Conversations with Big Rich

HiLift Jack President/CEO Austin Harrah joins us for Episode 125

August 25, 2022 Guest Austin Harrah Season 3 Episode 125
HiLift Jack President/CEO Austin Harrah joins us for Episode 125
Conversations with Big Rich
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Conversations with Big Rich
HiLift Jack President/CEO Austin Harrah joins us for Episode 125
Aug 25, 2022 Season 3 Episode 125
Guest Austin Harrah

Companies that survive five generations are a rarity, Austin Harrah shares some perspective about what it’s like in families with that kind of history. It’s an identity he wears on his sleeve as they ramp up for even more work.  Always a pleasure to talk to old friends.

4:16 – I actually started off-roading in high school when I shouldn’t have been off-roading

10:38 – I am not cut out for this kind of freedom

19:06 – my sister and I are fifth-generation, we started in 1895 

26:21 – just a couple of guys having too many beers

36:56 – we had to have a tow truck come and they used a HiLift jack to jack up the tongue of the trailer

47:52 – And then one fateful day at church, foster family in our church had a little boy. He was meant to be ours

1:00:08 – we’re going back to being Bloomfield Manufacturing again

We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine. 

Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.

Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

Companies that survive five generations are a rarity, Austin Harrah shares some perspective about what it’s like in families with that kind of history. It’s an identity he wears on his sleeve as they ramp up for even more work.  Always a pleasure to talk to old friends.

4:16 – I actually started off-roading in high school when I shouldn’t have been off-roading

10:38 – I am not cut out for this kind of freedom

19:06 – my sister and I are fifth-generation, we started in 1895 

26:21 – just a couple of guys having too many beers

36:56 – we had to have a tow truck come and they used a HiLift jack to jack up the tongue of the trailer

47:52 – And then one fateful day at church, foster family in our church had a little boy. He was meant to be ours

1:00:08 – we’re going back to being Bloomfield Manufacturing again

We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine. 

Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.

Support the Show.

[00:00:06.370] - 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 offroad.


[00:00:53.790] - Advertisement

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[00:01:20.290] - Advertisement

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[00:01:47.170] - Big Rich Klein

On today's episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Austin Harrah. Austin is spotter extraordinaire in rock crawling. From the middle ages of rock crawling I'd call it. And then he's also the CEO and president of Hi Lift. So Austin, thank you for coming on board and spending some time and talking with us.


[00:02:13.450] - Austin Harrah

Rich, thanks for having me and I appreciate your podcast and what you're doing to the industry. It's a really informative show that is often also fun and funny to listen to.


[00:02:25.720] - Big Rich Klein

Well, we try to we try to be entertaining and give people a history lesson at the same time. Let's dive right in like we always do. And Austin, where were you born and raised?


[00:02:38.640] - Austin Harrah

I was born and raised in Bloomfield, Indiana. Small town. We have close to 2500 people and it's probably 90 miles south southwest of Indianapolis.


[00:02:52.520] - Big Rich Klein

Okay. I was wondering exactly where it was. I knew that it was near Indy, so let's talk about that. And what was life like growing up there.


[00:03:08.930] - Austin Harrah

With any small town America? Everybody knew your business. Everybody knew where you were supposed to be and where you weren't supposed to be at any time. You didn't just have one set of parents, you know, you had the whole neighborhood, the whole town looked after everybody. We have two stoplights. So you couldn't really do anything across town and mom and dad wouldn't know about it by the time you got home.


[00:03:31.650] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, two stoplights. That's awesome.


[00:03:34.220] - Austin Harrah

Still do.


[00:03:35.020] - Big Rich Klein

That's excellent. That's one reason I love Mason, Texas, where we have our hotel and where we're probably going to end up settling some year is that we have a stop sign and no stop lights.


[00:03:49.320] - Austin Harrah

Nice. Does make it nice. Traffic sometimes gets a little backed up, but it's better than the interstate.


[00:03:55.080] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, absolutely. So then with everybody knowing your business and your parents knowing what you were doing all the time and I grew up in a town of like 50,000 people, and it still seemed like that was the case. What was school like for you?


[00:04:16.110] - Austin Harrah

School here and Bloomfield was fun. We had a really close class as far as just being friendly and everything. Just elementary school, I really can't remember much of that. It's been so long. Not really that long, but it seems like a long time. High school and junior high. We had a pretty good basketball team that I wasn't part of, but I played golf in high school and actually started offroading in high school when I shouldn't have been offroading, but that's part of it.


[00:04:55.790] - Big Rich Klein

We'll get back to the golf here in a bit, but let's get to let's find out about some of that off roading that you shouldn't have been doing.


[00:05:04.210] - Austin Harrah

Well, my parents had one of the first generation Gators. I remember quite vividly. It was the day before we started our freshman year of high school, and all my buddies were over and my parents were gone or something. And we took their Gators brand new and just absolutely buried it up to the frame behind their house. We had a pretty good sized woods behind our house where we'd cut trails for boilers and things, but the Gator was not so lucky. And that was probably about 5 hours of digging and actually using a high lift jack to get out. We thought we had it all cleaned up really good. And the next day my dad took it somewhere and raised the bed up to dump something and noticed that the engine was just covered in mud. Then I learned my lesson after that.


[00:06:05.070] - Big Rich Klein

Make sure you find all the mud.


[00:06:07.440] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, it's like, okay, well, he's not going to let me use this, so I need to find something for myself and end up buying a 79 CJ seven and had that for a couple of years, but that was pretty much what we did. We go to school after school, we find some farm lane that wasn't maintained and we just go mudding, I guess you would say.


[00:06:34.230] - Big Rich Klein

Okay, and did your dad have any besides the Gator? Was he in four wheel drive very often?


[00:06:44.970] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, I mean, everything we live in Indiana, so all our vehicles are always 4wd drive. But you would think a guy who ran high lift jack company and offer a recovery company would want to get out and get in the woods and whatnot. But he was very meticulous on his vehicle, so they were always spotless. And even with our shop Jeeps, they were that way, too. I think he went to like two or three Jeep Jamborees and hated every minute of it just because everything was so dirty.


[00:07:19.630] - Big Rich Klein

I understand that. It kind of cracks me up because of that, you know, with owning that implement company, you would think just the opposite. That's what that thing is used for.


[00:07:36.410] - Austin Harrah

Yeah. He never understood our passion for going.


[00:07:38.970] - Big Rich Klein

Out and breaking and getting stuck and stuff like that.


[00:07:42.310] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, he just shook his head at us all the time. I mean, he understood why it was important, but he didn't stop us. But he didn't help us either.


