Welcome back to the off-road industry, Clifton! For the last twelve years, Clifton Slay has dedicated his life to other pursuits, now it’s time to return. Founder of Poison Spyder Customs, Clifton shares how that began and his history prior to. Jumping back in with both feet and his new venture, Hoplite VentureTrek, we can’t wait to see where it goes!
6:26 – Shout at the Devil!
16:26 – it was either art school or the military
31:53 – connecting to Steve Remore
38:09 – what we needed didn’t exist
48:14 – it was like a sonic boom!
53:22 – the pulse of Poison Spyder was function and style
1:03:49 – it’s hard to watch because there’s no learning curve
1:14:16 – I made some catastrophic mistakes
1:32:57 – Medic Clifton and Valkyrie
1:42:36 – the next step back to off-road
We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.Support the show
00:00:06.310] - Big Rich Klein
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 2
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] - Big Rich Klein
If you still love the idea of a printed magazine, something to save and read at any time. 4Low magazine is a magazine for you. 4Low 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.
[00:01:40.720] - Big Rich Klein
Today on this week's episode of Conversations With Big Rich, we have Clifton Slay. Clifton is a father, a paramedic, dirt pilot, Special forces, canine handler, search and rescue, and founder of Poison Spider Customs. Clifton, it's great to have you on board here and talk about your life and history and offroad and before that and how you got into offroad. And I like to say I've known you for a long time and hope to get to know you a lot better with this conversation. So thank you for coming on board.
[00:02:18.130] - Clifton Slay
Yeah. Thank you, Big Rich. It's an honor to be asked to be on your podcast, so I do my best memory of all these years and see if I can get it as accurate as I can remember.
[00:02:32.970] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, no worries. One of the things that I've realized myself is that I can remember stories, situations, things that happened, but I cannot necessarily put an exact date on things. And as we get older, it's like, oh, it happened 22 years ago, but I couldn't tell you what day it happened.
[00:02:55.370] - Clifton Slay
Yeah, no doubt. Well, I'll try to stay in the right decade. Let me know.
[00:02:58.690] - Big Rich Klein
There you go.
[00:02:59.340] - Clifton Slay
[00:03:00.190] - Big Rich Klein
So the first thing that I need to ask you is where were you born and raised?
[00:03:05.750] - Clifton Slay
I'm from Denver, Colorado. Raised here mostly. I spent some time in Arkansas. My father is an archaeologist there and stayed there, and I was in the military. I traveled around and the different army bases and stuff, but came home to Colorado and still here.
[00:03:25.790] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, cool. Where did you primarily go to school? Say grade school to begin with.
[00:03:34.670] - Clifton Slay
Oh, gosh. Let's see. Polon elementary, which is in Aurora, Colorado, that area just around the Denver area, all through school and then. Yeah, College stuff as well.
[00:03:50.960] - Big Rich Klein
And then you said your dad was an archaeologist, so you were moving was he doing like dig site type stuff?
[00:03:59.270] - Clifton Slay
Yeah, my dad was a huge influence on me. He specializes in Native Americans and pre history. So I grew up with my dad on dig sites and the dirt, full bandanas and arrowheads and all that kind of stuff. So definitely groomed me to a life in the dirt, for sure. And just the appreciation, the outdoors.
[00:04:29.110] - Big Rich Klein
That's awesome. I love the I guess you'd call it the neo American history. Anything that happened on our continent through the years and the study of how man evolved here, I find that quite fascinating.
[00:04:50.150] - Clifton Slay
Yeah. It made for a unique childhood for sure, and I appreciate it, but I appreciate it more as adult now, just realizing the exposures and his perspectives. And like I said, it ties into off road as well, not into the jeeps and stuff necessarily, but just the appreciation of being outdoors and mountaineering and that sort of stuff. And how I still sort of tie all that together is huge influence from my dad.
[00:05:17.870] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, so you said that you went through school in the Aurora, Denver area. Did you graduate in that area or was the moving around come after that?
[00:05:33.650] - Clifton Slay
No, I did. I went through most of my high school, I'm sorry, in Arkansas, but came back from my senior year in Denver and actually saw a lot of my friends from grade school and that sort of stuff. So, yeah, I finished here and then went straight to the military.
[00:05:49.970] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. We'll get to the military here in a minute. Explore the schooling a little bit more. How many years were you in Arkansas?
[00:06:00.710] - Clifton Slay
[00:06:01.830] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. So like 8th grade through 11th and then senior year of high school back in Aurora.
[00:06:08.110] - Clifton Slay
Sounds accurate. Yeah, about like that, 13 to 17, I think. Something like that. Ages 13-17, Arkansas and finished up here.
[00:06:18.470] - Big Rich Klein
Was there a large gap in lifestyle from Colorado to Arkansas?
[00:06:26.090] - Clifton Slay
Oh, gosh, yeah, Arkansas, you're a bit of a celebrity coming from a big city and Colorado, it seemed exotic. I think a lot of the people there at the time, just Bible Belt stuff versus more progressive attitudes here in Colorado was a bit of a shock for me. Time Clinton's were the governor of the state and not that that was necessarily significant, but I remember them coming to our school and telling us that Ozzy Osborne, Motley Crew and Judas Priest and all those in Led Zeppelin, Raw, Devil Worshippers and that kind of stuff. That was my first exposure to the Someday Presidents and of course, those are all the bands I love. Definitely riding my bike around the boom box, playing Motley Crush, shout the Devil and all that stuff. So it made me a bit of a pariah in that small town. I can understand that.
[00:07:26.620] - Big Rich Klein
I kind of felt the same way when I moved to Southern Utah and my son, Little Rich, started 8th grade. When we made the move there. And I can remember the first day of school, his teacher asked him, what religion are you? And I've always considered myself and I just say, this is a joke. Agnostic with atheist tendencies.
[00:07:56.130] - Clifton Slay
Sure. Yeah, I can see that.
[00:07:57.830] - Big Rich Klein
And he goes and says, I'm a Darwinist.
[00:08:01.950] - Clifton Slay
[00:08:02.800] - Big Rich Klein
And that went over really well.
[00:08:05.970] - Clifton Slay
That it did not. Well, I will parrot your story a bit and that I actually took a world history class there, and this will give you sort of an idea. And it was actually a Bible study class. Now, I'm not saying that's not history, but the depth of the history was only a couple of thousand years old, so it was a little bit tough. And I argued a couple of points. Ended up getting expelled from school because some of my upbringing and my father, of course, didn't buck religion, but it also expanded beyond those years. So my dad actually challenged the teacher to an all school debate on history and to try to get me back into school. And of course, the school denied because my dad would have cleaned them up and probably not supported some of the themes that were being pushed forward.
[00:09:10.800] - Big Rich Klein
[00:09:14.290] - Clifton Slay
Yeah. So I get that Rich kind of with some of the same stuff that your son went through. I think I did as well.
[00:09:19.960] - Big Rich Klein
So when you were at that age, were you athletic, Scholastic, or did your own passion?
[00:09:29.270] - Clifton Slay
I was a long haired car guy chasing girls and doing artwork. Wow. That's what it was. I tried athletics. I used to be the fastest kid in school for a long time, so I had that going, but I just didn't have a draw towards it. I really loved working on cars, like I said, doing artwork stuff and growing my hair long and chasing women. I won't say that's how my whole life went, but those skills and I'll let you pick which ones you want, tended to still be prevalent throughout my current life and everything else. Oh, it was a good match for offroad because I know I'm jumping ahead a bit, but those art skills and love of cars and that type of thing was really set the stage for my off road career as well.
[00:10:44.790] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. So then moving back to Colorado from Arkansas, that was a step back in the right direction. Did that happen soon after they being expelled?
[00:10:59.770] - Clifton Slay
It was around the same time, and it wasn't the cause. We come back to Colorado. My dad ended up getting the state archeologist job here in Colorado, which is a dream job in his world. And so he came back. I came back. My mom and family was all here, so it just made sense. Okay.
[00:11:18.740] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, that makes perfect sense. That'd be maybe not a Cush job, but where you're saying that that's kind of a dream job? I would imagine working for the state as the archaeologist. That's pretty damn cool.
[00:11:34.510] - Clifton Slay
Yeah. Just the type of work. Less ticks, less drug dealers, less heat, humidity. Even though he's Southern born, he sort of had a John Denver story and moved here to go to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. That's where he met my mom. So he was definitely mostly at home in Colorado. So when he left, I did as well.
[00:12:04.390] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, so let's get into vehicles. I would imagine there in Colorado, like everybody, you had bicycles. What was your first mode of motorized transportation?
[00:12:24.170] - Clifton Slay
Let me think about it. 50 CC Suzuki Moped.
[00:12:28.520] - Big Rich Klein
[00:12:29.690] - Clifton Slay
Yeah. Not popular with the girls, but I did manage to blow the motor on it and be able to do wheelies and that kind of stuff and jump it.
[00:12:43.550] - Big Rich Klein
You couldn't take girls out for dinner date on a Moped?
[00:12:46.970] - Clifton Slay
Oh, I could. It just hard to compete with the guys with the Chevell. So that was a short lived. As soon as I was 15, I started saving up and actually wanted either Chevelle or a Baja Bug and ended up with a Baja Bug. It was 1970, and that really started my off roads love really? Because I really love bugs.
