I always think of Trent McGee as a magazine guy, and that’s certainly how he got his start – but listen in to see what else he’s been up to in his 20+ year career in off-road. Ultimate Adventure, Superlift TV, there’s lots of great stuff packed in this episode.
4:40 – early days developed my love for the desert
7:06 – everything just stings, sticks, or bites
8:27 – theater set the stage because I had on-camera experience
10:35 – rules to keep teens safe while driving: buy them something small so they can’t put many people in it, add a stick shift so they can’t text
12:37 – my dad was livid….
15:20 – I needed an internship
17:08 – my 10 seconds of courage
21:02 – I thought I was pretty knowledgable
32:00 – yeah, Louisiana, not a chance
41:45 – the most special build was for a co-worker that had a unicorn
49:48 – I hung out my own shingle about 10 years ago
50:54 – I’m one of two guys that have been on every Ultimate Adventure
59:16 – to Alaska at 25 mph
1:04:42 – Jeep Dirt-n-Drive to Moab
1:25:57 – Life is not about things
We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.
Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.
Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/BigRich)
[00:00:01.050] - Big Rich Klein
Welcome to the Big Rich show, this podcast will focus on conversations with friends and acquaintances within the four wheel drive industry. Many of the people that I will be interviewing, you may know the name, you may know some of the history, but let's get in depth with these people and find out what truly makes them a four wheel drive enthusiast. So now's the time to sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation.
[00:00:29.490] - 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 to work or play for fun or competition Maxxis tires deliver. Choose Maxxis tread victoriously.
[00:00:56.050] - Big Rich Klein
Why should you read 4Low magazine, because 4Low magazine is about your lifestyle, the Four-Wheel Drive adventure lifestyle that we all enjoy, rock crawling, trail riding, event coverage, vehicle builds and do it yourself tech all in a beautifully presented package. You won't find 4Low on a newsstand rack. So subscribe today and have it delivered to you.
On today's episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Trent McGee. Many of you probably know Trent from the early days and the magazines at four wheeler.
[00:01:30.650] - Big Rich Klein
That's about the time I met Trent and then as the host of Superlift TV, but he's had many badges, he's had many business cards and like everybody in our industry, nobody ever really disappears. They just change business cards. So I'd like to thank you for coming on board today and and talking about your history and off road.
[00:01:52.400] - Trent McGee
Well, thank you, Rich. I really appreciate it. Rather, it's kind of an honor to even be asked to be on your podcast. Thank you very much.
[00:01:59.060] - Big Rich Klein
Well, it's my honor to have you with us. So, you know, I thank you so much. So let's just jump right in. I understand that you grew up in Arizona and were born and raised there,
[00:02:12.800] - Trent McGee
not really born there. Technically, I was born in Northern California and Los Gatos, San Jose area. But my parents moved to a little town outside of Phenix, which is not so little anymore, called Fountain Hills when I was three.
[00:02:31.070] - Trent McGee
So I really kind of consider myself an Arizona native, even though I'm technically not born here. I was definitely raised here and stuff, so it's definitely home.
[00:02:41.430] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, I was born a Bay Area boy as well, farther up the peninsula, but I always say I'm from Placerville and I didn't actually move there until after college. So let's talk about that Los Gatos time at three years old. I know I don't have any three year old memories except for what people have told me.
[00:03:04.920] - Trent McGee
Yeah. Now, I mean, I guess I maybe have some vague recollections of the house that we lived in, but it's hard to say whether that was an actual recollection or, you know, my mom or dad telling a story or something like that. So now I really, you know, three years old is pretty small. So I don't really remember much time there. I've been back there many times. We've still got to have some extended family up there.
[00:03:31.010] - Trent McGee
And it's a neat area, but I think I'm much better served, you know, moving here and bouncing around the desert stuff here.
[00:03:40.610] - Big Rich Klein
Absolutely. Because you got a much earlier start than me. Probably I had to wait until I was nineteen eighty when I finally got on the Rubicon. It's real off roading. So cool. You know, I wasted a lot of time there where I could have been doing stuff. I did a lot of backpacking and stuff, but not the same. So anyway, talk about Fountain Hills and growing up there. How long how long were you there and what precipitated the move with your parents to there from Los Gatos?
[00:04:07.550] - Trent McGee
Well, my dad was my dad actually worked for the IRS. Believe it or not, I got a certified public accountant. And I believe what precipitated the move was leaving the IRS and getting a job at one of the big accounting firms of which they had an office here in town. And I think I think even then, that was maybe not so enthused about raising it, you know, raising a family. And in Northern California, where it's very expensive and lots of maybe questionable influences and stuff like that.
[00:04:40.010] - Trent McGee
So, you know, I guess really my early days was that really developed my love for the desert. You know, it being a real small community, I think basically I think there were two classes in my grade in my school that I was in. So was about 60 kids and and stuff. So it was just it was really cool being able to you know, I would walk to the bus stop and would run around in the desert with a buddy of mine, you know, building forts and and stuff like that and chasing rattlesnakes and rabbits and stuff like that.
[00:05:18.800] - Trent McGee
So I think that's really where it's at. The time, it was a a more rural sort of a place and but a cool place and with lots of neat stuff to to explore. So but I think that's probably where at least that that established my love for the outdoors.
[00:05:37.520] - Big Rich Klein
Well, that makes total sense. Yeah. It's probably why I don't like the big cities, because I grew up in those either, although I do live in one. But it's but you know, you also have to make a living so. Right.
[00:05:50.030] - Big Rich Klein
That's true. But you're aren't you farther out. Are you in the metro area.
[00:05:58.250] - Trent McGee
I mean I'm definitely in the metro area. I'm but I'm, I'm kind of way up on the northwest side of town. And so I'm not like in the center or downtown adjacent or anything like that. I'm I'm definitely up in the suburbs. So but what's cool is I am I'm only about 20 minutes from Table Mesa, which is a well known area off-road area here in Phoenix and somewhat known elsewhere. But that's only about 20 minutes in the house and the boulders, which.
[00:06:29.910] - Trent McGee
Is another off road area that's between Phoenix and Wickenburg. I'm only about 20, 30 minutes from there and, you know, it takes about, what, five hours to get out the back way to Crown King from here. So definitely like being on the outskirts. It's no shortage of places to go right now.
[00:06:49.910] - Big Rich Klein
It makes total sense. I know that. I know that area well. I spent a lot of time there. So let's let's talk about those early years running around in the desert, chasing rattlesnakes and rabbits and all that kind of stuff. Did you were you a bicycle guy or did you get a motorcycle early?
[00:07:06.180] - Trent McGee
You know, my mom was a rather protective lady, and so I really wasn't allowed to have a motorcycle, which is always kind of bummed me out in some ways. So it's definitely a BMX bike guy. But there was a early on, there was a there was a house that actually burned about halfway between where I lived and where my my buddy Noah Harper lived. And we would ride our bikes to the burned out house and hide the type of bikes in the bushes and then just run down into these washes and explore these washes and stuff.
[00:07:46.170] - Trent McGee
And that was that was really, really cool. That's a you know, everything everybody thinks that the desert is just kitty litter and everything just stings, sticks or bites. And that's true. That's true. It's a very inhospitable place. But there's also a lot of cool, cool aspects to it as well, being able to find water. And, you know, there was a there was a spring nearby that ran pretty much year round, which is kind of unusual and and stuff.
[00:08:13.020] - Trent McGee
So, yeah, that was that was how I spent a lot of my time when I when I wasn't in school.
[00:08:18.660] - Big Rich Klein
So let's talk about school. Were you athletic, scholastic or something else?
[00:08:27.180] - Trent McGee
Definitely scholastic. I really am not a terribly coordinated person and or very quick or agile. And so I played baseball and stuff like that. But I you know, it was definitely kind of a secondary thing. It's kind of a a brainy kid. I was usually in AP classes and stuff and then and then it early when I was probably from the time I was about I'm going to say seven to maybe 13, I was very involved in theater and and I was in something like 30 plays by the time I was 13 years old.
[00:09:06.090] - Trent McGee
Wow. And did had the whole day the whole agent thing for a while where I auditioned for movies, commercials and stuff like that. I did one national commercial for a toy that was an absolute flop, but and it was an extra in a couple of movies and stuff, but nothing, nothing ever really happened on that front. But it was a good time and actually it really did kind of all that on stage or on camera experience really came in handy much, much later.
[00:09:42.030] - Trent McGee
So so it was it was cool. And then when I got to high school, I kind of switched to the the other side of the stage backstage and got really into tech theater. So lighting and sound and set building and stuff like that. And I think that really kind of appealed to the I guess what was forming is the kind of gearheads side of me building things and doing stuff like that. So I really enjoyed that and learned and learned a whole bunch doing that as well.
[00:10:14.160] - Big Rich Klein
OK, and then after well, let's see, in high school, you would have gotten you're like everybody else typically, except kids nowadays get your driver's license. So did you were you able to drive in the desert before your driver's license or, you know, what was your first car type thing?
