, I'm just looking for work. He's like, okay, well, give me a number if something comes up. Like, okay, so give him my number. And on the way home from that softball game, I got a call from him, and he is basically, I know this is weird.
[00:28:56.130] - Nate Hunt
I just said it's really hard, but I just found out I have seven trailer loads of tires coming in tomorrow. I need somebody to come in and unload tires. You want to come in and do that? He's like, I'm not offering you a job. It may just be a couple of days. I'm like, yeah, I'll do whatever went in the next day and started unloading tires. And that was almost 18 years ago. Kicked off my career at Jackson with my first paycheck. I sent money. I think I sent like $500 back to that guy in Wisconsin that helped me out with the tires. And I wrote him a check. And a week later, it shows back up, the checks all torn up in the envelope. And he's like, you do not owe me anything. Don't ever try to send me money. That kind of a thing. But yeah, that's where all of a sudden I'm working for Jackson Motorsports. And at the time it's called Jackson Dawson Motorsports. We had this conversation earlier. Yes. That was a long time ago. It feels like a long time ago.
[00:30:01.720] - Big Rich Klein
Right. So that's interesting. That the first thing you learned about tires is that they were round in black while you unloaded.
[00:30:11.290] - Nate Hunt
Yeah, well, the first thing I learned about tires was that they don't always stay around. Sometimes they go flat on the bottom. It was interesting. It was funny because when it came to tires, I had no idea. I'm unloading these race tires that came over from France on a boat because we also do Michelin racing. I mean, they didn't have any tread on them. They were slicks. And I was like, who would buy a wore out tire? I get educated real fast. It was not a wore out tire. It was a very expensive brand new tire. They just didn't have tread on it. Yeah. Learn a lot about tires real fast. I got put on a Lexus Taste luxury tour and learn how to Mount little rubber band tires, as they call them, low profile tires with wheels that have sensors on them and all the way up to light truck tires. And so learn how to Mount tires, learn how to set up for events, learn how to talk to consumers and work for a client where she all started.
[00:31:24.340] - Big Rich Klein
So you unloaded tires out of seven truckloads tires and then the guy that turned into a regular job.
[00:31:36.550] - Nate Hunt
Yeah, well, sort of. It was a part time job and I would get up and I got my lifeguard certification when I was in College and done some stuff at camps. So anyway, I would go to the YMCA. I would go do that morning swim lifeguarded for that. So I get up kind of on farmer hours. Actually, it was like 04:00 A.m. Till seven. And then I would go into work at Jackson. I would do whatever working in the warehouse, sweeping floors, clean bathrooms, whatever shining tires. Oh, I don't know if you know this, but brand new tires sometimes come with the little nipples all over the tire.
[00:32:23.210] - Nate Hunt
Little rubber nipples that stick out all over the tread for a brand new tire. So when you're putting one on display, they want all those cut off. So we'd sit there with little snips and thousands and thousands of those little things. We snip off the tires and yeah, just all that kind of little stuff that would come up. But yeah, like I said, I learned how to Mount tires and dismount tires and got to go do a couple of American LeMans races mounting tires and actually ended up from there watching this guy trying to track. They used to bring guys over from France to track. All the inventory for all the Michelin race tires. And Michelin race tires were confidential. So basically we brought 3000 tires to racetrack. We left with 3000 tires we'd loaned to the teams for the weekend. They weren't allowed to keep them. They were highly confidential and weren't allowed out in the public or with other teams. So we had to collect all of those race tires back there was this inventory system and they would send over some French guys to do that and end up watching that and helping them out with that program and then learn it pretty well.
[00:33:38.610] - Nate Hunt
And they ended up leaving a couple of French guys that would come over to help with that had put me in charge of that. So I became the inventory manager of Michelin Brace Tires in North America and that was kind of my first full time job at Jackson very well. Did that for three or four years. What's kind of cool at Jackson is there's? A lot of variety. We have a lot of different clients other than just Michelin, even in the motorsport arena. So I got to go do Volvo construction equipment, learned all the Volvo construction lineups that they had for all those vehicles. And we used Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon and Mario and Ready driving schools and got to drive stock cars, maybe cars for all summer and bringing out clients and running those events. We had BMW Motor Ed for a client. So I got to go around the country with a fleet of motorcycles and lead demo rides at all these bike dealerships and bike rallies across the country, did some marketing events. So, yeah, I just kind of learned as I went. And this whole time I knew who Frank DeAngelo was and he was living in Pennsylvania and he's managing this side of things, but I never really touched too much on it.
[00:34:55.920] - Nate Hunt
So he would show up, I would see him, I knew who he was but didn't really know a whole lot about him. We definitely didn't know much about each other. And as I was doing some Michelin marketing, we got to know each other. He moved down to South Carolina and we actually got to know each other and we started talking about some Bfgooder stuff. In fact, it's kind of funny. I can remember being in the office when this guy, Robbie Gordon, won the Baja 1000 on Toyo tires and broke Bfgooditch streak of wins for the Baja 1000 overall and how huge of a deal this was. I had no idea anything about offroad racing. I couldn't figure out why this was such a big deal. And now being in the off road community, I found out just how big of a deal that was right for the brand. All that stuff with Jackson then basically into offroad the guy before me, I think, you know, Rich would be Victor Angone.
[00:36:01.560] - Big Rich Klein
[00:36:03.950] - Nate Hunt
I know he did some of your events and stuff as well. I was involved in rock crawling and stuff back then.
[00:36:10.110] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. When Jeff Cummings was more into the off road side, I was dealing with Jeff when I owned Valley Off Road Racing Association, Vora and then Victor somewhere in there got to know Victor as well. Once I started going to desert racing and then the rock crawling is still doing the rock crawling at that time too. So it came across Victor, right?
