Conversations with Big Rich

Helluva nice guy, Matt Hodges, on Episode 74

September 02, 2021 Guest Matt Hodges Season 2 Episode 74
Conversations with Big Rich
Helluva nice guy, Matt Hodges, on Episode 74
Show Notes Transcript

Helluva nice guy, Matt Hodges, shares the richness of life on Episode 74. You know him from Red Neck Ram and West Texas Off Road, but there is much more to the story. From his love of family and travel to his redneck engineering and the soft spot he holds for those less abled, meeting Matt on the trail is one of life’s pleasures.

3:10 – the Hodges’ Family Zoo

6:51 – driving on the highway to the ranch at 11 years old

13:46 – Marine Corps intelligence is just asinine

19:07 – I could let my OCD flourish

21:52 – he gave me a ’46 and a ’48 Willys and said “put them together”

27:29 – started tearing apart gearboxes 

33:20 – it’s funny to call it a manufacturing facility

44:33 – I just gave Kenny Hauk the Unimog

51:53 – as far as the media stuff goes, I would never want to do that

1:17:33 – I’m already the richest man in the world

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Speaker 1: 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. 

 

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Big Rich Klein: On today's episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Matt Hodges. Matt is west Texas off-road redneck Ram, and just a hell of a nice guy. Anybody that knows him we'll attest to that. I'm, I'm sure of it. He's made a lot of friends in the industry over the, the years that he's been in it. And we're going to talk to him about his life and how he got involved in this. So, Matt, thank you for coming on board with conversations. 

 

Matt Hodges: Thank you for having me rich it's so it's an honor. It really is. Thank you. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Well, I don't know about the honor part, but we're glad you're here. So let's, let's jump in with both feet and, you know, I've known you a long time, but there's a lot of stuff I'm sure I'm gonna find out. So let's start off at the very beginning and let's, you know, let's discuss where you were born and raised. 

 

Matt Hodges: I was born and raised right here in little old San Angelo, Texas. it's not, I guess, little anymore, but, born and raised here. I left for a few years for the Marine Corps then decided I wanted to get out on my own and was gone for about another year to work at a ski resort in Colorado and then came back and I've been here for 25, 30 years now that I haven't left other than vacations. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Okay. Let's let's talk about those first, early years there. If you were born and raised there, that means that, all your schooling was done there and all your influences were created there or happened there. Where you, were you studious Were you mechanical Were you athletic or did you just kind of do your own thing 

 

Matt Hodges: Well, I was the, I was the son of a veterinarian. my dad, graduated from A and M, the vet school and, moved here to San Angelo. They had me, so I grew up with a big influence of animal background. All of our friends called us the Hodges family zoo. Cause we always had every kind of stray pet you could imagine from raccoons to owls, to Bobcat's to just odd dogs and cats. So Bob cats, yeah, a mountain lion, even one time. Dang. Yeah, a baby mountain lion is as big as a full grown house cat by the way. But, animals are animals and you fall in love with them. So that was a big influence. but I was, I was always the mechanic kid, my mom and my, especially my mom would get so mad at me because I would take apart everything and figure out how it works and then put it back together. 

 

Matt Hodges: I got so much trouble cause she came home one time and the lawnmower was a part in the driveway to my credit. I cleaned out the cylinders and put it all back together and had it running before dark. So, oh, very good. Let's see. I was not a great student. I have been blessed with a fairly high IQ, but that proves the point that you do not have to be smart to have an IQ. I was terrible at school. I could, I could pull my shit together or sorry. I could pull my stuff together at the end of the year and take final test and pass. But I did not want to do the schoolwork during the rest of the year and it drove my parents crazy. I always did just enough to just barely get by so that I had time to go hunting and fishing and work on stuff and things like that during the rest of the time. 

 

Big Rich Klein: So what was your earliest mode of transportation Bicycle motorcycle 

 

Matt Hodges: Earliest is going to be a bicycle. You know, we had to, we had to ride a bicycle to the school and back red, white and blue. 

 

Big Rich Klein: And your parents didn't drive you to school 

 

Matt Hodges: No, we only lived about, well, all I can remember is elementary school and we only lived about five or six blocks from the elementary school. So I rode every day, it wasn't a big deal. We lived in town pretty close to the air force base. I can still remember back in the seventies. You could still hear the jets flying over and breaking the sound barrier, which you can't do anymore. They made it illegal or at least here in west Texas. They did. 

 

Big Rich Klein: I believe. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah, they a side note. They made it illegal here because it was breaking all the water tanks. The shockwave would transfer through the water and break all the concrete and stone tanks. Oh, so anyway, first mode was, was a bicycle red, white, and blue with a banana seat of first powered transportation, I guess technically it was a, I don't know, a late sixties, early seventies, FJ 40. it was given to me as a gift, but it was used as a tractor. It had a PTO output and it had a post hole diggers and stuff like that. And we used it around the farm. So how many times did you take it apart 

 

Matt Hodges: I was given strict rules that I could not touch that. Yeah, very strict rules that I couldn't do it, but it honestly, it didn't last long. It got moved on to something else. And then I guess my first highway vehicle was the, 1976 Ford, F three 50 with a four 60 and a manual for speed and driving it down the road. I can remember driving it on the highway to the ranch at 11 years old. And you could physically watch the gas gauge move. I know most people don't get to drive on the highway at 11, but in small town, west Texas things are a little bit different. Right. 

 

Big Rich Klein: So San Angelo is like right on the edge of west Texas. I would say, I would say in that, that central part of the, of Texas, it's probably the, the first metropolitan area. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. Eastern edge of west Texas or the Western edge of central Texas, something like that. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Yeah. Just beginning of the hill country. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. Yeah. 

 

Big Rich Klein: So from that pickup truck, you said you did a lot of hunting and fishing. I would imagine that was your, was that your mode of transportation at that point Going out hunting and fishing Yes, sir. And what kind of, what kind of critters did you hunt 

 

Matt Hodges: Oh, anything that I could, you know, you give a, a young boy, a 22 or something like that, that he can carry around and I would walk the rivers and walk the pastures and nothing was safe, which you look back on now. And he kind of feel bad about just, just shooting everything that moved. But I think I learned a lot more about animal management and caring for the wildlife 

 

Big Rich Klein: Because you grew up gaining a respect. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. Being a son of a veterinarian and you know, and he loved animals, but he taught me to hunt and it's just, yeah, I have a, I have a big nature streak now and want to take care of everything. So good thing being out and doing crazy stuff out in the wildlife and seeing how wonderful it is made me have a better respect for it to love it and want to take care of her. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Okay. So let's talk about that F350. how long did you have that for said to your 11 or thereabouts 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah, for a few years. I started, I started driving it to high school when I could, and then, I think when I turned my, I lost my father to a drunk driver when I was 15. And so we really couldn't afford to buy much after that. And then, high school, I was going to a small town called wall, Texas. Think there was 48 people in my graduating class. My mother bought me an S 10 blazer when I turned, I think it was when I turned 18, it was either 17 or 18, but I drove that Ford up until that point. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Okay. Yeah. I would imagine they stayed pretty much stock, 

 

Matt Hodges: Pretty much, the band rotted off of it and we put a flatbed on it. Okay. Other than that, it was pretty well stock, you know, had, you know, you look back now and you think, I can't believe I, I sold, you know, I don't remember what I sold it for. I think it was like 800 bucks when I sold it. I can't believe I sold a truck with a Ford king pin. Dana's 60 for 800 bucks. But back then, you know, at 17, 18 years old, he didn't know what a Ford king pin Dana 60 was 

 

Big Rich Klein: Or what it was going to be used for later on. I mean, I would imagine you're of the age where Jeeps at that time were still stock ish. Everybody, nobody changed out that, those 30 and 30 fives. No. 