[00:13:16.730] - Big Rich Klein
I think that 69 70 Bug is probably the best years that they made it made Volkswagens because of the swing axles or the independent rear, I guess you would call it. And then the difference of not going to the struts but still being the double beam front.
[00:13:42.890] - Clifton Slay
[00:13:43.720] - Big Rich Klein
Most people are going to go. What is he talking about, if they never owned a Bug?
[00:13:49.550] - Clifton Slay
Well, yeah, I don't think that I looked at all that stuff at 15, but I just thought it looked cool and started to learn how to paint, build Motors and try to make it so I could compete, not off road compete, but just compete for cool cars in high school and just have fun with it. And I ended up through high school having about five different Baja, different levels.
[00:14:19.850] - Big Rich Klein
[00:14:20.540] - Clifton Slay
And ended up being not trying to segue ahead of time, but ended up sort of seguating my Jeep world because I pushed the limits of Baja, especially in Colorado. It was one of the Rocky trails and that kind of stuff and found that I really needed another axle to drive up the front. That's how I ended up with Jeeps.
[00:14:41.990] - Big Rich Klein
And when did you step into Jeeps?
[00:14:45.350] - Clifton Slay
My stepdad had an 83 CJ seven that he had about 400,000 miles on it, and he sold it to me for a dollar. And I sold my last Baja Bug, which was pretty sweet. It had a 22 75 dual car with the bus tranny Corvette white. And that thing could do wheelies, you can jump. It was beautiful, but I sold that thing and poured everything into the 83. And then that 83 ended up being the original Bruiser CJ that was famous for a long time.
[00:15:24.400] - Big Rich Klein
[00:15:25.610] - Clifton Slay
And still have it, actually. But that was his Jeep. Like, I got it for one dollars and just started working.
[00:15:35.030] - Big Rich Klein
You still have it?
[00:15:36.890] - Clifton Slay
I still have the shell. Okay. It was stolen in 2000 and destroyed pretty much, and which was sad because I was really done with it. So it was just going to be a fixture to have as we were starting into our buggy transitions. But I look at that Jeep today, and every time I met Moab, I could still do all the trails and do all the stuff. The technology hasn't passed it up, so it's final configuration, coilovers and stretched and bobbed and shrunk and two framed and all that kind of stuff. So it'd still hang awesome.
[00:16:22.010] - Big Rich Klein
So right after high school, you went into the military?
[00:16:26.990] - Clifton Slay
Yeah, it was either art school or the military. And I was just finishing high school, and I said I wasn't the most scholarly student. I said I really like to focus on the other trifecta that I talked about, which was the girls and the cars and artwork stuff. So I was ready not to be in school, even in art school, which I loved. So growing up with my dad, my dad was also in the military as well. He actually started off in the Navy, transferred to the Air Force Academy through College, and then later on joined the army and did that in the Guard while he's narcologist at the same time. And so I kind of grew up with that. I never really thought of it as a teenager. Stuff my dad does seems pretty tough, but when it came down to it and I was 18, it looked like a good option for a while, and he encouraged me to do that as well. I actually went in to be a Ford Observation pilot, and I can't remember the helicopter type, but that's what I signed up for. And I was going to go to Fort Rucker, Alabama, pretty excited about that.
[00:17:42.180] - Clifton Slay
And I thought I'd have a career in aircraft and helicopters. And between the time that I signed up and then they do a second physical, I had become colorblind.
[00:17:55.920] - Clifton Slay
Okay. The army owned me, but they couldn't send me to be a pilot because of that. However, they did say that I was blue green or something. I can't remember exactly what it is, but blue green, they said, but you can see camouflage better, and you've got these scores that would have put you into the realm of being able to be a pilot. So you can kind of pick what you want. But I had to make a decision in about 30 minutes.
[00:18:28.830] - Big Rich Klein
So, of course, they have the make a life decision affect you the rest of your life, and you have 30 minutes to do it.
[00:18:37.570] - Clifton Slay
And they reinforced to me that they still owned me. I already signed, so I had to do something. And I prefer I've never done things because it's about money or a particular status or motivation that way. So I just wanted to do something that was an adventure. As I was looking through, I looked up and of course, they have the recruitment posters, and they always show the coolest jobs, which were the fellows on the Rubber Duckies, which are basically like a raft type of boat with the machine guns charging the beach and jumping out airplanes and all that kind of stuff. I'm like, well, what is that? And they're like, oh, well, that's Special Forces. And they try to talk me out of it. I'm like, Well, I'll just do that. That looks interesting. And that started me getting into something. Of course, I didn't really know what I was getting myself into at 18. You think you know everything and you figure out, there's the poster, there's the job description, whatever. But they wouldn't just let me go. I actually had to interview, go sit with one of the eight teams and be interviewed and make sure that I was a good candidate, that I understood what that life was and that I would 100% come out injured and that it's not the regular military, all this kind of stuff.
[00:20:07.200] - Clifton Slay
And I still had hair down my back. I was still kind of a hippie kid with Led Zeppelin boots and all that kind of stuff. And going to these interviews, it was super awkward. And I thought, oh, they'll never pick me, but I think for whatever reason, they thought I was trying to think of the term odd, peculiar, unique. I'm not really sure. Special Forces soldiers are definitely different. So whatever they saw in me, they allowed me to go. And so I went, starting off, you got to start off an infantry school. So you got an infantry discipline. Mine was mortars, and you got to go through a series of schools before you can go to a selection process. Okay. And I don't know if I'm going beyond your question.
[00:20:57.480] - Big Rich Klein
No, not at all. You're going great.
[00:21:01.350] - Clifton Slay
So it was all very new to me. Of course, I lost my long hair, thrived. I didn't love the infantry, as it seemed very regimented. And I don't know, I just didn't fit well. And I've never been good at following orders especially. So I thought maybe I'd made a mistake. Actually, when I got to Fort Bragg, they said, all that stuff you learn in the industry, forget it. You're an individual. We work in small teams. They support sort of the more rogue mentality. And I realized I was home at that point, went through the selection process. That's basically a shake out to try to get people to quit. Our particular class was 360. Guys. This was just before Desert Shield, and by the end of it, we actually had two guys die in selection and 60 made it. This old history, so I'm trying to remember it. 80 made it, and then they picked 40 of us. So I have to admit, I did not think I was going to make it. Thank goodness. I'd been the infantry prior. So tough it at my feet. I was used to sleeping in dirt with my dad and in the infantry, but I was still kind of a skinny kid.
[00:22:32.590] - Clifton Slay
There were some pretty big dudes. Looked a lot tougher than me, but it was had more to do with mental stuff than it did really physicality. So from there, you go to your MoS language schools and pretty much you spend your entire career going through schools and doing small deployments and things. To answer your question about that, rich?
[00:23:01.180] - Big Rich Klein
Yes, sure did. So then Special Forces. We won't get too deep into that because a lot of that stuff is, of course, probably classified or something, but do you spend a lot of time in the sandbox then.
[00:23:16.410] - Clifton Slay
Our area operations with Southeast Asia. Okay, the languages that our team spoke, of course, English, but Thai and Chinese, and who we were attached to was the Thai Special Forces. And at the time, the Soviet Union was falling, China was still seen as a threat. And even though Soviet Union was falling, we still were groomed as the Soviet Union being the enemy. Okay, so we were a front line if that expansion ever went south. And with SF, you traveled to different parts of the world. So depending on what's happening, just because you specialize in a certain area, you might get moved around to others. And if there's a need, there wasn't that many of us at the time. The numbers were never published, but I could tell you that when we go to other bases and things like that, there's used to be two or three of us on an entire basis was unique.
[00:24:28.630] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, it sounds like it. So then how long were you in the military?
[00:24:36.850] - Clifton Slay
Five years. As I had the fate of many of my cohorts there. You kind of stay on the teams and you try to although you accumulate injuries, you either stay on the teams as long as you can and then you go on the military intelligence or other aspects of the SF battalions. I ended up getting enough accumulated injuries that took me off the team. And my options weren't things I wanted to do, which was teaching language class for Thai, teaching weapons, doing that sort of stuff. So it put me in a more of a teaching cadre role if I'd stayed. And it's just not what I wanted to do. So I got out and did my rehab. It fits him in hospital here in Denver. They allowed me to do that since it was home and unexpectedly kind of got out. My big plan was to retire on the Special Forces teams become a smoke jumper and live with my dogs up in Montana and fight fires in the summer. That was my big life plan. And after the five years in the service, which I loved and hated with equal measure, all of a sudden was back in Denver and didn't know what to do.
[00:26:08.390] - Big Rich Klein
So artwork and grow your hair back out.
[00:26:12.770] - Clifton Slay
That was perfect because I did try to grow my hair back out. And guess what? It wasn't there anymore. So what had happened when my stent in the army is I came bald, just like my dad, but I didn't notice that until I got out and regrew it. And it just didn't quite grow back in the same places. But artwork, maybe. I actually started trying to be a real estate appraiser, but the first day I had to wear a tie and some other stuff, and it was such a huge contrast from living in the shit with the forces that I just couldn't do it. And I started working at a small I had my Jeep, and I started working at a small off road shop in Denver on Saturdays, and it paid nothing. I think I got paid $5 an hour or something, but I loved it. And the advice from my dad was he's like, do something you really love and don't worry about the money. The money will come. And so I gave up on the real estate appraising, which I would never last then, but I gave up on that and started working the off road shop.
[00:27:33.110] - Clifton Slay
And that again, helped sort of set the stage for me to carry on.