[00:36:39.160] - Nate Hunt
Yeah. So Victor and I had done some other events, and he became Frank's second man. Basically, Frank had this other guy that worked for him when he was up in Pennsylvania, when he moved to South Carolina, a guy wasn't able to come. So Victor and Frank started working together, and I was doing some other stuff. And Victor actually invited me out to King of the Hammers in 2008. That was my first King of the Hammers, which I think is really the first big year. I guess they had the OG Whatever deal, right. 2007. But yeah. So I've been going to King and Hammers ever since 2008 and was doing some marketing stuff for Victor. And that's when I kind of got to know Frank a little bit. We started the Via Search media center at Baja Races, and that's when I started going to Baja Races was to help out with that. Not really working for the offered scene at the time, was just helping out with the BFGoodrich Media Center at some of the races. So that's kind of getting my toe dipped in it. I got to go to Crann a few times, setting up displays and rolling posters and handing posters out and talking about product people.
[00:37:55.380] - Nate Hunt
So kind of my first introduction into the off road scene.
[00:38:00.230] - Big Rich Klein
Right. And what was your impression with the first time you went to Baja or King of the Hammers? Let's start with King of the Hammers.
[00:38:15.050] - Nate Hunt
Well, King of the Hammers, first of all, I thought they were playing a trick on me. I thought I was being hazed or something because in 2008, it's not like it is now. It's basically a freeway out to the Lake bed now. True. And we're like going on this dirt trail that was truly whopped out. It was beat up. You really thought you were just on a trail to nowhere and we're bumping along all the way out there. And then all of sudden a camera got close and there was a few tents set up. And it was interesting for that early in King of the Hammers to see those few people out there. And that's back when you had to drive out to this particular Bush that was in the middle of nowhere in order to get any type of cell reception.
[00:39:16.920] - Big Rich Klein
The cell phone Bush.
[00:39:17.980] - Nate Hunt
The cell phone Bush. Yeah. It was eye opening for sure. And what I learned right away, I think the biggest impression that I had, both Baja and King of the Hammers, not so much short course racing, but Baja and King of the Hammers especially was that no matter how much experience you had, no matter how much money you have, at some point there's a very good possibility at some point you're going to have to ask for some help. Correct. You can be out in the middle of nowhere and you can be a billionaire. And you might have to ask this guy who works his knuckles to the bone just trying to pay some bills and maybe tinker on a race car on the weekend in order to get out to this one race, you may have to ask for that dude's help. So compared to pavement racing, where the drivers would fly in on their private jets and get escorted into their private dressing room, if you will, and never see the public, never talk to the support crews, the guys doing the tires or whatever support crew out there, they basically go straight to the car, get in, drive it, get back out, go to the dressing room, fly home.
[00:40:44.590] - Nate Hunt
I'm sitting there looking at the Shannon Campbells and the Dean Bullocks and all these guys who were basically superstars of the sport back then. There are so many the Loren Healys, the Randy Slawsons, all those guys. These guys are the drivers. They drive these race cars and they shook my hand and his hand was dirty from wrenching on his car or wrenching on somebody else's car because somebody else needed some help and they were able to help him. It blew me away that you had that access to the drivers and team owners. It was eye opening to me because you didn't get that in the pavement world.
[00:41:32.040] - Big Rich Klein
And the bonfires at night back in the early years, everybody knew everybody.
[00:41:39.010] - Nate Hunt
Yeah, absolutely. And the drivers mingled. The team owners mingled. Spectators are here, support crews here. Drivers and teams are over here altogether.
[00:41:51.370] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, I do miss that.
[00:41:55.570] - Nate Hunt
[00:41:56.210] - Big Rich Klein
Every time the last couple of times that I've been out to King of the Hammers, it's just changed so much and it needed to I mean, it's grown. They've done an outstanding job. Dave Cold did an outstanding job of taking that from that first and second year to what it is now is incredible. If I don't give him credit for anything else, I got to give him credit for bringing in the right people to help fill his dream. To build his dream.
[00:42:34.490] - Nate Hunt
Yeah. If you're listening to this podcast and talking to you, you probably know who Dave Cole is. Dave Cole and I have been best friends and worst enemies, probably all within an hour.
[00:42:52.110] - Big Rich Klein
We all happen, trust me.
[00:42:54.510] - Nate Hunt
Yeah. But man, what a future thinker and big idea kind of guy and hard work that he put into it and I mean, built up quite a deal. And every time I go probably, man, I tell you, the Bottle 1000 is pretty darn significant and well known and something you really want to be a part of. But man, I don't know if it's a very close second, if not pretty much on par with a Ball 1000 race for me, as far as attending and being a part of, just from the sheer size of it, how cool of an event it is and the people that come out to it and are involved with that racing, it's pretty special. It's one of my favorite weeks of the year. Well, it's turning two weeks of the year to be out there.
[00:43:55.270] - Big Rich Klein
And for most drivers, it's like a month.
[00:43:58.070] - Nate Hunt
[00:44:01.610] - Big Rich Klein
I don't attend anymore because it has gotten so big that it's easier for us to keep doing what we need to do to run our business. But we were able to have photographers and writers go out there and cover it for our magazine for low. But we don't we don't participate in the event ourselves because it's just gotten to be big enough to where it's lost. It's lost that flavor for me. I don't get a chance to see everybody. I don't get a chance to going out to the bonfire, which was something I always looked forward to. Now I know nobody at the bonfire, which is absolutely amazes me for me to find everybody. I got to go to their pits.
[00:44:55.490] - Nate Hunt
Well, you go to bed too early. That's your problem now.
[00:44:57.680] - Big Rich Klein
Well, yeah, but I'm getting a lot older, so that happens with the Gray hair comes other things.
[00:45:07.230] - Nate Hunt
Yeah, I agree that the bonfire is different once in a while. You can still find some drivers here and there, but yeah, like you said, sometimes you got to go find and go find them now, and they basically have their own bonfire and party wherever they are.
[00:45:21.710] - Big Rich Klein
[00:45:22.950] - Nate Hunt
But yeah, definitely an awesome event. We could talk about Baja all day. I can anyway, let's do that. Well, before we go to Bog, let's talk about shortcourse real quick. Sure, if you don't mind.