[00:07:52.740] - Big Rich Klein

Okay, fair enough. So when you're going to school, what kind of a student were you? First of all, I always think of golfers as being studious and kind of towing the line.


[00:08:10.670] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, that pretty much was not the case in my educational career. High school. I was mediocre and I got A's and B's. I mean, nothing bad. I never studied. I don't think I ever brought a book home in high school. It was not that it came natural, it just wasn't really that difficult. But I found out after high school that I was not doing myself any favors for college down the road.


[00:08:46.170] - Big Rich Klein

I think a lot of us realized that after it was too late. I've been talking to our oldest grandson is 13 and getting ready to start 8th grade, and he went with me to Washington just a couple of weeks ago for a rock crawl. And I told him, the next five years are probably going to be the most important years of your life, preparing yourself for adulthood. And he looked at me like, what are you smoking? And I told him, I said, five years. You can almost do standing on your head. Go to school, get learn as much as you can, figure out what it is that you want to do, and apply yourself, knowing that all the cool kids that are not going to school and the ones that were hanging out and smoking under the Bleachers or that kind of thing after high school, they're no longer cool.


[00:09:47.640] - Austin Harrah

Right. Pretty quick.


[00:09:50.790] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, those are the guys are going to be not applying themselves even later on in life, or more than likely not. I know some guys that were that way from high school that have done really well, but that's far and few between, so my goal and then when we got home, shelley told him the same thing, and he was probably looking at us going, you guys are hanging up on me. But he's a typical kid. He just wants to go out and have fun and be accepted socially. And it's like, you know, that's fine, but don't get caught up in doing what everybody else is doing. Just try to do good in school and realize that it's building blocks for your future.


[00:10:38.990] - Austin Harrah

Absolutely. Yeah. If I could do it all over again, there would be a lot of things different, not necessarily with the end result, but just the hard time I had in college, just learning to learn and trying to figure out how to study and time management, being away from rules. Right. When I was in high school, my parents kept a pretty short leash on me. They didn't want me to make mistakes they'd seen other people make, and I'd have to be home at ten or 1030 on the weekend. Yeah, it was absurd to me, and it was military school, and it was like, this house is a prison type thing. It was just rough. But then when I got to college, it was like, holy cow, this is not I am not cut out for this type of freedom. At this age, I didn't fare too well my first semester. I ended up getting a full time job, and I never went to class. I think my first semester report card, I had, like, a .3 GPA. It was pretty impressive. I was proud of it because I don't think you could really get that bad.


[00:12:07.330] - Austin Harrah

I had a lot of fun, and it probably molded a lot of things in my life at that point, but yeah. And that's when the college education fund for my parents quit. I remember over Christmas break, my dad took me to our local bank to get myself a student loan to pay for the second semester. He was done.


[00:12:29.900] - Big Rich Klein

Now, did you pay that student loan back all by yourself?


[00:12:33.260] - Austin Harrah

Oh, yeah, I think it was like, $5,000, and I paid it off. I want to say I paid it off in two or three years.


[00:12:43.060] - Big Rich Klein



[00:12:43.620] - Austin Harrah

So I had a job, so I wasn't destitute. But it was another teachable moment. You're not going to go down there and just waste all my money and come back with nothing.


[00:12:59.630] - Big Rich Klein

I think teachable moments are very important, and I really hope that parents nowadays or in the future start getting more into those teachable moments, because our society sure does need it.


[00:13:19.540] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, everybody does. You can make it in life with a lot of common sense and life lessons, sometimes easier than you can with big fancy degrees and how many books you can read.


[00:13:34.070] - Big Rich Klein



[00:13:35.000] - Austin Harrah

You need some life lessons, and I definitely feel like I got those at that point. I'm with the school with the intentions of going for hotel management, hotel and resort management.


[00:13:47.690] - Big Rich Klein



[00:13:48.600] - Austin Harrah

Because I wanted to be on the water. And I think it was the first this is at the second school I went to, and the first day, they were like, oh, you know, with this program and this degree, you'll be able to manage a Motel Six or maybe a Hampton Inn. This is not what I was hoping for. I want the Ritz Carlton in Cabo or somewhere like that.


[00:14:20.670] - Big Rich Klein

You got to start somewhere.


[00:14:22.470] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, I know. And that changed my plans. There a little bit. And then we had a plant manager take another job. And so basically I got a phone call from my dad saying, hey, I need you to come back and do this job in college. And he's like, well, this is when life happens. You're coming back here and you're going to start working and you're going to take this over one day. And I was like, okay, I guess that's what I'm going to do now. So quit that school and came back to work.


[00:15:00.310] - Big Rich Klein

So I'll ask you because I think it's important. How did you feel at that moment?


[00:15:11.190] - Austin Harrah

I was excited for one, just because at that point I knew that I was going to eventually, hopefully come back here and I wanted to be part of this business. I didn't know much about it. I was obviously in junior high or high school, but after going through some college and working some other places, that sounds pretty nice. It's going to be stressful, but it's also rewarding at the same time.


[00:15:42.200] - Big Rich Klein

Right, well, that's good because I always fear that in those kind of situations, there's not a lot of excitement about going into the family business. I know that I didn't have that option. My dad was a tool in Diamaker and the federal government machinist, and I knew I wasn't going into the government service, and I knew I wasn't going to become a tool and die maker machinist for that. But what I gained from him was the hard work. I mean, there was times where he had three jobs besides the government job, just trying to make ends meet and make life better for us. So I really appreciated all that, and I think that helped me with my work ethic. But also it was the desire to move on and find what it was I really wanted to do.


[00:16:41.550] - Austin Harrah

Yeah. My grandma and both my parents, neither wanted they did not want me working here. They always wanted me to go do something else. And I'm like, oh, that's just crazy, why not? And now it's like, oh, I see what you're saying. It's a lot easier to go and work sometimes for somebody else than it is to work with or for your family.


[00:17:09.970] - Big Rich Klein

Right. So let's talk about the business a little bit. Is it a family owned business still?


[00:17:20.600] - Austin Harrah

Yes, we have five shareholders.


[00:17:24.620] - Big Rich Klein



[00:17:26.350] - Austin Harrah

Myself, my two sisters, my mother, and my dad's sister.


[00:17:35.090] - Big Rich Klein

Okay. And any of the other family members have they worked for are still working for the company as well.