[00:27:39.240] - Big Rich Klein
It's amazing how our parents or grandparents can be influential by saying something like that. I've mentioned it before in other podcasts that my grandfather had said that figure out what it is that you love to do in life and then how to make a living doing it and not so much money related living, but how you get to live your life. And then it took me until I was 42 to figure that out.
[00:28:10.910] - Clifton Slay
Yeah. Well, it was good advice, absolutely, for both of us, truly. And I have to admit, when I heard it, I just like, how am I going to like this Jeep thing? $5 an hour? This is it. I can't do this living in poverty, but finding a way to do it.
[00:28:32.970] - Big Rich Klein
So do you remember the name of that Jeep shop?
[00:28:35.790] - Clifton Slay
Oh, yeah. It's called Wilderness Off Road. Okay. It was not remarkable in the great lineage of the industry. A couple of people might know it here in Denver and it faded away. I don't know exactly when, but it faded away.
[00:28:53.310] - Big Rich Klein
And then. So you went from there to doing your own thing, or did you step into another shop?
[00:29:00.750] - Clifton Slay
Well, Wilderness was here. And then Dixie Peck and Four Wheel Parts moved to Denver. Now, Dixie Peck, they were enemies at the time. They were not married entities which I think they are now, but Dix CPAC had their own little shop and warehouse and Four Wheel Parts did as well. At the time, Four Wheel Parts only had two stores in California, and they did a store here in Denver. And they remember how they recruited me. I was working for Camp Jeep in the summer as a trail guide up on Holy Cross Mountain, and they were doing some sponsorship stuff or something there. And it talked to me about working at Four Wheel Parts. And of course, I saw them as Californians, no offense to you all, but sort of out of Staters and also sort of a big company that might squash small mom pop shops here. So I didn't view them in a good light, but they offered me $12 an hour and it was more than twice what I was making. And that was a big deal then. And they also brought me in and said, hey, we want a local. They basically hired me as a local Colorado personality, somebody that was in the Jeeping community and knew the trails.
[00:30:35.940] - Clifton Slay
And my Jeep at the time was like sprung over with Dana 40, Scout 44 and 35 and some other stuff. So it was pretty extreme for the time. And so I switched. I went to Ford Park. Greg Adler was working for his dad, and again, we only have three stores. So I saw Adler quite a bit and did engine swaps and did sort of extreme stuff that you couldn't possibly get foil parts to do anymore because we were doing custom work. So I was sort of a custom guy and from there and Rich, I'll do my best to intermingle all these happenings. I was still working at Camp Jeep in the summers there's a trail guide ran into JP magazine. It was brand new back then. I couldn't tell you who the people is I ran into, but they did a story on my Jeep, and I think I was memorable because during the story I actually rolled the Jeep, which was not I didn't intend to do that, although later in my career I would roll vehicles with no problem. And if it was a good story, then sweet. But at the time it was totally unintentional.
[00:31:53.270] - Clifton Slay
But it made for a good story for them and I kind of made that connection. They were also friends with Sport Utility magazine. If you're were sport utility, yeah. And Ken Yee and McMillan owned Sport utility. I couldn't tell you where Kenny was from, but McMillan lived in Buena, Colorado and he owned Tomkin as well. And that's where the Tom Ken comes from. Tom McMillian and Kenya, that's where the original name comes from. And they had a small shop. They were building like battery, dual battery trays and body armor and kind of dorky like metal channel bumpers and stuff. It wasn't revolutionary, but it fit a niche. But he used to have parties there at his house. Bona Vista went to one of those parties, and I met Steve Remore. And Steve was out of Bayfield, Colorado and was starting avalanche engineering.
[00:33:12.910] - Clifton Slay
And Steve had a CJ six with full width axles and partial tubes and some other stuff. It was really sweet. And I had my full width axle Jeep, and we were really an anomaly. Like, everybody looked at us like we were crazy because everybody was running like CK seven S FJ 40s. That was sort of the staple. Thirty three S was the biggest thing. So 35 seemed nutty. And Steve and I really bonded because we just appreciated each other. And so we started the conversation about starting avalanche engineering together. Do you remember Avalanche?
[00:33:54.070] - Big Rich Klein
Yes, absolutely. Okay.
[00:33:56.350] - Clifton Slay
Not everybody will, but I think it's just significant. We did some pretty big things at the time, but at the same time, through that sport utility contact with JP and all that sort of stuff, JP asked me if I would start writing articles for JP magazine. I started writing tech articles for them, still at Four Wheel Parts and having conversations with her more about Avalanche. At some point, the magazine gig was really good, and I felt like the thing was Steve and I was going to be legit. So I quit four parts and jumped off the cliff. And Steve and I did Avalanche. I had a small shop in Denver, continued with JP for a couple of years, and then quit because the Avalanche was just getting too busy, which was unfortunate because the month I quit, they hired Pewe the next month. And of course, Pewe was a legend. And I was writing JP magazine at the time was more about, like, why does my soft top leak and what's the best one in body lift? And why does my Jeep squeak and this kind of stuff? And so those are the type of articles I was writing.
[00:35:20.140] - Clifton Slay
And Pewe took it over and, of course, transformed that into a real magazine. So I did regret not writing together with Pewe because he was a big deal at the time, right? It still is for sure. But as an underlying in the industry, I was just trying to chip my way in. To have the chance to be with Pewe would have been awesome, but we would reconnect later for sure from there. Am I moving along okay, bigger?
[00:35:52.310] - Big Rich Klein
[00:35:53.160] - Clifton Slay
Okay. You just let me know if I'm getting off track.
[00:35:56.390] - Big Rich Klein
[00:35:57.730] - Clifton Slay
So Steve and I did Avalanche. He had some, like, quarterliptic kits, and I can't remember thing that we had to start off with. I basically started machining and designing stuff that didn't exist but was needed for our crowd, which was super niche, which was the full width axle hardcore crowd, which I have to admit, I didn't really know if it would go anywhere because at the time, the offered industry was all about double tube bumpers and Nerf bars and big arc stiff leaf spring vehicles that didn't have any flex, a bunch of diamond plate armor stuff, and shiny wheels. It made our off road harder. And it was more of a car show than it was like a functional type of thing, right? The stuff Steve and I were doing was all about function and didn't have anything to do with flashy light bars and stuff. So it wasn't popular. But we started building it. And like I said, machining high stair arms for forty four s and sixty s. Making full width kits for CJS quarterlyptic kits started working with sway Away to figure out do coilovers make sense for off road with some of our four link suspensions.
[00:37:33.780] - Clifton Slay
It seemed like that was the right thing to go because the standard valve hydraulic shocks weren't doing it. So we just had all these sort of challenges. The other thing is we were just destroying bodied vehicles. We were doing trails that were not meant. We were doing parts of trails that people weren't thinking. That was part of the trail. We were doing sort of crazy stuff, but we were just wrecking bodies. So Steve and I, along with remind me, Rich, what's the guy that made the Scorpion?
[00:38:09.980] - Clifton Slay
Sunny. Sunny. There we go. Sunny, Sunny. Started doing the Scorpions. Steve is doing snipers. Sniper chassis and that one off Sasson chassis. So we're working on those. And of course they are super revolutionary and just an awesome design. Steve was a great engineer and still is. So we started really focusing on that. Be locks weren't a thing, so I was trying to figure out how to not bust beads. And we are all running big Swampers with heavy walls with TSLs, if you guys remember them, boggers. And they were indestructible, but they just fell off wheels. And of course 15 inch wheels were the thing. So you had these huge side walls, but all these leverage, they're always falling off. So I tapped into the racing world, start talking to the circle track guys and started trying to like how you guys keeping your tires on. So they showed me these bead lock things. Of course, they were all put on with these chintzy rings with like sheet metal screws. And we tried that once and of course it just fell apart. So I realized what we needed just didn't exist. That's what we were in the business of, which was building things that just hadn't been thought of or hadn't been applied off road.
[00:39:34.090] - Clifton Slay
So we started building it with 516 bolts. But we were running forty s, forty two s. That stuff was falling apart. Started running three eight on steel wheels of 15. And machine are on rings, that sort of stuff. And we finally found something that really worked. And that's where the I feel like the bead lock revolution kind of started happening. And then of course, other companies like Larry at Trail ready and some others started seeing this and doing a great job with their own style. I'm going too fast or too slow?
[00:40:11.870] - Big Rich Klein
No, you're doing great.
[00:40:13.300] - Clifton Slay
[00:40:14.450] - Big Rich Klein
I'll direct the conversation as we need to, but you're cruising right along. It's awesome.
[00:40:19.700] - Clifton Slay
Okay, well, if I ramble, you let me know.
[00:40:22.120] - Big Rich Klein
[00:40:25.070] - Clifton Slay
From there. We really had some products that just didn't exist, so we were the source. And for Steve and I, it wasn't like we were like, wow, we're really going to cash in. We really viewed it as a love of the sport, and it was all about that. It was the love of the game. We're building cool products. We were just poor, offroader designers, and we never really thought that it would be anything. And we started getting busy and started getting really busy.
[00:41:05.410] - Big Rich Klein
A lot of guys came through Avalanche. A lot of guys in the industry.