 

Matt Hodges: Oh, here it was 20 sevens, you know, 28. It was around San Angelo. It was big if it had thirties on it. Right. I got out of the Marine Corps, ended up buying a four cylinder YJ later on and kept that for many years. You actually saw that vehicle. Is that the yellow one Yeah, that was the yellow one. Okay. And, I can remember when I put, I did a spring over and put 30 fives on it, everybody around all my friends and I was like, that's crazy. You know, why do you need something that big That's just crazy. So, because it gets all the girls. Right. 

 

Big Rich Klein: So let's talk about a wall Texas. I would imagine that you went there because you guys moved after your dad passed away. Is that, would that be correct 

 

Matt Hodges: Okay. Yeah, when he, we had to move, 

 

Big Rich Klein: Wow. That must have been kind of traumatic and 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah, it was, you know, especially at the age of 15, you're kind of at that crossroads in your life where you're trans still transitioning from being a boy into a young man. And, you know, you, you have all those questions and, you need that birds and the bees talk and you need some, some hard lessons and, you know, screw ups and all those things. 

 

Big Rich Klein: So you didn't have an older brother. 

 

Matt Hodges: I did not have an older brother. I had a younger sister, but not on that. Wasn't going to help. No, no, it didn't help. That was a little rough, but it turned out. Okay. And I went, I had to learn some lessons the hard way, but you know, when, when you learned them the hard way you usually retain them, they're there, they're learned good as you would say, 

 

Big Rich Klein: Less likely to repeat. 

 

Matt Hodges: Repeat. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. 

 

Big Rich Klein: So then, after wall, did you step right into the military Yup. 

 

Matt Hodges: A mom, I knew mom couldn't afford to send two of us to college and I'm not a college guy. Anyway. I tried a few times after the Marine Corps, but I knew she couldn't afford it. I, like I said earlier, I, I test well and not a very good study, but I test well and I've tested, you know, did the ASVAB or whatever. And they said, they promised me a great job and ended up being in intelligence, which is just 

 

Big Rich Klein: Matt Hodges in intelligence. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. Marine Corps intelligence is just asinine to me. But, yeah, I, I studied to be an Arabic linguist. Wow. I mean, there was in core. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Did you retain any of it Oh, 

 

Matt Hodges: A little bit. I could probably still ask for a cup of coffee and, you know, as any young man, you're always going to retain the curse words first. So I could probably give somebody who's cussing. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Where did you end up serving 

 

Matt Hodges: Monterey California for over a year. And then a camp was June camp Geiger, North Carolina. Actually, I stopped in Aurora, Colorado for, I don't know, six or nine months. And they put me through drawing class or graphics classes and I'm not sure what that was about why they sent me there. But so I did really well at drawing graphic stuff and I think it was to draw maps. but then, was sent to North Carolina and, I was stuck with a tow gunner group. We were doing, I think about a 20 mile March on the beach. And we were walking up, pumping up a sand dune. The backpack that they were in, the Marine Corps is called the Alice pack. And it has a lumbar support bar and that, pushed against my lower back just the right way and slipped a disc out of place. It pinches the nerve going down to my legs, the sciatic nerve. And I went flat on my face that started a chain of events where they medically discharged me from the Marine Corps. So I actually never made it over to the middle east. I never got seen any action kind of disappointing, but, I spent about two and a half years in and then got sent home. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Wow. Okay. But at least you got some education out of it and whether you're using your Arabic linguistics in San Angelo, that's another story, 

 

Matt Hodges: Not in San Angelo. I have, I have a friend that makes fun of me that it seems like every time we go on a trip, I find somebody at a truck stop to talk to. Oh, I would 

 

Big Rich Klein: Imagine that a truck stop. Yeah. That probably freaks those people out. 

 

Matt Hodges: When you walk up behind somebody and say, good morning and, or, or excuse me, or thank you and Arabic, can they, you know, they, they back up and answer you in Arabic and then they turn around and they see this red head pale face, white kid. They're like really shocked. So that's awesome. 

 

Big Rich Klein: So out of the military, what did you, you said you did a little bit of college. 

 

Matt Hodges: tried college. I went to some engineering classes and, I did some online stuff through Texas tech and then there's a community college here in town for, AutoCAD and drafting. I tried that and I'm just not, I'm not made for a classroom. I'm more of a, hands-on learn it from somebody one-on-one type of guy or I'm, I'm pretty good at teaching myself things, but I tried that and it just didn't work. I, I became a mechanic as a night job to help pay for schooling and that kind of took off. And I did that for quite a while. I ended up driving a bus for a special needs school system, and I will have to say that that was probably the most rewarding job I've ever done really. Oh yeah. The, those special needs kids were for some of the best kids I've ever met in my entire life. 

 

Matt Hodges: I ended up leaving because one of my, one of my students or one of my kids, you know, just a kid that rode my bus, but he was one of my kids passed away. And, I don't remember, he was seven or eight years old. It, it broke me and, I couldn't, I just couldn't take it anymore. So I had to walk away. I remember thinking I can't do this again. So I, and that's when I moved, I'd had so much fun in Colorado in the Marine Corps while I was there at Aurora air force base that I'm sorry, Lowry air force base in Aurora that I decided I was going to just move and start over. I'd had a bad breakup with a girlfriend at the same time. So I moved up to Breckenridge, Colorado and worked for, worked for the Keystone corporation. They own like three ski resorts up there, Keystone Breckenridge, Arapaho basin, and, drove a bus, then got to meet new people every day and have fun and go skiing. And it was a great year. And after the season was over, I came back to San Angelo with the intentions of going back. But I don't remember. I met a girl and started a new job. And I think I started driving a truck working on trucks and 

 

Big Rich Klein: Bigger than three 50, 

 

Matt Hodges: No I'm fucking Peterbilts, but I just never left again, worked on trucks and then they needed a driver. So I drove trucks and then decided I didn't want to be alone in a truck anymore all day long came back. And, I started, let's see, at that point I started doing electrician work. I got hired on the company that a buddy of mine worked at. He left not long after that. And I stayed on with them for a couple of years and, thought that that was going to be my, my forever job. I was really good with, with running wires, especially control panels and things like that. I could sit down on a, on a stool with all my wires and zip ties and labels, and I could let my OCD flourish make all those panels look really professional. 