[00:17:42.940] - Austin Harrah

My sister, Lindell yeah, she's my executive VP. She came to work here, I think eight years ago. Eight or nine. We basically plucked her away from health care and put her in more of a purchasinghr department. And then after my dad died, her and I, well, before he died, we kind of run the show together and then we've just been that way since. She's my right hand I didn't think that her and I would ever be that close growing up, but now it's that way. My mother, she works here part time, just helping out with clerical stuff, and she keeps us fed quite a bit. She's always bringing food in, and she's a busy body. She's constantly going and she sprays weeds here. She's got a backpack leaf blower that I think she has an unhealthy relationship with. But she's always doing something. She keeps the place looking good, which is something we don't have time to do.


[00:19:01.350] - Big Rich Klein

The business was started by great grandfather grandfather or something like that.


[00:19:06.430] - Austin Harrah

My great great grandfather great great grandfather way back. Yeah. So we're currently my sister and our fifth generation.


[00:19:15.930] - Big Rich Klein



[00:19:17.100] - Austin Harrah

Yeah. We started in 1895 about two blocks away from where we're at right now.


[00:19:23.800] - Big Rich Klein

And your product is based on what they used to call wasn't like farm all or something like that.


[00:19:38.070] - Austin Harrah

We started with Jackson Five, and they were handyman.


[00:19:41.500] - Big Rich Klein

Handyman, okay.


[00:19:42.790] - Austin Harrah

Yeah. That was the name brand. We still actually make a handyman jack, which is the same jack as the regular high lift, except it's all black and it has handyman and hair manufacturing on the stickers and instructions and stuff like that.


[00:20:00.610] - Big Rich Klein



[00:20:01.440] - Austin Harrah

There's still a few small groups of the country that will not buy a high lift jack because it has to be a handyman. So we make them a handyman jack.


[00:20:14.750] - Big Rich Klein

Absolutely. I completely understand that all the manufacturing is done there in your area.


[00:20:26.830] - Austin Harrah

All of it except for the castings. And we obviously don't roll the steel. Okay. But we do all the machining, any of the punching, forming, welding, finishing, painting, assembly, packaging, all that's here.


[00:20:44.650] - Big Rich Klein

And do you mind if I ask, how many employees do you have?


[00:20:48.040] - Austin Harrah

I've got right at 44 right now.


[00:20:52.570] - Big Rich Klein

And is that higher low for that's.


[00:20:55.960] - Austin Harrah

Low for my tenure? We've been right around 50 for a while, and there's not really a reason we're not at 50. We're getting by with 44. We didn't replace when a couple of people left during, like, the covet time when they could go work somewhere and make really big money real quick. We just didn't have to replace those positions. We were able to fill in with our current staff.


[00:21:26.650] - Big Rich Klein

And the majority of your business now is still farming, or is it ranching?


[00:21:36.470] - Austin Harrah

It's automotive and automotive. Automotive. Off road. Yeah, off road is probably 80%.


[00:21:42.370] - Big Rich Klein



[00:21:43.610] - Austin Harrah

Yeah. We still do some farm and ranch stuff. It seems like that market is more price conscious than our world, so they look at our product as a disposable tool, so they end up buying a cheaper import in those situations sometimes.


[00:22:06.290] - Big Rich Klein

Right, I understand that. That's a shame because those cheaper ones you end up having to replace, if you replace it two times, you're going to be right about the same price, I would imagine.


[00:22:22.440] - Austin Harrah

Well, and now with the way, like, the Chinese shipping is, they're right there at the same price as us.


[00:22:30.630] - Big Rich Klein



[00:22:31.080] - Austin Harrah

Sometimes side by side, they're within two or $3.


[00:22:34.480] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah. That's crazy.


[00:22:36.830] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, it is crazy.


[00:22:38.280] - Big Rich Klein

So when you first came back, a line manager or plant manager had left, and you stepped in at that position. But I'm sure that as you were growing up, you probably had some odd jobs or part time jobs there.


[00:22:56.500] - Austin Harrah

As long as OSHA is not listening. I've had a time card here since I've been nine.


[00:23:01.750] - Big Rich Klein



[00:23:04.410] - Austin Harrah

I worked there in the summers, cars, and I did all the mowing. Then in high school, when I was actually legal to work with a work permit, that's when the funds started, when I got put on the assembly line or the paint line and just did entry level manufacturing work.


[00:23:29.130] - Big Rich Klein

At that time, did you learn about a lot about the business beforehand?


[00:23:34.530] - Austin Harrah

No. I mean, I knew what my dad brought home in the evenings. I knew the drama. I knew all the guys here because I was here. This town, we lived three blocks away from the plant, so this was on my way home from school, and I'd walk home so we would stop at the factory. So I always knew everybody, and I knew the idea of what they did. I guess I still don't know everything that we do. Yeah. I understood what was going on, I guess.


[00:24:09.920] - Big Rich Klein

Okay. When your dad became ill and you had to step up to the plate, what was your thought process at that time?


[00:24:29.010] - Austin Harrah

I was scared, obviously. I was probably more concerned about losing him than anything else, just because of what Linda and him and I had built around us. We got this amazing team here that everybody is like an expert in their department. So there was no concern about any type of catastrophic failure or something being overlooked. After he got sick, you know, these guys carried the whole place through that whole period of time where it was rough for everybody.


[00:25:10.490] - Big Rich Klein

Okay, that's good. That's important in a transition like that.


[00:25:17.090] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, there literally was hardly any transition. I mean, the biggest transition, I think, for anyone was me, because I finally got to get out of my old office and move into one that was just mine and not a conference room. And it had a door. I got a TV now.


[00:25:43.910] - Big Rich Klein

I could just see that first day. Does it have a lock on the door?


[00:25:47.290] - Austin Harrah

Yes, it does.


[00:25:48.540] - Big Rich Klein

Lock yourself in there, turn on the TV and pretend you're not there.


[00:25:53.500] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, you should see it. I'm really surprised nobody's walked in. Right now my door shut, but that doesn't stop anybody from coming in. That's what kind of operation. I'm in charge.


[00:26:10.730] - Big Rich Klein

That's awesome. So let's talk about how you got into rock crawling and competitions.


[00:26:21.330] - Austin Harrah

That was just, I think, a couple of guys having too many beers and deciding that they were going to try this dumb sport. My driver, Smith, he called me into doing it, and we had a lot of fun with it. And it was just interesting the whole time we did it. I don't think we ever podiumed anywhere. I saw it last night in my office at home, though we do have three trophies.


[00:26:55.220] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, there you go. You had to podium then.


[00:26:57.340] - Austin Harrah

I guess we did. I think there's only two people in that event.


[00:27:00.410] - Big Rich Klein

Well, we're not going to talk about that. I'm going to just erase that part out of there because nobody needs to know that.


[00:27:08.470] - Austin Harrah

That's fine. Yeah. You always win if you're the only one there. It was fun. We learned a lot about our physical mental and just our capabilities that we had as humans.


