Marketing and Sales Director at SCORE, Jim Ryan, previously publisher at Dirt Sports and various Peterson publications gives us some insight into how a driven young man has put eyes on so much media over the years. From Cycle News to SCORE, and the ups in between.
4:06 – Cycle News, the internet of Motorcycle Motorsports World
7:16 – Senior project was to sell myself
10:28 – getting really organized, really fast
15:03 – Mr. Peterson’s publishing banner, he had done everything he could possibly do
21:02 – the Mickey Thompson series was a galvanizing entity expanding the marketplace
26:22 – a total blanket across North American in terms of sports and enthusiasts
35:40 – Dirt Sports and Masterpiece of Metal
43:28 – the Score Journal has a global media presence
47:08 – jumped into SCORE 7 years ago, Roger was taking it to the next level
1:00:21 – good cadre of leadership every year
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[00:00:01.080] - 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.
[00:00:29.500] - Speaker 2
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[00:00:56.040] - Big Rich Klein
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[00:01:20.160] - Big Rich Klein
On today's episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Jim Ryan for those that don't know Jim well. Dirt Sports was his baby before that, he worked with the others in the magazine industry and now he's the marketing and sales director at SCORE and we are really happy to have Jim Ryan on board.
[00:01:42.500] - Big Rich Klein
He's got a wealth of knowledge, and I can't wait to get this conversation started. So, Jim, thank you so much for coming on board.
[00:01:50.710] - Jim Ryan
Thanks. Big Rich it's great. Great to talk to you again.
[00:01:54.850] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. Didn't get a chance to talk to last year because of covid and all the shows that I normally see you at. They were shut down. So hopefully this year we'll get to see you at either SEMA or I won't be going off Road Expo. But maybe at SEMA like you
[00:02:11.110] - Jim Ryan
We're planning on being a back up and operating and all those operations right now.
[00:02:16.810] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. Well, let's explore your life and share with our listeners about Jim Ryan. Where did you grow up? Where were you born and raised?
[00:02:28.300] - Jim Ryan
Sure. Well, yeah, it's been a while, but a Northern California to start with until early teen years my dad got promoted and transferred back to the Midwest, of all places. So the corporate headquarters where he was working and went to finished high school and college back there and then came back out with the motorcycle industry as soon as I graduated from college.
[00:02:55.120] - Big Rich Klein
What town in Northern California? Because that's a big area.
[00:02:58.870] - Jim Ryan
Walnut Creek. Walnut Creek. All right. Creek, born in Berkeley, raised in Walnut Creek, was still a little town, although sort of pretty rural areas at the time. I know they're not now, but it was it was a great, great time.
[00:03:15.040] - Big Rich Klein
You said you it early teens. Then you went to the Midwest.
[00:03:19.210] - Jim Ryan
Your your dad got transferred to Canton, Ohio.
[00:03:22.960] - Big Rich Klein
[00:03:23.890] - Jim Ryan
Pro Football Hall of Fame. Yeah. So that's the corporate headquarters or my dad my dad got kind of promoted and we moved from San Francisco office to Canton, Ohio, which was good. It was a good place to grow up. Good people, good, good, good way of life. So was good. So that kind of started. That's where my my first interest in anything off roading was started to happen back in those days. OK, as you can imagine, most kids back then, we're looking at mini bikes and things like that, and that's that's where I got started and then into motorcycles.
[00:04:01.900] - Big Rich Klein
And you went to then high school, then in Canton.
[00:04:06.550] - Jim Ryan
Yeah, I went to high school in Canton and then went to University of Ohio in Athens, which was a great time and was very formative years. But yeah, as soon as soon as I got out of college, I got a job. And now in California with the motorcycle industry, which is where I was trying to work, I was trying to accomplish so that I got me back out to California and stayed with some friends for a while. I got I was hired by cycle news, OK, which used to be like the Internet of Motorcycle Motor Sports World.
[00:04:44.230] - Jim Ryan
It was a great place, very high intensity. We were still putting out a newspaper ish tabloid magazine once a week based on race results. Back then, it was quite the experience should be it should be a movie on how all that work. But a lot of great people went through that system. And it was a it was a really good, really good friends of mine still from those days.
[00:05:13.030] - Big Rich Klein
So while you were we'll jump back into that here in just a minute. But while you were in high school, the question I ask everybody, were you scholastic athletic or did your own thing?
[00:05:28.150] - Jim Ryan
A little a little bit of all of that, I would say bookish, I did decent the athletics track and cross-country was the captain of those teams. Excellent for junior and senior years. And from the well, forget your third option, but.
[00:05:50.350] - Big Rich Klein
Oh, do your thing.
[00:05:52.090] - Jim Ryan
Yeah. Now, we basically went from mini bikes to some initial dirt bikes from Honda World that were kind of dual purpose. So we were riding those on the weekends. And in terms of general transportation, that's what kind of got me started on the anything off road I went from. Not too much straight ever. Just solid off road from the beginning.
[00:06:16.930] - Big Rich Klein
And see, I did just the opposite. I did more street and no off road. Yeah. Until I got like nineteen eighty one when I got out. There it is. So there it is. Yep. So where did you go to college. And what was your major then. Media.
[00:06:33.640] - Jim Ryan
Yeah it was, I went to the University of Ohio in Athens, ok. A great, great college in the middle of nowhere. So it's kind of a it doesn't the whole city is the campus and they specialize in a lot of areas, which I didn't know about at that time. But I ended up in the school of journalism there, which was one of the highest ranked area schools of that. So I just kind of fell into it. And they had fantastic teachers and professors and they had a pretty a unique, unique program where advertising was a major and it was the school of journalism, as opposed to being a subdivision of marketing in the school of business.
[00:07:16.060] - Jim Ryan
Wow. So I kind of fell into that and have major guys from all the agencies in New York that were teaching there. And it was just fascinating. So I kind of found my niche at that point, did really well and all of that and kind of was trying to our special bonus projects and senior projects and all that. I kind of focused on a motorcycle motor motocross motocross industry at that point and developed a campaign to sell myself when you get out of school.
[00:07:50.170] - Jim Ryan
That was kind of the project. So it was I went straight after the the offroad motorsports motocross, particularly at that end, I was doing a little bit of motocross and a lot of enduros at that point at the local Ohio fun level. And that was that was what my dream was. And that's that was kind of my I figured that out about the beginning of my junior year. So I was lucky enough to make it happen when I got out of college.