 

Big Rich Klein: I guess that proves that I do not that I'm not OCD. Oh, I see. I always wish that I could, that I could spend the time to do wiring and anything like that. Any detail work to the skill or to the level of that. I see so many people do. I'm more like, okay, let's just get this done and move on to the next thing. And if you look under the hood of, of my vehicles yield, completely understand that I'm the one that says that I'm the one that's in those memes that says my God, I can't believe somebody would drive a vehicle that has as much wire in it. But if anybody ever breaks on a trail and says, Hey, I need a piece of wire. I know I've got extra. Right 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. I, I love it. I absolutely love doing that stuff. The problem is is if you interrupt me while I'm trying to do that, I explode. I just, I want to be completely left alone. So, and I don't, I don't, I don't want to be that guy that explodes it people. So I don't do a whole lot of it understood. But when my father had been killed, when I was 15, after school was out, my mom needed to, you know, do a lot of traveling and take care of the estate. My dad had a lot of business ventures. He was mainly, mainly a vet, but there was a lot more to it than that. but she had to do a lot of traveling to help take care of things. And she was trying to find her new way in the world. You know, he had a, he needed to figure out what she was going to do to make a living and things like that. 

 

Matt Hodges: So she sent me to, for the summer, she let me go to my uncles in Arkansas. And, immediately he got tired of watching me mope around and feeling sorry for myself all day long. So he'd started putting me to work. He gave me a 46 and a 48 Willis and said, here you go, put them together, make one. And so I did, I spent the first half of that summer, or first two thirds of that summer learning how to take apart and reassemble CJ two. A's nice. So then the last third, the summer, I got to drive it around in the river bottoms of Arkansas, south of Fort Smith. Yeah. So 

 

Big Rich Klein: You had a 46 and a 48. So you ended up with a 47, right The Johnny Cash version. 

 

Matt Hodges: But, when, when my mother came to pick me up at the end of the summer, he sent me home with, it gave me a trailer and actually both Jeeps, all the extra parts from the other one and, sent me home with them. And I kept those for many years. Wow. That's awesome. I did sell it, but I still know the, the guy that owns it, he's here in town, him and his daughter loved going to the ranch and getting in it and driving around the ranch. And I would never want to take that away from him. But, you know, I've asked him that if he ever gets rid of it, that I would like it back. So, but after that, I, you know, I'd kind of fallen in love with the Jeep stuff. I had that yellow Jeep while I was an electrician still on four cylinder spring, over with 30 fives, I've gotten a big argument one time with my boss and I was just, I was done with it. 

 

Matt Hodges: I quit. And, I had a buddy that had a rhino lining dealership here in San Angelo that he use the showroom at all. He only used the back area to spray bedliners. And so I asked him if I could share the shop, split the rent with him. And he said, yeah. So I decided I was going to start an off-road shop. He would spray bedliners during the day and I would watch the front. And then when he would be done spring, pick up beds, then I could use the shop floor to work on stuff. If it was an overnight job, it had to stay outside. And, you know, doing clutches on asphalt is not fun because animation jacks don't roll very well. And asphalt 

 

Big Rich Klein: In west Texas gets warm 

 

Matt Hodges: In west, Texas gets warm. Oh, I was, I was probably when he 26, 27 at the time, so much younger. And I could handle that a lot better then, but he did what you had to do. And I loved it and it just grew and grew and grew from there. And that was 99, 19 99. 

 

Big Rich Klein: All right. And at that point, did you call it west Texas Off-road 

 

Matt Hodges: I did. There's also, I actually got a letter in the mail saying that they were going to Sue me for using that name after I had gone to the county and asked them to do a name search and all that, they still said they were going to Sue me. There's a place in Midland Odessa area called west Texas off-road center, but they called themselves west, Texas off-road and I called them. And in the end they were polite about it. You know, lawyers get involved and they always sound really gruff in letters. But when you're face-to-face with somebody, most people are reasonable. So I changed my name to west Texas four wheel and off road, kind of like the magazine that we used to have Peterson's full wheel and off road. Right. So I was west Texas for wheeling off road and they were west Texas offered center, but we still both call ourselves well, west, Texas off-road. Okay. but, yeah. Yeah. They're still in business too. Wow. They just do things like, accessories, like bumpers and grill guards and toolboxes and stuff. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Yeah. Being in that, that oil area that's yeah. Flatbeds and dress 

 

Matt Hodges: Them up. They do a great job for what they do. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Cool. Perfect. So let's talk about the growth of west Texas off-road over the years. 

 

Matt Hodges: Okay. Well, let's see started in 99, you know, and it just, I signed on and got as many dealers, you know, Beeler accounts as I could. And it was probably mid 2000. I did, my first actual swap on my Jeep. I think it was probably a Dana 44 and a nine inch and put some old used groundhogs on it. like 38 inch groundhogs and they were sitting out around, I couldn't control it. You get death wobble really bad. So as I started to try to figure it out, what I'm going to do to help control big tires, because I had loved, you know, mechanical things as a younger kid, I used to watch a lot of the Baja stuff and I could remember seeing Baja trucks. And now I know that they were probably either how or li Ramesses steering kids on some of those box trucks and, you know, like the old Ford Bombardier trucks and the old Thunderbirds and Corvettes, they had those power assist Rams on the steering. 

 

Matt Hodges: That was the first power steering for those cars and trucks. And so I started tearing apart gearboxes and trying to figure out how to do that. And I built one for myself. And then there was a guy here in town named Tony Palmer that had a big if J 40 on with a VA, you 40 fours and stuff like that. And he was my first real customer. And then several other guys here in San Angelo, I did theirs. And Tony was a Tony wasn't big internet guy. He loved to be on the internet all the time. And at the time that was still pretty new thing to me. But, he posted something on a forum called pirate or by four 

 

Big Rich Klein: And never heard of her. Right 

 

Matt Hodges: Man getting phone calls and emails and stuff, asking pain. We saw that you did this for this guy. I want one. It wasn't, it wasn't like a week after that. You know, some of the magazines have the new product lines that are coming out. We saw one of the other companies, AGR was selling the rock Ram. I was like, well, that's interesting. That's basically the same thing. So I called, I decided, well, I said, I'm making these, I'll just sell them. So I called AGR and wanted to be a dealer. You know, it's like, Hey, I'm making these, I've been selling them, but you guys are a bigger name. I know the name will help sell things, let me sell them. And I said, sure, no problem. And sent me a price list. And I called them back. I said, can you give me a, a dealer or maybe wholesale level price list And they said, well, that is the wholesale level price list. And I kind of chuckled and us like, this is too much, you know, I can make it and sell it and have a good profit for half this amount. And, I don't remember the salesman name at the time, but he was like, if you're so good at it, then do it. 