[00:27:24.530] - Big Rich Klein



[00:27:24.980] - Austin Harrah

And I never was good enough and he never listened enough. So that's just the way it worked out.


[00:27:33.770] - Big Rich Klein



[00:27:34.820] - Austin Harrah

We had a lot of fun.


[00:27:37.070] - Big Rich Klein

That's good.


[00:27:38.290] - Austin Harrah

We usually put on the best show. I mean, you could have used us as like, for your radio ads. Come watch Austin and Smithy flip over and break all their shit. That's what's going to happen.


[00:27:52.910] - Big Rich Klein

Dustin Webster was always fond of saying, if you can't win the show, be the show.


[00:27:59.710] - Austin Harrah



[00:28:02.270] - Big Rich Klein

And marketing partners. Of course. You were the marketing partner. What they are more interested in, of course, is brand recognition and people becoming familiar with the products. So that was good.


[00:28:20.070] - Austin Harrah

Oh, yeah, it was definitely good. It was definitely good for the business. It showed people that you could still use this type of product even in a race setting. I remember one time, I think we were home. It was either in Tennessee or the Badlands, I can't remember which one. But we had flopped over and you were walking around with your microphone and you were like, man, sure would be nice to use a high lift jack in this situation. I was like, oh, crap. Yeah. I swear to being like, damn it, Rich, it's 100 degrees outside. And now you're going to make me unbolt this thing and use this jack on the side of this hill to try to get Smitty flip back over with 30 seconds to go on the race? Come on.


[00:29:04.710] - Big Rich Klein

Well, that's my job, to point out the obvious.


[00:29:08.970] - Austin Harrah

I don't like to look at the.


[00:29:10.100] - Big Rich Klein

Obvious sometimes, especially when it involves blood, sweat, and possibly tears.


[00:29:16.650] - Austin Harrah

I think there was all those that weekend.


[00:29:21.610] - Big Rich Klein

Too. Funny.


[00:29:22.650] - Austin Harrah



[00:29:22.880] - Big Rich Klein

I remember Smitty got mad at me one time. He's probably still mad at me about it, but we were down in Texas at K Two and he was up on top of this hill and he had laid it over. And I said the same kind of comment, but I think it had broken a C or something like that. And I don't remember if it was he was trying to get the high lift off of the rig or what was happening, but I said some smart ass remark like, oh, here's the high lift sponsored driver and he's having problems using his high lift and he got really upset with me. Of course I found it funny and everybody laughed.


[00:30:10.030] - Austin Harrah



[00:30:10.490] - Big Rich Klein

But yes, Smitty wasn't too happy with that one so Smitty, if you hear this love you, man, miss you.


[00:30:16.200] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, that jack on the back of that thing, my gosh, it was just mangled, that thing rolled every weekend and we had to use it for something like in between runs like I don't know if we had to plug a tire or what, but it took like a hammer and a huge pair of channel locks to even get it off the mount. They were all bent. It was good product testing, right?


[00:30:47.840] - Big Rich Klein



[00:30:48.790] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, it worked.


[00:30:51.850] - Big Rich Klein

I like the jacks they used improperly like anything else, they can be they can be exciting yeah. But typically for some reason I think I'm just too soft of a wheeler I don't use a lot of throttle but typically when I'm carrying it. It's other people that end up using it yeah.


[00:31:17.330] - Austin Harrah

That's the way I like to say we build our rigs too good but that seems to be the case for us too and anytime I'm on a trip or a jamboree or any place like that. It never fails. I'll be in the back of the group and they'll call it on the CB hey, Austin, bring the High lift up here. I'm like, Gosh. So I got to trek it all the way from the back to the front and then by the time I get up there they've usually got it fixed or figured out another way I'm carrying it back but at least you.


[00:31:51.120] - Big Rich Klein

Get to show off the product up and down the line of cars.


[00:31:53.950] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, there you go. Hope I don't hit anybody's car with it when I'm walking by.


[00:32:00.070] - Big Rich Klein

Too much. So what kind of product line is involved with the High Lift besides just the jack itself? I know that there's a lot of accessories and that you guys are constantly coming up with new things do you want to talk about that a little bit?


[00:32:17.220] - Austin Harrah

Yeah. We've got several accessories probably close to 30 or 35 actual line items and on the accessory side. Just a variety of mounts. Different ways to mount it. Vehicle specific mounts. Recovery accessories that hook to the jack to make it a more useful tool we've got one that turns your jack into basically a hand winch and with the right setup and technique it's really effective and pretty fast but it's work. It's a lot more work than pushing the button on your Ward winch but it's a great alternative.


[00:33:00.260] - Big Rich Klein

Right, but I've seen a lot of winches, especially nowadays with people buying price point instead of quality that they bought this no name Chinese made winch and they go to use it and they let all the smoke out or there was no smoke installed in it to begin with.


[00:33:25.950] - Austin Harrah



[00:33:26.380] - Big Rich Klein

And then they're stuck and somebody else has to come along. So again, it's another reason to buy quality instead of price point.


[00:33:36.970] - Austin Harrah

Yeah. That's one thing that we really try to figure out first is any time we come up with a new widget or even the jack on a daily basis. I mean. Each one that goes out the door has been load tested to like £7000. And each one has been mechanically tested by a human with a really light load. Which is harder to make the jack function properly than a heavy load.


[00:34:00.330] - Big Rich Klein



[00:34:01.180] - Austin Harrah

And if they get kicked out, if they don't work, I mean, these guys, they're all about kicking them out. So the guy that does repairs has more work to do, so every one of them is tested. And that's why we get a lot of calls. People say, oh man, I got my jack in the mail and it's going to scratch up the bar. Yeah, because we used it, we wanted to make sure it works for you.


[00:34:26.810] - Big Rich Klein

I think it's funny how people have confused them with machine guns.


[00:34:31.690] - Austin Harrah

Oh, gosh, I saw that somewhere on Twitter years ago and I was like, holy cow. That's why those people look at me when I'm driving down the road with this jack strap to the hood. They probably think I've got some kind of salt rifle on the head.


[00:34:47.160] - Big Rich Klein

There you go. So the last time I needed one, I didn't have it. I was on the Rebel Rally, which is that all women's Navigational Rally.