[00:10:35.550] - Trent McGee
No, I took a first car in a minute. No, my my my dad my dad wasn't really a gearhead perse. He did have a jeep, a seventy one CJ five. That was an absolute steaming pile. But we, we, we did quite a bit of camping and and four wheeling in that when I was younger but actually had my first car. It's kind of embarrassing. My first car was a seventy nine Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel, which I guess my, my grandpa gave it to me and he had kind of fixed it up and and but I guess I mean and now in hindsight it was actually pretty smart because the thing didn't go fast enough to get you in trouble.
[00:11:20.370] - Trent McGee
It didn't it didn't have enough room in it to haul a bunch of people in. And and it was a stick shift. So. Well, I guess texting wasn't an issue then, but. Another buddy of mine, bought his son, who I think is going to be driving age maybe another two or three years, I bought him a little Toyota pickup. And half of the reason he did it is because you can't get any people in it.
[00:11:42.450] - Trent McGee
Hardly. It's a stick shift. So he's not going to be texting that kind of stuff. So I think the same sort of mentality went in to to the the rabbit. But that lasted about a year. And then I bought a seventy three CJfive and that's that was my first four wheel drive vehicle.
[00:12:01.820] - Big Rich Klein
Nice, and was it bone stock or did you get something with the with all this Smitty built stuff on it?
[00:12:09.170] - Trent McGee
No, no, no. It was terrible. It was it was from Nebraska. And I did being a desert guy, I had no idea what Rust was. And that thing was absolute termites holding hands. But I just I had to have it. And and it was yeah, it was an absolute steaming pile. I, I think I spent as much time working on it as I did driving it. But but it was cool. It was a jeep.
[00:12:37.580] - Trent McGee
I get I got to right around the top of you girls seemed to like riding in it, which was kind of a motivating factor as well. So but that thing was the one that really kind of got me really interested and in in off-roading in general. And then when I when I finished high school, I bought a eighty eight Toyota pickup and which was four wheel drive. And my dad was just absolutely livid with me at the time because he said, you know, you don't need a four wheel drive.
[00:13:09.710] - Trent McGee
That's just ridiculous. So much more money, so much more maintenance. And and I didn't listen to him.
[00:13:17.870] - Big Rich Klein
And then you spent your life most of your life in the off road industry.
[00:13:22.040] - Trent McGee
So I did well so that they kind of parlayed into it's funny because we had a rather contentious relationship and in high school and college. And it wasn't really until it got my job at the magazines that that kind of turned around. And, you know, and I remember telling my dad, you see that Toyota pickup really that really did work out, didn't it?
[00:13:48.770] - Big Rich Klein
And parents love to hear that. Oh, I'm sure.
[00:13:53.960] - Trent McGee
[00:13:55.400] - Big Rich Klein
So how how long ago you had the Toyota pickup truck, was that still in high school or was that after high school?
[00:14:03.320] - Trent McGee
That was right after high school. So the Jeep kind of was absolutely on its last legs. And so I didn't really have much it just really didn't have much left in it. And I certainly didn't have the mechanical knowledge at the time to to really do much about it. And like I said, and it was absolutely rotten so that I think I eventually got rid of the Jeep. I think I was in college for about a year when I got rid of it.
[00:14:29.330] - Trent McGee
But the Toyota I had for a long time, I think that was I think I bought it in 93. I want to say I sold it in like maybe 2003, 2004 or something like. Nice. Yeah.
[00:14:44.370] - Big Rich Klein
OK, so when did you when did you start writing? Was writing before. I know I know that you went to school in Louisiana for. For literature,
[00:14:58.110] - Trent McGee
I did well, yeah, so I started I was actually I was actually in a series of community colleges here in Phoenix and I actually was at the U of A for a few semesters. And I was a journalism major at U of A and at the time was probably a sophomore, I want to say.
[00:15:20.100] - Trent McGee
But I. I needed an internship in order to get my degree, and so being kind of a proactive sort, I guess I don't know what it was, of all things, Dateline NBC, it this piece on lifted trucks and how dangerous they were. And they managed to they managed to go to a four wheel, one of the four wheel jamborees in Indy where some idiot rolled his truck in the parking lot and stuff. And it was just it was a really terrible, awful, one sided like there wasn't any there wasn't there was no fair and balance to this.
[00:15:59.550] - Big Rich Klein
It was really kind of unfortunately, much like the media is today
[00:16:02.760] - Big Rich Klein
But I was going to say you stole it. Yeah. Awesome.
[00:16:07.050] - Trent McGee
But but really, they were as I recall, anyway, at the time, they were a bit more fair and balanced than they were. And I was so mad at the time. I had been a subscriber to Four Wheel and Off Road for years and I was so mad that I wrote a letter to the editor, the one and only letter to the editor that had ever written to a magazine. And I was David Freiburger was the editor of Four Wheel and off-road at the time and wrote him a letter and just was like, This is ridiculous.
[00:16:38.100] - Trent McGee
Just let him but let him have it, but let datelined have it and just how disappointed I was and all this stuff. And and then I got to thinking and so and this is this is way before email or whatever I got to thinking. And so I enclosed another letter with my letter that I had typed up to David as a letter to the editor. And I introduced myself. I told him, you know, my name is Trent McGee, I'm I'm a journalism major at the University of Arizona.
[00:17:08.460] - Trent McGee
I would be very interested in. I'm a Four Wheel and Off-road enthusiast, long time subscriber. And I would just love to know if there was any sort of internship program you guys might have available and really thought twice about even sending it or whatever. But I knew if I didn't do it right then I wasn't going to do it. And so I put the stamp on it. I put it in the mail before I could really think that's more about it and sent it off and figured that would be the end of it.
[00:17:34.050] - Trent McGee
Never, never hear anything again. And about, I want to say, two or three weeks later and I had honestly almost forgotten that it was a two or three weeks later, I got a I got a letter back again. This is snail mail. This is it. Before way before email. See stuff that was on hotrod letterhead and on Hotrod magazine letterhead. And it basically it was Cole Quinnel who was at the time the tech editor of Hotrod.
[00:18:05.970] - Trent McGee
But they were starting kind of a spin off magazine of Petersens 4Wheel and off road, called 4x4 power. And while they were really looking for like permanent staff members, he'd be interested in talking to me. And so, I mean, I was just like over the moon. I couldn't believe it. He put his phone number on there. And I think I had maybe even neglected to put my phone number on the letter or whatever. So I called him a couple of times, finally, finally managed to catch him in the office.
[00:18:36.240] - Trent McGee
I didn't know at the time that when you're a magazine, when you're a magazine staffer, you really don't spend much time in the office. And anyway, it just so happened that Cole was from Las Cruces. And this was where I want to say it was right around Christmas time. And he mentioned to me that he was going to be driving home for Christmas and wanted to know if maybe we wanted to. He wanted to meet. And so I met him at, like I want to say, at Denny's at like eight thirty at night on a Sunday, because he was passing through, going home for Christmas and just had a conversation with him and one thing led to another.
[00:19:15.600] - Trent McGee
And it turned out that Peterson publishing, which is a bit surprising, Peterson Publishing, didn't have any sort of an internship program whatsoever. You'd think a company that size, that would be a priority, but apparently it wasn't. But so what he what they ended up doing, I sent him some writing samples. I sent him a couple of sample articles, which I'm sure were terrible. And but he saw enough potential that he basically set me up as a temp.
[00:19:45.390] - Trent McGee
And so I was there in time for to start the first issue of 4x4 Power magazine. And that was in the issue date was October ninety six. So that would have been probably that would have been the summer of ninety six. And at the at the end of the summer they offered me a job and I was like, you know, I thought it was an absolute dream job. So I jumped at chance.
[00:20:07.500] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. And that's, that's what I keep telling everybody is, you know, you have to you have to reach out in and chase what it is you want to do for sure. Oh, yeah. You can't wait for something to happen to. All in your lap, you just have to get yeah, and I mean, like I said, and I don't know how different my life would have been if I hadn't had just, you know, sucked it up and mailed off that letter when I did, because I think if I had let it sit overnight, I probably just turned away.
[00:20:37.530] - Big Rich Klein
Right, and then they have been trying to chase that dream down the road a lot longer.
[00:20:42.060] - Trent McGee
Yeah, yeah. Who knows how different my life would have been. Right. Had I not sent that letter there as a punk kid in Tucson, Arizona, back in the day. So.
[00:20:54.910] - Big Rich Klein
Let's let's talk about those that early time they're in at four by four power.
[00:21:02.050] - Trent McGee
So it's funny because I thought I was thought I was a pretty pretty on the up and up, I thought I was pretty knowledgeable on the trucks. And because I had been a long time reader of four wheel and offroad, I was a huge fan of David Freiburger. He was really one of my idols. And he because what he had done that was that was also kind of the birth of when rock crawling really got popular. Right. And and when really, Dave, I guess, hadn't been the editor for Rolling Off Road for very long.
[00:21:38.200] - Trent McGee
And he started pulling all the show trucks out of the book and putting, you know, all these ratty old jeeps and rock crawlers and stuff like that. He put Riverways GBW on the cover and and almost got fired for that, by the way. And it's a do you ever get you ever get an opportunity to to talk to David about that? It's a good story. But anyway. But the long and short of it was when I got there, it was like going to school all over again.
