Conversations with Big Rich

Mid-west wheeler, Steve Sharp, has an important message for you in Episode 119

July 14, 2022 Guest Steve Sharp Season 3 Episode 119
Conversations with Big Rich
Mid-west wheeler, Steve Sharp, has an important message for you in Episode 119
Show Notes Transcript

Steve Sharp has been outside for as long as he can remember. He shares his passion for outdoors, being a great leader, and knowing when to ask for help with us on this episode of Conversations with Big Rich.  Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.

4:40 – If I missed the bus, I got to walk the 3 ½ miles to school

8:25 – just like Mayberry RFD

15:36 – how come you always need tires?

24:41 – I need a job, I’ll work for half the going rate for 30 days 

31:04 – everyone that I can genuinely call a friend, I met four-wheeling

40:14 – it’s a blessing that I get to do what I’m passionate about

55:47 – kind of set the Bronco world upside down

1:02:29 – two things are as hard on the caregiver as the patient – cancer and mental illness, if there’s something going on – seek help

1:08:46 – the sport is great, but it always comes back to the people

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

Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.


Support the show

[00:00:06.370] - Big Rich Klein

Welcome to conversations with Big Rich. This is an interview style podcast. Those interviews are all involved in the offroad industry. Being involved, like all of my guests are, is a lifestyle, not just a job. I talked to competitive teams, racers, rock crawlers, business owners, employees, media and private park owners, men and women who have found their way into this exciting and addictive lifestyle. We discuss their personal history, struggles, successes, and reboots. We dive into what drives them to stay active and offroad. We all hope to shed some light on how to find a path into this world we live and love and call offroad.


[00:00:53.790] - Advertisement

Whether you're crawling the red rocks of Moab or hauling your toys to the trail, Maxxis has the tires you can trust for performance and durability. Four wheels or two? Maxxis tires are the choice of champions because they know that whether for work or play, for fun or competition, maxis tires deliver. Choose Maxxis, tread victoriously.


[00:01:20.290] - Advertisement

Have you seen 4low magazine yet? 4low Magazine is a high quality, well written, four wheel drive focused magazine for the enthusiast market. If you still love the idea of a printed magazine, something to save and read at any time, 4Low is the magazine for you. 4Low cannot be found in stores, but you can have it delivered to your home or place of business. Visit to order your subscription.


[00:01:45.690] - Big Rich Klein

Today on today's episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Steve Sharp. Steve has been around the rock crawling scene pretty much, well, for quite a long time. We'll get into all that time wise and stuff. He hails out of the Tulsa, Oklahoma area along with some of the others that I have interviewed. So it's been kind of a Midwest thing. But we will talk to Steve about all of his endeavors and how he got to where he is in life. Steve, thank you for coming on board and spending some time with us and talking about your history and all the things that you have done around the four wheel drive industry.


[00:02:27.070] - Steve Sharp

Well, thank you, Big. It's a privilege for me to be here to have this conversation with you today. Really been looking forward to it since we just discussed it a few weeks ago, I feel like it's a big privilege to be here, so thank you.


[00:02:41.790] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, no worries. So let's jump right into it. And where were you born and raised?


[00:02:48.610] - Steve Sharp

I was born in Portland, Oregon.


[00:02:50.990] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, wow. Okay.


[00:02:52.420] - Steve Sharp

Yeah. And grew up in Vernon. For those of you who may not know where that is, it's between Portland and Astoria.


[00:03:01.840] - Big Rich Klein



[00:03:02.780] - Steve Sharp

In the mountains there on the Coast Range. We lived at the end of the road, and I spent as much time as I could out in the woods on foot, exploring around.





[00:03:16.370] - Steve Sharp

Our property backed up to forest land, and I knew all that well enough that when I was eight or nine years old, I had guys coming to me going, hey, where's the deer? I'm not just because I was always out there. I don't know. I feel fortunate to have that. Not sure how forgiving everybody would be if they asked your mom where you were and her answer was out in the woods somewhere back before dark.


[00:03:49.370] - Big Rich Klein

I think a lot of us that are over 45, even over 40, grew up in a time where that was okay. I mean, my son is 38 and when he was growing up it was go out and have fun, just be home before dark.


[00:04:08.930] - Steve Sharp



[00:04:10.850] - Big Rich Klein

And I think that's good for kids.


[00:04:12.610] - Steve Sharp

Though, too, because it makes you independent and it makes you a problem solver. And it makes you learn how to figure out where you're at and how to get where you need to go.


[00:04:23.100] - Big Rich Klein

Correct. So then growing up in that, that's pretty rural area, the town is not very big.