[00:08:19.390] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. And when when was it that you got out of college?
[00:08:26.180] - Jim Ryan
1802, it was nineteen seventy six, seventy six, OK, so you're a couple of years older than me, a couple of years older, couple of years older. OK, cool. And you're in great shape. I got to give you that.
[00:08:42.720] - Jim Ryan
I got to get everything, everything kept this pretty busy. We don't have time to think about anything else. So Score was the latest addition to that. And it's it's a it's a good exercise for sure during the during the race weeks and everything else that goes on. Absolutely.
[00:08:59.790] - Big Rich Klein
So those early years, that cycle news hot, how did you end up with that job? Did you just walk in with a resume and say, here I am and they hired you?
[00:09:11.190] - Jim Ryan
Was it a process? No, I was being in Ohio. I, I basically sat I made I made like a custom resume that I did for my college senior project. And I sent it out to every manufacturer I could see in the magazines at the time, which was like dirt bike magazine and and motocross action and cycle news. And when I got through all of those those topics and their ad agencies that I was able to figure out who was handling Honda at that time.
[00:09:42.750] - Jim Ryan
I got lucky and I got through all that and I figured, well, I've got all these all these magazines. So I just sent resumes to all the magazines at the time. And I had a I had a couple interviews and they were all in the West Coast. So I flew myself out and had the interviews and cycle news just like the first one I had. And it was it went really well. And it was I was reading Cycle News, you know, forever and in my dorm dorm rooms in college.
[00:10:14.040] - Jim Ryan
And so it was it was cool. It was a great thing to be part of a nice natural fit. And so. Yeah. So what were some of the highlights of those early years, that cycle news for you?
[00:10:28.110] - Jim Ryan
Getting really organized really fast. So when I first came in, you know, you're you're the new guy, so they kind of give you everything on Earth to do. It was really part of my parents dropped me off at the Cincinnati Convention Center, and that's where the big motorcycle industry show sort of like there see show at that time. And I was just mesmerized. Every major star that I had been reading about was there. And I was getting introduced to them as this kid by Sharon Sharon and Chuck Clayton, who owned Cycle News at the time, or the owners.
[00:11:05.070] - Jim Ryan
And that was that was pretty eye opening experience. I just couldn't believe it was happening. But it was flying back and we got into, you know, got situated in Long Beach area or cycle news was and it was it was intense. I mean, everything they were putting out a magazine every week, not monthly. So it was I didn't know any better. So I thought this was the normal way to do things. But it was impressive to see how that works and how fast everything had to work.
[00:11:36.150] - Jim Ryan
And and I learned a lot of organizational skills, and especially the ad closing things on motorsports that was that was there. That was their world. You know, whatever happened on Sunday, we were selling on Monday. Right. And the deadline was Thursday for the press. So that's that's how fast things came out actually was Tuesday. Now I think about it and it came out in the new magazine, said all the motorcycle shops on Thursday. So it was a really fast, never ending process.
[00:12:10.800] - Big Rich Klein
I can't even imagine which we all lived anyway. So we're Saddleback Days and Imperial Dunes and the rest of those tracks all over, not just in California, but all over the West. So it was yeah, the editors were just amazing. And the Supercross was just becoming a giant deal. And it was it was a great time to be part of that for the years I was at cycling is it really taught me a lot.
[00:12:40.800] - Big Rich Klein
Do you remember what your first article?
[00:12:44.470] - Jim Ryan
Well, I'm going to get cycle news was great because we everybody got to do everything, but I was I was predominantly there for sales, but I ended up doing a number of articles. And my big claim to fame was I had a cover shot and some major interviews with this Suzuki motocross team during their training exercises with, remember, Nautilus equipment. Oh, yeah. What is the big regiment training session? I had a big piece on that Shelley and it was I wasn't too much on the editorial side at that point.
[00:13:22.240] - Jim Ryan
But again, we we all shot whenever they would let me. I would write something in those days. Which was cool to see something positive in order to get the cover photo or whatever it was, but so how long has that cycle news?
[00:13:40.530] - Jim Ryan
About three years, OK? Three, three and a half years. And then went to up to Peterson Publishing. Which was the most amazing place on earth in those days. That was kind of where everything was happening there. Also at the time, they probably had about 11 magazines, including Motor Trend and Hot Rod and car craft. They were just starting a new off Road magazine called Forwell and Off Road at that time. And that's when I when I went up there, I went I went on to four wheel and off road as it was.
[00:14:23.790] - Jim Ryan
I think it had just gone monthly and it was kind of a brand new off road title and that in that category. But Peterson Publishing Company was was just an amazing place in terms of what its its contributions as a Mr. Peterson, his contributions to everything from political aspects to creating cinema, creating the diving industry's version of sea, just it's kind of just nonstop what like what Mr. Peterson and that whole organization created over those many, many years, right?
[00:15:03.560] - Jim Ryan
Absolutely. So I was there for 17 years under Mr. Peterson publishing banner until he basically had done everything he could possibly do and sold it off to the first of many, many investor groups and in the late late 90s. OK, but yeah, that was another huge learning curve and outstanding people to work with the editorial and management teams and in sales operations. So it was another huge deal is obviously they kind of advanced as the company was growing so fast.
[00:15:41.630] - Jim Ryan
We've got to move to different positions and different responsibilities pretty regularly. But it was it was a really, really great place. I learned a lot, though.
[00:15:53.690] - Big Rich Klein
So when you went to Petersens, did you go over and sales and marketing?
[00:15:58.910] - Jim Ryan
Yes. Well, it's just sales. Sales is so big. Yeah, we're part of a major sales team. I handle the Western region at the time for for well and off road. And as things evolve from that, I'm trying to think of how that works. But I got I was with Motorcyclist's magazine writer for a number of years and that got anchored. And then they will need to network sales for the Western region, which is dealing with all the OEMs and other accounts that went across many different titles and categories.