[00:22:08.980] - Trent McGee
You know, not only not only was I having to learn the magazine business as a whole and what it takes to actually be a professional writer, I was also woefully, woefully, as it turns out, ignorant of the subject matter. You know, I mean, enthusiasm will only get you so far. But when you don't know things like your split's for gunsight Fords and everybody Chevies and stuff like that, it really kind of behind the eight ball.
[00:22:37.690] - Trent McGee
And so I, I just it was like I said, I learned more, I think in that first nine months than than anything. And it was a lot of trials and tribulations at the time. I was like I was a journalism major and a creative writing feiner. And so I really wanted to be funny and cool for whatever reason. He was kind of a by the books, just stick to the facts sort of a thing. And that it took a while for me to to really get behind that and understand what it was that he was, what, what it was that he was needing, because ultimately he's my boss and you got to you got to perform like he want you to perform.
[00:23:15.430] - Trent McGee
And but I mean, the guy I got to give him credit. I mean, I owe my career because he he really was able to walk me through, you know, walk me through it. Is this this snot nosed behind the wet, behind the ears, kid. And, you know, for me into a strong enough magazine writer and and, you know, but the guy, he has an incredible eye for talent. He's still in the industry.
[00:23:45.790] - Trent McGee
He actually owns his own marketing company, much like I do these days. But he was actually the guy that hired Christian Heysel. He's the editor of 4Low, an opera. He hired John Capa, who was the ultimately became editor J-P and for Wheeler for a long time and is also he's a freelancer still in the industry. Tell him who is anybody that's read magazines for a long time will recognize that name. She still is very active with CMA and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few others.
[00:24:20.710] - Trent McGee
I think he hired Vern Simons, who is a very close friend of mine. And so it's it really is. It's quite a roster that that he found and all that talent and fostered. So hats off to him.
[00:24:34.210] - Big Rich Klein
That's that's that's a good testament to the coal, that's for sure. I know that one of the things when my wife was in corporate America, when they would have their yearly corporate meetings, they would with somebody got an award, they would ask the person, you know, with a sales award or whatever it was. They'd ask, who, who who was that hired you? And most of the people that got the rewards were hired by like two or three people in the company out of, you know, hundreds and it it always seemed that, you know, those those people that that did that kind of hiring, you know, they had an eye for it.
[00:25:16.070] - Trent McGee
So, yeah, yeah, and obviously, obviously, he obviously he does so, but yeah, I mean to go from from being a college sophomore junior, you have to then living in Los Angeles and being down the down the hallway from David Freiburger and Rick Perry and a bunch of the other guys was quite the culture shock, I would imagine. So let's let's talk about your first published article. Do you remember it?
[00:25:49.920] - Trent McGee
I want to say it was a feature and it was in the first issue of four by four power. And I think the only reason I'm sure and I'm sure it was terrible, but the only reason I guess I even vaguely remember it is because it was it went through about 20 edits where you you need to go back to this. Nope, nope. You need to go back to that. And it was one it was not one that I had shot.
[00:26:14.490] - Trent McGee
And it's it to this day, it's something I hate doing where what they at the time, what they would do a lot was they would go to a show and they would shoot a whole bunch of features. You know, they basically they'd set up an assembly line because, you know, travel was expensive. And so you had to be able to justify going. And so they would just set up an assembly line, a features. And so this is a feature that coal had shot.
[00:26:41.940] - Trent McGee
But you're basically writing a feature off a tech sheet, right? And it was it's still it's to me, it's an incredibly difficult thing to do. I mean, if you didn't if you never saw the truck and you never met the guy, know, how are you supposed to speak intelligently about the truck and stuff? So like I said, to this day, it's something I hate doing. But but it I think that was that. And then really, I early on, I really gravitated more to the technical writing aspect of it, like the how to type of stuff.
[00:27:15.780] - Trent McGee
And it was what was neat to me was like. Basically telling. The reader that I'm learning this just like you are, and I've never put a suspension left on a on a 72 Chevy Blazer before, but we're going to we're going to figure it out. And I'm going to show you what you know, what hung me up, what worked, what didn't and all that stuff. And and so I really, really, really enjoyed the technical side of writing, maybe even more so than, like, the event coverage and features and stuff like that.
[00:27:47.570] - Big Rich Klein
The true do it yourself type article.
[00:27:50.480] - Trent McGee
That's what I really liked doing. And I didn't even like going to a shop and like shooting a little kid in style or a gear install or whatever that was. That was better, that was better than writing features. But but it's still you know, I'm sure I was super annoying to people like Jason Bunch and and some of the other Maurice Rosseau, Jason, Jason Owen and I think Stallones Tri-County Year. Yes. And I'm sure I'm sure I was super annoying because all I would do is ask questions.
[00:28:24.320] - Trent McGee
When I wasn't taking a picture, I was asking a question.
[00:28:26.300] - Big Rich Klein
Paule He's such a great guy though.
[00:28:29.330] - Trent McGee
He is. He is. I like Jason a bunch. Yeah. And Morris is a great guy too. I think he sold off right. Unlimited. But he was the guy, he was like kind of the go to shop in Southern California back in the day where they would. And he did a bunch of movie industry work too, which is kind of neat, like I know. And I don't know if you remember a clear and present danger, but the that that movie, the the good guy, you know, the Americans targeted this Colombian drug lords like Giant lifted Chevy truck.
[00:28:59.990] - Trent McGee
Right. And he had he had built that truck and he built two of them. He built one that was used in the driving seat and they built one that they actually blew up. So anyway, sorry, that's.
[00:29:12.050] - Big Rich Klein
No, no, no. That's that's cool stuff. That's that's what that's what our listeners want to hear is, you know, the the cool things that that people know, the cool things that they've done and who they've, you know, who they know and stories are those people.
[00:29:26.870] - Trent McGee
[00:29:28.070] - Big Rich Klein
How how long were you how long were you involved with four by four power. And then when did when did the transition go happen for the next phase.
[00:29:38.720] - Trent McGee
Well so I was the editor excuse me, I was a feature editor of Paule before Power got promoted to tech editor, which is pretty much a name only sort of a thing. And then when let's see it, when Rick Highway became the editor of Shape magazine, I took his seat at Four Wheel and off road as the tech editor. And and at that time, KOH had actually become the editor for Rolling Off Road. Dave had moved on. Freiburger had moved on to other stuff.
[00:30:15.200] - Trent McGee
I think he was on Cockcroft or Hotrod or something like that at the time. But anyway, that I was there at fallen off road. And that was kind of like my my ultimate goal would be to work on falling off road because it was to me, it's like working for car guy. I would be like working for Hot Rod, like the ultimate dream job. You know, you work at Car Craft or Chevy High or one of the other titles, but ultimately you want to work at Hotrod.
[00:30:41.030] - Trent McGee
And for me, I ultimately wanted to work or Foley. And so I was able to make that happen. And then but I had just gotten really tired of Southern California. And and unfortunately, one of the dirty little secrets about the magazine business is they really don't pay you very well and really. And yeah. Yeah, no kidding. And so, yeah, I think I when I started there I was making twenty four thousand two hundred dollars a year.
[00:31:11.750] - Trent McGee
This is in ninety six and I left I think three and a half years later and I was making twenty seven thousand two hundred dollars a year and you know, barely keeping up with the bills and stuff because Southern California was then and remains a very expensive place to live. Absolutely. And so anyway, I. I was at SEMA. And I was with Tory, I remember the other day I was and the show was over and we were just walking back to the hotel or whatever, and Brett Lovett, who's the owner of a super loft, stop this or he was just he happened to still be in the booth or whatever, and he's like, hey, and you'd have to know Brett, but always very positive and matter of fact sort of thing.
[00:32:00.760] - Trent McGee
But he's like, I'm I'm looking for a new marketing guy and I just look at our marketing person. I'd love to hire a magazine guy. And we had a polite conversation and and then walked away. And I remember Tori and I going, Yeah, Louisiana. Not a chance. No way. Yeah, not even. Not even on the radar and. A couple of weeks later, I got a phone call from Ed and Ed was a staffer for an off road, but we did not overlap.
[00:32:35.990] - Trent McGee
He had left, but I knew him and he was he was a freelancer. So I dealt with him some that way. But anyway, at 14 calls me at my house again, by the way, I did my entire magazine job without a cell phone. And I have no idea to this day how I made that happen. But I did not have a cell phone until I started working. But anyway, Ed Ed called me and he said, you really ought to think about I don't even know how he got my number, to be honest with you.
[00:33:06.320] - Trent McGee
But he's like, you really ought to think about this, the great guy, you know, this, that the other and then the other. The other part of it was when I moved to L.A., I thought that I, I, I thought I was going to be able to finish my degree. And and work and stuff, I mean, I know it's something I have been doing, I was a full time employee in Tucson while I was going to school as well.
[00:33:32.560] - Trent McGee
And I say, OK, we'll say the same. I'll just wait for residency. Well, the magazines, I mean, it's it's a 60 to 80 hour a week. Right? You know, it was just all consuming. And there was I knew there was no way I was gonna be able to finish this degree, that I was like two thirds of the way through. And that really, really bugged me and. I ended up flying out or Brett talked me into flying out there and he flew me and my girlfriend out there, my my living girlfriend at the time, who's now my wife.