[00:41:12.010] - Clifton Slay
Yes, there are some good ones. I saw Eric trying to remember Eric's Motive gear. Now, I think I've got several names I don't remember, but, yeah, Drew Barbara. Oh, of course. Yeah, Drew. Drew was really key in Steve's operation, but Steve and I were a huge juggernaut to this day. I'm sad that we didn't stay together longer, but we just did things differently. He really wanted to focus on the competition side, which was great. But as I was seeing the company grow, I felt like the competition products and, you know this, there's a ceiling, because if you're a competitor, you want everything for free.
[00:42:14.950] - Clifton Slay
Catering to the competition crowd is small as well, and I've been on both ends of it. I've been the competitor, and I've been the sponsor and everything, and I get it. Yeah, you're used to being showered with products, but it wasn't a good business plan. I didn't think.
[00:42:32.990] - Big Rich Klein
[00:42:33.720] - Clifton Slay
So Steve really wanted to focus Avalanche that way. And I really felt like the recreational crowd was what was missing. So I literally wanted to make a hybrid, and that's where Avalanche and I split off. And Steve continued with it for a number of years with the snipers and the other products he was doing. But I forged Poison Spider at the time, and that was that break to really go towards the Rec crowd.
[00:43:06.670] - Big Rich Klein
Do you think that the competition helped breed the technology?
[00:43:19.590] - Clifton Slay
Oh, sure, rich, I do agree with you. I have to say that I think that the type of offroading that we were doing in those times was pre competition. I felt like they mirrored the competitions based off the level of extreme wheeling we were doing.
[00:43:36.840] - Big Rich Klein
[00:43:37.250] - Clifton Slay
And so the initial vehicles were like, oh, yeah, you guys are throwing stuff at us that we do recreationally. And so we had already started building products to survive that. Now, granted, what we were doing then in competition is not some of the twisted stuff that you and have built since. So I think at some point, that is totally correct. Where people were trying to take that comp technology and ideas and apply them to recreational vehicles. And it fits. It does work. If it survives in competition, it should survive in recreational.
[00:44:16.050] - Clifton Slay
I agree. But I do think the extreme wheeling came first. Exactly.
[00:44:20.510] - Big Rich Klein
[00:44:20.930] - Clifton Slay
Because we had, like, the 99 and the 2000 Warren competition, Rock Clinic competition, which we all just brought our trail rigs. Nobody built a vehicle for the competition. We brung what we normally run. And those competitions, some of the fellow even didn't trailer them. We just drove them to the competition. Right.
[00:44:46.710] - Big Rich Klein
I remember those early days. Guys would show up with basically almost brand new TJS on thirty five s or Steve and a sniper sunny in the Scorpion. And then you had Campbell and Pinky. And you just looked at the wide variety of vehicles that were competing. And it was pretty insane. All in one class.
[00:45:19.890] - Clifton Slay
Yeah. I'll throw two others in there, too, which was the Curry at the fire Ant with Wagner.
[00:45:29.940] - Big Rich Klein
[00:45:30.640] - Clifton Slay
Jeff Wagner. Remember that right. And then you also had Chris Durham come along. He was a little bit after the beginning. Oh, gosh, it hurts me. I can't remember his name. The big Brown CJ seven out of Oklahoma. Big blocked motor. Sam Patton. Yeah. Some really love dudes there. So that's who showed up again. I mentioned Durham. We were not friends at the time because we were kind of dominating. It was sort of like the refinement of the Curries versus sort of the greasy engineering that Robot and I were doing with the snipers and the one ton rear steer and all that kind of stuff. So I always felt like we were going to win or the fire Ant was going to win. And then here comes this guy from South Carolina with a rat tail that's about 3ft long shorts, boots and white socks. And with the Southern accent, with the J Ten truck and the original Rock bouncer. Yeah. I didn't give that thing a second thought. I was like, okay, no worries with this one. But where we were finessing and maneuvering and diving through the cones and all that kind of stuff, here comes Durham.
[00:47:01.310] - Clifton Slay
And he's full throttle. I swear he had his eyes closed half the time and just bouncing up and beating us. So I remember meeting Durham, and I was stunned that he beat us with his style. But clearly his talent has carried him through. And he had a talent and it was unknown.
[00:47:22.880] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, exactly. He felt he could feel a car when the car wasn't even on. His style definitely was. Not the super technical tire placement just here and there. And I mean, his line was just stay between those cones and nail it.
[00:47:50.950] - Clifton Slay
Yeah. We were all stunned. I don't think I was alone, but it was revolutionary for that at the time. And like I said, we were still working on parts that survive we were almost too heavy with the sniper and too big. But it was cool times.
[00:48:14.740] - Big Rich Klein
I remember in Phoenix, Steve was competing in it was an Arca event, and the obstacle was on low woodpecker, but the courses went from lower to upper and he blew up. I think he had the Rockwells under it at that time. And he blew up one of those two and a half ton axles.
[00:48:41.290] - Clifton Slay
It bang. Yeah, man.
[00:48:43.310] - Big Rich Klein
I mean, everybody jumped. It was like a Sonic boom compared to everything else breaking.
[00:48:50.010] - Clifton Slay
Yeah. I think I was about 5ft from that axle when it popped. And we were amazed. And you correct me. I'm trying to remember. I think he went under an undercut.
[00:49:02.090] - Big Rich Klein
[00:49:02.730] - Clifton Slay
44 inch Swampers. And I remember making eye contact with them, and we're like, well, it's never broke before, so it should survive. And he went under the undercut and gave it gasped it. I think he had a 350 in that thing. But with those gears anyway, we were all surprised, but it did blow, and I don't think we had a spare.
[00:49:26.710] - Big Rich Klein
I can also remember there's that lower woodpecker is a wash, and there's a slight bank, probably 1520 foot tall. And the spectators were sitting along that bank. And there was some guy there that goes, Man, I drive this trail all the time. I can't believe these guys can't make this. And I looked at him and I said, you don't drive it the same way that they're driving it. You may go up this wash, but you're driving around those rocks. You're not going over the top of them. And he started to argue with me. And I said, I'll give you $100 right now if you go get your Jeep and you can drive that same line that Steve had just broke on.
[00:50:13.330] - Clifton Slay
[00:50:13.760] - Big Rich Klein
And I said, I'll give you the $100 in my pocket right now if you can do that. And he goes, okay, I'll do that. And he wanders off. And we never saw him again.
[00:50:23.450] - Clifton Slay
[00:50:26.390] - Big Rich Klein
Those are some wild days.
[00:50:29.390] - Clifton Slay
Yes. The Point Spider did pretty good. We took a lot of those innovative products designs and had the Bruiser chassis as well. We had already started the Brewer Avalanche days. And that chassis was supposed to be the I won't say the every man chassis, but one thing that I thought was missing was that we could build two Buggies, but they were so expensive. And we were building those chromale dragster housing axles. I know if you remember those, we put portals on them, and they were so beautiful. They were polished Komali and nine inch centers. And we're putting them on these Komali chassis. And we have these exotic vehicles that nobody could afford. And although it made a name for us, I was still feeling for the guys that had the CJ five at home with the Dana 30 and the MC 20 in the back and all that other stuff. And those guys, I felt like we still needed to cater to them because that was our roots. And so that's where the bruiser chassis came. And, of course, it was inspired by my original bruiser Jeep, and I was trying to make an affordable platform for regular people, and that's where that came from.
[00:51:59.250] - Big Rich Klein
So those that wanted to go out and wheel harder stuff than a full body vehicle could do.
[00:52:04.490] - Clifton Slay
Yes, because it's still the same thing. The people that were coming out and wheeling those extreme trails at the time, we're still destroying their jeeps. Or I won't say just jeeps, but Broncos and Toyotas and everything else and so buggy. That's why buggy made the most sense, because you could roll it, you could smash it. You could put it on the side, you could do whatever. You weren't having frames tear out. You weren't having motor mounts collapse and all this kind of stuff, engine shifting and taking out radiators, and you could make sort of this indestructibleish platform. And that's where the buggies really came from. But that's where the Brewer came from. I was trying to make it accessible, and it was successful.
[00:52:51.770] - Big Rich Klein
Right. And that's when you became recognizable to me, is with the bruiser chassis and poison Spider. I would almost say most of the stuff that I remember was, like, show car quality, though the dashes and the paint jobs and everything were that car show type stuff. Custom cars.
[00:53:22.790] - Clifton Slay
Well, that's what was missing in the rock calling world, as we were so rudimentary, so function and the snipers had their great lines and some of the other buggies, but Sunny's sort of sniper, almost like a Hummer looking kind of a thing. And that's where kind of my artistic side came in. I'm like, wow, it's magic if you could make it have style and function. And that became the pulse of Poison Spider was function and style. And I felt like at the time, chip boost and a lot of those sort of hot Rod things were going on. I looked at some of the stuff they were doing. I'm like, why aren't we doing this? And so integrated those into the buggies. And then I just thought you had it all. You had a hot Rod, but you weren't just regulated the streets. You could go off road and sort of have your rock Rod. That's why I call them rock rods.
[00:54:29.410] - Big Rich Klein
Being in Colorado helped because licensing was a lot easier there than a lot of States.
[00:54:38.530] - Clifton Slay
Oh, gosh, yes. Originally, I would look for, like, a Willys or an old flatty or something like that. That was $400. And I would show up at a farm and buy a clapped out Willys for $400, and I'd give him $400, and I would take the plate off of it, and I'm like, this. All I needed title in the plate, sir, you can keep your Jeep. It's just not going to have this plate anymore. And it was very symbiotic. And I had several guys actually looked for them. So I had a collection of old Willys titles and plates, and then we would attach those to the buggies later on the state. I talked to the state and they actually let me register them as a kit vehicle. They just had to adhere to current emissions. And when we first started, that seemed like more of a challenge. But once we started using LS and current engines that were crate Motors and stuff like that, it was pretty easy because they always passed Mission.