 

Big Rich Klein: So I love motivation. Yeah. 

 

Matt Hodges: Best way to tell me to, you know, make me do something, just tell me, can't do it. Or, you know. Yep. So we're challenging. So away I went and here we are 22 of this October, 22 years of being in business and filling the Rams. That's been a, that's been a big deal, right. We worked very hard to try to have a great product at a reasonable price without breaking the bank. 

 

Big Rich Klein: And you're not just doing the Jeep or, or, you know, those, those style boxes and everything you're doing, you're doing just about everything, aren't you. 

 

Matt Hodges: And we have, we have, I don't know, hundreds, I would say customers that live up in like Montana or Idaho or things like that, that just have ranch trucks with snowplows on them. And you can't, you know, you start pushing snow, you can't turn. And so you put a ramp on it. So you can turn a lot of those guys that run those mat, track vehicles up in the snow. You can't turn those things. So we put a random Ram model so they can turn, we've helped. I love doing one-off weird stuff. And so I've helped guys with like vans that are disabled, you know, polio victims or, or paraplegics or things like that, you know, and work with them and build a steering system so they can steer, or, you know, even those guys getting them in a Jeep that they couldn't steer a Jeep before. Nope. Build something custom for them. So even if they have 2% strength in their arms, no, they can barely lift their arms. They can still steer. So I love doing off the wall, stuff like that, but I mean, mainly it's just, it's just about making the driving experience better. I even have it on my, my Dodge mega cab that has stock size tires on it, just so it runs better down the highway, pulling a trailer. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Okay. Makes sense. So the location that you're at in San Angelo is that, how long have you been in that location 

 

Matt Hodges: Oh, 15 years. For 14 or 15 years. I've been in this location, previous location, the building itself had been bought out. I had just, when it came up for sale, I had just bought some other stuff and didn't have the money to buy the building out there and regretted it because of the new owner added a zero to the, to the back of the rent. And, so that went, it went up 10 times, which was crazy. So we started looking for a new place. We found this and it was an old tire store from the seventies. And so it's a great place. It's in town. I get a lot of traffic. It's about a quarter of a small city block. So it's been a good location, but I'm, I managed to actually buy it. And so I don't have to worry about ever getting kicked out again. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Right. And you have the showroom there, you have the facilities to RNR and do work on vehicles, all sorts of work. And then you also have your manufacturing facility, which I think you're sitting in now. So you're not doing any box work right now, right 

 

Matt Hodges: No. and it's funny to call it a manufacturing facility. it's a sea container. It's a 40 foot sea container that I've built like a little office annex on the side of it. That's eight foot long and four foot wide. And I sit in here with an air compressor and a big CNC, lades, and a bunch of aluminum and steel. I make it run parts all day long. I have some great guys that run the front and the better at being salespeople than I am. I just want to sit there and talk and do stuff all day long. So back here I get to draw and computer CAD and, and then tell the computer to, up to the lady. And then the lady makes parts. So I just have to keep the, keep it running, 

 

Big Rich Klein: Keep the machine fed. 

 

Matt Hodges: You know, we also have on the property, there was a little filling station, little BD, like one room filling station that you saw from the sixties and seventies. Right. I own that also. And it used to be a can recycling place. There was a homeless guy that lived in it and did, can recycling. And I let him stay there for probably five or six years after we moved in, because he didn't have any place to go after awhile. I told him, I said, okay, we I've got plans for this building. I'm going to give you time, but you need to find a place. You know And I think it was funny, the gov, I shouldn't say it's funny, but it's fortuitous. He burst into tears and said that he had to, he had just, he'd been saving money and he just got his own place. 

 

Matt Hodges: So it worked out well, timing is everything right. But I, I bought a, a hand, you know, a manual lay the mill and, and put it in there and got the AC working over there and painted all the windows wide. So you couldn't see any anymore and redid the installation, made it okay in there and started doing other things. And, you know, I said earlier, I liked to hunt and fish and things like that. And so I had been into varmint hunting at the time and going out at night and calling, calling foxes and stuff like that in, in part of that is you're trying to be as quiet as possible and a big loud gunshot goes off and you're pretty much done. You got to pick everything up and go find a different spot. And so I started trying, I started working towards being as quiet as possible. 

 

Matt Hodges: You know, you can buy silencers and stuff for firearms. And I I've got those pretty quiet. And then I started machining parts for an air gun that I bought. It's a big board air rifle, it's 3 57 caliber. I got it. Even quieter. And then you play around on the internet and you show pictures of what you've done on the old, there's a forum for everything, no matter what you do. There's somebody out there that has an internet forum for it. So true enough, I was on the arrogant forums and kind of posted something I did. And it was the same way with the Rams. I, you know, people saw it like, Hey, I want one of those. So now I own an air gun business also. And we, we make, so in the air gun business, they're called moderators, not silencers. And that's kind of legal purposes because for an air gun moderator, you don't have to have any kind of license or anything. 

 

Matt Hodges: It could be because it's not a firearm, but it also, it can't be easily fitted to a firearm. Okay. And so we 3d print them and they can handle the air pressure, but they couldn't be managed to a firearm anyway. And so we 3d print those and sell a lot of them. And, we, tune air guns. And I have, a guy that used to have a TV show on the outdoor channel called American air gunner that he runs that business because it turned into a business and I didn't have time to do anything else. So I brought him in and he runs a show over there and it's, to me it's still just a hobby, but it actually makes money for them. And they can, you know, gives him a way to make a living. And that's awesome. Yeah. 

 

Big Rich Klein: So then what else are you doing it at west Texas Off-road besides steering and the air gun stuff. You're doing RNR work and building one-offs or anything. 

 

Matt Hodges: a little bit 99% of it. It's just the average everyday stuff that any off-road shop would do. Lift kits, leveling kits, tires, and wheels, and just maintenance people, breaking stuff. a lot of, a lot of maintenance from hunting vehicles because there's lots of hunters that come in from out of state and have hunting leases here and things get tore up. And so we fix a lot of that kind of stuff. but occasionally we still get to do the, you know, the fun stuff every once in a while, I'll get a hankering and build myself something new. I, I've built myself a new YJ, you know, you get to watch, you get to look at all the things that other people do, and you let those stir in your head and, and you like this guy's idea, but you don't like what he did here. 

 

Matt Hodges: And then another guy you like how he set this up, but you don't like how he set the other thing up and you take all those ideas and eventually they, they boil to a head and you got to put all those ideas on something. So I have a few vehicles that I've built myself. I have a really long Jeff J cruiser. I think there's a, there's a guy in California. That's building one as big right now. But up until that, it was the biggest FJ cruiser that I could find in the world that still had all of its body. So it was one tons and forties that it still had all of its body. 