[00:04:29.570] - Steve Sharp

It is not very big. At the time, I want to say the town itself was less than 3000 people.


[00:04:38.280] - Big Rich Klein



[00:04:40.850] - Steve Sharp

If I missed the bus, I got to walk the three and a half miles to school. But there was a railroad track that was abandoned. All the tracks were removed. So I didn't have to walk on the road. We could just walk down the tracks all the way to school. Didn't have to do that too many times because I always got in trouble when it happened.


[00:05:01.250] - Big Rich Klein

Because you'd be late for school?


[00:05:03.130] - Steve Sharp

Because I'd be late for school. Up here. My parents were missionaries. They did church starts in rural Oregon and Northwest. So I had a lot of opportunities and maybe even some freedom that maybe others didn't have. Cause I knew that not only did I have to make an example that I had to keep up the example that my dad was trying to share and trying to set and the precedent that was going on with some of that. So it made for an interesting childhood growing up.


[00:05:45.210] - Big Rich Klein

And how long did you live in that area?


[00:05:48.690] - Steve Sharp

We lived in that area till I was twelve. And then we moved closer to Portland for another church start and we moved to Banks. It wasn't that much for 20 miles from where we were, but it was in the valley and same deal. I didn't have as much freedom there. But at the same time by then I was starting to ride motorcycles and do things that were more geared to we had space to do. Right. And it was so rural. It wasn't like we were in downtown somewhere.


[00:06:26.710] - Big Rich Klein

So in school, how were you as a student?


[00:06:32.530] - Steve Sharp

I got by okay.


[00:06:35.540] - Big Rich Klein

Fair enough.


[00:06:36.910] - Steve Sharp

And mostly just because I was bored. Right. It wasn't so much that I felt challenged, I never really felt challenged. And the things that teachers were trying to challenge me with I really didn't care about. They weren't motivators for me. So I was a C student and got passed along. Okay. The only place that did really well were shop classes. When I was old enough to do that, we didn't have automotive classes, but we did have shop class or one shop class. So I did take that every year. That was just a good place where I could do what I really want to do, which was built stuff.


[00:07:22.760] - Big Rich Klein

Right. And that would have been more high school, right?


[00:07:27.710] - Steve Sharp

Yeah. Actually started that junior high.


[00:07:29.360] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, wow.


[00:07:30.470] - Steve Sharp

I was in 7th grade, and I started taking my first shop class.


[00:07:33.570] - Big Rich Klein

I wish we'd had shopped that early. So then you're taking shop classes. Like you said, you're getting by. They're not real motivated, but I know you as a pretty intelligent person. So did you pick up any college, or did you just jump into trades or what?


[00:07:52.490] - Steve Sharp

I was really bored. At the end of my junior year, my folks relocated to Arkansas, and I had the option to stay in Oregon and finish high school. I was like, you know what? I need more life experience, and if I move across the country, I'll learn something. So I did move to a little town called Mulberry.


[00:08:23.710] - Big Rich Klein

Not May Berry. Mulberry.


[00:08:25.890] - Steve Sharp

And you'd be surprised how much it was. Like, mayberry. If I remember right, there were 85 students in high school. Wow. That was quite a change, because I came from high school, where there was 300 per class. Right. So that was quite a change. And it was also the high school I was in in Oregon was one of the most progressive in the state, and I went to rural Arkansas. Made on a roll. First time in my life.


[00:09:00.470] - Big Rich Klein



[00:09:01.110] - Steve Sharp



[00:09:01.460] - Big Rich Klein

That's a change.


[00:09:02.870] - Steve Sharp

Yeah, it was a change. And I slept every day because I worked all night. I don't know how I did it. It's okay. I can remember being asleep in history class, and the superintendent of the school to walk into the class and ask the teacher says, Why is he asleep over there? And teacher grabbed his brewer, and he walked over, and he whacked on my desk. And I snapped up to attention, and he asked me a history question that he'd just been talking about. And I told him the answer, and he said, he knows the answer. That's why he gets to sleep.


[00:09:44.830] - Big Rich Klein

That's fortunate.


[00:09:50.930] - Steve Sharp

We got grades in that class for having notes from his lectures, because he kind of rent it like a college course. And the young lady that always sat behind me was more than happy to share enough with me. So that made that easy.


[00:10:10.550] - Big Rich Klein

That's excellent.


[00:10:12.410] - Steve Sharp



[00:10:12.910] - Big Rich Klein

So why was she willing to share her notes?


[00:10:17.630] - Steve Sharp

You know, I never got to really find that out.