[00:55:44.330] - Big Rich Klein
Right. They were computer controlled and all that.
[00:55:48.490] - Clifton Slay
Yup. I don't know think that would have flown in California, but we weren't there. So you could buy them here. And then if they went to California or something, they would have to be trailer, but we could drive them there. We could drive them cross country because they were a plated vehicle.
[00:56:08.110] - Big Rich Klein
And you guys did the tail lights and headlights and all that.
[00:56:11.950] - Clifton Slay
Yeah, we made it all have the. Well, street legalish. I would famously be harassed in Utah and because even though they were street legal in Colorado, of course, we went to Moab. And I think me in particular was a real target. And I remember one year, Ned Bacon, I'm sure you know Ned. Oh, yeah. He had Spider.
[00:56:46.610] - Big Rich Klein
The Bumblebee or Bumblebee.
[00:56:48.870] - Clifton Slay
Yeah. Thank you. But he and I always had a little side competition to see who could get the most tickets at Jeep Start. And I was good for one a day and he was good for about one a day.
[00:57:06.410] - Big Rich Klein
[00:57:09.110] - Clifton Slay
I would come home with my role of tickets and then just write a check to them and move on. But they used to pull me over in Moab, and I knew the police by name because they pulled me over so much. And they would sometimes, if you remember the heydays back, like in the 2003 to seven, probably, I'd say the pinnacle of Jeep Safari as far as attendance.
[00:57:36.210] - Big Rich Klein
[00:57:37.430] - Clifton Slay
They used to pull me over right in the center of town, put three rigs on me with spotlights, and they'd make me sit there for 20 minutes and they would tell me they're like, we're going to give you a ticket, but you have to stay for 20 minutes because they wanted to make a spectacle out of it so that everybody knew if I got pulled over that they would get pulled over. And I have to say it really did not make me happy because I had better stuff to do than be respectful to the local police there. And I also felt like I pumped a lot of their economy, and that may or may not be true, but it definitely was at least adding to the renting. Hotel tells and paying tickets.
[00:58:18.970] - Big Rich Klein
[00:58:20.230] - Clifton Slay
Yeah. I diverted somehow. Bruiser chassis. I think you're talking about those. They ended up being a great buggy and a great platform, and I think they still would be today if they were around.
[00:58:32.950] - Big Rich Klein
I agree. I think I found it interesting back then. Watching the evolution, I guess, is the best way to put it of vehicles from the very beginning where everybody just run what you brung, what you could drive. Some of them were absolutely daily drivers that people showed up to compete in or go trail wheeling in. And then that metamorphosis kind of like the worm or the stages of becoming a moth or a butterfly. And how that transition went. It was kind of cool back then to watch that. And I feel sorry for the guys that are in the sport now or in the industry that never got to witness that evolution.
[00:59:39.450] - Clifton Slay
Yeah. And I will let me swing back and let me tie into what you just said. And again, I'm going to circle back.
[00:59:50.480] - Big Rich Klein
[00:59:51.020] - Clifton Slay
Back when I was doing the JP magazine thing and I'd retired. I don't retired because I wasn't there 20 years, but just a couple of years. I'd actually started writing for four X four power, which was Tom Moore was the editor. Remember that magazine?
[01:00:08.130] - Clifton Slay
It was like the everyday man's, four wheel and off road. I still have my banners that hang in my garage for four X four power that nobody remembers, but at that same time was about when the TJ's came out. Yeah. So in 1996, I was working at camp Jeep as a guide up on Holy cross mountain, and Camp Jeep closed down, and they asked if I would stay a couple of days after because they wanted to have me do some private guiding for Chrysler on Holy cross. And I was like, sure. Yeah, no problem. I didn't know what it was all about. Well, they brought a YJ TJ hybrid out on the trail, and it had coils all the way around and like 31s. But it had the TJ suspension. That was going to be what they were working on, kind of the skunkwork stuff. So my year might be wrong, it might have been 95, but it was the first time that I had seen coil suspension that we hadn't just built on a Jeep because before that, it was all leaf Springs and coils were exotic. You would steal them off of box Broncos and put them front and rear, steal their long arms and that kind of stuff.
[01:01:32.210] - Clifton Slay
And we kind of looked at that thing and I was like, okay. I was like, we can try and get it a pulley cross. And we did. And it did well, we beat it up, but we got it up Holy cross. And they said, well, this is going to be a production vehicle. And of course, it ended up being the Rubicon a couple of years later. And I recognized I was like, hold on, this is going to be available off the lot. And they're like, yes. And I knew things were changing because you allow people that had no trail experience, no etiquette, didn't know how to use a winch and that kind of stuff. And you give them a locked vehicle off the lot with coil Springs that's this capable. Of course, I had no idea what it was really going to do to the industry, but I knew it was going to be something. And sure enough, if you remember, Rich, a couple of years later they came up with those Rubicons and I think the first time I really remember seeing them probably was that campbeep that year. But it was also and they were doing really well.
[01:02:41.870] - Big Rich Klein
[01:02:42.370] - Clifton Slay
And it was kind of stand in the face of us that we were all fabricators and builders when we got to the top of the mountain, especially the extreme trails, we were it. There was like four or five of us and all the rift raft, they had regular Jeeps and things couldn't make it that far and we could have the Lake to ourselves and all that change of the Rubicon because now everyday man could purchase something for I'm going to make up this number like 25 grand or something and do a lot of the trails that we were doing and they didn't need necessarily a fabricator like us to make it. So that's when I really started seeing the industry shift.
[01:03:25.490] - Big Rich Klein
[01:03:27.350] - Clifton Slay
It also took out a lot of the driving. So I'll fast forward to I didn't guide a Jeep Sparry this year, but I was still there last year.
[01:03:41.270] - Big Rich Klein
I got to interrupt you. This year was probably the worst driving that I've seen on the trails in 20 years.
[01:03:49.790] - Clifton Slay
It's painful. It is painful. I'm still doing guiding, but mostly industry people. But when you get out on the trails and you got the brand new Jeeps and they're already Rubicons and they show up with thirty seven s and I'm watching them go through the trails that we used to drive CJ five through with open disk and we did it better. It's hard to watch because there's no learning curve. They didn't start with Willys or driving a covered wagon FJ 40 with Springs and open this to learn how to drive the machine and have that feel true. They're just getting into a superhero Jeep right away. That the capabilities are way beyond the driver.
[01:04:40.510] - Big Rich Klein
Exactly. And that's one of the I guess that's one of my pet peeves nowadays and it's part of that no etiquette on the trail and the resource damage that happens to our wheeling areas. And I'm not going to say everybody that drives like a JK or JL or a Gladiator or anything else that's off the lot, but there's a majority of them that can't pick a line to save their life. Learning to wheel. When you didn't have lockers, you relief sprung and you had to pick a line to get up the Hill instead of just point and shoot really makes for a different. A different style and a different and I see it today so much. We were coming up Cain Creek, and we were at the top there, or what is called the top, but that hamburger Hill area. And there was a group in front of us that their cars, they had them sideways, almost going off the cliff, and people spotting that had no clue what they were doing, spotting people. And the people that were with us were brand new was part of Charlene's lady's off road network. And these girls, some of them had done nothing but top of the world the day before.
[01:06:28.560] - Big Rich Klein
And I'm totally brand new to the rocks and dirt, and it freaked some of them out watching the group in front of us try to get up that Hill.
[01:06:39.650] - Clifton Slay
Yeah. Because it seems that was them. Yeah.
[01:06:41.790] - Big Rich Klein
They thought, okay, we're almost going to drive off the Hill, and we're going to do this. And it's like, no, just pay attention. And between Ben Bower, Charlene Bower, and myself taking different parts of that climb, we got everybody up there safely. One car did get a little damage, but there was no breakage or anything like that. And nobody got crazy.
[01:07:10.010] - Clifton Slay
[01:07:10.650] - Big Rich Klein
And it was really sad to see that there was such a lack of understanding of what it takes, what it takes to get a vehicle up a Hill without just pounding the hell out of it.
[01:07:26.510] - Clifton Slay
Well, biggest that's the Jeep TJ Rubicon's fault. That's what I think.
[01:07:32.420] - Big Rich Klein
But I think it also pushed the industry from being so niche, for sure. And then the JK came along and saved the whole offroad industry, I believe, because it brought people into the sport or into the genre, you might say, when the economy was so poor that so many businesses were lost.
[01:08:03.330] - Clifton Slay
Yeah, well, I can relate to that myself. That was a tough time. But, yeah, JK was huge. Tj was big as well, and it did. It was kind of a deal with the devil with the rubcon because it did allow the unskilled dirt pilot to join the ranks. But they also had a little bit more money than the early Toyota and CJ crowd. And so they bought the Rubicon, and they wanted stuff, and it definitely made the industry more robust. And I definitely benefited from it because we started building PJ products and the buggy stuff, and the innovation was all there. But what kept the lights on was selling and designing TJ products at the time.
[01:09:02.800] - Big Rich Klein
[01:09:05.950] - Clifton Slay
But keeping to our code of building top quality style products, that's what really launched us into the bigger arena to where we started getting noticed. We're globally.