[00:34:05.800] - Trent McGee
He flew us out there, Winterstein, us, all that stuff that one of the key things is that he agreed to be flexible with my schedule where I could finish my degree. So that's why ultimately I finished my degree either at the University of Louisiana at Monroe anyway. Yeah, that was that. And he through at the time, what I thought was a lot of money. It probably was better than twenty seven thousand, very better than twenty seven thousand when you were in Louisiana.
[00:34:32.590] - Trent McGee
[00:34:33.160] - Trent McGee
And cost of living was cheap. I actually I my my girlfriend now wife at the time we lived in an eight hundred square foot house in Burbank, Bandoola, 20 years and really hadn't had much done to it since. I think we paid 12 bucks a month for that place. And when I moved to Louisiana, we were in a three bedroom. I want to say twenty or twenty two hundred twenty three hundred square foot house on like a half an acre that we were renting for six hundred dollars a month.
[00:35:07.420] - Big Rich Klein
And you moved in and you went, wow, this place is big. And you could hear echoes. Yeah.
[00:35:12.880] - Trent McGee
And then was like, why are these books keep buying. But yeah but but yeah. So that, that's ultimately what made me move from leave the magazines and transition to the dark side quote unquote to marketing at studio suspension systems. And it was, it was an interesting time, you know, and I really we got there, I hated Louisiana, hated it, hated it. But I figured as soon as I finish my degree I'd be out of there and ended up spending nine years there.
[00:35:48.400] - Big Rich Klein
Oh, wow. OK, I think that's probably when I met you is you were at super left. I may have been sooner than that.
[00:35:57.680] - Trent McGee
I don't yeah, I don't recall meeting you as a magazine guy, but like I said, I left it. Ninety nine, I think so, right at the beginning of the rock rolling competition scene, yes. Yeah. So would have been when you were at that super left, OK.
[00:36:18.100] - Trent McGee
Yeah, I actually cover Bob Hazels first Christmas. OK, yeah.
[00:36:26.150] - Big Rich Klein
So. But was it and and speaking of hazal, he was Oklahoma or was he he was out of Oklahoma, wasn't he?
[00:36:37.100] - Trent McGee
Well, Bob Haines is actually in North Carolina at the time, but he had that sports in the rough and I yeah, I cruised out there to Crucis and remember Cole being very hot, cold about covering this rock crawling competition or whatever. I just remember the moment I got there that it was like it was like it was like I was witnessing something special happening. It was super cool. And it was just an incredible, incredible experience. Nobody really knew at the time what to expect.
[00:37:07.700] - Trent McGee
Nobody knew what the scoring was going to be like. And, you know, and Bob, to his credit, Bob, was a lot of things. But to his credit, he came up with the scoring system that I think pretty much everybody continues to use to this day in terms of the competitions or at least the template. You know what I mean? The basic. Yes, yeah. And how how you pull that out of thin air, because that was that was the thing that I couldn't figure out is how on earth are you going to score?
[00:37:42.410] - Trent McGee
I mean, how does that even work? And, you know, like I said, many things, but but I think he's he was an innovator in that way.
[00:37:52.010] - Big Rich Klein
Absolutely. I agree, the time at Super Lived, you were marketing and you guys came up with doing super live TV as part of the marketing.
[00:38:05.360] - Trent McGee
Is that correct? Yeah. So it was kind of, again, kind of the brainchild of Brett, but. That Brett was always trying to figure out a way. To market market his company and get somebody else to pay for it. So, you know, he had kind of a we had kind of an event series that actually Bob was running. So I was I was involved with Bob for a lot of years after that, but or dealt with him good and bad.
[00:38:36.710] - Trent McGee
But anyway, he came up with this idea of of doing a television show and. Well, one thing led to another, we shot a pilot and I had done some other interviews or whatever, and I didn't I really wasn't interested in being involved with a project per say. And and but I shot a couple of segments and he was like, oh, you're perfect. This is that's perfect. This is what we need. And and so the master idea was to.
[00:39:12.800] - Trent McGee
Create this TV show that was called Super Off Adventures and sell a bunch of sponsorships and therefore and get for it to pay for at least pay for itself or make some money and have this title, the title sponsorship for the show that you control and don't really have to spend any money on. So it was kind of a brilliant idea. It never really worked out that way. And I don't think the show ever really made any money. But it did it did well enough and it was able to justify continuing.
[00:39:45.830] - Trent McGee
So we did for. Three, I think three years, three and a half years, and it was a hundred and twenty or more a half hour shows that we did. So it was it was a lot that doesn't. It's twenty six episodes a year. Yeah, I guess that the math kind of works, but one hundred, two hundred and twenty something shows, so I think it's three and a half years or so. And so anyway, I just I we didn't have any budget or money for any real talent.
[00:40:17.330] - Trent McGee
So I kind of got the job by default, I guess. Real talent.
[00:40:20.780] - Big Rich Klein
But you had you had the acting background.
[00:40:23.630] - Trent McGee
Well, so that's. Yeah. So that's where that's where it all kind of came into play or that's where everything kind of came home to roost, so to speak. I had I had acquired all this four wheel drive knowledge. I had this big acting background where at least, you know, at least you're not camera shy and you can try and speak intelligently and stuff. And so but it was really like so that's where kind of everything came together and it really worked out.
[00:40:55.980] - Trent McGee
It was a special time. It was it was a it was a ton of work. It was basically a three man band. It was my myself, Brad Smith, who is the producer. I'm sure you met Brad and and then one maybe two camera guys at the time, and that's it. So it was a lot of work. And we we cranked out a lot of product for. And I think pretty decent product for for the kind of stuff that we were working with.
[00:41:22.320] - Big Rich Klein
So, yeah, I thought so what. What was the. The most memorable show that you did with super lift adventures. What's the one that sticks out? Was it a person, was it a product, was it or an event, something it went sideways or didn't happen? You know, that kind of.
[00:41:45.850] - Trent McGee
I think probably the only thing that really sticks out to me was we built a few project vehicles, one of which was it was actually the last one was my rock crawling back my balloon that I've had for many, many, many, many, many years and still have. But anyway, probably the most special one was I had a I had a coworker that had a eighty five forerunner and he had three kids. I don't think his wife worked and stuff.
[00:42:17.650] - Trent McGee
Some money was very tight and but he was just it was just a nice person. He was just a good guy. He had, he had managed to I think his brother had bought this for Runner so that he could put his boat in some lake that he liked to go to that didn't have a loading ramp on it. So he needed a four wheel drive. But it was an eighty five, four eighty five. That's our five forerunner, the unicorn, you know, the fuel injected right front axle, the unicorn, the one everybody wants.
[00:42:46.180] - Trent McGee
And so we hatched this idea to redo this forerunner for it. And so I managed to get in touch with his brother and his brother. So Terry found out that his brother had bought this piece of crap for Runner. And because it was a piece of crap and Terry agreed, Terry was just drooling about it and his brother agreed to sell it to him for like eight hundred bucks or something like that. And we hatched this plan. And I was I got a hold of his brother and basically got the car months earlier than like he I think he Terry's brother drove it to Wichita and then I think won a super serious truck driver at the time, went up to Wichita, got it and brought it down.
[00:43:34.180] - Trent McGee
And so I spent three or four months putting together basically rebuilding this four runner without his knowledge at the studio. So I had to, like, keep him away from the studio because the studio, fortunately, was in a different building than it was. But but it was only about seven miles away, so I had to keep him out of the studio. On top of that, his and my office shared a wall so and so round up parts and do it.
[00:44:04.880] - Trent McGee
I'm I'm I'm rounding up parts. We have to close my door. There were there were half a dozen close calls, you know, where I said something off hand or or somebody, because unfortunately, as quiet as we try to keep it, kind of word got out and stuff. And I was just like super worried because the whole point was I was going to rebuild this thing and then. Presented to surprise him with it, and so it came down to the whole setup was that he was going to go get the car in Colorado and in like three or four months, I only had three or four months.
[00:44:45.840] - Trent McGee
It you know, it was kind of like a quasi Overhaulin sort of thing. But I, I lifted it. It had been it had been tapped in the front end and it needed a grill. And I put an offender in and so I lifted it. I put the crossover steering on it, I put a lowering ticket. The transaction went through the axles. I mean, it wasn't a small build. It was a it was a pretty decent build.
[00:45:11.010] - Trent McGee
Put bumpers on it and roll cage, all that stuff. And then the day that he was going to leave for Colorado, I think he was going to borrow a truck from super left to get. And so his brother flew out and I made sure that I had the truck at the studio and he thinks that he's going to be leaving for Colorado. He's like he's he's texting me about getting this truck so that he could leave or whatever it you just I don't have time.
[00:45:40.650] - Trent McGee
Just come to the studio. So he comes he comes to the studio hot like he's annoyed because he's trying to leave for Colorado to go get the forerunner that wants. And anyway, I so I brought him into the studio and he was so he was so annoyed. I mean, it doesn't get Maxxis gets annoyed, but he was so annoyed at the time that he walks in and we're on camera, we're filming and he walks in and he's like, and I just need the keys to the truck.