 

Big Rich Klein: You didn't even have to cut tire the fenders for clearance. 

 

Matt Hodges: Well, okay. Clear. I did trim a little bit of fender, but I didn't have to cut into the interior of the body 

 

Big Rich Klein: At all. Cool. 

 

Matt Hodges: There's bigger ones, but they had to cut inside. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Right. And all that. Yeah. 

 

Matt Hodges: But when you, you know, we still do some one off stuff and I enjoy it, but I've also learned that I need to do what I'm really good at and try to be the best that I can be at that and let other people that are good at stuff. There's so many good fab shops now that do buggies and things like that, that I don't, I don't really want to try and compete with those guys. They do an awesome job. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Right. That makes sense. You 

 

Matt Hodges: Have Jessie Haynes and you have the Campbells and other, well, I mean, the list goes on and on and on. There's so many good ones out there that I just don't want to even try to compete with them. I think those guys are doing a great job. I try to do what I do and try to be the best at that. I can be. I could probably come up with 10,000 different products to try to put on an internet site and just sell parts, but I'm not happy doing that. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Right. So let's go backtrack to the early years. How did you get hooked up with Shane and Randy at contempt It continues 

 

Matt Hodges: To be now thing Chapman and Randy cruisey. Yeah. Great guys. Awesome. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Absolutely. Because that's how we met. We met there at, at at 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. Q1 20 years ago. Yes. Yup. let's see. I don't remember if it was Jeff Smith or Quaid that he runs another company here in town. I don't remember. Somebody came by the shop and said, Hey, I have some buddies down in Mason that are thinking about opening up off-road park. Would you be interested in going down and looking at what they're doing and giving them some pointers I'm like, sure, absolutely. You know, and I'd only been in business for a couple of years. I'd been weaving for, oh, I don't know, 10, 10 years or so, but I, you know, and in my wheeling, wheeling then, and wheeling now is so different that it shouldn't even be called the same thing. But yeah, I went down and I met those guys and we immediately became buddies. Those guys are as good as gold you'll you just can't get a better group of guys. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. That's, that's how I met them. We went down just, you know, just kinda trying to give them some pointers on what to do. And they already knew, Randy is such a good, event coordinator type of guy, you know, he'd already been doing, oh, he'd been doing barbecue stuff and, and setting up events to do, take people on. Or his dad was taking people out on fishing trips and doing, being a guide. And I think Randy had already done some of that. And he's just a natural people person. True. It didn't matter who you are or what background you've got Randy and carry on a conversation with you. 

 

Big Rich Klein: He is the Hank hill of the hill country 

 

Matt Hodges: And he literally sold propane and propane accessories and cell phones and cell phones. And then Shane is, is such a good guy too. you know, and he could, he could take care of all the legal side of it. Luckily in Texas, the legal side's a lot easier than some places, but 

 

Big Rich Klein: Like almost anywhere. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. But they're a great couple of guys and Randy's whole family that helps run that. You know, I got to watch his son and daughter grow up, going down there. And now my youngest son is 11 and I've just bought him a, I bought him a 1985 Toyota mini truck with a Marlin crawler box, air lockers, Chrome Molly. Chef's Burchfield's I think I'm not sure I haven't taken it apart, but you know, I'm, I'm super excited for him cause he bought somebody else's project that had a blown up engine and we rebuilt the motor in it together and it's ready to go. I'm like any day now we're going to load it up and take it out. And I look forward to taking him down to contemporary and letting him grow up around that old crowd again. 

 

Big Rich Klein: That's awesome. So you've been, you're not vehicle specific, you've owned Jeeps. You've on Toyotas. You got a unit. Do you still have the new mug 

 

Matt Hodges: I just gave it to Kenny Hawk designs. I just gave it to him. I just got back from a trip about a week ago. and I haul it out there to Pennsylvania. I did an episode with them or we did an install on a Jeep and I, I, I took it with me and gave it to him because every time he'd come through here, he was always looking at it and they did a unit MOG for 'em. They did a big mug for Bilstein shocks. And so he kept talking about mine and I was just like, you know what Just sitting there rotting away. Nobody, nobody wants to ride with me in it. And I just gave it to him. I was, I wanted somebody to do something with it, so 

 

Big Rich Klein: Cool. So let's, let's go in that direction. you've, you've made friends with some TV personalities over the years and help them with projects. Talk about some of the, those experiences and, and who you've worked with. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. I, I guess I, I can remember the first time I went to an actual TV show that was the diesel brothers and, you know, that's not true. It was, it was Kenny Hawk. He was on discovery channel I believe, and was with him. And that was the first time that I was actually on TV, I believe. But I also learned that I don't think I would ever want to do that 

 

Big Rich Klein: To be Ivy oil 

 

Matt Hodges: Here. You'd be an on air personality. Yeah. Right. You know, have a show about my shop or something like that. They even, cause I, I, I like to always be the, be a laugh of the crowd and tell jokes and have a good time. And, the producer that was there ended up calling me later on and wanting to do an interview with my whole crew. He did. And he had a great time listening to us and meeting everybody and things like that. And at the end of it, I had a little private call with him and, yes, if I would be interested in doing it and I had to flat out tell him is as long as you can promise me, there's not going to be any more drama in my life than I have right now 

 

Big Rich Klein: That I'm, but they always want to create drama. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. And that's what I see everywhere I go is those guys just want to create drama. And then I went to a 

 

Big Rich Klein: That's that damn formula they have for reality. Well, they call it reality TV, but I call it fake reality. And yeah. And I've turned down so many projects over the years because of them wanting, you know, these producers wanting to juice up the idea. I mean, at one time, little rich and I, you know, when that American chopper was going on with the Tuttles, you know, people were approaching us, Hey, you know, you guys could do this and we could have these big arguments and do the same kind of thing. But in the four wheel drive industry, and we looked at him and went, no, we don't, we're not interested in that. Then, you know, same thing with the competition side. And I just won't change what I do for that, you know, 15 minutes of fame you might say, yeah, exactly. I'd rather have the 21 years we've had then one or two years on TV, you know, raking it in. Maybe, maybe, you know, maybe sell some extra merchandise or whatever and then have to deal with life afterwards. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. I'm the same way. No, I got the worst one was when I went to, the diesel brothers and I ended up, I'm on an episode, but all you can see is like my arm, the side of my arm and my shoulder, while I'm having a conversation with Dave sparks and that, you know, they're kind of on him and you can hear me talking to him, but you can't see me. So, and then like the top of my head while I'm working on something, but that, that place and those guys are super nice, but the drama that had to go on behind the scenes was, was like comical and idiotic. and he, you know, there was one time where they, the guy kept telling Dave and I guess Dave sparks and diesel, Dave, they were escorting somebody into the shop and they made him walk into the shop like 10 times. 