[00:16:36.350] - Jim Ryan
And I kind of ran that until the early 90s and then moved to a publisher slot, which in those days was a big deal. And it was a baby magazine. It was called a sport sports magazine on the street industry. Right. Which was a hot ticket back then to the street performance on pickup trucks was becoming huge. And we had major success with that magazine for a long time. And things changed again. And I came back over to four for forwell and off road to try to run the basically sales and marketing in that which was a big years, great staff.
[00:17:18.140] - Jim Ryan
David Freiburger was was the editor I worked with when I first came over on that side, and he's done quite well with the state. He stayed with theaters or and even beyond for quite a while. And he's now the superstar movie star now on Road Kill and numerous other items that I think I think it's the motor trend group that is now that that company. I think that's what it's called. I believe you're correct. But those are so great years on that.
[00:17:47.060] - Jim Ryan
Then we started evolving. I became the truck group director, published group group publisher. Then it was the off road group publisher after that. And then we started getting bought out and kind of I was handling the same group with magazines. Four wheeler ended up being under my my my wings for a period, also with the other magazines as an English or sales publisher publisher again.
[00:18:18.860] - Jim Ryan
So I do group publishers which basically were in sales and worked with the editorial guys and the marketing programs in the first for sure. That just was kind of all encompassing.
[00:18:29.000] - Big Rich Klein
I was always impressed with with everything that that all that whole Peterson group did and then with all the different magazines that you worked with. Was there was there one that. That has stood out that you said that was that was my favorite at Pieterson years. Yeah, I would say for well enough. OK. It really was transforming and it had a lot to do with editorial. David Freiburger was spot on with how he was reading the marketplace. And the explosion in circulation obviously gave us a lot of tools on the advertising side of marketing side.
[00:19:12.490] - Big Rich Klein
But I would say that one. That one, basically. Yeah. Yeah, I think a lot. Pieterson that was definitely the one title that stuck with me.
[00:19:25.410] - Big Rich Klein
And like you said, everybody. At least it at cycle news wore a lot of hats, was great thing happening at Peterson?
[00:19:35.770] - Jim Ryan
No, no, no. There was it was such a giant company that was not expected. We did just by nature of the business. We worked as teams, but it was not the assignment, like it was out of necessity back in the back in the earlier days. But it you know, we had a really stellar editorial group and they were all run by a group, editorial director and circulation departments and events, divisions and many, many other tools that we're just very fortunate to use for sales and marketing purposes.
[00:20:18.370] - Jim Ryan
The Peterson ranch, the yacht, the airplane, you know, those are days worth the expense reports. And we're expected to be out meeting with clients nonstop. So it was it was an era, that is for sure.
[00:20:34.320] - Big Rich Klein
Southern California really has been the hub of so much of the automotive industry, at least with the new waves and, you know, anything new that comes along typically seems to come out of Southern California. What was the what was the thing that you thought in all of those things that happened down in Southern California, that was like a monumental moment, one of those epic something happening.
[00:21:02.080] - Jim Ryan
Interesting. That is very I mean, in the motorcycle's era, it was Supercross, right, Mickey, the Mickey Thompson series for the Off Road, and those are kind of galvanizing entities for it that were new and expanding the marketplace with television, a big seat, arenas and held their own for a lot of years. I think they they brought the OEMs, either one, whether it was motorcycles in Supercross or Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Toyota, Nissan, Isuzu into into Off-Road Racing.
[00:21:43.300] - Jim Ryan
The Mickey Thompson deal was kind of the first step before they really made major, major inroads into what is now scored the other the other Off-Road areas. But that's on that side in terms of the the OEM helped drive that a lot also by coming and getting involved with again, from a motor sports perspective, they help market the entire category, something like Toyota and Ivan Stewart in Nissan had numerous sightings of Ford Roughriders. Those are all big programs from marketing off road, the off road motorsports hook.
[00:22:31.120] - Jim Ryan
But that obviously that's the halo effect, right? Yes. Of all motor sports, this is kind of the top end KOH part that everybody would like to be involved with, but they want to be associated with it through the lifestyle.
[00:22:45.100] - Big Rich Klein
It's sure hard to get to get those manufacturers involved nowadays.
[00:22:50.740] - Jim Ryan
Yeah, that's an understatement. That would be another hour long show.
[00:22:54.440] - Big Rich Klein
[00:22:56.050] - Jim Ryan
Yeah, it's it's it's it's yeah. It's sad to see where they were and where they are, but there's a lot of reasons. Yes. Different times, different different accountabilities, different everything. But yeah, we're, we're still working nonstop to the other side of it is the market we deliver now is, you know, a hundred times bigger than it was then. But it's luckily we are working with a number of OEMs right now at the current level.
[00:23:26.020] - Jim Ryan
[00:23:26.800] - Big Rich Klein
Right. It would score. Exactly. So let's discuss where that transition happened from the Peterson publishing or. Whatever group it happened to be when you decided to start dirt sports.
[00:23:45.940] - Jim Ryan
OK, well, I'll tell you as much as much as I can. Well, yeah, yeah, we went through we went through a number of quick buyouts and then settled into to a couple other publishing media companies. And every time a little bit we change the company or a lot would change toward towards the end. And, you know, you always have your your options. You like it or you don't like it. What are you going to do about it?
[00:24:12.390] - Jim Ryan
So I had talked about some new concepts and like in my truck group, I offer a group in those latter days when I was still there and and I could just see what was shaping up around the industry. And I pitched it and it didn't go anywhere. So I said, well, this is still a good idea. So I spent some time kind of getting more details and a little bit more due diligence on it and finally decided to go out.
[00:24:47.230] - Jim Ryan
And there was another another company that they took me on advance to get there at the end of that ride on the what was Pieterson, but that was probably five companies removed by that time. So, yeah, that's the initial thought process on Dirt Sports and the trade show and a trade book that we launched that in 2000 or 12, 2004 with with Advanced Car. That's that's set another whole new path, another layer of exposure and, you know, dressing that type, that part of the market that now is a very viable.
[00:25:36.290] - Jim Ryan
Viable, big, big player, big motor sports and the lifestyle that went around it was part of that is watching it over the years, desert racing had always been around. And you had a good a good development of the short course series starting to happen in the Midwest with Crandon, Minnesota, and later evolved into core, which really got really started evolving and maturing. And then the big the big deal that the part that sealed the deal for me was was you with rock crawling side when you guys started getting very organized and having a team efforts and schedules of rules and regulations.