[01:09:28.490] - Big Rich Klein
So the name Poison Spider, did you take that from the trail or where did the name come from?
[01:09:38.750] - Clifton Slay
I'm going to give you the long answer here. Okay. Really. When we started with Avalanche, so Steve came up with avalanche. He was an engineer. That was his name. So Steve had avalanche. The name was an oddity in off road community because everybody was like, Sam's off road or somebody off road or extreme off road or everything had an off road. Most had some off road moniker on the end of it. And so when we went with avalanche engineering, we had some marketing to do because what the phone calls I was getting was people that actually were wanting us to set explosives on the side of the mountains to start avalanches, because that is an avalanche engineering, I guess. But through. I won't raise our flag necessarily, but through our talent and some notoriety. Notoriety. It became a name that stood alone without having off road on it. So when I started pointing Spider customs, I really wanted to embody our code, which was sort of that rock Rod mentality and quality. And I recognized that was sort of like a customs, almost like a motorcycle customs or like some of the hot Rod stuff happened in Southern California.
[01:11:10.300] - Clifton Slay
But I also wanted to tie it into our lineage. And Moab was my second home for a long time and then actually started their backpack with my dad in the. So I loved that area. And we were there a lot, even actually wield more in Moab, truly, than I did in Colorado. So I wanted to tie in to an area we loved and send the right message. And I didn't want it to say off road, because that was just going to get lost with all the extreme off roads and everything else. We actually started trying to figure out logos. And a buddy of mine built that Spider logo. He worked for Cowers, and he did all their marketing so coarse in Golden, Colorado, which is just right by where we live. And he built this cool Spider that was for his Jeep club that was going to be like the creepy crawlers or something. And I said, let me buy that from you. And I bought that logo for $700.
[01:12:16.710] - Big Rich Klein
[01:12:18.160] - Clifton Slay
Yeah. And then the symbol in it and the butt of the Spider, I guess the body of the Spider was from a trip that I had taken to Geneva in Sweden with a former girlfriend, and she had bought this necklace for me, and it was that symbol. I don't know what it meant, some kind of Viking thing or something, but I really liked it because we needed something other than just having a black body. So put that symbol in it. Creepy collar logo got rid of the creepy collar tied in with Moab, with poison Spider dropped in the customs, and that's where it came from.
[01:12:59.620] - Big Rich Klein
[01:13:01.290] - Clifton Slay
And obviously, it seemed to work. Okay. And the name built. All right. And although some other companies came out with this and that customs, that we were never shadowed by anybody.
[01:13:15.080] - Big Rich Klein
Right. For real. That's absolutely true. So then from the poison Spider. Eventually you got out of that. And did you shelve the name first, or were you still doing work on it when you sold the company?
[01:13:42.390] - Clifton Slay
Oh, gosh, there's so much backstory here, Rich. Well, let me get to what happened with Fire.
[01:13:50.050] - Big Rich Klein
[01:13:51.330] - Clifton Slay
I think we'll be missing that large chasm of the story. True. I won't say I'm a great designer and all the stuff, but I did pretty good. I did pretty good with that stuff, and that was as an artist and a Wheeler, that was my strength. Running businesses is not.
[01:14:12.730] - Big Rich Klein
As is most everybody in our industry.
[01:14:16.750] - Clifton Slay
So I made a lot of catastrophic mistakes. However, because we stayed true to that core, our people stay true to us as well. Even with some of the mistakes I made, there was a lot of mimickers out there. And still to this day, I can watch vehicles drive by with my designs on it. And so I saw all these companies, and some of them were just there just to reproduce my designs. And that became frustrating. When we used to go to FEMA and show there, I noticed some of the overseas companies were doing the same thing. So what I would do is I'd actually purposely build flaws into the products for SEMA, and then a lot of the copycat products came out with those flaws. In that way, at least I'd screw them on their jigs for about six months. But that weighed on me because when I first entered the industry, it was so small, and the Curries were like the gods at that time, and they were the ones in front of sport utility, like every other issue. And they were sort of the rule, but it was still a small world. And so when I started building products, all of us had our phone numbers.
[01:15:49.250] - Clifton Slay
I'll give you an example. The original rocker knocker that had built, which was the guards for CJ's and PJs and my JS, all that stuff. I called the rocker knocker off of Project Canyon, but originally I named it Eldorado the Elderado Sliders. And Frank Curry called me and he's like, hey, we've got I think they had a Jeep of theirs they're calling the El Dorado or something. And he was like, you know, we're calling our Jeep. That seems, I'm afraid to be confusing. And I was like, cool, no problem. I'll change it to something else. And those are the simple conversations we did out of respect for each other back in Mountain, off road was around there. And I think the more still around when Chris overacher had it, we would exchange products. But whatever Chris was working on, like those bombproof motor mounts, wrengine swaps, and that kind of stuff, I knew how to build them. I didn't build them a long time, but because Chris had them, I wasn't going to build them so I wouldn't compete with him. And that was just how the industry was. We talked to each other and we're like, oh, you're working on that?
[01:16:58.100] - Clifton Slay
I'll work on this. And it was very honorable. And I saw the trend of the offered industry at that time happening. It was just switching. There was money to be made. So when big money came in, those players were being eaten up. And the people that were taking over these companies and were really copying all the innovators products didn't live with the same code business or personally. And it just made me very disheartened because I really saw offroad as a very purist community. And I was getting discouraged with that. Plus, Poison Spider was exploding. And I was trying to match the size of the company as far as the business part. And I wasn't able to do it well because I just wasn't equipped. I just didn't have the tools to run the company that size. I did feel like it had to grow because we had the enemies at the gates because people were reproducing our products. They were better business people. They had more money. They had all these things. So I thought the answer was to grow. So I felt like there was strength and size. So the company was getting so big that I didn't know the people that worked for me anymore.
[01:18:32.250] - Clifton Slay
Used to be I walk in and turn the lights on the shop, and I knew all my guys. And we went over what we're doing with the buggies and design. And sometimes I'd work on the plasma table for a while. Sometimes I sit in the back and Weld for a couple of hours, I'd go into Batfellas. And that was kind of a Poison Spider was. I had the same work shirt that everybody that worked for me had still had the same scars from welding splatter and all that kind of stuff. And that was when it was awesome. But when we started growing to sort of meet this demand or my perceived reaction to what I thought had to happen to keep Poison Spider around, it just grew too big. And I just didn't love it anymore. I couldn't ever be away from it. And the business stuff became more overwhelming. And the core wide started it, which was, for the love of the game, was farther and farther in the distance. And then, of course, the economy crashed. And I was actually getting calls from other companies that were collapsing and saying, hey, can you take over manufacturing so we can keep our name?
[01:19:53.150] - Clifton Slay
But you build it, you build the products. The other thing that happened at that time was Polaris was coming out with a razor. And they had approached me and said, hey, we're going to send you these two prototype, like, four wheel drive. They're not ATVs, but you sit in them. There's like two chairs, there's two seats. And I went out to Paris and looked at these things, and they were with razors are now. And they were like, we'd like you to design a suspension and some other products for it. And then at all our Hub dealerships, there'll be a Poison Spider model along with, I think Walker Evans was going to do one as well, and somebody else, but we would have our signature products on them as well. And then we're going to contract with Polaris to build those products and only sell them to Paris. So anyway, Rich, all this stuff was happening at once. I was looking at what it would take to take on all this business, and I was going to have to borrow millions, hire lots of people, have amp P. M. Shifts seven days a week. And at the very same time, my wife and I were having kids, and I had a brand new baby.
[01:21:07.430] - Clifton Slay
And I was very stressed all the time. And I was like, no, this is not why I did this. But I'd gone too far, Rich. I'd gone too far. I bought the big building. I had done all the stuff. I had the water jets and all the huge table, all the manufacturing. So I had that overhead. And it went from being a love to just being a shock. I was shackled to it. So the idea was to sell Poison Spider, come back home. And I don't mean literal home, but I mean come back to why I was in the industry, which is small, custom, work with quality products, and have an employee base where I still knew their families and knew their names. And I could still go out shop, and Weld. And that was okay. So the economy crashed, went to sell it, and one of the big suitors was four wheel parts. Even though I had a history with FOIA parts and Adler specifically. I wouldn't say we were friends, but we were good acquaintances, and we knew each other because I knew in my early twenties, and we had a bit of a falling out, because when we started selling products for the parts, they made copy products through Smitty belt.
[01:22:32.850] - Clifton Slay
And I won't get into all that. But Adler and I had quite the scene at SEMA when I went by the spinnybill booth and saw that they were exactly my product. So where this comes into play is when four parts talked about by the point, Spider. I was not a no. I was a hell no. I was like, it didn't matter how much money they were offering me. That's not what Poison Spider was. Poison Spider was an enthusiast, enthusiast driven, purist company, and there was no way I was going to have a big company on it. And so I turned down their offer, which was good. I would have just retired, or it would have launched me into the small shop at the time. But I was really looking for somebody that I felt was an enthusiast, had the right heart for it. Would carry it on, at least as I saw it. I knew there wasn't another me specifically, but somebody that checked some of those boxes. And that's when we got contacted by McCrays. I'd known them from one ultimate venture they did with us, I think in 2000. I know Larry had done some competitions, so not like a force.