[00:45:41.440] - Big Rich Klein
No, not at all.
[00:45:43.390] - Nate Hunt
Shortcourse was a big part of my life for a long time, and not so much now. But when I first started in off road, short course was the thing, and it was growing. It was where a lot of drivers were.
[00:45:59.350] - Big Rich Klein
A lot of money.
[00:46:00.970] - Nate Hunt
A lot of money and a lot of manufacturer tires. It was a huge tire war, I guess, probably out of anything that I'd ever seen or have seen since. I've never seen seven or eight tire manufacturers in the same race right there with full corporate efforts, if you will. And getting lined up at the race track with seven different tire companies all in a row was pretty cool to me as a competitor. I think that probably goes back to the sports thing in school. Not a huge fan of Spec tire series.
[00:46:42.370] - Big Rich Klein
Neither am I. Yeah, they're out there.
[00:46:45.350] - Nate Hunt
I can understand. And I see the different sides. I love beating competition and even getting beat just drives you to be better. And having people choose to buy your tires instead of buying somebody else's because they feel like you have the best product or the best service or whatever it is to me. That's what gets me up in the morning, for sure. That's why I love desert racing today and everything that goes into it. I know we can talk about rock crawling. I know your passion is there. And I kind of came into the Bfgirich offroad scene as the brand. The BFGoodrich brand at the time was kind of pulling back in that area.
[00:47:36.640] - Big Rich Klein
[00:47:36.980] - Nate Hunt
So you and I never got to work a whole lot. I try to visit a couple of your races and get to know some of your drivers. And we continue trying to help out a few of the drivers, but we're never there. I don't think I can remember. You have to correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I was ever out there with a semi or a full corporate set up by the time I got into off road.
[00:48:00.720] - Big Rich Klein
No, I think the last time that we had and it was Tom's truck when Tom was running one of the trucks was probably 2009, somewhere around there in Farmington was probably the last time that we had that kind of support nationals, right?
[00:48:25.870] - Nate Hunt
Yes. But yeah, I still remember I went to one of your events in Tennessee, and my daughter got a picture with Derek West. She thought he was the cutest guy and such a nice guy. He would still be a goodish guy. At the time, we were still helping him out. And she has that picture. She got that picture printed out on her dresser or something. I don't know. Maybe it's not still there. I don't know. She's 21 now, so who knows what she has on her dresser? I don't check that. But for a long time that was her favorite picture was picture with Derek. And I just thought that again, going back to the drivers, the drivers were so cool and got to mingle with and working with you. And I will say, I'll say this on your podcast that it was not because of any lack of effort from you of trying to get us out there to your events. You and I would talk every year, and every year you would try to convince me that we needed to be out there. And I get the fun job in the position that I have of passing along the news from corporate.
[00:49:47.410] - Nate Hunt
And sometimes it's good news. And a lot of times it's a no. And unfortunately, my conversations with you are mostly like, no, we're not able to do it. But that never deterred you from trying.
[00:50:02.230] - Big Rich Klein
No, never did.
[00:50:04.870] - Nate Hunt
And I will say I always felt welcome when I came to your events, and I appreciate that about you, Rich, because even though we weren't involved, you were always very welcoming and asked me if it would invite me to events. And when I was able to come to some, you treated me like you wanted me there.
[00:50:25.490] - Big Rich Klein
Absolutely. Well, I still consider you a friend before, some kind of a business associate. So that to me is most important. And that's why I've been in this game, I guess you could call it for so long, is because of the friendships. And it doesn't matter to me if somebody's a marketing partner or not, if they're part of the industry, as long as they're a good dude or due debt, whatever you want to say that they're welcome. I want to spend time with them.
[00:51:10.150] - Nate Hunt
And there are teams that are on competitor tires. Maybe there's one out there. I don't know one. And they'll tell me if I'm wrong, but I can't think of one that I don't feel comfortable walking up and shaking their hand and hanging out with and talking to you because we do have that friendship. And that's more important than any type of business or corporate decision or racer decision, whatever it is. First and foremost, you're my friend, and I never want to have anybody in the business. I don't want to have anybody in my life that I can't walk up to her. I feel like I have to walk a wide circle around to avoid it's, just not in my DNA.
[00:51:58.250] - Big Rich Klein
[00:52:00.950] - Nate Hunt
I kind of get that feeling from you as well.
[00:52:03.730] - Big Rich Klein
Absolutely. If I don't want to be around somebody, they already know it and they more than likely will try to avoid me instead of me avoiding them.
[00:52:19.180] - Nate Hunt
Exactly. I'm not saying there aren't other people who walk a wide circle around me. I didn't say that right.
[00:52:27.070] - Big Rich Klein
I get it.
[00:52:28.360] - Nate Hunt
Yeah, exactly. But yeah. And I know part of what you wanted to talk to. I already feel like I've talked way too much without mentioning from people's names. I know I mentioned my dad and some coaches, but now that we're talking about offroad world, I'd be very remiss in not talking about some of the people that helped me get there. I do want to say Jackson, obviously, Daryl Jackson is the President of the company owner and also a friend. And he for some reason kept me on without fire. I swear I tried to get fired, but he keeps me on and actually learned quite a bit from him. The first time I met Darryl was I drove straight through to Vegas from South Carolina because something had to get out there and I was worn out, exhausted. I shouldn't have done it, but the guy that was traveling with me didn't tell me he couldn't drive a box truck until we were halfway there. But anyway, when I got there, Darryl was one of the first guys to jump up in the back of the truck and start unloading it. And I was like, man, that's kind of a guy I'd like to work for.
[00:53:40.350] - Nate Hunt
Not too good to jump up and get his hands dirty. So anyway, for sure, Darryl keeping me on. And I'm probably saying this so I can keep a job tomorrow.