[00:26:22.180] - Jim Ryan
And there was different versions across the country which kind of linked coast to coast at that point. Yes. Which gave the Western Desert Racing and then the Midwest short course areas that kind of made a total, total blanket on North America in terms of what other sports activities would be happening and the NBA and the racer base and the enthusiast base that was attached there. So that's where kind of the development of the sports concept came aboard. And and that was a really, really good experience for many years of getting that to happen.
[00:27:01.330] - Jim Ryan
We had a really strong staff on that, too.
[00:27:04.480] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, that I remember I was really I was really impressed with with what you guys were doing with that. And one of the things that one of the first things I remember is the Dirt Sports Expo. Yes, the first one, and you guys had that promotor roundtable and you guys asked me to be one of the promoters up there, and that is correct. I walked up there and I looked around and went. Damn, what am I doing up here now?
[00:27:37.030] - Jim Ryan
It was all part of it. I remember I chaired that and was we had, I think, 13 Off-Road Motor Sports, basically general manager managers or owners up there from all the different different aspects. Yes. That I don't know if that ever I know that hasn't happened since then, but yeah, that was that's kind of what we're trying to trying to showcase, you know, kind of its overall impact and strength and what it was in the marketplace, you know, through our other channels, like like Dirt Sports and the website at the time.
[00:28:10.870] - Jim Ryan
And our in our trade book, we're able to kind of get that message, get that message out there in a professional way.
[00:28:20.670] - Big Rich Klein
What was it like taking it from the big corporate set up to basically doing it yourself or where you were you were you still under advanced at that point?
[00:28:33.360] - Jim Ryan
Well, yeah, there was an obvious break there, but yeah, no, it we were going it was there that it was going strong, strong, strong things. I mean I still think about this. I mean 2008 became kind of we had a trade or trade show in 2008 at Anaheim and it was basically a sell out on floorspace. But when we opened the doors, the dealer turned out because it was a trade show is like in the dealers are free.
[00:29:04.500] - Jim Ryan
It's in the sound like that the pay. And there was just a massive cutback. And we're going, what is going on here? This would have been about March 2008 was kind of the first alarm bell for us on what is going on. The market started slowing down and then by August, September, it was really getting apparent that something bad was happening and that's when the market crashed and everything else as as we headed into 2009. But yeah.
[00:29:39.270] - Jim Ryan
So Investa started cutting back and I could see that kind of on the on the you know, they were going to be doing that on a lot of things back there. So I had already started planning on just taking it out because it was still efficient and still a good ad base and there's still a big reader base. So I took it out and originally I was thinking about some some other investors, but not at that time. I mean, everybody was trying to save themselves, right?
[00:30:06.090] - Jim Ryan
Yes. So timing was great on my part. Right. So I just said, to hell with that, I'll take it on myself. And it's, you know, some personal adjustments and and brought people in and tried to keep things going on as strong as possible. And we had you know, that wasn't a surprise to us. But we continue to grow through 2009, which that was pretty amazing at that point, considering what it's what was happening.
[00:30:37.320] - Jim Ryan
But so we were we were out on the field. It was, I think, probably the same schedule you have now. But I don't like the indoor sports years. I mean, we did about thirty eight weekends a year out on the different race circuits for the teams and for editorial for magazine distribution and all of that. So it was kind of kind of our world. But, you know, you don't think about much about it when you're doing it, but it was it was a long time for many, many years being on the road.
[00:31:09.980] - Jim Ryan
It was. But it was good is with the race teams and the manufacturers. And it was kind of that community that was traveling around together, different areas that were all working together to try to save what we were doing.
[00:31:22.490] - Jim Ryan
Yeah, that was that was that was the battle cry then for sure. It was a there was a lot of a lot of a lot of cuts and and rightfully so. People traveling and teams and sponsors. And they were all kind of up in the air back then. So we were trying to hold that together from what we could do to help. So, yeah, I was was there some trying days, but they were still pretty rewarding. True.
[00:31:50.240] - Big Rich Klein
True. In 2009, I was going to walk away from being an event promoter and yeah, I had met my wife Shelley, my future wife Shelley there in that time frame late 2008, early 2009, and she convinced me to keep it going. And so I tell everybody at the rock crawls all the time that, you know, if it right for Shelley, WE Rock would be gone and God knows probably the sport at that time, too, because there was nobody else doing it so correct by then.
[00:32:24.390] - Big Rich Klein
Somebody else had had left. And I remember when everybody when everybody else had gone by the wayside that Dustin Webster calls me up and goes, OK, Rick, you can't quit now. And I'm like, what do you mean? And he goes, Well. There's too many businesses and too many, you know, teams and people that have been building and that rely on rock crawling to keep going. So you have to keep going. And I was like, Dustin, don't put that on me.
[00:32:58.410] - Big Rich Klein
You know, it's like, yeah, but he was right. Remember Dustin?
[00:33:02.130] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, but he was right.
[00:33:03.430] - Jim Ryan
That's good. It was good. Yes, it was a it was definitely a time to draw the line in the sand somewhere, right? Yep. What was going to happen and how you write it out and hopefully hope for the best after that.
[00:33:17.400] - Big Rich Klein
You know, we had some pretty lean years there with the events on how many teams showed up. But, you know, we we we fought tooth and nail and we're still doing it. And the and the sport's growing again. I mean, we're back up to.
[00:33:30.990] - Jim Ryan
[00:33:31.320] - Big Rich Klein
I noticed 50, 60 cars on the West Coast event. So, you know, and in the 20s on the East Coast. So we're getting there.
[00:33:39.180] - Jim Ryan
Yeah, congrats on that.
[00:33:41.430] - Big Rich Klein
Let's discuss dirt sports and the things that you guys did. Particularly what you did in developing that that magazine. Or that part of the lifestyle, your masterpiece and medal's.
[00:33:58.970] - Jim Ryan
Yeah. Talk about families. That was that was from the beginning, and I'll just tell you, the Razor magazine was, I think, the best thing going on at that time when we were when I was still at the other company. And and they had a beautiful you know, every month they would showcase a vehicle in the studio. And we all thought that was pretty cool because, you know, the technology and all the intricate details that go into Off-Road vehicles are as much or more so, especially with the development on the, you know, some of the higher end think trophy trucks, for example.