[01:23:52.670] - Clifton Slay
He was like a force in the industry, but he seemed to fit that criteria and that's why I went with them instead of four apart.
[01:24:03.270] - Big Rich Klein
Makes sense. I get it.
[01:24:04.880] - Clifton Slay
And so that way the idea was I was going to drop out, do American rock rods. We still have our Spider lock wheels, which was still a good business. And I could machine the wheels. We had them built through Wheel Pros, which my kids mom's family owned most of Wheel Pros, which has like American Racing, KMC, all that kind of stuff. So they were doing our mold for us, but we are getting shipped in bulk and I can machine bug patterns and be with my toddler when I was machining wheels and it was a pretty good life and that was our plan. And I don't want to get into the muck, but what ended up happening with Foil Parts is didn't go the way I planned and being McRae are not friends anymore as far as I'll go with that. And then ultimately I think they sold it to four parts or Trans American within a couple of years, which was exactly what I didn't want to happen to it. And now it is what it is. But that's what happened to Foil parts and there's lots of Torah details there, but I'm choosing not to live in that anymore.
[01:25:24.130] - Clifton Slay
So I don't think about it.
[01:25:26.140] - Big Rich Klein
I get it. Okay.
[01:25:30.770] - Clifton Slay
From there. We kept the wheels spy lock wheels, which still around me and the kids. Mom ended up getting a divorce. A lot of the stress from that and from the dealings with I'm going to coin it as giving up Poison Spider sort of selling, but not really. I know how to say it well, but we also had our son was born prematurely. Aj had a preclamtic thing where we'll get into deep medical stuff here, but basically the placenta separates and the baby and mom can bleed to death. So we had our son a couple of months early, premature and we had the stress of that and not having the money from Poison Spider and it was just a whole lot and we were looking at court dates and lawyers and all that kind of stuff and there was so much stress on our marriage that we ended up being divorced. So AJ ended up keeping spiderlock wheels and she still has it to this day and doing a good job with it. And from then I was doing American rock rods, which was really supposed to be what I wanted to be, which was a small shop building buggies again, we restarted the Breezer chassis.
[01:27:00.010] - Clifton Slay
I designed a couple more, maybe even a more rudimentary chassis called the Mantis, which was even more affordable. I was trying to make a $1,500 chassis.
[01:27:09.830] - Clifton Slay
And it was a cool chassis. It was really cool chassis. But as I told you before, my business in isn't always the best and end up partnering with somebody that didn't have the same goals I did. So we ended up dismantling American rock rods. And at that point, I felt like the offroad industry was so toxic to me. I don't mean like you all were all toxic. My experience in it was so toxic, I just had to step away at this very same time. And where was the Epiphany for the decision? As my dad passed away in a Canyon just out the Moab. And I was in Moab when I got the call and had to go recover my dad's stuff out of the Canyon. And I spent a week down there refoling his maps, trying to figure out what happened scene where search and rescue had come picking up the helicopter and going through reports. And we had a lot of unknowns there. And being my dad's son, I knew how he wrote his notes, how he followed his maps, how he traveled. He would Canyon nearer solo. And that's what he was doing on a seven day.
[01:28:24.410] - Clifton Slay
And I spent my seven days down there retracing his steps. And in that time, I just realized that I had to just leave the offer to industry because there was just too much. I couldn't keep fighting that battle, and everything was too toxic. So the Epiphany was as I was talking to the search and rescue people and the EMS providers and all that kind of stuff, I was like, I'm going to do that. I love that. It's a connection with my dad to backcountry stuff. And that's how I ended up coming back to Colorado and starting my career.
[01:29:06.770] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. I didn't know if it was that or your special forces, if you were combat medic or something like that that got you going in that direction.
[01:29:18.890] - Clifton Slay
No, it wasn't that cool. I was a weapons on a Como guy, which we're still pretty cool. We are experts in all types of weaponry, foreign and domestic. And also we had, like, a cool satellite dish that pulled it out of our backpack and using crypt code and that kind of stuff. So still pretty cool, but not as cool as the medics. The Deltas and the teams were the paramedic equivalent, and I would say that they actually bridge somewhere between a doctor and paramedic, but the amount of MoS schooling was a lot longer than weapons. And Como in his early 20s, soldier. I wanted to be done sooner. I did grow to regret that, because when I talked to my buddies, they went to Fort Sam Houston, which is the medical base, and it is full of nurses. So they were there for a couple of years with just nurses and short hair. Yes, I was leaving at that. So I did regret to that. But now I wasn't a manic. We did cross over with, especially since we had such small teams. We did end up doing a lot of trauma, not what would encompass like a street EMS provider that works with medical emergencies as much.
[01:30:45.570] - Clifton Slay
The army deals mostly with early 20s acute trauma.
[01:30:49.680] - Big Rich Klein
[01:30:50.090] - Clifton Slay
So I did have some of that. So I did have that foundation when I started off with the foundational provider level, which is EMT. And I had seen things that didn't make some of the things I was seeing there at those exposures. So I wasn't shocked by seeing people twisted up and burned and bleeding, that kind of thing.
[01:31:14.500] - Big Rich Klein
[01:31:15.310] - Clifton Slay
So that did work.
[01:31:18.690] - Big Rich Klein
And is that what you're continuing to do primarily now?
[01:31:23.010] - Clifton Slay
Well, I've done it for twelve years. I initially came back from the thing with my dad and joined search and rescue team here in Colorado and really tried out. You have to try out. I shadowed them for about five months and was try out. That was about a year process. I took my EMT, which time was about six months thing. And I just delved into that knew the EMT was way too limiting. And so I realized that the paramedics were the ones that were really in charge. And so my goal was to get my paramedic. And so by the time I got through all my basic search through search and rescue EMT and my paramedic took about five years. And I lived in that world, which was totally different than my off road and nobody knew me. That was different. I was used to moving in circles where I was known and celebrated. And when I got there, I was another ENT. And that's okay. Ems work is not about you. It's about the people you're helping so good. It helps me cleanse from that time and from that, I started doing instructing. I got recruited to be an instructor for Ents in paramedics.
[01:32:57.230] - Clifton Slay
And so for the last twelve years, I've been doing that, being a primary instructor at the Denver paramedics and being a street medic and doing search and rescue. To add to that, three years ago I added a canine as a partner. So I currently have a canine partner. And she doesn't do the medical stuff, but she will travel with me on helicopters and travel with me on snowmobiles. She'll hike with me and she's a tracker. So she tracks down patients or people, and then if they need medical care, then I'm the medic as well. So it's kind of a really cool thing to be an EMS.
[01:33:37.970] - Big Rich Klein
That's interesting. It's amazing to me what we have done with our relationship with dogs throughout history, but everything I mean, it's amazing how that relationship and how close the canine and the human are to each other with, I don't know what you call it. It's like a mutual aid almost, whether it's as a service dog or as a war type situation or rescue type situation or TSA type thing. It's really a crazy easy, in a great way relationship.
[01:34:40.790] - Clifton Slay
Yeah. It's really rewarding. My dog's name is Valkyrie. She's a death Shepherd, super awesome, dedicated. She has put in dangerous situations and does well. She's a really good. She's an air scent dog, which means she will track on the ground, but she will track you by the smell that you and the skin flakes and things like that that you put off in the air to track you that way. But it's super neat. It's a neat community all in itself. Search and Rescue has their specialties command and drones and general troopers, medical canines ATB. They have all these really kind of neat things where they fracture off too. But I have the one I love, which is having the canine plus being the paramedic. So it's really a cool spot to be in and then teaching. I love to teach. Like I said, I've been a full time teacher for my own EMT academies, IV courses, tactical courses, like a care under fire for police departments. I do a cadaver lab at Burthing the obsessed for emergency medicine. So I've been doing all that stuff that's been a real love. And actually when I saw you in Moab, I had resigned from my position with Denver Paramedics that day.
[01:36:11.930] - Clifton Slay
And that's where I was doing that teaching Academy. And I had decided that I was going to actually come back to the off road world at least part time because I had done full circle. I sort of cleansed. I came back to Moab, I wanted to see does anybody still remember me? That's totally important, but it's something to see if I can come back to the community and not have to start from zero. And when I saw you at Grandpa's Garage, that was part of that for me. I wanted to shake hands, look at people's eyes, see if I was still part of that community. And I was very welcomed. And even though I've been doing ultimate venture with the Cronies and the fellows every year, still that's been kind of my connection with the offroad industry. I haven't gone to Seema have been going to Jeep Safari too much here and there to help guide, but very little. So it was a real privilege for you to ask me to be on the podcast. And it was also affirmation that maybe there's still something to be done here, I think.
[01:37:26.000] - Big Rich Klein
So the enthusiast part of our industry is becoming more what's the term? I want experience driven. Instead of just owning a vehicle and going out with a couple of friends and doing local stuff, I see the industry expanding into getting experiences with others that share the same interest in the industry. But that enthusiast wants to get closer to the center. And part of that is being with people that have a lot of experience and can take them places and give them that experience. Kind of like Jeep camp or some of those things that are going on. People want those experiences now instead of just reading about them.
[01:38:36.950] - Clifton Slay
Well, that's good to hear. Just because what I'm doing now, I'm still going to be going to do paramedic work. I think I'm going to do some wildland fire parameticine over the summer and do some of that. But start I'm actually from my trip to Moab, where I just saw you a couple of weeks ago. I heard a lot of that sort of echoed by many people, made a contact out there with Overland Expo and they're actually hiring me and contracting me to be one of their instructors to start traveling with them and teaching winching techniques and driving and all that kind of thing.