 

Matt Hodges: And Dave started talking about how stupid this was, you know, and he's, he's not a cusser or anything like that, but he was very vocal and he's not afraid to say what he thinks, the show producer or editor or whatever was like, Dave, that microphone's still on. And he said, I know he didn't care that he was getting sick part of it too. but the drama, the, you know, the fake drama that has to go on behind the scenes is ridiculous. And, and then you're kind of dangling on the end of the string. Like I went up there, what we had the Moab four by four expo last October. Right. And then I went up and did a Ram on the bro Camino for diesel Dave. 

 

Matt Hodges: And, I guess that was election day, but there were times where me and my buddy, John Linden and my wife were the only ones in the shop. Everybody, you know, we're in a multimillion dollar shop with millions of dollars worth of vehicles. And we're the only ones there because of COVID stuff. They had not been recording anything at all. And so they had let a lot of people go and it was just really slow. and that was sad. You know, you kind of dangling on, on the end of their string. And once, once they said, oh, we can't come anymore. Then you're, you're done. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Exactly. 

 

Matt Hodges: Oh, you know, I, you know, during all of this, the past year has just been crazy with all the people trying to mandate how you live your life and things like that. I, it's just been crazy and I never shut down. I never made, I refused to force my employees to do something that they don't want to do. And every one of them that wanted to stay home, I let them stay home. And when I got COVID, that was over Christmas holiday. So I stayed home. And, when I got sick and tired of sitting at the house, doing stuff, I would, I would call the shop and say, Hey, I'm going to drive up there. And I'm going to go into my machine shop. Y'all stay away from me. And so I, you know, I quarantine at work in my little so-called machine shop out here, just so you wouldn't go stir crazy. 

 

Matt Hodges: They're crazy. Yeah. But, but as far as the media stuff goes, I would never want to do that. It's fun to be guest appearances. but I never, I don't, I don't care about being on TV anymore. And it was really cool the first couple of times to see yourself. But yeah, I got over it really quick. Right. I just came back from like, I went to Pennsylvania to Kenny Hawks and then from there I had gone to Florida. I had that trip planned, and there was some bad things that happened and I ended up, it, it, it made the trip bittersweet, but there's a, there's a YouTube show down there called faster prompts and 

 

Big Rich Klein: Faster prompts. Yeah. 

 

Matt Hodges: Faster proms. So like in the nineties, you didn't, you didn't plug your car into a computer and tune it. You actually had a, you know, we call it chipping, but it was a problem chip. And, I guess the, the company, the guys Jeremy's dad started it and he, that's how he started his. He would flash those prompts and send them to you, like, you'd call him and say, Hey, I put a blower and I did a cam and I did all this stuff. And he would send you a series of these problems. You'd plug them in and you'd say, okay, this one worked well. And then, you know, they would send back and forth in tune. Well, he's, he now he does coding. And everybody's heard of Cletus McFarland. I think his first name is Garrett, but everybody's heard of Cletus, Cletus and cars, Cletus, McFarland. 

 

Matt Hodges: Okay. he's got a big YouTube show now, but, they shared a shot together. He did all the tuning for Curtis, but one of his guys is building a big, huge JK. It's an LS motor with a blower. And I don't remember if he's, I think he said 650 horsepower that he's trying to build out of it, but it may be, it may be eight 50. I don't remember, but he needed some help trying to figure out how to do the steering. He'd got a set of those new DS track axles that are coming in from overseas. He didn't have any idea how to set that up. So I spent a few days down there helping him 

 

Big Rich Klein: And filming for YouTube, his YouTube channel. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. Feminine for his YouTube channel. And I kept telling them, I don't care if I'm on your YouTube channel. I really don't. It's not about, it's not about being on onscreen for me. It's about coming and helping out and making the off-road community a better place. Right. I was going to go to Florida anyway. I bought it. I'm trying to start another hobby. I bought a ultra loud aircraft and it just happened to be right there. And so I went down to do that. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Then you, you bought an ultra light aircraft. Yeah. So like a fixed wing or kite type fixed wing, fixed wing. Okay. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. Interesting. If you want to look it up, it's called a, a Buccaneer. Okay. And it's an amphibious aircraft that you can land on the water or on land. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Does it have a really good glide ratio Yes, it does. Good. That's one of the things I, I, I, why I'm against flying small planes. All right. I'm just, I'm not a big fan of flying in anything. I've only done helicopter. God, I guess I've only been up in the helicopters twice and it was on the same day. And that's when we went up north or into went hunting pig, hunting with some guys. And we did, did it from a helicopter up in Oklahoma. But yeah, I don't, I'm not a, I'm not a big fan of getting my feet off the ground. You might. 

 

Matt Hodges: Well, my father was a pilot. He got, he was a veterinarian, but he was also, he was a pioneer in what's called embryo transfers. Okay. Artificial insemination. He pioneered all of that stuff back in the eighties, late seventies, early eighties. But, we would like load up all the gear and fly out to a ranch somewhere. And so he would let me fly with him and give me lessons and let me fly. And we'd play blackjack and poker while we flew. And so I would fly while we read his hand and then he would file. I read my hand and I, and I really fell in love with it. And, after he passed, I didn't get to fight with him anymore, but I also had a F one of my best friends in high school was a, he's a certified instructor. He used to teach at an academy before nine 11 and then went to an air ambulance and went, then now he works for one of these private corporations that you can lease an, like a Learjet or something. 

 

Matt Hodges: And he's your pilot. Okay. But whenever he was in town, the company he worked for would basically pay for him to, or I think they would pay for him to rent an airplane, to keep all of his flight hours up. And he would take me out and give me lessons and things like that. And I enjoyed that time with him also, but I've always loved being up in the air. I don't know why. I don't know if it's a feeling like you're closer to God thing or just a free spirit thing. I can't put my finger on it, but I've always loved it and I've missed it. So I'm going to just try new things. I get it. I am not going to just jump in and try to take off without taking some license, some lessons. I've already made some phone calls and started setting up classes so that I can actually work towards getting a license. I know most ultralights, you do not have to have a license to, a pilots license any way to fly them. So, but I promised my wife that I would be super safe. And, so I'm going to take some lessons before I just jump in. 