[00:53:54.730] - Nate Hunt
He would expect me to say that. But then a guy named Jack Joseph, he was the first CDL truck driver guy that I worked with here at Jackson and older gentlemen, Vietnam vet as well. Had that common thing with my dad. He basically taught me life on the road, how to keep track of your expenses really solidified because I've grown up this way. But when you travel, it's really easy to let things go sometimes, especially home stuff. He taught me how to try to keep all that stuff kind of straight. Make sure your bills get paid. When you're doing expense reports, you always err on the side of integrity and never put something on there that you think you can charge for. You should know and make sure everything was right. And at the end of the day, you should be able to put your head down on your pillow and know that you are honest. You put in the best day of work that you possibly could, and you didn't have to be looking over your back for anything. He taught me a lot. Taught me how to Mount tires. Taught me life on the road and how to treat a client.
[00:55:16.830] - Nate Hunt
I was never in the client world. Taught me a lot about working with clients and representing a client and how to do that on and off the field, if you will. Right on track. Off track. So he was probably the first guy who really kind of took me under his wing here in this arena and this part of my life. And then right into Frankie Angelo, who huge influence on my life, not just an offroad world, but in life. And with that came relationships with guys like Jeff Cummings, Bob Bauer, Sal Fish, a lot of influential people in the off road community, and at BFGoodrich that I never would have gotten to know if Frank hadn't given me the opportunities, made the introductions. So I've been very fortunate to meet a lot of great people. And one of my favorite parts of the year is going to the off road Motorsports Hall of Fame banquets or induction ceremonies or whatever, and being around all these hugely successful people, whether racers or media or government officials, whatever it is to me, the cream of the crop when it comes to the off road scene in every area.
[00:56:58.160] - Nate Hunt
And being able to just sit down and listen to them, tell stories and talk about their experiences and eat it up for sure. That's awesome to me. I love spending time I'm getting to go down this weekend to the Norah Contingency and start and Sal's going to be down there and get to spend some time with Sal and some of those guys down there that are awesome. But yeah, to get back to Frank, Frank really took me under his wing coming into off road and taught me everything about off road that he could. I can't say that he knew because he knows way more than he has time to teach, but really took me under his Wayne taught me the ropes. Consider him a friend. We've worked together a lot, but we also spend a lot of time away from work and just trail riding with him when he's doing his horse thing. A lot of windshield time down and bow and we're mapping for the course down there talking about just about everything. And he helped me with relationships, with investing and all that kind of stuff that's personal. So definitely would not be here without Frank and the influence that he had just introducing me to this world.
[00:58:27.560] - Big Rich Klein
Frank is extremely knowledgeable and well schooled and versed. And I'm always amazed when I get a chance to talk to Frank about just about everything that makes Frank what he is. It's just amazing what the guy has done. I hope to get him on here on the podcast eventually and pick his brain because he's just an incredible individual.
[00:59:00.130] - Nate Hunt
Yeah. For sure and human. And he could admit when he was wrong and some people have a hard time doing that. To be as knowledgeable about motorsports as he is to admit when you make a mistake or maybe going the wrong direction and we could talk about it. We made a great team. He definitely was definitely a teacher student thing for a long time and always will be. But then the more I learned and developed a passion for off road motorsports, the more we were it was becoming more of a collaboration and ideas and talking things out. And I was learning from his experience and knowledge and I would bring in a fresh idea of somebody that hadn't been around it that long, maybe looking at it from a different perspective, from that side of things. So it just turned into a really great thing and super happy to have had somebody like him work with me. And one thing that he would always say is there's a lot of people who know about motorsports. There's very few people who really know motorsports and have a passion about it. And those are the kind of people that you want to have working for you, with you around you.
[01:00:34.050] - Big Rich Klein
The story s with Frank. I think it was 2003 and it might have been, I think pretty sure it was my son. And I went and we were with Jack Sypol as part of the BFG pit crew in 2003, the year they shot Dust to glory. And I got to drive the box truck with all the spare tires and gas cans and everything and for our pit. And I can remember the whole procession. All the pick crews leave at the same time. We all cross the border together. It seems like there was like 50 or 60 vehicles, different semi trucks and everything and support rigs. And then people start peeling off at their different pit areas and I'm driving the box truck and you got to keep up and we're passing the locals, but, you know, we've got the guy, okay, you got the next mile. I'm a mile ahead of everybody. There's no cars coming. Go ahead and make your passes. Got radio communications between everybody, which was great. And I can remember Frank comes on and goes, I don't know who's driving the box truck, but damn, you can drive. And he may not have said damn, but it was something like that.
[01:02:02.250] - Big Rich Klein
I got this big old smile on my face and I was like, Frank D'Angelo, this is Rich Klein. I'm driving this thing. Thank you. And it was like a badge of honor for him to say that. And it's something I won't forget. He probably doesn't remember it.
[01:02:22.950] - Nate Hunt
You'd be surprised. I'm pretty sure he has a photographic memory. He remembers way too much stuff. And especially down by when you're going down this trail and there's a million cactuses, and you get there at the end of the night and he's like, well, you remember when we made that rate, we swerved right at this one, y, and there was that Cactus on the left. And I'm like, what the heck are you talking about? It's like every single freaking turn that we had down there. But yeah, photographic mind memory. He remembers all that stuff unless he's drinking tequila, and then he will be the first to stay. Drinking good tequila means that you will wake up without a hangover, but you may have serious lapse of memories from the night before. Maybe if it was in that little area there. But if you were driving, it definitely wasn't happening. Yeah. The way he ran the BFG pit program, attention to detail, safety, knowing Baja, the Peninsula, the people, the towns, being respectful, making sure that each pit member knew that they were representing a company that was well known down there and how to do it right and how to do it respectfully in a foreign country, especially.
[01:03:52.320] - Nate Hunt
But I mean, that goes anywhere you go, any venue you attend, but especially down there. Just respecting the culture, knowing the culture, learning about the culture, and ultimately being respectful. It was definitely some great lessons and great times, and I'm thankful I continue to get to go down there and still be a part of it.