[00:46:11.400] - Trent McGee
And so the car, OK, he didn't see the forum. He had no idea. He didn't even notice it, recognize it or whatever. And so I grabbed the keys out of a drawer and I was like, Hey, Terry. You want to check out this one, and he's like, yeah, that's cool, man, I got to go. Well, you might want to stick around because that's your fault. And it was just like it was one of those Overhaulin sort of reveals everything.
[00:46:35.210] - Trent McGee
But it was that was probably the most memorable thing I did on the show. Sorry, that was a very long winded story. You know, it's great to play, but that's the coolest thing I did.
[00:46:45.860] - Big Rich Klein
That's that's awesome. I love when something like that can be done for somebody so deserving. Let's go. So then after super lift, you you started your your own gig, is that correct?
[00:47:01.860] - Trent McGee
Uh, not really. So from there, what happened was the TV show kind of came in when I was the director of marketing for Superflat the entire time. So in addition to. In addition to all the magazine or excuse me, all the TV shows, all the TV show stuff, I was also, you know, being a marketing guy. But anyway, I we just got tired of my wife and I just kind of got tired of Louisiana and and just wanted to go home.
[00:47:34.390] - Trent McGee
Whole family is from here. She is a very large, very close knit family. Her whole family is here in the greater Phenix area. Most of my family is in the greater Phenix area. And we just we just wanted to go home. And so I started kind of putting feelers out. After the TV show had gone away, I started putting feelers out about, oh, I guess I should say, the TV show. What ultimately killed the TV show is the network that we were on went bankrupt, which is kind of strange.
[00:48:06.890] - Trent McGee
That door now, that was men's outdoors and recreation. We start on the it started on the outdoor channel, but they just kept hiking the rates up. And so we were on men's outdoors and recreation and that one went belly up. And so anyway, and it was just a time to I was kind of tired of it. Everybody was kind of tired of it so, so long. But anyway, so I started putting out feelers for job opportunities back in Phenix and I was on actually a magazine thing.
[00:48:40.280] - Trent McGee
Now that I think about it, Jerry Jones, who is a long time staffer on going off road and was the editor of Off Road, did these really, really cool suspension tests. You only did two of them because they were just so involved. But basically what he would do is invite manufacturers to come out and and do this basically unbias suspension test. He did one with Chevy trucks and then he did one with the brand new Jaquet at the time.
[00:49:08.900] - Trent McGee
And so he checked out basically, you know, they all invited the different manufacturers out and they all had to be checked out a certain way. And we came out and did this test. And so I I was kind of between gigs. And so I got cherry picked to drag a Jaquet across the country to Cal or to actually it was never going to do this suspension test for super left. And there I met the CEO Day Star and who they started as a Phenix based company and one thing led to another.
[00:49:48.080] - Trent McGee
And I became the director of marketing for our products. And that happened for about three years. And then once that finished or whatever is when I kind of put out my own shingle, so to speak. And that was about ten years ago.
[00:50:04.130] - Big Rich Klein
OK, and now you represent a number of different companies, correct?
[00:50:08.480] - Trent McGee
Yeah, that's correct. So I do I do a lot of different things. I kind of got back into freelancing. What kind of do these days is? I specialize in taking small businesses to the next level and we're talking like a real small or I guess small to small medium. And, you know, the growing pains of like creating a website that actually functions, having a social media presence, that kind of thing. So I've been doing a lot of that for a number of years now.
[00:50:44.440] - Trent McGee
[00:50:45.910] - Big Rich Klein
And then you've been part of the alternative adventure and still doing a lot of the magazine stuff as well.
[00:50:54.950] - Trent McGee
Correct, yes. I did a lot more, got back into freelancing mostly with 4Low and offered some with JP. Started doing a lot of that, and then I have been involved with the ultimate adventure for a really long time. I'm one of two guys, it's this last year was the. Twenty first calendar year of ultimate adventure, but actually the 20th EUA and I'm one of two guys that's been on every single one of them.
[00:51:35.700] - Big Rich Klein
So, wow, who's the other gentleman by the name of Tom Boyd? I know Tom and Tommy. Tommy Tommy has been a part of it for for just as long as I have and and and stuff. So, yeah, but yeah, that's I, I've been involved with that for quite some time. And then when some So magazine shifts happened and Christian Hazel became the editor of Rolling Off Road, Ultimate Adventure is ultimately a Petersens fallen off road event.
[00:52:09.270] - Big Rich Klein
So the editor of that book is responsible for it. And so once Rick went to J.P.. And I guess I should say Fred was the editor of 4Low for a long time, but Fred very wisely allowed Rick to continue managing most of the aspects. Fred is Fred Fred is a very good friend of mine. But Fred, Fred's very good at delicate points.
[00:52:32.400] - Big Rich Klein
But it's a tie anyway.
[00:52:34.860] - Trent McGee
It is. It is a talent. But I mean and it's something that Rick really enjoyed doing, but. And Rick, Rick, in many ways, is the guy that's ultimately responsible for, like I guess, the template of the what it is, what it's supposed to be. I mean, you would not be what it is without without pay, but he's actually not the one that started it. Believe it or not. That was actually cool.
[00:53:00.190] - Trent McGee
Well, it was a guy I mentioned earlier. Right. So anyway, when Chris and Hazel became the editor, he and his wife were expecting their fourth child. And I guess he put it together, kind of put together at 16. But 16 was a kind of a weird deal where it had to come together fairly quickly because of the staff change and all that stuff. But when 17 rolled around, they were expecting their fourth child and he didn't have time or he certainly didn't want to be away from the office the amount of time that it takes.
[00:53:37.090] - Trent McGee
So he asked me to do the planning and I did such a terrible job that I've been doing it ever since.
[00:53:44.080] - Big Rich Klein
Let's talk about ultimate adventure and. Again, what was the most out of all those 20 trips, what was the most memorable of those?
[00:53:59.180] - Trent McGee
That's a tough one. They're all different and they're all different in many ways, and some of them are better than others, some of them and unfortunately, I'm one of the worst where I they all kind of run together, where I just I don't even have the time. I was like, OK, what year was that? I don't know who was on that trip, you know, all that stuff. But I would have to say that out of all of them.
[00:54:22.220] - Trent McGee
Twenty three was actually my favorite because it was for a couple of reasons. One, Rick came out. It was in the it was in the southeast. I lived in Louisiana at the time and Rick kind of shoulder tapped me and which is extremely rare for him. I don't he hasn't done much of it since, but he is like, hey, do you want to go help me run free, run up? And I was like, yes.
[00:54:50.100] - Trent McGee
And and so we had an adventure for a week. I drove my I had a seventy two blazer that hadn't run in months and all that stuff. And I drug it out of the woods and got it running again and all that stuff. And we had this great week long trip. It was super, super rad. But anyway so there was that. But I introduced him to Keith Bailey and Sam Gillis and Steve Crawford and a few others. But that trip we we started I want to say we we started in Teleco.
[00:55:27.380] - Trent McGee
That's right. We started in Teleco and then we ended it. The Hot Springs off Road Park and. I know, so I kind of had the inside scoop because I had I had Prerana once with Rick and then but I, I knew Keith Bailey and Sam and all of us were really, really good friends of mine and wheelers. And so when we stopped in Alabama, we got to we were there and it was just it was just a great trip from the standpoint of.
[00:55:59.030] - Trent McGee
I got to go for one with my buddies and and we ended in Hot Springs and Hot Springs was kind of like my local park at the time. It was only about three and a half hours from the house. I was pretty involved with the the early inception of the Hot Springs Park, which is actually still around. Yes. And I had done a lot of work, but like marketing and trail building and a bunch of other stuff because it was the super lift off of vehicle park at the time.
[00:56:28.520] - Trent McGee
Right. And so anyway, it was just neat from that standpoint. I got to deal with a bunch of my buddies at these parks that I know Keith Bailey and the guys from Alabama went out to North Carolina to Teleco just to just to help. I was like trail support or whatever. But anyway, the reason I bring that up is that ultimately Keith and Sam both became ultimately Krone's for ultimate adventure, which are the guys that are basically support staff.
[00:57:00.140] - Trent McGee
They're unpaid, they're volunteers, but they are the guys that basically help her, the cats and and keep everybody rolling. They're the guys that pull over if somebody breaks down and help them out and everything. And so that was the start of their uninvolvement at the time. And it was just it was just a neat event overall. It was just fun. So that's probably my most memorable.
[00:57:22.910] - Big Rich Klein
And you're still working on UA, correct?
[00:57:26.540] - Trent McGee
Yes, that's correct. Yeah. Yeah. So I've done the route planning since 17. So 17 was Arizona and Utah. We started it here at tablemates like twenty minutes in the house and ended in Cedar City 18. Where did we go. Oh we went to Maine. And so that was the first eye opener because the my, my first year that I did the route planning for, you know, was kind of in my backyard. So it was kind of a mulligan.