[01:39:16.460] - Big Rich Klein
[01:39:17.360] - Clifton Slay
And I have to admit, I've never been to one. They seem really organized and I looked over it, talked to people, and I'm like, wow, these are big events. And it actually echoes exactly what you just said. They're coming there for this experience and that's why they thought I was a good fit because of long time experience and knowing how to teach. Yeah, my teaching thing. And I have to tell you, Special Forces, we were really teachers first and I didn't really think about it, but we used to be our job was called force multiplication and you see a lot of the kind of Rambo movie stuff and that kind of thing. But ultimately our job one was teaching and our job was to go into areas and teach the Indigenous population that fits the agenda of whatever's going on. I want to get into the politics of it, but movement tactics, how to use NATO weapons and all that sort of stuff. So we did force multiplications through teaching and I really loved it and I didn't really thought myself as a teacher. And once I got an EMS, I was teaching like, wow, I really do love this.
[01:40:38.090] - Clifton Slay
But that combined experience, I think it's going to really bolster my ability to drop back into teaching some of these skills to the new people, to the industry at these expos and otherwise.
[01:40:53.510] - Big Rich Klein
I think it's a great fit from what I know of you. And I can't say that we were ever great friends, but we were acquaintances. And I would watch your progression because I've always tried to figure out what it is ultimately I want to do. I mean, I didn't want to give up the competition scene because of everybody else had. And I was still the only one at this point. I was like really the only one doing it across the country. Yeah. There was little pockets of competitions going on at certain parks or whatever, and maybe a state here or there, but club type things, but competition scene was not as prevalent, but yet there's still a lot of industry around it that the competition supported and I love the competition, so I didn't want to get away from that. Well, now that we found somebody to continue that I'm looking for my next phase. And one of those things is of course continuing to build for Low magazine, but also I want more of the experience myself and I think that's where I see the future. Maybe not in the pure overlanding sense, but there's opportunities out there to get the people the experiences that they're looking for.
[01:42:31.290] - Big Rich Klein
So that's one of the avenues that I'm looking into well.
[01:42:36.850] - Clifton Slay
We'Ll have to continue to talk big rich part of I'm going to try not to self promote here, but it seems like it's oh, absolutely do it. It's warranted just because it lends in our conversation. So what I'm doing now, like I said, I just decided I wanted to come home, back to the offroad industry, but I still love paramatison, so I'm still on my search and rescue team. Of course, I wouldn't give up my canine, so we're still doing that, but I'm starting two YouTube channels. They're both going to be really unique. The off road one is wide open, some product reviews, that kind of stuff to build. That stuff been done, but I want to cover some of the personalities as well, but also do some teaching on there. I see that more as just a community thing for the off road. My other one is going to be for the emergency responder world and that's actually the one that I think will be bigger just because I think the audience is bigger and I think the need is greater and I'm going to be teaching skills, emergency skills, backcountry skills, and doing profiles on responders and canine hero dogs and that sort of stuff.
[01:43:52.080] - Clifton Slay
So that's my next thing and I think I'll go back doing trail guiding and Moab and other things as well.
[01:43:58.990] - Big Rich Klein
[01:44:00.030] - Clifton Slay
So I think you'll see me showing up with Moab. I'll still continue to do ultimate venture with the game every year and I'm going to go ahead and do the paramedic for the Overland adventure that four Wheeler does as well and hopefully get back into a little bit of racing and then kind of have my foot in both the emergency world and the Alpha world and then blend them together.
[01:44:27.750] - Big Rich Klein
Perfect. Well, as that progresses, let's keep in touch because I'd love to help promote that for you.
[01:44:36.570] - Clifton Slay
Yeah, I sure will. The name of it is called Hoplite. Venture Track. I would say it kind of goes down like you're like what's? Poison? Spider? What's happening? Engineering. It's similar. The word Hoplite is like a Spartan soldier, so it has that military tie in with the bonded camaraderie of those types of soldiers. That's why I used that name and Venture Track just sort of when you just say it, it sounds like sort of adventure and track, almost like a quest and put those together. And I think it's a name that people won't know what it is. But if I can repeat my successes with logos and names in the past that I have, then I think it will be so unique that people will know it. They won't confuse everything else.
[01:45:33.080] - Big Rich Klein
And what's the spelling on that? Hoplite it's.
[01:45:36.930] - Clifton Slay
[01:45:40.430] - Big Rich Klein
That's what I had written down.
[01:45:41.990] - Clifton Slay
[01:45:42.590] - Big Rich Klein
And then Venture Trek.
[01:45:44.610] - Clifton Slay
[01:45:52.190] - Big Rich Klein
[01:45:53.950] - Clifton Slay
That was tough, Richard.
[01:45:59.090] - Big Rich Klein
Well, the great thing is if you had, we could always edit it and then redo it.
[01:46:04.950] - Clifton Slay
No, it's all right. I'm not flawless. I wouldn't want you to do that. But do rewind it, make sure I build it right. And if I didn't just correct it, no worries. But yeah, I started the website, started in the YouTube channel series, probably start, probably July, August. We've already started some of it. But I'm in a realm that I'm although I know the subject matter, the production end of it.
[01:46:34.560] - Big Rich Klein
I'm having to learn that's one of the things that like this podcast is just audio. To me, that's a lot easier to do because I can edit it a lot easier than if we were doing it video.
[01:46:50.390] - Clifton Slay
[01:46:51.220] - Big Rich Klein
These guys that are like Fred and some of these others that have their YouTube channels or channels that they're producing the video, audio and all that together, it just seems to me like I'd need a production staff where with the podcast I can do just Shelley and I can get it out and get it out relatively quickly. Same with our magazine. That's one of the great things about owning your own magazine without all those layers is that if something happens today and we're in the process of editing the next issue, I can put it in there. I can do anything I want.
[01:47:32.350] - Clifton Slay
[01:47:32.880] - Big Rich Klein
So I can always be faster than everybody else. Maybe just not as much coverage as some of the guys that have been around forever. But that video production, man, it just seems like a lot of work.
[01:47:45.590] - Clifton Slay
Well, it is. I definitely jumped off the cliff with that one. And I'm actually inspired by Fred and Dave because when I went to Moab, they're part of my circle and riding with them and just kind of feeling it out with my buddies and Trent McGee as well. And Verne Simon, Christian Hagel. Yup. Not trying to name drop that's kind of my circle, but they're in touch with this stuff. And I was like, what is there to do in the offroad industry? I don't need to be a rock star anymore, and I'm not driven for that. But I still love the community. What's there to do here? And that was their recommendation. They're like, hey, you have this vast experience in these different ways. They're doing their Dirt Everyday show, and friend Dave are not doing the production part, so they're not feeling the pressure of that. But they're also on a schedule and stuff like that, which I will not be. But they really pushed me in this direction. And I'm with you trying to learn all the production part of it is daunting, but I'll get there. That's why I'm trying to put a realistic date on the podcast.
[01:48:59.420] - Clifton Slay
But the episodes to sort of start, I'm sure a lot of them will be rougher than they will in a couple of years after I've gotten some experience with it.
[01:49:09.250] - Big Rich Klein
Oh, yeah. I've noticed that with the podcast. I think my interview style is a lot better now than what it was when I first started. I had no clue what I was doing. Shelley has been after me for years to do the podcast. And she goes, you know, everybody. You can easily reach out to these people and get their stories. And during the beginning of COVID Lockdown, we were stuck in our little hotel in Texas with like, I had nothing to do. There was nothing going on. And so it was like, okay, what am I going to do Besides just sit here? And I said, okay, I'm ready to do this podcast thing.
[01:49:56.990] - Big Rich Klein
It was jumping with both feet. And I wasn't worried about equipment. I wasn't worried about quality of sound. Those things have just kind of morphed as we've gone along. But the learning curve is substantial, even though anybody else might not realize it unless they've tried to do it themselves. But the video just adds a whole another layer.
[01:50:27.830] - Clifton Slay
[01:50:28.620] - Big Rich Klein
And I'm an old dog now.
[01:50:31.370] - Clifton Slay
I think we're both old dogs, but I will let you know when they start coming out. You can let me know if they are poorly done and maybe I should go back to doing something else to stick with paramedic and canine.
[01:50:45.030] - Big Rich Klein
Well, I'm going to watch on it, so watch what you're doing.
[01:50:49.610] - Clifton Slay
All right. Well, Rich, it's been a real honor. I really do appreciate you asking me to come on, and it was nice to tell the story. And hopefully you get at least more than three people to tune in to this interview.
[01:51:08.430] - Big Rich Klein
I'm sure there's going to be a lot of people tune in. And thank you so much for coming on and sharing your life and what you've done in off road and what you're doing, where you're going with everything and opening that window to us. We appreciate it.
[01:51:29.390] - Clifton Slay
Well, I've heard community has been good to me. It has. I've had some ups and downs, but all of us that have been in it for a while or if you're in anything, it's just going to be the way it is. But like I said, I feel like I'm coming home and look forward to seeing you guys faces more excellent.
[01:51:46.350] - Big Rich Klein
Well, thank you for coming on and sharing. Take care and we will talk again.
[01:51:54.050] - Clifton Slay
All right, sir. Thanks, rich. Thank you. Bye.
[01:51:57.950] - Big Rich Klein
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.