[00:35:02.730] - Austin Harrah



[00:35:03.240] - Big Rich Klein

And I have an adventure trailer that's sitting on thirty five s, and it's got the rooftop tent and it's got all our gear packed into it and it's got a full kitchen and that kind of stuff, and a shower. And I had unhitched it at night so that I could drive the truck around Vegas. And then when I got back and hitched it up in the morning, it was raining and it was dark and I forgot that I had taken out an intermediate pin on my lock and roll hitch. So where there's three pins to complete the assembly for my hitch, I'd only put two in. I drove away through the parking lot, did a couple two or three turns, stop sign, turned left onto the main street, and all of a sudden I hear this dragging sound and Shelley goes, the trailer. I hit the brakes, the trailer slides up, hits my tailgate on my raptor, so I'm the only one to put a dent in my raptor so far. And I get out and I look at it and I'm like, great, now what do I do? And of course Shelley goes, well, can you use the high lift on it?


[00:36:19.740] - Big Rich Klein

And I said, that would be a great idea, but I didn't bring it.


[00:36:25.730] - Austin Harrah

You literally brought the kitchen sink.


[00:36:28.110] - Big Rich Klein

Correct, but not the high lift, because the highlight, it. Would be really difficult to use on the Raptor. So I'm like, okay, it's still with the Jeep and it would really be nice to jack this trailer up now. And I couldn't lift it up myself.


[00:36:45.150] - Austin Harrah

So now it's something I need to call somebody. Yeah, get your mount set up for that.


[00:36:50.190] - Big Rich Klein



[00:36:50.700] - Austin Harrah

Because right now, you know a guy.


[00:36:52.630] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, right now it's wiretight on there.


[00:36:56.990] - Austin Harrah

We need to fix that, that's for sure. I've got a similar story to that, though, too. My dad died years ago. We went to Indianapolis or somewhere a couple of hours away to pick up his boat. It was getting serviced and we'd taken our work truck, which was duly driving down. They hitched it up and it was like 24, 25 foot boat and hitched it up. And we were driving down the road and I looked in the mirror and saw the tongue of the trailer was head level with me and it popped off the ball. It was one of those screw top hitches like you set at the ball. You set it on the ball and then you turn this big knob, like a water spicket knob, and that's what tightened it down. Evidently, the guy that hooked it up did not know that. And it bounced off and it landed on the flatbed of the truck. And then by the time I hit the brakes and then pulled over to try to remedy this situation, it falls off the bed of the truck and it was in the ground. And we had to actually have a tow truck come and they used a high lift jack to jack up the tongue of the trailer to put it back on.


[00:38:21.330] - Big Rich Klein

Did you guys have any stickers on your vehicle that said high lift at that time?


[00:38:27.360] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, just down the door.


[00:38:32.470] - Big Rich Klein

Did the tow truck driver ask you the obvious question?


[00:38:36.190] - Austin Harrah

No, my dad mentioned it to him right out of the gate. He's like, for a guy that owns an off road company, you would think that he would have the product, his product. No, we didn't. I think it was like $150 bill.


[00:38:54.350] - Big Rich Klein

And you could have bought one.


[00:38:56.060] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, we could have bought one. Two of them at that point.


[00:38:59.340] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah. So then the business, where is that going in the future?


[00:39:09.650] - Austin Harrah

Well, in the future, we are plugging along as hard as we can. We've done. We're working on our second building expansion in the past five years right now. It's hopefully going to be done by the end of this year.


[00:39:27.710] - Big Rich Klein

That's good news.


[00:39:29.040] - Austin Harrah

Yeah. I hired a full time R and D guy, so it's not just me and the other guys meeting for two or three minutes at a time to develop new products. And he's also an enthusiast, so that helps out for the need of what our community needs. We invested in some CNC machines finally, so I brought in a new brand new mill and brand new Lathe. We've done major infrastructure upgrades as far as our computer systems, and we're up to date now with the times, but we're just going to keep plugging along. We've got a new model of Jack we're playing with a little bit, and hopefully that will be on the market within the next year or so. We want to get it right. We don't want to be somebody that just put something out there to put something out and just the goal is try to do two or three new products a year and see where we can end up.


[00:40:41.880] - Big Rich Klein

Well, I want to remind you we have this magazine that we love to have some content for, so keep us in mind on that.


[00:40:51.580] - Austin Harrah

Yeah. I think Covet got everybody in our office away from worrying about advertising. For some reason, I'm as guilty of it as anybody else, but we were one of the few companies that just went crazy during Covet. I sent everybody home except for eight of us for eight weeks paid and thought, okay, we'll get over this whole mess. The covenant wasn't even in our area. Like, nobody got sick until the fall. And so we sent everybody home too early. And as soon as we brought everybody back on June 1, the floodgates opened up on ordering. I mean, we had record we had two record years back to back, and it was all during code, which I guess people weren't going to the beach, right. They were going to the hills and to the woods. And everybody has their covered purchase that they bought, whether it be an above ground pool, a new TV, or in a lot of cases, it was a four door wrangler.


[00:42:08.010] - Big Rich Klein



[00:42:08.400] - Austin Harrah

And now they've got this investment that they have to use. They can't go out and sell it at the yard sale and they enjoy the lifestyle. So I think that's really helped us grow and helped us get to the point where we realize we want to grow even more.


[00:42:29.250] - Big Rich Klein



[00:42:31.950] - Austin Harrah

It's a fun experiment, right?


[00:42:34.080] - Big Rich Klein

And then if you can keep that kind of growth or at least stabilize it through times like now with the economy being well, I guess the government is telling us it's not a recession, but bullshit. And then fuel prices, they're starting to finally come down after they forced them up so high. It's still people are not traveling. We see it on the roads all the time. We used to our traffic on the interstates right now, except for U halls heading west. Excuse me? Heading from the west to the east.


[00:43:16.450] - Austin Harrah



[00:43:18.390] - Big Rich Klein

We're not seeing a lot of motorhomes. We're not seeing a lot of guys towing their Jeeps. I think people are staying a lot more local. I don't know about how the four wheel drive clubs and like jamborees and stuff are doing attendance wise, but I know it's affected our events somewhat. Yeah. People are not driving over 100 miles to come watch the events anymore.


[00:43:42.570] - Austin Harrah

Right. And a lot of that too, I think. Personally, during the Covet time, our activities changed. We all end up sticking closer to home and started doing things more local, it seems like, at our house, at least for everybody. But some of that plays into that.


[00:44:07.410] - Big Rich Klein

We saw growth during both those years in not only competitors, but in spectator counts. And then this year, both of those continual growth over those two years, 2000, 2001, and it's been slowed down this year, we're not seeing that explosive growth. But I know that there's a lot of guys out there still building cars and they're having problems getting parts, or guys that have sold their cars, building new cars, and are not getting the parts that they thought they could get quickly. So I think for 2023, we're going to see more growth as far as competitors. I think spectators will start coming back as the fuel prices come down, but it's really good to be able to weather those.