[00:58:00.470] - Trent McGee
But the second year was in the Northeast, like I'd never even been to Maine before in my life and and put that out together. So we started in Maine and in Pennsylvania. But we will. Through Vermont, New Hampshire. New York and Pennsylvania, I think, and then in 1919 was Alaska, that was the 20th calendar, and Christian was like, I want to go back. And so I got to spend a whole bunch of time and twenty eighteen bouncing around in Alaska.
[00:58:35.640] - Trent McGee
I did the camp three times in twenty nineteen was pretty, pretty cool.
[00:58:41.610] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, that's a trip I've always wanted to make, it's it's worth doing. I mean, it's it's long and it's hard. I mean, even. The thing about. The thing about Alaska is even getting there when you're driving is is an adventure. I mean, it's six hard days for Phenix. And, you know, and I was I was not letting grass grow. But it can take you know, it takes people 10 days or better to get up there.
[00:59:10.650] - Big Rich Klein
So but it's cool. I recommend it. I think everybody should.
[00:59:14.160] - Big Rich Klein
I want to do it in the winter.
[00:59:16.690] - Trent McGee
Yeah, that would be cool. I actually really wanted to do the job, and it's funny, I went up in May and to Prerana and I wasn't sure whether I was going to have the dolphin as part of the route as well. But I just wanted I'd watch it if I saw Tucker's that I just wanted to do it. So I just wanted to do it. I wanted the feather in the cap and all that stuff. And I so I got up to Fairbanks, spent the night and it started kind of snowing, sleeting or whatever.
[00:59:45.280] - Trent McGee
Well, it turned out it did that all night. And I was in a rented Jaquet with stone stock, with street tires on it and got started super early in the morning and could not could not do over twenty five. It was so icy and sleety and snowy and the visibility was terrible. And it took me I want to say it took six hours to get to the Yukon River and it just seemed like no matter what I did the moment I tried to pick up the pace, the thing would start fishtailing.
[01:00:20.050] - Trent McGee
And it's 600 miles, six hundred fifty miles from Fairbanks up to Prudhoe and. I got to the Yukon River. It was like. I want to say it was one o'clock or something like that, that was that's not even like a third of the way. And unfortunately, I had to turn around and go back. But because I just knew I mean, I was going to at that rate, I was going to get there about the time that I had to turn around, come back that.
[01:00:45.160] - Trent McGee
And the weather wasn't getting any better. All right, super bummed about that, but yeah, I mean, I think I'm doing certainly doing the Alcan in the wintertime would be totally doable.
[01:00:54.790] - Big Rich Klein
Right? Well, I've read a lot about it for the idea of doing it. And there's a guy that drives. Oh, what is he trying to drive some little Chevy or something. But it's front wheel drive and he drives that every winter and goes home for Christmas. And he writes about his trips or has written about his trips. And it was. It just amazed me that, you know, this is a little front wheel drive Chevy car that he has and he makes that trip every year.
[01:01:29.020] - Trent McGee
Well, apparently that's the hot set. Those in Subarus, from what I understand, a four wheel drive, like a Cherokee or something like that is not what you want. Right. From what I understand now, all the locals say that front wheel drive is where it's at or a Subaru or something like that. That's why you see him up there all the time, huh?
[01:01:45.000] - Big Rich Klein
Well, that that kind of strikes me out then I'd have to drive the Raptor, which would be I'd be OK, probably be fine. Yeah. So yeah, but there's also some road and actually Harry's done very Harry Wagner. But there's some road that's part of that. What does that rally that's up there, that's in January, but there's some road up there that goes up to the Arctic Circle. That's mostly in Canada, I think. But it was some road for a pipeline or whatever.
[01:02:17.560] - Big Rich Klein
But the road is really not maintained that well anymore, OK? And that sounds really cool. I can't the name escapes me right now, but Harry could be could tell you more about it. But that sounds like something that would be really neat to do as well to do the rally. Yeah, for sure. Oh, yeah, that, too, huh?
[01:02:35.570] - Big Rich Klein
Now, you got me thinking awesome. Hopefully we got others thinking, too.
[01:02:39.500] - Trent McGee
Have you heard of the Mongolian rally? No. Oh, dude, this is. It's a. It's it's these guys in England that put together this thing and it's like a. You buy, you fly in, you buy some crap box, and it's like a I think one leader is is the limit, you get penalized for anything over a leader. Wow. And so you you buy some crap box and then you drive it all the way to Mongolia.
[01:03:09.390] - Trent McGee
And the problem is, when you get to Mongolia, I guess the laws there are such that you cannot like if you buy this crap box, if you stamp it into the country, you have to stamp it out of the country, cannot sell it. That's not allowed. You can't even do it. You can't set it on fire. You know, you have to take it back out. And so but it sounds just like an epic adventure.
[01:03:34.280] - Trent McGee
Yeah, it does. I would love to do that one of these days.
[01:03:37.070] - Big Rich Klein
Sounds like a story for a magazine.
[01:03:39.380] - Trent McGee
[01:03:41.540] - Big Rich Klein
Mm. Thinking, thinking, thinking. There you go. So. Now, here I know that I went with. With pay way and you on the first dirt and drive, yes, and that was that's my first time being able to do an adventure like that. Although a mini adventure. But it was yeah, that was pretty cool.
[01:04:10.140] - Trent McGee
Yeah, that was a cool event and it's a shame that it's not happening anymore. It kind of went away when the magazine went away. But but that was a neat deal. And that was I think that was kind of Rick's magnum opus in a way where I like I like that one because it was I was I was just a crony. I was just one of the support staff, essentially volunteer aid. And it but it was just neat because it was like, here's where we're starting.
[01:04:42.760] - Trent McGee
Here's where we're ending. You can farther out if you want if you just want to get breakfast and catch up later, that's fine. I really like the looseness of that where it was just, you know, you check in and check out on each day and and and I guess it's kind of the way the Mongolian really set up as well. But but anyway, it was that was a neat event and get to explore some areas of Utah and stuff that I really hadn't been to before.
[01:05:12.010] - Trent McGee
So, yeah, it was very cool.
[01:05:13.300] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. I thought it was pretty good. The the one thing that I remember about that is as soon as we hit the the centipede line that we had going up the highway. From Vegas to keep yeah, and then we went up the past there, the dirt past soon as we hit dirt. There was no more centipede line, it was like. Rick was gone, there was like five or six people that that raced with him and just hauled ass and said, I'm looking around like, OK, this is loose.
[01:05:51.860] - Big Rich Klein
This is different. This is loose. And that was the.
[01:05:54.860] - Trent McGee
Go ahead. Go ahead. Go ahead.
[01:05:55.910] - Big Rich Klein
I would say I got to the top of that hill and there was like five or six people there going, OK, I got this road book, but there's nobody up here. What do we do? I said, you just keep going. And so I kept going. And next thing I know, I had a bunch of followers and then we stopped to eat and some people just kept going and then some new people showed up. So people came back to us going, we're lost.
[01:06:20.180] - Big Rich Klein
We can't read the road book. And it was like, all right, well, hang with us, you know? And we just it was it was pretty fun and crazy out there.
[01:06:28.010] - Trent McGee
Just. Yeah, I mean, that's what I that's what I mean. Basically, everybody kind of splintered off into little pockets and stuff, so and I thought that was kind of cool. You could just kind of do your own pace. You know, if you want to go fast, go fast. If you want to go slow, slow. So that's that's what I liked about it. And, you know, everybody got there at the end.
[01:06:46.430] - Trent McGee
Yeah. So absolutely was all good. But yeah, I think that was that was the first year and that was actually the year. I had put a motor in my case seven, and it and it started not rot, but developed a rod knock or bad luck at the end of the first day. So I I didn't know John Lee and Bauer at the time, and I probably just I probably just mutilated his last name. I'm sorry, John, but.
[01:07:15.680] - Trent McGee
I didn't know him at the time, he was a freshly minted guy at this hour and the reason that he was driving the four wheeler trailer because he was one of the only guys in the company that had a CDL at the time. And so I didn't I didn't know him. And I'm like, so I've got this dead jeep. And what do you think about putting it in the four wheeler trailer and skip it on in Moab? And and he's like, sure, there's room or whatever.
[01:07:40.670] - Trent McGee
And we made room, you know, we had to move a bunch of I think the whole trailer, which is full t shirt boxes, posters and, you know, just all kinds of crap in there, digital crap for supporting an event. And we made room we stuffed at the back of the trailer. And then I called Durham Durham and he was he's like, well, I found your motor in Richfield. And so. I again, I don't know John very well at the time at all.
[01:08:12.840] - Trent McGee
So what do you think about stopping in Richfield and grabbing a voter? And he's like, I'm game. I mean, it turned out to be a great guy, but we get to we get to this junkyard. But it turns out Newcrest very well, Chris, back in his rocker does. That was one of his hunting goals, I guess, for Dana Sixties and stuff like that, because, you know, he never he never was just rock rolling.
[01:08:35.480] - Trent McGee
He would he would cherry pick stuff all across the way to, you know, to build stuff at a shop back in South Carolina. And that was how he made his money. And so, anyway, it turns out this is one of the tentacles. And so we get there and the guy, you know, just talking about Chris a little bit or whatever, and it's like, look, man, I see the trailer out there. I said it is full of t shirts and hats and posters and all that stuff.