[01:04:17.500] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, it's amazing. Mexico, Baja out that respect of the culture is so important, but a lot of Americans don't get it. And I'm talking about I've seen it with race teams. Most of the racers themselves understand it because they're looking at it from a different perspective. But a lot of the people that go down there with their pick crews or whatever they have that, well, I'm American. I can do what I want, basically, and it can cause a lot of troubles. That respect thing goes big down there.
[01:05:05.040] - Nate Hunt
Yeah. Somebody asked me the other day what's one of my biggest pet peeves or concerns, if I could change one thing, what would it be? It probably would be like specifically in racing in Mexico, it would probably be chase teams, and the driver probably has no idea or the team owner probably has no idea what some of the idiotic decisions that are being made trying to go somewhere too fast or running through a town full of people too fast or unsafe or drinking and driving, there's a lot of that that goes down, unfortunately, down there. Yeah, I think especially on race day, but even pre running and stuff, there's just a lot of times where people don't consider that. And that's unfortunate. It's the same way with the Pit program. And I try to stress to each one of the pit members, we do such great work down here. And the driver could say, you had such a great race and you put so much time and effort and money into it, whether it's BFGoodrich or your team owner or your sponsors, and do so great and then have one person do something stupid and ruin it for everybody.
[01:06:29.000] - Nate Hunt
So whether that driver gets DQD or that particular pit gets a black Mark because of doing something stupid or even bigger than that, it could be the company that gets a black Mark, because if one person decides a lapse of judgment or doing something that they shouldn't do can ruin so much great hard work. It's frustrating. So it's important when you're down there in a foreign country and you're part of Score or you're part of the race, you're part of BFGoodrich, you're part of whatever race team you're with that you're representing them and thinking about that the entire time.
[01:07:10.950] - Big Rich Klein
Very true. So what is it with Baja? I know that Jeff used to it seemed like Jeff was always down there to do mapping. Now, are you guys mapping for Score? Are you helping them set the race course, or are you guys just taking what they had given you and then creating your race books from that?
[01:07:41.850] - Nate Hunt
Yeah. So it's changed over the years, for sure. Before GPS days, if you will, there's a lot of time spent down there. And before Google Earth days, there was a lot of time spent down there looking for new trails. You actually had to physically go down there and do it right. You couldn't just open up Google Earth and start looking around and looking for trails that show up on a picture from a satellite.
[01:08:11.240] - Big Rich Klein
[01:08:11.700] - Nate Hunt
So in the early days, yeah, there was a lot of that going down with Score of the Sanctioning body and figuring out where trails were and basically helping Score put together a race course that continues except for a little bit different. When we go down their mapping, we go down there to help Score. So we're with Score, we're helping them put together the GPS files, the race notes, and we actually drive the course, make sure it's passable, make sure there's nothing that will keep the race from going through there. We are down there on behalf of Score. But what's changed is obviously you have Google Earth, you have a lot of resources today that sport didn't have 20 years ago.
[01:09:08.510] - Nate Hunt
So it's actually possible to kind of piece together a race course, get an idea of where you want to go digitally, and then be able to go down there and actually physically do it. So that's definitely changed now that Joseg, as we affectionately call him, is the President of Score and his vice President, Rodo. They're Nationals, so they live down there. Compared to when, say, south and his nephew Paul were putting courses together, they would actually have to go down there to do that kind of stuff. Jose, G and Roto live down there so they can run down and spend more time down there looking at trails and physically doing stuff. So there's definitely that side of it that helps. One thing that Josege really made an effort to do is to find new course. And when finding new course down there, you have to develop new relationships with new ranchers and owners. There's a group of ranchers called the Heatos. It's not simple. You could pay off the leader of the Heat up two months before the race and then a month later they re elect a new leader or that leader goes away or whatever.
[01:10:36.000] - Nate Hunt
And this group of renters say, you never paid us. And yeah, we did two months ago. No, that never happened. You're not coming through here. So there's a lot of that goes on. There's a lot of behind the scenes stuff. I purposely do not get a membership at, like a forum, so I can't comment, but I do go through and read them. I hear a lot of the comments from a lot of them are just keyboard warriors, but there are some racers and some team members and team managers that will comment on it. And there's a lot of comments that I just have to bite my tongue. I can't comment because I refuse to get a membership, so I can just turn into a worse deal for me. I'm sure there are a lot of comments. They just don't know or understand. All that goes into some of the courses and some of the areas. Man, Baja is doing really well right now. Agriculture is huge. There seems to be money coming into the country. That's great for the state of Bob. It's not so great for the sport of offroad racing because there's more fields getting planted and people not wanting race trucks throwing up dust all over their crops.
[01:11:55.210] - Nate Hunt
So it's a little more difficult for us or Score to find places to race. So great for the people of Baja, though, the fact that they have all that going on well.
[01:12:10.790] - Big Rich Klein
And I think that having Jose and Roto being Nationals really does help because their lines of communication are clearer.
[01:12:25.990] - Nate Hunt
Yeah, for sure. I'm sure there's pluses and minuses, you're never going to have a perfect race director. I mean, since you're not running anymore, I mean, it's pretty impossible to find a perfect race director. But no, there's pluses and minuses to it for sure. But I will say that they, of course, love their country, and they also love score, since they're pretty much running it. Both of them are hardcore desert racing enthusiasts and have actually done it themselves and Rotos vintage and does some rally stuff. And it's very knowledgeable in those areas. They love motorsports. They want to see it continue, and they want to put on some fantastic races. And the only impossibility in all of what they do is pleasing every racer.
[01:13:32.110] - Big Rich Klein
That's impossible. I don't care what series it is. Yeah, because racers are singularly focused. They're focused on what is good for them, not what's good for the entire sport. And that doesn't matter if it's rock crawling, shortcourse desert, I mean, NASCAR, Formula One, any of that. It's always about any team or driver or team owner is thinking about themselves first, where the promoter is looking at the whole umbrella.