[00:10:19.780] - Big Rich Klein



[00:10:22.490] - Steve Sharp

Maybe because between changing states and stuff, the classes were in different orders. So the history class I was in was actually a sophomore class instead of a senior class. So I was in there with all the sophomores.


[00:10:39.020] - Big Rich Klein



[00:10:39.570] - Steve Sharp

So that could have been part of it, but I don't know.


[00:10:44.990] - Big Rich Klein

Did you participate in any athletics?


[00:10:47.870] - Steve Sharp

I did not. I was always asked to by PE coaches because I was a runner. Just for fun, I would run. I didn't think anything. I've run in 20 miles just for something to do. I always ran across country, and the steeper rougher it was, the better I liked it.


[00:11:09.750] - Big Rich Klein



[00:11:10.530] - Steve Sharp

Consequently, today you can understand where my knees are at. Yeah. No more running or jumping. Everything's very controlled now.


[00:11:22.870] - Big Rich Klein

Understood. That's why I attribute my no running too anymore, is because of all the running I did when I was younger. Now it was other sports that I played that damaged them. But I never loved running, even when I did run all the time.


[00:11:39.810] - Steve Sharp

I had a sister that's an avid hiker, and she asked me one time why I didn't. She knows I love being out, she lives, I love hiking, love the whole thing. And she asked me why I didn't hike more, and I said, well, do you remember she's hiked the same trail that I used to run, and I asked her if she had ever remembered hiking up the trail up to White Rock. She's like, yeah. She said, that's brutal. Yes. I used to go around that after church on Sunday, both ways, up and down. And she's like, yeah, I go up that and overnight and come back.


[00:12:17.770] - Big Rich Klein

Right. Give me a little wear and tear.


[00:12:25.490] - Steve Sharp

Yes, exactly. And I did that up until I was in my early twenties, and I had a pretty serious accident doing that, actually. Slipped or tripped and fell and landed on a big rock. Wound up breaking two ribs, unfortunately didn't puncture along, but I still had 8 miles to get back to the truck, and I was by myself. Wow. That kind of put an end to my running days, at least like that. And then I got where I just heard all the time, so I went hurt when I did it. So I just quit running. But I do still walk as much as I can, hike as much as I can. But that's really what we started doing. Motor sports or rock sports was I have since got married. My wife has some health issues that prevent her from having a dirt stamina to be out and about, but she loves being out and about. That's when my offroading addiction really got going, was after I got married, when I was in my early 20s.


[00:13:35.210] - Big Rich Klein

Okay, early twenty s, you said?


[00:13:37.260] - Steve Sharp



[00:13:37.780] - Big Rich Klein

Okay. And how did that play out?


[00:13:45.550] - Steve Sharp

It played out really well. I'd always been outdoors, always been in the dirt. I always ride dirt bikes and red foilers and done things that kept me out there, of course, being young and have any money, so it took a while to get where I was able to. So I was in my late twenties. That's when I really got serious off writing. But that's been huge. You are correct. It is a lifestyle. And when it becomes important enough that that's what you just dream about doing all the time, it gets where you do it a lot, right?


[00:14:24.930] - Big Rich Klein

You figure it out.


[00:14:26.410] - Steve Sharp

Yeah. You figure out how to make it happen. It's kind of like the first time we went to Moab. It was in 2001. And we crimped and brought a truck and a trailer and figured out how to make it all happen. And we went to my lab when we went back later that fall. I've been back last weekend. It's getting close to 30 times since 2001.





[00:14:51.190] - Steve Sharp

That's probably my wife's favorite place. It's right up there with that for me, just because I'm comfortable there, it's homey. Even with all the town itself has changed, the trails have changed, I'm still very comfortable there.


[00:15:09.150] - Big Rich Klein



[00:15:10.110] - Steve Sharp

And I like sharing it. So I'm always looking for somebody wants to go. It's like, hey, what do you want to go? Let's go.


[00:15:17.000] - Big Rich Klein



[00:15:18.070] - Steve Sharp

I can be there in 18 hours. Let's go.


[00:15:20.650] - Big Rich Klein

The first vehicle that you had off road?


[00:15:25.810] - Steve Sharp

First vehicle I had off road was my first car. It was a 71 Plymouth Scamp.


[00:15:32.830] - Big Rich Klein



[00:15:36.710] - Steve Sharp

Still in Oregon. I always kept getting asked my dad, how come you always need tires so far? Because I'm wearing them out. And I was wearing them out because I was running up down dirt roads through the mountains and logging roads and all kinds of places that probably shouldn't have been. Maybe shouldn't, whatever. But we did it. Never really had any big issues or anything, but I sure ride a lot of tires on the dirt roads, right? Of course, then I still don't have any money, even though I was working all the time. So I was always buying the cheapest tires I could find. And they don't last as long. We all know that.