[00:34:42.780] - Jim Ryan
But it was that's that's what started out. And the funny thing is I try I try to emulate some of that. We we when I was still over it, it was a Pieterson days, but it was still four will Nypro days. And we were at the Indianapolis Fairgrounds for a core race the one year that they did it there. And I had one of the editors I had with me, I said, I want to do this thing.
[00:35:11.910] - Jim Ryan
So we took Robert backwards as short course truck and we took the body panels off it and shot it against the side of a barn, all the all the detail work. And and then we ran that and it got like big reviews and in four will not vote at the time. And I said this is kind of where we want to start with, but was kind of the first the first incubator on something like that. And that was a four wheel off road.
[00:35:40.260] - Jim Ryan
I was trying to bring some motor sports activities back in there because they've been gone for years based upon where the reader surveys were going in motorsports. And it kind of in the 90s, I should say, had kind of just dwindled. But so that's that's how that started. So we got over to advanced or. Yeah, the whole concept in pitch was bring these back and we were going to be putting them in the studio. But I have to give credit to Marty Fialka with me at the time he was doing some freelance stuff up at the other company for me, and I brought him in and he brought in Boyd jeans and and we had a budget for that type of photography to advance store.
[00:36:33.060] - Jim Ryan
And that's where it really, really got started, getting polished and and was able to showcase all not not any one particular form of racing, but all forms of racing. So it was it was it was a great indelible I mean, that was a masterpiece of metal was was was quite an iconic piece for for sports and for the industry.
[00:37:00.870] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. And Boyd was there is a phenomenal photographer and a lighting master. Yep. And I can say that because I'm my my degree is a commercial photography degree and OK. And I graduate from a school called Brooks into photography in Santa Barbara and back in eighty one and it was a product advertising and commercial photography was my what my degree was in and lighting. I mean I never I did some automotive stuff but it would be like out on the golf course or something like that.
[00:37:37.500] - Big Rich Klein
But most of the stuff it was was product, you know, and you sit it on a light table or you know, in somebody's, you know, factory or whatever and shooting their stuff, their product. They're putting together brochures and their catalogs when people still had printed catalogs. And when I saw Boyd's first masterpiece and metal and I don't even remember which one it was, but I was just like I was completely blown away. I had no clue who he was.
[00:38:08.400] - Big Rich Klein
Right. But all of a sudden it was like, damn, they found a great photographer.
[00:38:12.810] - Jim Ryan
So, yeah, you know, it's all part of the deal. You know what the very first one is, I recall, was a rock, a rock crawler. I think Tim Sabien, at the time with Biard seats, I think I remember a red rock crawler, I think that was our very first piece of metal.
[00:38:32.560] - Big Rich Klein
I wonder if it was since it was Berard, if that would have been Jason Shear's.
[00:38:37.720] - Jim Ryan
I know. I'm just I can't remember that far back, but I think I'll have to ask deep down that it might have been. Might have been. I still have an archive here somewhere.
[00:38:48.590] - Big Rich Klein
So then what was your favorite part of that magazine, or I want to you know, I know you guys did the shows, you did the magazine. There was other aspects of that, too, I think you mentioned. What what was the what was the pinnacle point for you in that, Maggie? Oh, it was just kind of unifying, watching it all come together, kind of unifying offroad motorsports as a, you know, a badass area of motorsports in general, you know, against against other the other more well-known categories.
[00:39:28.460] - Big Rich Klein
But we had we had numbers and most of all, we had a lot of technology developments going on. Just whatever was coming out, whether it was rock crawling or short course or desert racing, you know, trophy trucks started getting developed in 94 and they were evolving into spaceships at that time. Yeah, but it was that was cool. But but always I mean, that was the technology hook and the cool factor, but it was always the teams in my mind.
[00:40:01.520] - Big Rich Klein
And that's kind of continue that right now with what I'm doing. But it's promoting the teams and the individuals and all those type of efforts across the board, because that was those are the those are the stories of racing was always the racing, but it was the behind the scenes involvement with the teams and what was going on in the trials and tribulations and what they had to do with the relationships we had with them across the board during all those years was really good.
[00:40:34.400] - Big Rich Klein
So what what was your circulation? I know that you guys you guys did a lot of stuff at the events where you would go to the events and you'd give them out there. Right. And you you started to get away from the magazine rack, is that correct?
[00:40:53.170] - Jim Ryan
Correct. Two reasons and knowing I mean, the magazine world was starting to hiccup around 2010 11. I could just see kind of newstands newstand portion of it was things were changing and how people were looking at information or going to the newsstand or whatever it was. The newsstands were getting a little bit, you know, the numbers were getting smaller and smaller in shelf space, was becoming a more of a premium on product. It was a whole whole deal that I was obviously watching from the old days that I was still looking at all of that stuff for good reason.
[00:41:40.810] - Jim Ryan
So that was that was kind of that was ultimately the entire collapse was the the newsstand just exploded around 2014. It didn't exist anymore. Like I said, a women's women's books and firearms in outdoor industry have done well still on the newsstand. But other than that, it doesn't really exist anymore.
[00:42:04.250] - Big Rich Klein
Well, in a way, you have to deal with the newsstands now, you know, where you're basically they're taking your magazine. They'll sell it. What doesn't sell? You have to you have to take back had never changed. OK, that was that was always the case. All right. And it was an acceptable part of the business for, you know, for decades and decades. It was you you would print twice as many as you would sell and hope for a 50 percent sell through that was like outstanding.
[00:42:41.410] - Big Rich Klein
But, yeah, he still paid for all the print run on all the all the rest of the magazines. But it was that that era was definitely changing pretty fast. So we just went straight to the straight to the end user.
[00:42:55.990] - Big Rich Klein
And that's a that's what we followed with 4Low. Yes, we've never been available except through subscription and and at events. So it was a model that we that we took as well. And it's worked well for us, except during covid, because we didn't do as near as many events or, you know, even though we did we did pull off our season, both EastWest, that kind of thing, we we still did not. And we had good numbers.