[01:14:13.550] - Nate Hunt
Exactly. And it's either too dusty or it's not dusty enough or it's too Rocky or there's not enough rocks, or there are no Hoops. So it's not a real desert race or there's too many or it's too deep or the highway thing is a big thing down there. You have to get on the highway and go for a ways, and everybody's like, why can't we just stay off for the highways? Well, trust me, there's nothing more that Joseg wants to do to have a race without having to get on the highway.
[01:14:49.650] - Big Rich Klein
To have the police. Speed zones.
[01:14:52.060] - Nate Hunt
Yeah, speed zones. You think they like staying up the entire night reviewing everybody's files to see who was speeding and not they don't like doing that. They don't want to do that, but it's just a necessary evil. It has to happen because of the agriculture and land and areas. And no offense to any other series or race out there, but do you want to run a loop multiple times? Then we can probably stay off the highways. But you may have to run the same loop three times in order to get 500 miles. And then you're dealing with lap traffic and other unsafe situations and a whole lot of other reasons why they don't do that. Yeah, I read some of that stuff, and I just want to say, well, fine, you don't want to get on highways. Perfect. We'll get a 100 miles loop and we'll run it five times. We don't want to do that. I'm like, what do you want.
[01:16:05.180] - Nate Hunt
Can you tell me what you would do? Yeah, I think it's granted right now desert racing has been Baa doing really well. They've been able to find new course, if not every race in the last couple of years. They're already thinking about next year in years to come. So there's some future planning, some big ideas. And we're not just doing the same thing over and over again, no, I think it's really good. But yeah, ultimately, answer your question. When we go down mapping, I know it just went round and round, but when we go down mapping, we're going down there to help score out, to get the race course. And then we're also down there to run access roads to get the information that we need for our VFG map books that we do and put our eyes on pit locations and make sure we can get a semi or a box truck or if we need to bring in a pickup truck and a trailer to get to certain pit locations and Mark those off. So we have that done. We're doing a little bit DFG business, but we're definitely trying to help score out as a partner of theirs, trying to support them.
[01:17:29.170] - Big Rich Klein
I know that those pit books that you guys do are like gold. They are really handy for the teams that you guys have, of course. And to be able to follow a book and say, okay, at this mile marker, there's a dirt road off to the side, and you're going to take that how many kilometers? And then you're going to turn step by step to get to a pit location or how to get somewhere on a race course is really valuable. And I know that those things are hoarded by the teams that get those and that they're like national treasures, where industry secrets that no other tire manufacturer or team on a different tire is supposed to have those books. Now, I can say that there was a time when I was with a team that was not running BFG, and we got our hands on a book and it was like, oh, my God, this thing was phenomenal. And I know that everybody tries to do that, but one of the best things that you guys do is remind everybody to keep those things for BFG teams, and it's important. And you guys put the work in where the other manufacturers are not doing that.
[01:19:00.710] - Nate Hunt
Right. I think there's a lot of things that you touched on that the map books, they have a ton of information in them, and they are an investment by BFGoodrich to send us down there to do that. The thing with having old information, like some past races, is, as you know, down in Mexico, there could be a road there one year and that might not even exist the next year. Or there could be a fence built across it, or there could be a wash out or there could be a million reasons why I couldn't go down that same road. Just because it was there last year and in a map book last year doesn't mean that it's there now.
[01:19:41.010] - Nate Hunt
And when we give out that information, we want it to be good information. Obviously, something can happen in the three weeks between when we map and when the race actually happens. But I think we do the best that we can to make sure that that doesn't happen as far as getting the best information that we can. So we physically run those roads every single time just to make sure they're still open and passable and have the latest and greatest notes that we can do. So an investment by BFG to send us down there to get that information, to provide our racers with that quality information. Could other tire competitors or race teams or whatever go down there and get that information? They could. Do we have a little inroad? Yes. Because of our sponsorship of Score, the partnership that we have there, the investment that we make with Score, we get to go down when Score goes down to map it. So we have a little more time maybe, than a competitor could have to get that. But a competitor could still go down the first day of pre running and spend three or four days and get that information.
[01:20:52.170] - Nate Hunt
But so far, none of us chosen to do that. And it takes a while. I mean, we've been putting these together for 35, 40 years. So there's a lot of information there that has been passed on and on and on. And we got a pretty good base, I guess, if you will, to start when we go down there. And yeah, the information is as fresh as we can make it. It's detailed as we can make it. It takes a lot of time to put those together with all the right information, and we try to make it as valuable as possible. And there may be information that's more pertinent now in 2022 than it was in 2000. So I was trying to think of what could be beneficial to have in that book, and I include a lot of Score, like Score, Racer brief try to put in there, just not that anybody can't print it off and have it, but it's actually in a spiral bound book that you don't have to go scrambling around to try to find loose pages or whatever or do it yourself. We try to include all that kind of stuff that we feel would be important that racers would use or chase teams would use during race day, during their pre running?
[01:22:10.330] - Nate Hunt
Well, I guess not so much pre run because you don't really get the MacBook until a couple of days before the race. But on race day, to be able to have that information at your hands to help you be successful and have a good time while you're down there.
[01:22:27.400] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, it truly is extremely valuable for the teams, having been on both sides, being with teams with BFG and then being with teams without that kind of support. Man, there was times I was like, all right, we need to cruise in and acquire a book somehow. And acquiring one. You are like a spy. I wouldn't say anything. Any illegal activities went on, but maybe trying to get those books. They were valuable and everybody knows it.