[00:16:25.090] - Big Rich Klein

Yup. So what was your real first off road vehicle?


[00:16:31.450] - Steve Sharp

It was a okay. That was my own very first offroader. I got late in high school through my early twenty S. I got heavily involved in drag racing in the show car scene, even though I was still taking my show cars out and going out in the hills on the weekends when I wasn't in a show. I was heavily involved in that. And that's where my chat we'll get into some of that later, but where my chassis design and love for some of that came from. I got hooked up with a body shop that specialized in fifty S cars, and they were needing help during a Subframe and they figured out that I could take measure and make things square and I could run a welder. And so I started doing Subframes for them. And I learned a lot during that.


[00:17:42.050] - Big Rich Klein

Was that still in Arkansas?


[00:17:43.990] - Steve Sharp

And that was in Arkansas.


[00:17:45.190] - Big Rich Klein



[00:17:47.450] - Steve Sharp

I learned a lot. The gentleman I worked for had a motto. It was painted on the wall in the office. Anybody can do a restoration. It takes real man take a perfect car and cut it up. And we did. We made some really beautiful street rods. At the time, he had a realtor award winner and since he's had a couple of more so it was a real privilege to work there. And I went there just because I liked the cars. I started sweeping the floor.


[00:18:28.690] - Big Rich Klein

Where did you get the welding skills?


[00:18:33.470] - Steve Sharp

I got some of that at school. In school? In high school. And then I also had our next door neighbor on the buffer shop. I spent a lot of time in his shop after school and in the evenings working other jobs, building on stuff.


[00:18:53.470] - Big Rich Klein

Okay, so then when were you able to take shop classes that provided when you were in Arkansas where you got into that?


[00:19:07.100] - Steve Sharp

Yes, when I moved into Arkansas, of course they didn't have any shop classes at the tiny high school, but they did have an AG class.


[00:19:13.020] - Big Rich Klein



[00:19:14.010] - Steve Sharp

And they had an AG shop. And we did work on horse trailers and did repairs for community projects and stuff for some of the local ranchers and stuff. I learned a lot. Doing that helped me really figure out that I like looking at that blue arc. I like watching it. And that's a big influence on my life on things that I've done both recreationally and professionally.


[00:19:46.680] - Big Rich Klein

Okay, so working at the body shop or restoration shop, I guess it wasn't really more of a fab shop.


[00:19:56.190] - Steve Sharp

Body shop? Yeah. They had one guy in one bay that did insurance work to keep money flowing.


[00:20:03.930] - Big Rich Klein



[00:20:04.930] - Steve Sharp

And they had four other bays that they just did whatever custom stuff people wanted. And they did everything from really mild stuff to really stuff that really off the hook, especially for huge. The artistic part of car building was just really starting to take off where it was getting to the level that it is today.


[00:20:28.660] - Big Rich Klein



[00:20:29.420] - Steve Sharp

It still wasn't there yet, but it was well headed there. They really did some really cool stuff. I mean, a lot of 32 forwards, just really cool stuff.


[00:20:44.630] - Big Rich Klein

How long were you there?


[00:20:46.670] - Steve Sharp

I was only there for a couple of years and I really only worked for them about 6 hours a day because I did have another job that I worked. It's one of those things at that time, I did whatever I had to make ends meet.


[00:21:04.350] - Big Rich Klein

What was the other job?


[00:21:05.990] - Steve Sharp

I worked for a building maintenance company. I was just a janitor.


[00:21:10.210] - Big Rich Klein



[00:21:11.670] - Steve Sharp

I learned a lot of stuff about how to manage people there and how to deal with people. And that's been huge because that kept me in that as I learned more and moved around more, that give me that edge to be able to work with people and to be able to learn how to be a leader learned how to get people to follow me right now.


[00:21:40.290] - Big Rich Klein

I know there's different techniques. What technique do you use to motivate people that are working with your work for you?


[00:21:50.770] - Steve Sharp

I'm that guy that will be standing right next to them.


[00:21:53.830] - Big Rich Klein

Lead by example.


[00:21:55.510] - Steve Sharp

Leading by example. Just as hot, just as dirty. And you do that for a little while now. Then they get where they don't want you helping them.


[00:22:03.530] - Big Rich Klein



[00:22:05.950] - Steve Sharp

They know that if they really need help, you'll be right there. But they know that you have other responsibilities that you got to take care of, and you got to make sure that they have the work coming in to make sure it becomes a revolving door, that they want your approval, and they want to know that you've got their back, but they don't want you to help because that takes away the pride from where they're at.