[01:09:03.440] - Trent McGee
I am scared to death that this motor is going to puke all over. This used motor is going to puke all over all that stuff, I think. Is there any way I could talk you into just making sure you turn it up on end and make sure that all the water and everything, anything could possibly in the block runs out? And he was like, not a problem. I got you covered. And so we wait around probably 20, 30 minutes.
[01:09:26.870] - Trent McGee
Oh, and I asked him, Ozick, is there any way to strap to a pallet so that it just stays upright and is like, nope, nope, nope, not a problem. And he rolls out about and one of his guys rolls out about 20 minutes later with this motor that had been steam cleaned, every open port on the motor was plugged. The valve cover, the compression numbers were written on the valve cover above each cylinder. I mean, the thing was spotless.
[01:09:55.250] - Trent McGee
You could have eaten off this thing. And and so my worries of ruining a bunch of posters, T-shirts and hats and stuff like that one way. And then so then we go ahead. Yeah. So then we then unloaded the whole poop show at Danny Graham's shop and then Eric Fuller and Adam and I change the motor that night. And I wheeled in my lab the rest of the week. I remember that. Yes. Because you were staying at the time, I think.
[01:10:23.410] - Trent McGee
[01:10:24.910] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. That was fun. So what is Trent McGee's schedule look like now?
[01:10:33.410] - Trent McGee
Well, with the magazines going away, does that change things for me quite a bit? I haven't really been doing a whole lot of freelancing. I've been doing some stuff for some industry partners, blog posts and stuff like that. Studies these press releases still build a lot of websites, still help smaller companies get to the next level and stuff. But to kind of fill the magazine void. Well, and then I guess I should say I am the ultimate adventure experience.
[01:11:04.120] - Trent McGee
Has kind of parlayed into me doing more route planning and trail guide services for other companies. I did I did a route four senators, kind of like an overland adventure, like an overland style three day deal. Where did the route planning and dying for them. And then I did. US, of course, and I've talked to some other people about doing the same thing I did, I led three industry runs as fast this year and in my lab and stuff.
[01:11:40.030] - Trent McGee
So apparently I'm OK and tailgating and and route planning and stuff. So that's been good. That's been a lot of fun that gets me out of here and stuff. But then to kind of fill the magazine blade, I've actually been wiring cars, believe it or not. I really do it. Yeah, I've been doing it on the side for a lot of years. I've wiring for whatever reason is very easy to me and it's not heavy or particularly greasy.
[01:12:08.230] - Trent McGee
So and so.
[01:12:09.660] - Big Rich Klein
Well, yes. Yeah.
[01:12:11.190] - Trent McGee
And so, so yeah. I've been a I've been wiring cars, I've got a I've got a 69 Camaro here right now that I wire and I put in fuel injection, air conditioning on. I've wired probably five or six flatlanders. Seven's a Mustang and then I've got to currently have a fifty nine international panel then in the shop on a Chevy chassis that I guess is ultimately going to be turned into a food truck. And so, wow, I'm not doing any of the food truck part of it, but I am making the lights work and the engine running and all that stuff.
[01:12:45.330] - Trent McGee
So let's KOH opening a little bit more. Not so I'll just keep pivoting, you know. Yeah.
[01:12:50.880] - Big Rich Klein
Do you when you're doing your things, are you recording or not recording but are you archiving it or whatever you want to call it, you know, photo wise and that kind of thing. Or are you just doing it.
[01:13:03.840] - Trent McGee
Uh, probably not like I should. I have I have parlayed a couple of the jobs into different social media or. You know, that blog type stuff for for other companies and stuff, but I probably should be doing a better job with doing that, but mostly I'm just getting it done. OK.
[01:13:27.090] - Big Rich Klein
So what's the what's the name of your marketing company, let everybody know what that is in case somebody with a small road business goes, I need Trent, it's a Mega Media LLC. So you go on there, you can there's just a single I honestly, I've been so busy that I haven't I haven't put much effort into making my own website. I've and mostly focusing on websites for other people. But but yeah. But I do, like I said, a lot of e-commerce stuff and on a variety of different platforms, I think from Magento to to e-commerce to Shopify to the e-commerce stuff.
[01:14:06.190] - Big Rich Klein
So if anybody needs any help with that, yeah, they're pretty good. Excellent.
[01:14:11.220] - Big Rich Klein
And so what's what's the future hold? Is there is there anything that is on your must do list? I call them life lists. Some people call it bucket list, but that's so negative, you know, on your life list. Besides making that trip to Puerto.
[01:14:29.290] - Trent McGee
Yeah, the trip, you know, would be cool, that Mongolian Raleigh, Durham and I have been talking about that Durham was like, Oh really? Well when are we leaving? Let's do this term would be a good one to have a long.
[01:14:42.210] - Trent McGee
Yes, yes, indeed. So I'm pretty sure between he and I, we could make some one leader crap box European thing, make it to Mongolia, but I don't know, I would I would like to do more traveling overseas. I have not really done much of that. I've been to Bob on Race and Canada several times and stuff, but I really never been outside the North American continent, so to speak, and would really, really like to do more of that.
[01:15:14.430] - Trent McGee
I you know, that's not get any younger and I definitely want to make that happen.
[01:15:19.080] - Big Rich Klein
I did I did 16, 18 days, I think it was in Australia and realized that it was like six and a half months too short to be in Australia. And I would like to do that, go back for like six or seven months and oh, I really see really see Australia.
[01:15:37.350] - Trent McGee
Well, and I you know, and I guess maybe I'm a little bit weird, but I really. Wouldn't care where, you know, I mean, South America, Europe, you know, even like Russia and stuff like that. I mean, there was a there was an opportunity one time to to go to Dubai. And I was all about that. Why would you go to the Middle East, sign me up? I mean, I'm always up for an adventure, right?
[01:16:05.610] - Big Rich Klein
I want I we went to Japan, which at least. This second language, there was English, I've heard that, so I was able to get help when you when everything, you know, if you're in the main tourist area is everything, all the signs are in, you know, kanji in English. And if you're but if you're in the little neighborhoods in Tokyo, there are no English signs. And I'm not real good with Google, Google Translate or I found that out.
[01:16:40.200] - Big Rich Klein
So that's why Australia, you know, even though sometimes I would have to go, what should I hit Google Translate, try to figure out what I'm who I'm talking to. But it was you know, it was a lot easier.
[01:16:53.420] - Trent McGee
Yeah, I can imagine. Well, for me, I, I, I know enough Spanish to get by where I could probably I could probably make it work and just about any Spanish speaking country, but yeah. I mean but Russia, Japan, you know, any Spain or anything like that I know about Spain I guess is different but but it turns out I guess Mexican, Spanish and Spain. Spanish is very different. Yes, but but Germany and you know, all as I.
[01:17:20.860] - Trent McGee
I'd be. I don't know, but to me, that's part of the adventure is, you know, and fortunately, fortunately or unfortunately for us, the English is really kind of the international language. So sooner or later, you'll find someone that speaks in English.
[01:17:35.250] - Big Rich Klein
I stood outside of the largest transit station in Tokyo Shinjuku station, and I had to find my hotel. And I'm looking at this big map in this big billboard thing that they got kiosk like that, they got on the sidewalk and there's like two and a half million people go through this this train station. And I mean, every every type of transportation in Tokyo goes through this one station. And I'm standing out there and it's it was joshing Washington myself and Shelley.
[01:18:07.490] - Big Rich Klein
And we're you know, we're trying to figure out where a hotel is. It's we just got off the bullet train and then went to a little we went to that station because that was where our hotel was supposedly at. And I couldn't find it on the thing. And so I went English, English. I'm just yelling it out. And Shelley said it was so funny because some guy stopped, looked at me. Started to walk away, shook his head, turned around and came back to help me, and that's awesome.
[01:18:35.610] - Big Rich Klein
He goes, Okay, where do you need to go? And I went right here, you know, and I showed him the what it said on my phone. And he goes, OK. And he showed me on the map where I was at and we're how many blocks we needed to go. And I you know, that way I was at least able to find my way around. But the train system over there was was pretty crazy.
[01:18:53.460] - Trent McGee
That's what I understand. I went to my wife and I went to New York a few years ago around Christmastime and, you know, and stuff. And like the most efficient way to get around there is on the subway system. And so I just I got a map at the Port Authority and just sat there and stared at it until it made some kind of sense to me. And believe it or not, there is actually a system there. And it once you figure it out, it's it's really not that intimidating.
[01:19:19.900] - Trent McGee
But but doing that in another language, I guess this is a whole different thing. Yeah.
[01:19:24.320] - Big Rich Klein
For me, we tried to follow the color lines, you know, the the Haines going down to the right thing, but it was whether we were heading east or west or north and south is where. Because so many of the the little burros are little towns within the whole proper area. We're so close to being spelled the same or sounding the same that, you know, we we spent one day where we were probably on the train trying to get one place like five hours, and it should have taken us like.