 

Big Rich Klein: I think that's why I ended up with a boat land and water. you know, I, I'm a strong swimmer. I can, I can walk. I can hike. Not that I prefer to do that. I'd rather drive, but, you know, if something happens, I can, I'm, I'm not, I'm not a good, not a good Lander. You might say, you know, I, I don't want to test all my lives like a cat. I'm not always going to land on my feet. So get me closer to the earth. But you know, those, that those that love to fly or parachute or, you know, be in helicopters, that kind of stuff, you know, that's, that's Shelly, we've been been at off-road parks where there, you know, special event going on and they've got, you know, helicopter rides and I'm like, go for it. And I'll sit and watch, you know, she's jumped out of airplanes and I forget how many jumps she's had with, you know, parachuting. And it's like, Nope. Besides, you know, think about the kind of parachute I'd have to use, you know, like they used in world war II when they were dropping those CG, you know, those old, CJ two A's or, you know, are military Jeeps off of the, out of the airplane. Jen, I need one of those big cargo chutes look, kinda look kinda odd. Yeah, that's me. Yeah. I mean, it, 

 

Matt Hodges: It's kind of become a thing now that every time we go to Moab, we have to go skydiving again. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Yeah. I don't, I don't get the fascination of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. It's like, Hey, I'm going to intentionally drop, you know, it's, I don't know. It's just me. it's not like I'm afraid to do it. It's, you know, I, I would imagine it's the, the, you know, the thrill seeking part, I've never been, you know, I love the adrenaline rushes and stuff. I just can't see myself jumping out of a plane when, you know, I don't like getting into them to begin with. So I don't see why jumping out of them at altitude is. but again, you know, that's just me. 

 

Matt Hodges: No, I, I totally understand it. I just, you know, I think part of it for me is wanting to push myself out of my comfort zone sometimes. Right. So, but I totally understand it and I will never, ever make fun of you for it. I know you can't do it, but, well, I would never make fun of anybody out there that didn't want to try it. Right. Anybody did, then I'd always be willing to go with them. So it actually started out the first time we did it, it started out as a dare between me and mark. One of my employees, we were there in Moab and it, it was just him and I, and, it kind of turned into a dare, like, yeah, I'll go, go, okay, well, I'll go. If you go before we knew it, the next morning we were headed out to the airport. So I think both of us thought the other one would back out before we got on the plane, 

 

Big Rich Klein: That's gotta be a different view of the red rock and those cliffs and everything being, being up in, an airplane or a, or a helicopter in that area. Yeah, 

 

Matt Hodges: It is beautiful. And those guys at that, that Moab, I don't know, no abs guys got to have MOA or whatever it is. They're super nice folks. We it's it's I could get queasy standing on top of a ladder. You know, you look down and you get that queasy feeling, but it's, it's not the same when you're in an airplane, because I guess the ground so far away, you don't have that your brain doesn't have that reference point to look down and say, oh, that's going to hurt when I fall. I know, but it's just not the same. You get up there and you're out on that plane and it's, it's it's I don't know how to explain it. It's just different. But your brain doesn't reference being off the ground. Even when you look down at the ground, it's so far away, it just doesn't feel the same. 

 

Matt Hodges: And a lot of people like the, you know, you talk to people that sky does, and a lot of them want the fall. They like doing the flips and spins and all kinds of crazy stuff in the air. Mine goes back to the flying thing. I like after they've pulled the parachute and you just get to soar around and it's so super quiet and free. That's my favorite part of the skydiving is not the diving. It's the parachute part. So I'll always ask them to pull the shoot as soon as possible so we can fly around. And, I, I enjoy that much more than the dive, but like my wife, she, she loved the free fall. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Yes. See, that's the part that I'm not sure, sure about. I think if the shoot, once the shoot good come open, I'd be much more relieved instead of that wondering, okay. Okay. Okay. Is it good 

 

Matt Hodges: So like mark is, I don't know, he's 6, 4, 6, 5, something like that. And 250 pounds or so I know, I know you're probably a pound or two over that, a few pounds over that they had, they had this little BD guy that was, he was like a young version of Polly shore. And I'm sure you remember who that is. A lot of your listeners probably won't know who Pauly shore is, but, look it up. But he was, he was a little bitty version of Polly shore had the like logs and things like that going on, but super fun character, but he was a little bitty guy, so they let him be small with March big. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Okay. So anyway, you know, you're, you, you got the ultra light you've, you're often the four-wheel drive industry for 20 plus years now. And where do you see, where do you see Matt Hodges at, in say 10 years Oh, what, what's on your to-do list I don't like calling him a bucket list. Right. I call him lifeless. What's on your life list. 

 

Matt Hodges: I've always been pretty good about checking those things off as I, as I go. So my bucket list is pretty short, but, I have, an 11 year old son and an eight year old daughter that I think that's going to be, I absolutely love watching them go play sports. And, I'm hoping that ever it's going to be, a center or a quarterback in, in the local high school. I'll get to all of our older boys that all moved off. I had so much fun going to those Friday night football games that I looked forward to doing that with him and with her, she's such a good ball player or getting to be such a good ball player that I hope she'll do that. and then I, I have some land down in Fort McKevitt, which is, it's a very historical piece of land it's been in our family for, I'll be the fourth generation. And, I want to build a house and have a nice quiet place by the lake. And, hopefully soon start having grandkids. It'll come do that and hang out. I can teach them how to fish and they take them wheel in down. Cause it's only about, I don't know, probably 40 miles from contemporary rocks. Nice. Yeah, I that's, that's what I foresee in my future. I've already done so much, I guess so-called wild and crazy stuff that, I'm ready to, just have fun with the next generation. 

 

Big Rich Klein: How about travel Is there anything, is there any part of the world that you would love to go see 

 

Matt Hodges: Yes, absolutely. So, redheaded, freckle face, Scottish kid. I would love, and I've, I got into, genetics and, and family tree stuff several years ago and I've tracked my lineage back, like to several castles in that area. And I would love to go to Scotland and Ireland and, and kind of travel that area and see some of the old family homesteads and, and do that thing. And I know I love to travel, so yeah, I'm, I'm all for any place I can go, I guess the next place I want to take my family a couple of years ago, we did a, like 20 days we rented a motor home and went up, went from here to the east coast and up and then across and back down, it's all kinds of cool stuff. I think the next time I want to go west, take them to show him Yosemite and, and, the Rushmore and, and 

 

Big Rich Klein: Yellowstone and all that. Yeah. All of those national parks are awesome. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yes, they are. They are treasure. We really are. We are so lucky to be living in the mission that we are and to have the things that we have. 

 

Big Rich Klein: True. Very true. So have you, have you gone to any foreign countries 

 

Matt Hodges: Nothing more than, just what's around the United States, Mexico, 

 

Big Rich Klein: Canada. Yep. Yeah. 