[00:43:28.600] - Big Rich Klein
It still wasn't the same. I mean, we lost Easter Jeab, we lost its asema, you know, everything. And it's a tough, tough, tough world out there from that perspective. So we're getting back to that. But I don't think that's going to change magazine world at all. In fact, when I that the current version, the score, Jarrel, that we work on as a totally different perspective and strategy, it's meant to support the series and everything that has to do with score from racer's to historical purposes to score news to race, race or information to all the vehicle stops, safety and all.
[00:44:14.060] - Big Rich Klein
That's good, but it is definitely yeah. Digital has made it, you know, a global media entity immediately. We never dreamt it would be what it's doing right now. It was originally supposed to be kind of a newsletter to to give the sponsors and the racers kind of more information on what was going on a score because it was so much going on and in those transition years back in 2013 14. So it it basically became this this media entity, which we're happy about.
[00:44:51.700] - Big Rich Klein
But it's it was it was never meant to be, you know, two million readers a month, which it's doing right now. Wow.
[00:45:00.790] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, that's phenomenal.
[00:45:02.770] - Jim Ryan
Yeah. It's it's good. It obviously, even though it's a score journal, it transcends the reader bases everywhere because of the information that's in there. It's it's not just score, score, score. It still has to do with, like I said, safety equipment and vehicle features and historical things and personalities and everything. But yes. So that's kind of took a different that's that's that's working for us at this point.
[00:45:31.450] - Big Rich Klein
Are you involved with with that digital publication then?
[00:45:35.590] - Jim Ryan
Yes, I figured quite, quite, quite heavily. I have a staff does a great job on that. But, yeah, it's just it's it's, you know, like like everything else. It's not something we do full time because there's so many other things that we work on. But it you know, we spend ten days on it, maybe two weeks a month on it. And that's it's we have a good template and a good working formula right now.
[00:46:03.700] - Jim Ryan
So it's doing real well. Excellent.
[00:46:08.070] - Big Rich Klein
The score transition that you were talking about with the Normans taking over, taking over from Sal, I thought I thought it was going to go a different direction with somebody else. And then when it was announced that Roger was becoming the head of score, I remember I texted him and said, you know, hey, do you need me? And, you know, we we have helped out on a on a couple of events and stuff. But it was I think that it was an interesting transition because people really didn't know what to think.
[00:46:48.390] - Big Rich Klein
You know, whether they were the racers or the marketing partners, the I don't think the spectators, it was a big deal, although there was all sorts of talk about it on, you know, on all the websites at the time. So how do you think it went? When did you jump in with score?
[00:47:08.550] - Jim Ryan
At that point? I jumped in about well, seven years ago. OK, basically. In August, so that was there is a lot going on. Score was still really aggressive with Roger. He was definitely taking it to that next level where he had to go eventually. Right. And part of that was. They had just had a program developed with bringing scorchingly trucks to the CMA and they had got the get gotten all that together. But now they needed somebody to put it together and make it happen from the team's perspective and getting it kind of organized with SeIma.
[00:47:59.120] - Jim Ryan
So that's that's why I was originally Protea for that. And everything kind of morphed after that. But that was the immediate immediate goal was to get that get that going. And that that was a big deal getting. And I think the first year we had like twenty three trophy trucks there, there were four qualifying for the Baja 1000 and Yakima SEMO was very generous with the space we had the entire Silverblatt from the South Hall and the the of pass needed for the teams and what evolved into like 35 trophy trucks I think in the last year.
[00:48:40.220] - Jim Ryan
Um. Shutting down Las Vegas means strip to escort those things out to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for qualifying was a good run, was it was totally necessary that the whole program was developed for getting set up for the fiftieth anniversary year for the scoreboard. One thousand five hundred. Right. Which happened 20, 17 and 18. So that was the whole purpose of that to to get the score brand and represent off road at CEMA for that same purpose.
[00:49:12.210] - Big Rich Klein
And 17 was for the thousand, correct.
[00:49:14.940] - Jim Ryan
Correct. Correct. And that was that was actually that was the last time we were we did a peninsula run because of covid last year. So that that's back on this year. The peninsula run to La Paz. Yeah. That was that had run its course. So we after the ball won about five hundred year, we just ran its course. Right. So those are those are some big ifs there.
[00:49:44.060] - Big Rich Klein
I remember the the thousand in 17 because at least called Shelley and said, hey, are you going to be down here? I could use your help. And we were we were in Alabama, Gulf Shores, a little conference. And when we got the call like the week before and we said, well, we hadn't planned on it, we don't have rooms, but and this goes well, I can get you rooms. Don't worry about that. If you get here, we can use you.
[00:50:11.450] - Big Rich Klein
So very good. That was we we made arrangements, which is another story in itself, and then getting home because we had to hitch a ride down from San Diego when we flew in. And then Jason Cobb had just taken over trophy light. Yeah, right. And so I. I drove. The box truck with the race car, they're pretty run are on the back back from the race back to Phenix so that we could we could get back to our vehicle.
[00:50:43.840] - Big Rich Klein
So it was quite the show. But I remember. I remember you coming in to the Texas contingency area the morning of and contingency and then having to reset up the the fencing. And that was when Elise and Roger put me as like the gate guard for the right, and I sure enjoyed that.
[00:51:08.480] - Jim Ryan
Yeah, I got like a dentist appointment.
[00:51:11.540] - Big Rich Klein
Oh, no, really, I enjoyed it. OK, good. You know, I used to. I kind of help work my way through college. Doing kind of the same thing and there you go. All right, so this time it was just dealing with a lot of people that I knew, a lot of people I didn't know. But, you know, just it was a lot of fun, you know, to tell people only to, you know, people trying to team owners had come up and go, OK, I want to go to my truck or my car.
[00:51:41.490] - Big Rich Klein
And I'm like, OK, which one of those two in there do you want to come out? Yeah, right. And it was it was great. I had a really good time. I don't know if I made any friends down there that that day, but, you know, that was.
[00:51:54.990] - Jim Ryan
Yeah, that's a tough job. It's got it's got to be even tighter than that for for safety reasons. They'd called it on top of it, right. Yeah.
[00:52:02.940] - Big Rich Klein
And I can imagine. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:52:06.360] - Jim Ryan
[00:52:07.620] - Big Rich Klein
Go ahead. No, no. Go ahead.