[01:19:57.300] - Big Rich Klein
An hour, yeah, you know, because we went completely to the other other direction, you know, that's that's part of the adventure, too.
[01:20:06.000] - Trent McGee
Yes. I mean, to me, that's that's the only way to do it. I mean, I am not I am not a cruise guy. I am not a bus tour guy. You know, I think to really to travel anywhere, you just need to circle a spot on the map and and do it and figure out what you want to do. And and, you know, some of the I mean, as you know, I mean, some of the best adventures you can ever have come in ways that you could never expect and that, you know, I have a I have a cousin that went backpacking around the world with her boyfriend and now now husband.
[01:20:43.500] - Trent McGee
And she you know, it changed your life. And I very much admire her ability to do that, that they were able to do that. That's just that's super cool.
[01:20:53.970] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, that is that's awesome. We we had a mini adventure down to Costa Rica. We flew in and then we were heading down to Kapos, to a friend's house, but we didn't have it planned or anything. How we you know, I mean, we picked up the rental car and we took off. And then from Cape, once we got to Kapos every day, we just took off. You know, we were staying at their house.
[01:21:15.630] - Big Rich Klein
But they're working, you know, the kids are at school or whatever. And we're just like we're just out in the jungles trying to find. Yeah, trying to find roads and then finding out that we were completely lost. But we always made our way back. So we weren't really lost. We were just exploring.
[01:21:32.250] - Trent McGee
I have. Yeah, well, and you never you never really lost and stuff like that. It's just whatever whatever adventures around the next corner. I have a friend in Chile and I would really like to get down there as the guy that they can hook up with, Sebastian Bach. Boris and I would like to make it down there one day because it sounds just absolutely amazing to me. It doesn't matter as long as as long as it's an adventure.
[01:21:59.040] - Trent McGee
You know what I mean?
[01:21:59.700] - Big Rich Klein
I agree 100 percent. So as we wrap this up, is there anything that you can think of that you would like to ask me? That you think people might be interested in?
[01:22:13.970] - Trent McGee
Yeah, I guess I guess the question I've always wondered is why on Earth or how on earth we would, you know, promoting events and stuff would be something that you'd want to do because you're certainly not. I mean, let's face it, you're not in it for the money you're in for the love of it. So I've always been curious why, why, why events and why have you been doing it for so long?
[01:22:44.720] - Big Rich Klein
Well, it's it came down to my grandfather asking me a question when I was like 11 years old, what I wanted to do in life. And I was in scouts and I wanted to do something outdoors, you know, fish and game or park ranger or something like that. And he said, well, just rich, just remember that as you get older, find out what it is you love to do in life and then figure out a way to make a living doing it.
[01:23:13.160] - Big Rich Klein
And so. And when he went in, he explained to me making a living wasn't how much money you made, but how you got to live your life. So I went through 42 years of life and then figured out what I wanted to do. I had gone to a couple of the Arka events early. I was a club president in Cedar City, Utah, at the time. And when I made my way back to California, I decided to start Cal Rocks because I thought, you know, if watching other people put on their events.
[01:23:48.420] - Big Rich Klein
You know, the what became pro WE Rock, what became AKA. I decided that, you know, I thought I could do it, and I just really love the people and I love the idea of the of how the sport, the competition, it's it's to me, the competition is a chess match between the teams, the terrain and myself. So kind of a three dimensional chess match to see, you know, if I can. If I not beat them because the whole goal is for them, you know, somebody's got to win.
[01:24:29.620] - Big Rich Klein
So I mean, sure, but create courses that challenge them and then that they don't think they can do or they think, man, I you know, this is going to be really difficult. It's getting harder because the the vehicles and the drivers and the teams and everything is just so incredible right now, the technology that it's harder to design extremely challenging courses for a broad range of of talent. You know, you don't want to destroy the new guys that are coming out and their morale, but you really want to challenge the the the the superior wheeler.
[01:25:09.240] - Big Rich Klein
Sure. And so it's it's always an interesting game and and just the camaraderie of the sport. You know, it's it's just something I've always loved to do, so, you know, once I started it, it was like no matter what was happening, I was going to I was going to see it through. So that. Gotcha. That's the whole story.
[01:25:30.840] - Trent McGee
That's cool. That's cool. Yeah. I just I, I've never done much competition that I've raised. And by the minute, you know, I've raised a couple rock throwing competitions or a few, I guess I should say. But to me it's just yeah, adventure is key and touching on something else you said where, you know, if you you you got to do what you love and if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life.
[01:25:57.240] - Trent McGee
And I think that's a credo that more people need to decide. I mean, you know, the life is not about, you know, things. It's not about the material aspects. You know, the biggest house that is the baddest asses, you know, Jeep or whatever. It's about getting out there and exploring. And I think that's the thing that a lot of people get caught up. And if it doesn't, you don't have to have a seventy thousand dollar Jaquet to get out there and do some cool stuff.
[01:26:30.030] - Trent McGee
You just have to you know, you just have to get out there. You can be out there in a crack box, Cherokee. And actually, in a lot of ways that's better because you get to learn, you get to learn what works and what doesn't. Your you don't have lockers as a crutch, you know, and you really get to learn the vehicle and ultimately you become a better driver. And but to me, I think it's just experiences are what it's all about and and not not necessarily material gain.
[01:26:58.110] - Big Rich Klein
I agree 100 percent. So Trent Lott saying, I'd like to ask, is there anything that you have done or that you want to talk about that we haven't hit on?
[01:27:10.970] - Trent McGee
Boy, well, we've we've covered a lot of ground now, I mean, I just like I said, I think the main thing is, you know, again, you know, anybody that's listening that wants the kind of thing that there's there's. I go to events, I'll go to Seoul or Moab or something like that, and I'll meet guys and they'll they'll be like, Well, I'd like to apply. They usually know me from L.A. or something or something else or whatever.
[01:27:42.020] - Trent McGee
And it's like, you know, how do you do that? Or, boy, I'd sure like to do that one day. And it's like, you know what? Do it, you know, specific to you. For example, you we get less applications than you think and you know, and you you really don't it's not about having the biggest, best car. I mean, specifically, you're against it. Something unusual get you to the front of the line.
[01:28:09.530] - Trent McGee
If you're in a JKR jail, you can kind of hang it up. But if you're in a square body, Shelley or inside Ford or a scout or whatever.
[01:28:22.880] - Big Rich Klein
You know, got a little more unique, something a little bit more unique. Well, because Freeway, for example, it's you know, think about it from the reader's perspective, which you want 20 gcas in a line or would you want 20 really diverse vehicles that you can see you can see the what works well in one area, what doesn't add another and stuff. And really that's that to me. That's that's what's so awesome about doing that route.
[01:28:54.020] - Big Rich Klein
Planning for UA is that, you know, yeah. This line might be great for a Jaquet, but there's never a T.J. or something like that. But there's no way we're going to stuff a square about a full sized barge in it. It's not going to happen and and stuff. So, you know, building building routes that challenge a variety of people in a variety of vehicles and a variety of different skill levels and stuff is is one of the most challenging and probably one of the most rewarding aspects of of doing doing their outplaying planning, much like you do there when you're doing your your courses and stuff.
[01:29:30.320] - Big Rich Klein
Right, exactly. Well, cool. Trent, I want to say thank you for coming on and sharing over an hour and a half with all of your life with us. And, you know, I think that anybody out there that wants to follow in the footsteps of of people in the off road industry, you know, media is hard to get into now, but social media gets you there. There's there's a lot of businesses that need need media people or people to help them tell their story.
[01:30:05.120] - Big Rich Klein
So for those that like telling a story, it's still available out there. It's just in a different format. And then there are a few small niche magazines and and still the bigger magazines, they've just consolidated. So, you know, get out there and do what you want to do. And and Trent, thank you for explaining all that to us.
[01:30:25.340] - Trent McGee
Now, I agreed and I think it's an interesting time right now because with the with the anchor books going away, there's an enormous void there. And I think it's something that Harry touched on, Harry Wagoneer touched on as well. As, you know, there's there's a lot of talent out there and there's still a thirst for knowledge. And I don't know what's going to fill that void. Something is going to fill that void. It's not social media.
[01:30:55.610] - Trent McGee
I don't I don't think that's it. So but a good, authoritative source for information that's that's vetted. That's quality. People, you know, some of the niche books like like yours, I think are a great avenue for that. But I'm just wondering what that's going to hold or what that what that's going to look like and what that's going to be. And I think I'll be very interested to see what that what that ends up being myself as well, who are still trying to grow ours.
[01:31:28.820] - Trent McGee
So anyway, thank you for for sharing your life and coming on board. And may there be many more wheeling days in your future.
[01:31:38.600] - Trent McGee
Indeed. Well, I hope so. And thank you so much for having me, Rich. I really appreciate it means a lot.
[01:31:42.830] - Big Rich Klein
It's it was my pleasure. Thank you. All right. Take care. Thanks. If you enjoy these podcasts, please give us a rating, share some feedback with us via Facebook or Instagram and share our link among your friends who might be like minded. Well, that brings this episode to an end. OK, you enjoyed it. We'll catch you next week with conversations with Big Rich. Thank you very much.