[00:45:03.990] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, I think that when all this started happening, I was like, oh, great. Especially when Cove would first started. It was like, we just made all these investments. We made this plan to grow this thing, brought in the R and D guy, brought in all this stuff, and then March 23 happened and it's like, holy shit, this is not good.


[00:45:37.030] - Big Rich Klein

Can we talk personal family?


[00:45:40.250] - Austin Harrah



[00:45:43.250] - Big Rich Klein

You're married?


[00:45:44.630] - Austin Harrah

Yes. And have been married since 2011. We got married. I think that's right.


[00:45:52.160] - Big Rich Klein

And where did you better be right.


[00:45:54.380] - Austin Harrah

We actually met at a bar.


[00:45:56.290] - Big Rich Klein

Really? Okay.


[00:45:57.420] - Austin Harrah

Yeah. She's old. Well, not old. She's older than me. She was married before and she moved away to Georgia. And then after she came back and I met her at our local establishment here in town and asked her out on a Harley ride. She was telling a story. Her and her best friend were sitting in a booth this is kind of comical, but her best friend used to babysit me, so that was my avenue to sit down. I haven't seen my old babysitter in a long time. So my wife now was telling a story about how she got asked out by a patron of the soup kitchen. She worked out that morning, and she's like, all I need is somebody that's got a driver's license and a job if you got those two things, whatever. And my buddy who was sitting there with me kept hitting me. I was like, Dude. He's like, Ask her out, man. She's like, unattainable. I mean, she's older. She's way too good for me. And I said, well, hey, what are you doing tomorrow? You want to go on a Harley ride? I had a Harley. I was cool back then.


[00:47:14.940] - Austin Harrah

I had a Harley and had good hair, 25 or whatever. Invincible. And she's like, sure. And she gave me her number, and I guess later I found out she was hoping that I wouldn't call to confirm, but being persistent that I was, I did, and she went, and then the rest is history.


[00:47:39.890] - Big Rich Klein

She told you that she was hoping that you weren't going to call after she gave you the number?


[00:47:45.740] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, she told me that about two or three months later.


[00:47:50.930] - Big Rich Klein

That's awesome.


[00:47:52.370] - Austin Harrah

I was like, Actually, I don't know why I remembered the call, but I did it's kind of on you. We went through eight or nine years of never wanting kids. It was nice because on Wednesdays she would call me, or Thursdays, whatever. She's like, hey, I just found a great deal on plane tickets to New York for when she's like, for tomorrow. I said, okay, call the dog sitter and let's go. We just used to go anywhere at the drop of the hat. And then one fateful day at church, foster family in our church had a little boy. And I looked over and she's holding him, and I'm like, oh, shit, here we go. We started babysitting a little bit, and the next thing you know, it's like, well, we have to have him. He's meant to be ours. And through a two and a half year battle with the state and attorneys and all that fun stuff, we finally got to adopt them. And that was last September. So now I have a four year old, and that's a big change.


[00:49:19.150] - Big Rich Klein

Yes, I would imagine.


[00:49:22.450] - Austin Harrah

He'S cool, though. He's in the Jeeps. He only wants to take the big Jeep with the back on it, which is a gladiator. He doesn't want to take the JL. He wants the big Jeep at the back on it. That's the only one he wants to ride in. I've got a picture of him out front of my driveway where I was washing the gladiator one day or something to it, and I looked over and he has passed out on the tire, like, head in his hand. Head on the tire. They're 40s, so it's like, perfect for his arm. This little guy is asleep standing up at the Jeep.


[00:50:00.630] - Big Rich Klein

That's awesome.


[00:50:04.930] - Austin Harrah

He doesn't want to drive a truck when he gets bigger, he says. And he wants either Mommy's bronco or my Jeep.


[00:50:13.810] - Big Rich Klein

Very good. Well, excellent. I'm glad to hear that your family is rounded out.


[00:50:22.750] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, it's rounded out with him and the two dogs. It's four.


[00:50:29.540] - Big Rich Klein

Do you have a white picket fence?


[00:50:31.640] - Austin Harrah

I do not. I have a black rot iron fence. We're steel people, man. We're steel.


[00:50:35.530] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, that's true. Okay.


[00:50:36.720] - Austin Harrah

We're stealing stone. Her family comes from monumental makers.


[00:50:43.760] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, really?


[00:50:44.690] - Austin Harrah

Yeah. And her dad was a judge and her grandfather ran a monument shop, so we are very steel and stone people.


[00:50:56.110] - Big Rich Klein

So has she ordered your monument yet?


[00:51:01.030] - Austin Harrah



[00:51:02.350] - Big Rich Klein



[00:51:03.380] - Austin Harrah

She has not. I don't know where I'm going to be because I know I'm not going to be in the ground, but my family plot is not by her family plot. She doesn't want to be in my family plot, I don't want to be in hers. So I think we're going to have like, two stones.


[00:51:25.550] - Big Rich Klein



[00:51:25.860] - Austin Harrah

You go to see Austin, go south and turn left.


[00:51:33.030] - Big Rich Klein

You can always put it up at the building, right?


[00:51:35.790] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, that's probably what I have to haul me out of anyway.


[00:51:38.770] - Big Rich Klein



[00:51:42.190] - Austin Harrah

She's got a hell of a travel list. If I go before her to put my ashes out there, she's probably going to need some help to find some of these places that I've found in Utah and Colorado where you want to.


[00:51:55.690] - Big Rich Klein

Be able to continue watching the views.


[00:51:58.780] - Austin Harrah

Yes, absolutely. I found a place out there this past year that was the craziest view ever seen. One of our good friends, Bill Burke, took us on a two day camping trip from Grand Junction to Moab. All off highway, and we caught some pretty good sunsets, that's for sure.


[00:52:22.350] - Big Rich Klein

Was that? The Rim Rocker trail?


[00:52:26.470] - Austin Harrah

No, it was part of the little Native American guy.


[00:52:34.440] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, yeah, the Copapelli.


[00:52:37.280] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, Copapelli is part of that and then some other ways that he goes.


[00:52:41.200] - Big Rich Klein

Okay, cool. So what is your favorite area to wheel?


[00:52:47.530] - Austin Harrah

I have to say, moab. It used to be Teleco back in the day. That was always fun. But Indiana, it's a lot of mud and tight trails and my rigs are not set up for that right now.


[00:53:06.510] - Big Rich Klein



[00:53:07.410] - Austin Harrah

They're more anything west of the Mississippi is what I tell the guys. They can take them wherever they want. They just got to be west of Mississippi. But I'd say Colorado is probably my favorite.