[00:52:10.280] - Jim Ryan
Now, so, yeah, the 2017 was was definitely what we were working those years up to, and part of that was getting all the, you know, the marketing assets developed to support the series and kind of kind of all hit hit its stride by 2017. So Score Journal started in 2015, the website Luzhin 2015. Social media was getting kind of at least a plan behind it. So all that stuff started going again with the target being getting ready, getting ready for the fiftieth anniversary years, which included live streaming, just kind of getting its feet wet down there.
[00:52:54.720] - Jim Ryan
It's a technology issue more than anything, as you as you already know. Right. So it's it's still this site. That's where that's where it started, making sure all those tools were available. And the big thing that did occur was Schauder Roger did instantaneously, was bringing television in for every race. And that became a big driver for for for exposure for the teams and the sponsor base at the time. And as we grew the sponsor base, yeah, I remember having that conversation with Roger and he goes, Rich, you got to do TV.
[00:53:30.710] - Jim Ryan
And I'm like, I'm trying you guys, I can't get the funding. And he goes, you just got to fund it yourself. And I'm like, Roger, I'm on a different funding level than you are.
[00:53:41.050] - Jim Ryan
Yeah. The different different world for sure.
[00:53:44.180] - Big Rich Klein
[00:53:44.900] - Jim Ryan
But he was able to do it and that was a big deal. The first year 2014 was trophy truck only just to get get a handle on how this was going to happen with CBS Sports. And then again, that was brand new prior to that. From a score perspective, you know, get different production companies to come in about every three years and do something on the ball, 1000 or something on the five hundred. And it was kind of random and it was good when it was happening.
[00:54:17.810] - Jim Ryan
But starting with 2014, you know, it was an hour long show on every every every race we had basically involving trophy trucks and then for 2015 went into all all the all the pertinent classes, if there was a story to be told. So that's what's kind of held since then with different different television partners. But that's that's a big deal.
[00:54:45.040] - Big Rich Klein
And what year was it that that score stopped doing events in the states in California that would have been to see in 2016 maybe? I think 2016? The Imperial Valley race was one in September. It was it was just kind of brutal. So we moved it to Rosarito Beach in 2016. Yeah, twenty sixteen, and it was a great was it right on the coast that it became more of a short course lap deal? Not that type of a course, but it was 40 mile loops, 60 mile loops.
[00:55:39.610] - Big Rich Klein
And it turns out our guy we did that for a couple of years. And we did want Rosarito, the two in Tijuana, Desert Challenge in a desert challenge, there were great races, but we just finally decided, OK, guys, when they come down to Mexico, they like a lot of seat time. They like the long distance of Durel because the effort is the effort. Getting ready to come down to Baja. Right. And all the all the aspects that has to do with that.
[00:56:13.400] - Big Rich Klein
It did help on their chase truck crews. They didn't have to they didn't have to get into logistics on that race. But it was still it was just wasn't what Squaw was about at the time, you know, never say you can't come back. But that be that morphed into the new Baja 400, which is in September now. And that had a great initial response in twenty nineteen. Obviously we had to we had to postpone and actually cancel that race last year for covid.
[00:56:44.150] - Big Rich Klein
But it's back. That's what we're headed into. That's all our planning and operation stuff is for the four hundred now and it's an hour and it's happening this September and that's just going to be a one 400 mile lap basically.
[00:56:59.840] - Jim Ryan
Yeah. It's a loop race. OK. OK, so that's it's also the qualifier, position qualifier for the Baja 1000, so it'll it'll do good to get nice, nice at least to start on the ocean and then we'll find out soon whether or the race course is by our race director.
[00:57:23.710] - Big Rich Klein
Having put on some races myself, you know, I owned Vorra for a few years and the early 2000s, and then I had the Dirt Right series, which was more ultra ish regional type stuff, but everything was short, short, of course, like five to nine mile loops. What is it like to to have enough volunteers and crew to put together even the five hundred, the four hundred or especially the thousand, is that right? Is that a nightmare?
[00:57:57.400] - Jim Ryan
It's it's well after fifty three years we do have there is a there is a plan. Right. But it's generational in times change. So yeah, it's it's the amount of work that goes into the score. Race is is amazing. That's why we have we have a full time staff in operation out of Sanaa right now. And that's where the president and general manager are located in the Senate office. They deal a hundred percent every day with with all levels of the government from Mexico City, which basically supports scoresheet now in terms of their their their marketing US, US and F1 and soccer.
[00:58:45.820] - Jim Ryan
So we made that that happened a couple of years ago. But, you know, it's everything from the restaurant and hotel associations to the police departments and security and border border crossing, the political end of the border crossing. And so our guys are very busy. Not to mention just the normal, working with all the landowners, where the courses are going and permits and unrecovered and everything else. So they've done an amazing job of navigating, you know, all these new factors.
[00:59:22.690] - Jim Ryan
But so they've done a great job where we is. We were kind of the the the poster program for Bahnhof in terms of events last year. There had been nothing happening down there until they allowed us to go ahead with the five hundred last September. So it wasn't on its normal June June date because we kept moving it back. But so we operated under strict KOH the guidelines to see how it was going. And everything came out great at the racer's.
[00:59:54.250] - Jim Ryan
All did what they were supposed to do in terms of social distancing as sanitation stations and masking and all that. So that allowed us to do the Baja 1000 last year, which was kind of the key. So we got through that. For last year, they didn't do this, but the amount of people getting back to your question, sorry for the deviation.
[01:00:17.720] - Big Rich Klein
I don't know that it is.
[01:00:21.080] - Jim Ryan
Yes, it's the volunteer status is critical to what we have for road crossing and every other aspects out out on the course itself and even around start finish line in operations. But yeah, there's fortunately a good cadre of leadership there and returning people to come down every year. So it's that part has worked. But yes, it's it's hundreds of hundreds of people, as you already mentioned, that that have to be involved to make sure these races operate and operate safely.
[01:01:00.300] - Big Rich Klein
Do you guys have a person, one person or or who does somebody get involved with or contact for? Volunteering.
[01:01:12.940] - Jim Ryan
For restaff volunteers, too many channels, it could come through virtually any one of us, but it will end up down at the Senate office with the race director was a role for Oliver and Hector. Pottsy is basically the panels, all our volunteers out of the office. So it goes through a process. But, you know, it's kind of nonstop all year long.