[01:23:13.750] - Nate Hunt
Yes. And that's why I think there's going to be some competitors that might get one. But I think for the most part, teams that have experience been coming down there. I think there's a reason why I love them chosen. The product number one, obviously, is a product, and I've kind of switched my hat from being Nate and this Jackson guy to the BFG guy. But the product has always been number one. If we don't have the right product, then we don't need to be there. And that's both Michelin and Beethoven. We want to have the right product, and then we want to have the best product. And we send down technical engineers to every single race that we support. We bring out somebody from technical, and that way they can talk about air pressure. They can talk about what's the right tire solution that we have for your vehicle and for the terrain that you're going to be going out on. What's the right solution for your chase truck that you use for your pickup truck that you use at home? All that kind of stuff are important questions and get brought up. And we have technicians that come to every single race, and I think that's valuable.
[01:24:29.930] - Nate Hunt
And then, of course, looking at the tires at the finish line and seeing where there may be an issue with a tire or where we can improve on a tire, if there's some wear or if there's some puncture or whatever it could be, how can we make this tire better? And they take that information back? And sometimes we send tires back and always trying to find where we can improve on the product and make something better. What's the next best thing when I say we invest a lot of money in making sure that if we're going to do this, we're doing it right and products number one. So yeah, people are down there racing on our tires. One, I believe, because of the product and quality of product. Two would be because of our involvement with the sport of off road racing and the history that we have and then the level of support that we do it as far as the map books, the GPS files that we provide, the pit service that we provide to teams, I think is also very important. So I think those are probably the three main reasons why people choose Bfgittish tires and why we've been able to have the majority of the entire four wheel field on vehicles tires, and we hope to continue that perfect.
[01:25:53.480] - Big Rich Klein
Yes, I agree. So I can't ask what's next for Nate, because you're young enough and been with the company from the beginning of your time, and you'll probably be continued doing that until you decide to hang it up, because I can't imagine them getting rid of you. I saw it right off from the very beginning when you stepped into that role with Frank, that you're the hair apparent, you might say that was probably one reason I was always buttering up to you, was hoping to get you guys involved. But I understand it's not your decision that comes down from corporate, of course, but I see you there until you decide to walk away on your own terms. So I got to say Congratulations on doing that, that you've created that need for them to have you there. And I think you've done a great job.
[01:27:04.570] - Nate Hunt
Well, thanks. I don't know. I appreciate that. And, yes, I can hope for that. But in my mind, I'm only as good as my last race and I'm getting ready for the next one. And the only reason I get to do the next one is because I did the last one well enough for them to keep me on. So I'm definitely not going to try to rest on my laurels or past success, if you want to call it that. To me, it's always about this next one, and I want the brand to be represented well, I want to win. I hate losing. Yes, overall, but in each of the classes, everybody looked at Sam's leaping like, well, Via Goody's got the overall win in BA. What a huge thing. Yeah, very excited. Very excited. That great. Family like Macmillan's got that win with Luke, and Luke's a superstar. He's awesome. Everybody's like, he is a future. I'm like, no, he's a present. And he's actually a little bit past, too. He's pretty awesome. But, yeah, we lost a couple of classes that I really wanted to win, and that's never good enough. But that's what drives you to the next race, and that's what drives you at the end of the year when we're looking at who we may be able to partner with in the future and some great young talent coming up.
[01:28:37.110] - Nate Hunt
I get to talk to Caden McCarthy all the time, and everybody's like, Rob Mac's son. Yes, but the kids are talent himself and well spoken and well groomed, of course, and had a great teacher, but he's doing great. He's doing his own thing. Jack Oligos. Steve Oligos. Just 1516 years old. Great talent and well spoken. Some that are a little older, like the Seth Quinteros and the Mitigatory Juniors. And there's some really great talented. It makes me feel like the old guy now saying, younger kids, Congratulations. Yeah, thanks. Just the future of off road racing is exciting to me. I'll consider Luke a kid. He's younger, but I'm hoping he's got 20 or 30 years in this business winning races. And his brother Dan, who's knocking at the door, he got a 500 win. Maybe not last year. Before 2020, I think. Put a stamp on things. And what's that older gentleman's name? Rob. Yeah, that Rob McMahon. That dude still kicking some butt. And I don't think anybody wants to hear that's Rob Mack behind you or that's Rob Mack in front of you. He still got it, man. I've gotten to meet some great people.
[01:30:16.760] - Nate Hunt
Like I said, with the Sals and Robs Franks and Richard Winchesters and Jeff Cummings, a lot of great people, Bob Bauer, Rich Klein, Dave Coles, some really great people. But probably the racer I talked to the most is Rob. And he's still one of the most passionate people about the sport that I get to talk to about life. And he's excited to see Kaden racing, but he's just excited about life. He's got his daughters, Amber and her two daughters and talking about life and families and things that come along with that as well. The people that I know in racing right now, like I talked about the ormhoff deal with the past, if you will, or the people that helped build this and then the future is looking awesome. I can't wait. I really do. I really hope that, as you said, not going anywhere and get to keep doing this because I want to see what happens. I can't wait to see what happens. 500 is coming up really quickly and I can't wait for that race. It's going to be a fun race and can't wait to see how the team to do.
[01:31:39.070] - Nate Hunt
B. Rich has got a new tire coming out. It's a 40 inch on an 18 inch wheel. So a little bit different and maybe the future and just something new out there. See how it does. I've never known them to put out something that's not really good. So I'm sure this is going to be really good. Can't wait to see how that does. And this new UTV tire out there. Yeah. So product Racers series, race courses, what's not to like? And how can you not lay your head down on the pillow at night and go, man, you got lucky somehow, dude.
[01:32:20.230] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. On load those trucks of tires. Think about that. If you would have said no.
[01:32:28.070] - Nate Hunt
If I would have said I'm not going to your softball game, I'm going to go to sleep. Or if I wouldn't have had those flat tires and had to spend the night and work my way down there and been sleeping while I went to a softball game, right. Yeah. There's a whole circle of things and yeah, I'm blessed. I'm thankful and grateful for the opportunities I've had and hopefully get to continue to have, especially when Frank retired and starting to do more of his horse stuff and kind of move away. I mean, he was huge, iconic figure. So knowledgeable, experience. I think I still say this to myself, just don't screw it up too bad. Would be of good orchest in the off road racing world, just in the off road world in general with the jeeps and trail riding Mo apps and Jeep jamborees and all that kind of stuff. I spent some great people have helped build this thing. And it's like it's a responsibility that weighs on your shoulders of man, don't screw this up.