 

Matt Hodges: Okay. Virgin islands is that, you know, that kind of stuff down in there, I know of those islands are different countries that uniquely 

 

Big Rich Klein: There's Dutch west Indies and the Virgin islands you have British and the American. Yeah. It's all. Yeah. So Shelly and I have talked about doing Ireland. We want to take backpacks and then rent like small motorcycles or scooters. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. That sounds fun. That 

 

Big Rich Klein: Way you don't have to worry about parking because the roads in Ireland are really, really narrow, especially when you get out in the cotton, the countryside. And then I, cause I don't, I'm not a big fan of big cities. I don't care where we're at or any, you know what I mean We were in Australia, I loved being out, up and down the coast out of Sydney. I loved being in the Outback, or the Bush area. We never got into the Outback, but you know, I did not, I did not like, I mean, it was great being there, but I didn't, I don't like the crowds, you know, people pushing and shoving and you know, you just having to deal with everybody around you. I've, I've gotten to be, I'm not antisocial. I just, that part of the experience in other countries, I'm not into, Tokyo, that was a little different story because that was, but that was a, I think the reason Tokyo amazed me was just the way that culture is over there and how, you know, I'm kind of a history buff. So, you know, things here in the United States, you know, three, 400 years old and then you get over there and it's, you know, the buildings are still 15, 1600 years old and there would, you know, it just blows your mind, you know, the kind of history that, that some of these cultures that most cultures have that we don't. So that's, I enjoyed that part of it, but I really liked being out in the country in Japan as well. Yeah. The, my next place I'd really liked to go, I think, is New Zealand. 

 

Matt Hodges: It looks beautiful. It really does. Yeah. 

 

Big Rich Klein: And that's the, that's the part of it, you know, I'm not interested in being in the large cities. I want to be out in the, I want to be out exploring 

 

Matt Hodges: Me too. I love meeting people, but that was when we did our trip up the east coast, New York was the only place that we really didn't enjoy ourselves. It's a beautiful city and they had lots of cool things to go do, but it's just crazy. It's, it's too much, too much going on. And amazingly the locals or the nicest people, it was all the other tourists that were coming in and they're not used to it and they're flustered and they're not being nice. And then, so everybody's running around all the tourists are running around, being rude to each other, and it's only the locals that are nice, 

 

Big Rich Klein: But, well, that's good to hear. And 

 

Matt Hodges: I did get to speak Arabic several times in, in, in New York cab drivers. No, actually store owners and things like that. Okay, cool. yeah, that was the biggest, I'm not a big city guy anymore. Matter of fact, San Angelo's getting two for me. And we're only at probably, I don't know, we're 130, 140,000 people. Yeah. That's big. Yeah. It's getting there, it's it. Even at a hundred thousand people that still felt like a, just a big small town, but now it's starting to feel like a big town. 

 

Big Rich Klein: So what I love about Mason. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. And that's why they have so many people moving there and moving in that direction. Yeah. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Yeah. Everybody that can't afford to live in Fredericksburg, but Elle works there is moving out of Fredericksburg and getting into the local, you know, the surrounding communities where they have to drive 40 or 50 miles just because prices have forced them out of the area that they work. It's crazy. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. And Randy's doing well in the real estate business because 

 

Big Rich Klein: Of it. Yes. Yeah. I can't afford big ranches. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. I couldn't afford the place that we have. I, there's no way they just put the place across the river from us for sale and it's in the millions. So there's no way I could afford it. I'm lucky enough that I have a great grandfather that bought it and kept it. And my grandmother left it to my mother and my mother's leaving it to me. So 

 

Big Rich Klein: That's good. That's cool. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah. I, I, you know, traveling here trying to, you know, talk about off-road stuff. I want to do the, the Alpine loop, up in Colorado, that seems like a beautiful trail. Okay. I want to do the Rubicon. That seems like an absolutely beautiful trail. You've not done the Rubicon yet. I have not done the Rubicon. I have driven past it half a dozen times, always too busy to stop and drive, but, and it breaks my heart to say, say it, but no, I have not done the Rubicon. 

 

Big Rich Klein: We will have to figure that out. Or if, and when you decide to do it, and if I can't be there, then let me know and I can get you hooked up with some people that, because I really believe that the Rubicon is a much better experience. If you go with people that know the area, because you know, you get the good camp areas. They, I really recommend people take, you know, their first trip go jeepers. Jamber RI with that, you know, that's Sweeney and all those guys, they really take good care of you. There's, you know, trail help along the way. Not that you need any help on the trail, but you know, they, they get you in the right direction and keep you on the trail. You know, it's, it's just, and then they serve the food they serve they're as great, you know, you'd meet so many people that are in the industry or enthusiasts that, that, you know, have, that have lot of shared experiences. So that's always a good trip for a first time. Well, 

 

Matt Hodges: Food would be a problem. I'd make Randy cruisy go with me. And if you've ever been on a trip or anything was Randy, you eat well. Oh, 

 

Big Rich Klein: Well, they do a really good job up there. They have a cook crews that come up and those people are cooking breakfast, preparing lunch, and then dinner culminates with this great steak dinner that they do on the Saturday night. That's just phenomenal. But they really, they really do a good job with it up there. But yeah, we'd, I'd love to get you out there on the Rubicon. It's, you know, it's, I consider it my home trail. You should get up to, try to get up to South Dakota for the South Dakota challenger, whatever they happen to call that up there. And it's, that's a really, that's a really beautiful area as well. 

 

Matt Hodges: Randy was telling me, and it's been a couple of years, but, there's some event cause he does the, the land cruiser Roundup every year and it's all toy guys. And, and th they're kind of their own breed of off-road or, but supposedly there's a Toyota only event that happens. It starts, I don't know, up in the Northwest somewhere. And, it goes all the way up to Alaska, but it's only on back roads. They spend about a week going through. And I don't know why, but that sounded like a lot of fun too. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Does that one I don't know about, I want to do that, that trail across America or whatever they, it's called tat and it's, it actually goes from Oregon to like south or North Carolina and you can do, it's probably 80 to 90% off-road or off pavement. I want to try that sometime. Of course, I don't have the time now to do it all in one, one push, but we'll get time eventually. That's, that's the kind of trips I like. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yeah, absolutely. Well, cool. 

 

Big Rich Klein: So is there anything that we haven't discussed that, that you think people would be interested Oh, I don't know. I guess that at this point, I'd like to just say, you know, Hey Matt, thank you for coming on board and sharing your life with our listeners and hope that a hope for hope for you to have all the success in the world and everything that you want to have happen. All your dreams and aspirations come true. 

 

Matt Hodges: Well, thank you rich. And I hope the same for you, but I'm already the richest man in the world. I have, I have everything that I opened dream for as a young man. So I'm, I'm very blessed. I'm not, I'm not a millionaire, but I stay busy every day and I make a decent living and I don't have a mansion on the hill, but I have great kids and an awesome wife and wonderful friends. And 

 

Big Rich Klein: That does make you rich. It does. It does that's success. My grandfather, my grandfather always said, you know, it's not about how much money you make in life. It's how you get to live your life. 

 

Matt Hodges: Yes, absolutely. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Well, Matt, thank you very much for spending some time and I hope to see you this off season. We'll be back in the Texas area. We'll have to get together and maybe, go out and visit your property. 

 

Matt Hodges: I would love that. I would absolutely love that. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Cool. Well thank you for spending the time. 

 

Matt Hodges: Oh, thank you for having me. All right. Bye-bye bye-bye. 

 

Speaker 1: 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. I hope you enjoyed it. We'll catch you next week with conversations with big rich. Thank you very much.