[01:01:44.370] - Big Rich Klein
Right. OK, because I know that there's always, you know, I've been down there. Not not as not as many times as I wish, but I've been there, down there quite a bit for different races and stuff and in different capacities, mostly with teams. And when people ask, you know, how do I get involved? I always tell them, you know, first of all, or they say they want to race. I see.
[01:02:07.940] - Big Rich Klein
First thing you need to do is go down there and volunteer on a team or volunteer, you know, to help that the race do something, not just. Build a car or a bike or whatever vehicle and just head down there to to to try it. I've seen so many people that have done that that are just shocked and overwhelmed by, you know, not just at the thousand or the 500 or the 250, but at any races, even races up in the states where they've never been to a race and then they go to go race one.
[01:02:44.080] - Big Rich Klein
And I'm always amazed that people. You know, take that avenue instead of, you know, checking it out first somehow.
[01:02:52.820] - Jim Ryan
Yeah, correct. We we get nonstop phone calls from from which is great. From all over the US. They're going to go buy a new bike or they're going to buy a truck off the lot and try to fix it up and come down. You know, it's your bucket list. They saw one of the TV shows or one of the movies. And it's just something that they want to come and challenge as a life challenge. But, yeah, we we try to intercept a lot of that and talk to them as much as possible.
[01:03:21.350] - Jim Ryan
In a lot of cases, we send them to a couple of other series so they can get their their skills down and their organizational skills down even more so because we're it's a whole different all different animal down there, as you already said.
[01:03:35.600] - Big Rich Klein
[01:03:36.920] - Jim Ryan
So it's it's it's it's very rewarding, but very challenging at the same time. And that's the way it's supposed to be. True. True.
[01:03:46.970] - Big Rich Klein
So anything in that's slated for the future at score that. You can talk about that's coming up, maybe something that that all the score people know, but maybe are other off roaders that listen to this. May not know.
[01:04:08.120] - Jim Ryan
Yes, yes and no, OK, there's there's a lot going on all the time, we're going to be introducing a couple of new initiatives here soon, and I wish I could tell you they're going to be they're going to be out in the next few weeks, actually, and they're going to be really happy. It took many, many months of a lot of hard work by a lot of people making these these couple projects happen. But it's that's that's mostly on the marketing side of regarding.
[01:04:44.270] - Jim Ryan
Regarding the racing end of it, it's kind of just hang on, there's always there's always a lot in the works. But yeah, right now we have our our solid four race series. And that's that's not going anywhere that basically that's 12 months worth of a lot of work right there to make sure everything is done correctly and safe. But there's always there's always new new things on the horizon.
[01:05:10.520] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. So what about for Jim Ryan? What's new? What's exciting besides everything that you're doing it score, which I know is like probably twenty four. Seven.
[01:05:22.700] - Jim Ryan
Yeah, it is like everybody in our world. Yes. I think the new projects that we're we're going to be introducing here or are probably what's going to be the newest, the newest items. Everything else we're working on is, like you said, kind of nonstop. And, you know, in our world, as soon as we clear the five hundred every year we're working on that next year, we already released our schedule, which was great for twenty two.
[01:05:56.420] - Jim Ryan
And then our team based. It was all secure for the next few years. We're working on all the new guys that we've been working on for the last year or two. You know how that works. It's a it's a process, a time process and timing and budgets and everything else. So all of that's going on right now. The show circuit is is hot and heavy on the on the day to day stuff that we're working on right now.
[01:06:22.370] - Jim Ryan
As you know, they're they're all back. So we have the same sports show, which for us is the TV market market priority, which is we have four major classes there. Those numbers continue to grow, offered Expo's back. It's at the Ontario Convention Center now. So we'll be involved with that. CEMA we're involved with that. That's back. Prai is is another big show, especially for us. So all of that will be happening. You know, Q4 getting getting set up for twenty, twenty two.
[01:07:00.740] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. Excellent. So you don't see yourself retiring any time soon.
[01:07:06.850] - Jim Ryan
No, it's it's still a lot left to do. Score itself turns 50 years old, two thousand twenty three on ice. So that's a that's a big deal. Obviously, I rate the races that that are under our umbrella. We have two that already eclipse that landmark. But score itself when Mickey Thompson started, it will be fifty years old in twenty, twenty three. So we'll have some things up our sleeves for that too.
[01:07:40.100] - Big Rich Klein
I'm looking forward to that.
[01:07:42.530] - Jim Ryan
Yeah. Right. So did you ever, do you ever see the books that we put out for the fiftieth anniversary?
[01:07:50.700] - Big Rich Klein
I believe I did, I saw one I thought one was at the offroad Hall of Fame induction, but a bear that was auctioned off or something.
[01:08:00.990] - Jim Ryan
Oh yeah, there was a package. Yes. We we we produced two big 400 page coffee table books for both the one thousand one thousand fiftieth anniversary and about five hundred fiftieth anniversary of a kind of a box set. Wow. Yeah, that's a stun gun. Well, it's at least a recorded history of what went on there. So we might have a couple of those projects in the works in the near future.
[01:08:28.770] - Big Rich Klein
There you go. With the with the fiftieth year coming up for score. I get it.
[01:08:33.780] - Jim Ryan
Awesome. Baby, baby, baby.
[01:08:38.940] - Big Rich Klein
Jim, I want to say thank you for for spending the time and coming on board and doing the interview. And I hope you've enjoyed it. I think I think our listeners will will enjoy it and and get a lot of information out of it. A lot of things I didn't know. And that means they probably didn't know either. And I appreciate it.
[01:09:00.240] - Jim Ryan
Very, very good now. Thanks. Thanks for inviting me. It's good to talk to you, first of all. And it's been yeah. There's a lot there's a lot lot more to talk about from the past. It's just getting it organized for you troops. If there's anything else. After you look through this, if there's any other questions here, just give me a call.
[01:09:20.760] - Big Rich Klein
I will do that. Thank you.
[01:09:22.800] - Jim Ryan
You got it. Thank you.
[01:09:24.180] - Big Rich Klein
All right. Have a nice one.
[01:09:25.200] - Jim Ryan
Thank you. You too.
[01:09:27.600] - Big Rich Klein
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. You enjoyed it. Will catch you next week with conversations with Big Rich. Thank you very much.