[01:33:47.390] - Big Rich Klein
[01:33:48.470] - Nate Hunt
Yeah. If that's not motivating enough for us, then it probably shouldn't be in this position.
[01:33:54.950] - Big Rich Klein
[01:33:56.060] - Nate Hunt
Yeah. Well, I feel like I've talked more about myself than I have in my entire life in the last hour and a half.
[01:34:05.280] - Big Rich Klein
Good. That's what we wanted.
[01:34:07.430] - Nate Hunt
I don't know if that's good or bad.
[01:34:10.010] - Big Rich Klein
Well, you didn't give away any deep, dark secrets, so I think you're safe.
[01:34:16.070] - Nate Hunt
Yeah. Unfortunately, the only birth defect that I was born with was some people say that there was a filter thing. I wasn't born with that filter. So I don't really have too many secrets to kind of an open book and unfiltered.
[01:34:34.430] - Big Rich Klein
But it appears that you have done it right. So that's a plus. There's a lot of us that have a lot of skeletons in the closet. You might say we're running for political office nowadays with being able to pull up just about any skeleton that ever that you think you might have hidden. To me, it appears that you could probably run for political office and not worry about skeletons. So that means doing it right.
[01:35:07.190] - Nate Hunt
I won't say I've always done it right, but I will say that I've always tried to make it right. If I didn't do it right, then I'll try to make it right. And I think that's the best that you can do. You're not always going to do it right every time, but you can always make an effort to make it right afterwards, whether it's in life or business or whatever.
[01:35:29.630] - Big Rich Klein
Yes. Perfect. So, Nate, I want to say thank you very much for spending the time and talking about that life and what BFG has meant to you and to the programs itself, to the racers. And again, just thank you so much for being part of it.
[01:35:52.730] - Nate Hunt
Of course. Glad to do it and appreciate you giving me opportunity. I got a few of your podcast to catch up on. I was just kind of scrolling through and seeing how many that I didn't realize that you did this many. I did see a few of them, but I have some definitely ones that interest me for sure. I did see you got Bob Bower for two segments, and that makes a lot of sense.
[01:36:17.270] - Big Rich Klein
We could have kept talking a full day. Yes. I probably could have done three with all the information that I got. And I pulled it down to the essentials. And I could easily do another one with that guy. The guy is just his stories. And what he has done and been part of is just incredible. Absolutely incredible.
[01:36:48.290] - Nate Hunt
Yeah. I definitely try to get Frank on here. He's got some great stories and he's got a great way of talking about the sport and of course, the brand. But racers, he's got some great stories. You got to get him on I are for sure. There's way more interesting people to get on here than definitely me. You still got some podcast to record. You're not done yet.
[01:37:13.470] - Big Rich Klein
No, I don't, to be honest. Yeah, that's true. I'm not done. This is a labor of love and passion, and every week I get more and more names to put on there, and I only put out one a week. So I have more than enough people to interview until at some point, I hope somebody takes it over and says, okay, now we're going to do conversations with somebody else and that they discontinue on my list because I don't know if I can last that long, to be honest.
[01:37:48.870] - Nate Hunt
Well, what I would love to do is be able to record our late night chats around a campfire or around a table and having some drinks and hear some of the stories. And how many world problems have we solved in those situations and we just weren't able to remember it the next day? I always thought that would be a fun podcast to listen to. Of course, you'd have to edit the next day for sure. You may spend a lot of time editing the next day, but I think that would be pretty fun to listen to.
[01:38:28.350] - Big Rich Klein
I think that's a great idea. And I know there's a couple of podcasts out there that do that in a kind of a small way. What I'm doing now, boy, it's enough, I mean, at least for me at this particular moment. So, Nate, I'm going to end it there. Thank you very much for coming on board and being part of this. The last thing I'm going to say is thank you for talking about ormhoff I think that everybody in the off road industry, whether it's rock crawling, short course desert racing, rally motorcycles, UTVs, needs to look into Armhoff and being part of that organization, I think it's vital in the overall health and longevity of off road.
[01:39:14.910] - Nate Hunt
Yes, absolutely. And 100%, somebody here at Jackson is actually working on the Motorsports Hall of Fame and trying to get some more recognition for Offroad in the Motorsports Hall of Fame as well.
[01:39:30.300] - Big Rich Klein
Oh, that'd be awesome.
[01:39:31.710] - Nate Hunt
Definitely being involved with Orm Hoffman and paying I mean, it's not that much pay to be a member and stay involved, and you got to keep the history alive. I mean, that's what drives the future.
[01:39:45.550] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, I've been trying to get more rock crawling involved in it, but without the guys that have rock crawled in the past and the guys that are rock crawling right now thinking about their involvement in the sport and helping with that involvement, with or without that involvement, we're not going to get the recognition that rock crawling deserves. I think 100% everybody listening out there, whether you're an enthusiast, a spectator, a team member or whatever, if you enjoy off road, get involved with the off road Motorsports Hall of Fame or Moff it's a fantastic organization. And again, Nate, thank you so much.
[01:40:34.330] - Nate Hunt
Thank you, rich.
[01:40:35.270] - Big Rich Klein
All right, we'll talk to you later.
[01:40:36.680] - Nate Hunt
[01:40:37.190] - Big Rich Klein
[01:40:37.680] - Nate Hunt
[01:40:39.670] - Speaker 1
Thank you for listening to conversations with big rich. Please let your friends know about this podcast. Let us know what you think of conversations with big rich. Please forward ideas to me contacts of those that I should attempt to interview leave a rating on any of the services you found us on. We look forward to your comments and ideas. Enjoying life is a must follow your dreams and grab all the gusto you can.