[00:53:19.870] - Big Rich Klein



[00:53:20.850] - Austin Harrah

Like the Georgetown area and from there to Breckenridge. We got a lot of fun out.


[00:53:28.080] - Big Rich Klein

There all up in the high mountains.


[00:53:31.270] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, neither one of it. My wife and I don't get altitude sickness, so we don't mind that we don't go running anyway. It doesn't bother us too bad. She actually drove over Red Cone Pass last time we were out there, and she didn't want to after we got almost up there, but there was nowhere to get out to switch drivers. If you get out, you're going over the edge on either side. We stopped at the top and I was like, man, that plane is really loud. It's because we were like at 14,000ft, we were a lot closer to it than what we are normally.


[00:54:15.850] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, you're halfway there because most of the things fly at like 30 to 35,000.


[00:54:21.190] - Austin Harrah

Right. Colorado is probably my favorite place to wheel.


[00:54:25.630] - Big Rich Klein

Well, good. Did you get to Easter Jeep this last year?


[00:54:29.790] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, we did. We came in there for like, two days. We did the camping trip before and we didn't go to the vendor show. Okay. We kind of did. It really weird. We did the camping trip and then we stayed at I can't remember what it was called. It's a little roadside motel in downtown Mohab. It's like an old school motor in type place.


[00:54:59.310] - Big Rich Klein



[00:55:00.110] - Austin Harrah

We stayed there for a couple of days and then came home.


[00:55:03.490] - Big Rich Klein

Yes, I only got a couple of days there. I drove in on the Thursday before, something like that and then had to fly back to Texas to get I drove in with a semi truck. So I got there like on Sunday and then turned around, flew back to Texas, drove the Raptor back out and then spent two days there and then had to fly to California. I drove to California from there in an emergency and it was like, man, two days in Moab and all that driving and none of it I mean, one trail.


[00:55:49.510] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, I think we did two full days of trail and Robbie from here was with us and when he leads the trail, you better pack a lunch and if you're going to want to eat dinner, you just better just throw that out the window. He just does not stop. It was fine. We had a lot of fun, but we covered so much ground. It was just the two of us, two rigs. I think we probably did 70 or 80 miles a day.


[00:56:22.410] - Big Rich Klein



[00:56:23.370] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, it was fun.


[00:56:25.050] - Big Rich Klein

Very nice. We did Cane Creek for the first time. I was with Charlene and Ben Bauer, and I had never done Cane Creek. And I just thought, Kane Creek, you follow the creek and then you turn back out of it. I didn't realize that. You go up that canyon wall at the end and we had a bunch of the girls from the Ladies Off Road Network that had not their only wheeling experiences was basically that week there and they'd done Top of the World and then Cain Creek. So when they got to Hamburger Hill. It was an interesting situation. But the girls handled it really well and I just had to remind him. Don't watch the people in front of us because they didn't know what they were doing and we were not going to let them drive off the cliff like the others look like they were going to just trust us and get them up.


[00:57:22.030] - Austin Harrah

Did you see the was that wreck still down there at the bottom? There was past Hamburger Hill on the left, down in the gorge there was a car or something that went off that road.


[00:57:34.570] - Big Rich Klein

No, I didn't.


[00:57:35.870] - Austin Harrah

Oh, my gosh, that kind of weirded me out.


[00:57:40.930] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, I can see why it can happen. People not knowing what they're doing or following the spotting of somebody that doesn't know what they're doing. I witnessed it. Like I said, the group in front of us had no clue what they're doing. Every single car was sideways on that hill, through Hamburger Hill, and it was like, what are you guys doing? Come on.


[00:58:05.770] - Austin Harrah

You feel obligated to get out and help at that point, you know, I'm.


[00:58:09.450] - Big Rich Klein

Really cautious about that just for the simple fact that people don't always take it. Right.


[00:58:19.090] - Austin Harrah



[00:58:19.830] - Big Rich Klein

When you walk up and say, hey, would you like me to help you to go through this instead of your friend? Because your friend is an idiot. Maybe I'm approaching it the wrong way.


[00:58:28.900] - Austin Harrah

But especially when you're like me and just an asshole people.


[00:58:34.450] - Big Rich Klein

I used to be my BS years before Shelley.


[00:58:40.610] - Austin Harrah

Okay. Yeah. I have those two BA.


[00:58:43.550] - Big Rich Klein



[00:58:44.100] - Austin Harrah

That's how we describe stuff to our son sometimes. Daddy used to have all these cool toys.


[00:58:55.750] - Big Rich Klein

So then you're expanding the building, the buildings and bringing in equipment and everything to work on. To do more stuff in house or just to be more efficient?


[00:59:09.130] - Austin Harrah

Both. We're going to bring some of the work that we usually have outside finishers. Do we're going to start doing some of that more here or have the capabilities here for more production, demand and readiness? We also are lucky to have we've got a navy base 12 miles away from us.


[00:59:30.860] - Big Rich Klein



[00:59:31.870] - Austin Harrah

It's a landlocked navy base. Yeah.


[00:59:35.420] - Big Rich Klein

I was just going to ask that.


[00:59:36.600] - Austin Harrah

I'm glad you yeah, it's different. That employs most of our area, and they have a ton of contractors, and there's all these other little machine shops around that feed off this place. They just have so much work that needs to be outsourced for all the things they make, and we're hoping to get into that. We could do it right now, but I don't have all the manpower in place, and I don't want to do it half past.


[01:00:08.510] - Big Rich Klein



[01:00:08.920] - Austin Harrah

I'd rather be 100%. And we're going to kind of go a little direction of actually being Bloomfield manufacturing again to where we can do we're a manufacturing facility. We can make anything. So why are we closing our doors to outside work? That's one of my five year goals is to get that turned up and to make that happen because we've got some really good talent here.


[01:00:37.050] - Big Rich Klein

Right. And diversification doesn't hurt.


[01:00:39.820] - Austin Harrah

No, it doesn't hurt at all. Yeah. The board like that. Yeah, absolutely.


[01:00:44.530] - Big Rich Klein

Well, good. Glad to hear that. So you're going to be more of a job shop. Are you going to produce things for other people or are you going to.


[01:00:52.850] - Austin Harrah

Keep we'll do anything. It sounds like we're desperate, but we're obviously not. But we're going to open our doors to make anything for anybody. We're good at it, right? My guys are really good at it. And time management is one of our fortes, and we understand urgency and quality. That's what we're going to try to capitalize on.


[01:01:20.910] - Big Rich Klein

And you said that'll be Bloomfield?


[01:01:24.310] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, we are. Bloomfield manufacturing company.


[01:01:27.050] - Big Rich Klein



[01:01:28.090] - Austin Harrah

That's our parent company. It's the same. Just one company highlifts, the actual division of Bloomfield manufacturing company.


[01:01:38.260] - Big Rich Klein

Okay, that's kind of what I was thinking, but wanted to clarify that.


[01:01:43.400] - Austin Harrah

Yeah. I got two titles.


[01:01:48.430] - Big Rich Klein

Oh. It's president and CEO. Okay.


[01:01:50.550] - Austin Harrah



[01:01:51.390] - Big Rich Klein

CEO one and president of the other.


[01:01:53.480] - Austin Harrah



[01:01:54.150] - Big Rich Klein

Okay. With the child now and not being able to quickly or just overnight say, hey, let's go to New York. What kind of time away from work are you guys trying to set up?


[01:02:13.570] - Austin Harrah

Well, we've got a year before he goes to full blown elementary school, so we're going to try to get away some more. This calendar year, we typically vacation in the Fort Myers Sanibel Captiva area in Florida, and it's kind of been our home away from home and do some more of that this year and probably have to start thinking about Disney World again.


[01:02:51.610] - Big Rich Klein

Get a boat.


[01:02:53.470] - Austin Harrah

I just sold my boat. I'm in the worst place ever. I'm between boats. It's horrible. It's absolutely horrible.


[01:03:04.870] - Big Rich Klein

I understand we can't get to our boat right now because of family health issues that we're dealing with, but just sitting there on that boat somewhere, it's so relaxing.


[01:03:20.320] - Austin Harrah

It doesn't matter where it is. We went down one that we used to keep it in Florida when we had a boat, and we were down there for our anniversary, and one of the motors blew on the boat that day, and it was still better than a bad day at home or at work. It was an expensive day, but it was still better than a bad day at work, right?


[01:03:50.530] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah. I've got a motor that's being worked on right now, so I know that.


[01:03:55.290] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, it's never fun. I grew up pretty much on a boat most of my childhood, so it's kind of in my DNA now. I need to make sure I pass that on to the little guy.


[01:04:07.460] - Big Rich Klein



[01:04:08.510] - Austin Harrah

If nothing else, he'll be able to know. He'll know how to drive one.


[01:04:12.310] - Big Rich Klein



[01:04:13.190] - Austin Harrah

There's nothing worse than going on a lake somewhere where somebody rents a pontoon boat and nobody knows how to drive the boat.


[01:04:21.590] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah. There's a page.


[01:04:28.110] - Austin Harrah

The chat show, no.


[01:04:30.060] - Big Rich Klein

Disqualified captain or something like that, or Unqualified captain or something, but it's all bloopers of people screwing up in the marinas trying to launch a boat, smaller boats, things like that. And then the other one is that there's an inlet near Miami Hollow. Hollover. Yes. Watching some of those videos is just absolutely hilarious when you see how stupid people can be.


[01:05:03.390] - Austin Harrah

That place is crazy. Those passes like that are just insane. You can sit there and watch that stuff all day long and it just be comic.


[01:05:13.300] - Big Rich Klein

Yes. Even when you see the police boats end up on the rocks?


[01:05:17.370] - Austin Harrah

Oh, yeah. I think I would try to avoid that place.


[01:05:21.300] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, I think so. We want to do the loop, and one of the things that we're going to stick probably to the inland passage most of the way where it's available, but yeah, I don't want to go through Hanover if the seas are ever really big.


[01:05:42.510] - Austin Harrah



[01:05:43.650] - Big Rich Klein

Even though my boat is big and would handle it just fine, I think. I don't like the idea.


[01:05:48.640] - Austin Harrah

We don't need to spill your drink?


[01:05:54.010] - Big Rich Klein

I just drink Seven Up.


[01:05:55.790] - Austin Harrah

Okay, well, you don't want to spill that because then the answer will come.


[01:05:59.360] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, the answer get all over the boat.


[01:06:01.970] - Austin Harrah



[01:06:04.330] - Big Rich Klein

All right. So anything else that we haven't touched on with the business or personal life you'd like to share with us?


[01:06:12.950] - Austin Harrah

I don't really know. The business side has really kind of just become my personal life, I guess you'd say. I kind of wear it on my sleeve. It seems like. I feel like my wife probably works here too, because she gets to hear about my whole day as soon as I get home. So I have to relive it again when there's issues and drama and the joys of being in a family business, it's fun.


[01:06:47.950] - Big Rich Klein

There you go. Life is fun.


[01:06:50.000] - Austin Harrah

Yeah, that is fun.


[01:06:52.630] - Big Rich Klein

Alright, well, Austin, thank you so much for coming on and sharing your history with us and talking about your personal life and highlift and Bloomingfield Manufacturing and Bloomfield or Bloomington. Bloomfield.


[01:07:10.430] - Austin Harrah



[01:07:11.300] - Big Rich Klein

I added an ing in there that shouldn't have been Bloomfield Manufacturing. Well, great. Thank you so much.


[01:07:17.920] - Austin Harrah

Thanks for having me.


[01:07:18.980] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, no worries.


[01:07:20.150] - Austin Harrah

Good time.


[01:07:20.790] - Big Rich Klein

We need to get caught up again, man. It's been a while since I've seen you.


[01:07:24.020] - Austin Harrah

I know. I think it should be a seam of this year borrowing any catastrophe like last year where we got covered right in the middle of it and I didn't get to go. But this year, fingers crossed.


[01:07:37.150] - Big Rich Klein

Well, hopefully we'll see there if we decide to go. Right now, we're not, because of the situation we're on, we're in here in Northern California. We're going to hit the fly down real quick for the off road, the Armhof Off Road Motorsports Hall of Fame dinner and then turn around and come right back is our plan so far, but we'll see how things go.


[01:07:59.110] - Austin Harrah

Okay, well, we'll cross paths again some day soon, I'm sure.


[01:08:02.010] - Big Rich Klein

I hope so. Okay, Austin, thank you very much.


[01:08:05.570] - Austin Harrah

Tell Shelley I said hello.


[01:08:06.860] - Big Rich Klein

We'll do that. Take care. Bye bye.


[01:08:09.250] - Austin Harrah

Thanks. Bye.


[01:08:10.510] - Big Rich Klein

Well, that's another episode of Conversations with Big Rich. I'd like to thank you all for listening. If you could do us a favor and leave us a review on any podcast service that you happened to be listening on or send us an email or text message or Facebook message and let me know any ideas that you have or if there's anybody that you have that you think would be a great guest. Please forward the contact information to me so that we can try to get them on. And always remember, live life to the fullest. Enjoying life is a must. Follow your dreams and live life with all the gusto you can. Thank you.