[00:22:34.330] - Big Rich Klein

Right? It's good to have employees like that.


[00:22:38.710] - Steve Sharp

It is. It makes life so easy. I'm going to back up just a little bit. We're going to talk about how I got kind of where I'm at. I got married in 1993 and just kept working because I tried going back to school multiple times, and life just got in the way and made me have to stop.





[00:23:11.100] - Steve Sharp

So I never really finished anything school wise, but I always worked hard, always had a job, at least one, if not two or three or four. And we've been married a couple of years, and my wife started having some health issues. We couldn't figure it out. Nobody figured out, couldn't get anybody to listen. Anyway, we moved to Wisconsin to live with her aunt and uncle for a little while. There in the medical field, we'll find somebody that will at least listen and try to help you get to the bottom of this. So I gave notice of my job, sold everything that we own, but my tools and some furniture that we had in the house. My wife's brother was staying with us at the time. He kept the house that we lived in that we rented and kept up with our belongings that we left behind, and we spent a year there. It was huge. It got her a lot of help that she needed, but it wasn't home. But we also didn't want to move back to Arkansas, and that's how we wound up in Oklahoma. When we moved left Wisconsin, we got to Oklahoma, and we picked Oklahoma because we had a place to stay because we didn't have any money at the time.


[00:24:41.120] - Steve Sharp

Her mom lived here and gave us a place to stay while we got on our feet. But I rolled into Tulsa in July 1997 with $150, my pocket in my toolbox. I had worked my way into doing transmission technician repair, doing RnR, and overhauling automatic transmissions. And I walked into a shop and told them that it needs a job, and I'd come to work for you for half the going rate for 30 days and 30 days. We'll renegotiate once we know each other. And the boss was like, nobody's ever presented anything to me like that. I got to try this out. So I went to work for him on Monday. On Friday, he brought me my paycheck. He said, you are way above and beyond what you sold yourself as nobody's working in my shop for that kind of money. And you gave me three times the money that we'd agreed on.


[00:25:50.470] - Big Rich Klein



[00:25:51.790] - Steve Sharp

And I looked at the check, and it was three times what I would make in a week at the job I left in Arkansas. We made the right decision.


[00:26:06.770] - Big Rich Klein

We're not going to get into the drive.


[00:26:10.850] - Steve Sharp

We made the right decision because in Arkansas, I was doing the same job, but I was a shop foreman. I ran the shop when the boss was gone, and I worked a lot of hours at that shop, and I still made three times as much, and I worked 8 hours a day.


[00:26:30.230] - Big Rich Klein



[00:26:31.370] - Steve Sharp

Yeah, I thought I really thought we'd hung the moon. But I got to look at that about six months later. I had to look at all the people I was working with that were 50 or older. I made the same money they did, and they were all broken. I'm like, this is great. We're making good money, but one or two things has to happen. I either have to own this place we're going to find a different career path, because this is not sustainable for me to do this kind of work for the next 40 years. My father in law was a manufacturer's rep for a fire protection supplier. And there was a new fire protection distributor opening up in Tulsa, and they needed a truck driver. I know how to drive truck. I can do that. So I went and talked to him. I went to work for him. It was a very good decision. I'm still with that company in October, it'll be 25 years.


[00:27:49.140] - Big Rich Klein

Wow. Excellent.


[00:27:52.970] - Steve Sharp

I came up close to leaving once, but we'll get there. But that set me up and allowed me to grow and to finance the lifestyle that we wanted to have.


[00:28:09.830] - Big Rich Klein

How was the pay comparable to the job you left at the transmission shop?


[00:28:16.790] - Steve Sharp

I made a dollar an hour or less.


[00:28:19.100] - Big Rich Klein



[00:28:20.040] - Steve Sharp

But that was very short lived. 18 months after I started there, I was no longer a truck driver. I was on a truck driver for about two months. I started going to the warehouse. Then I started on the counter. I started doing inside sales, and I was there 18 months, and I was the branch manager. Wow.


[00:28:39.500] - Big Rich Klein

Very good.


[00:28:40.610] - Steve Sharp

Yeah. At that point, I really felt like, hey, we're really doing well. I really started. What I did was I took my old show truck, which was a two wheel drive. Seventy two K five and I had driven it for all that time. I'd been driving it for ten years, and it looked like it had been driven for ten years, been driven hard. I did a lot of stuff for that truck, did drag racing with it. At one point in the early 90s. It had a 496 in it. It hauled the mail quite well. It was stout enough that it really made a friend of mine mad. He had a big walk Camaro that I towed to the racetrack. And we lined up after we got to the racetrack and I beat him.


[00:29:29.990] - Big Rich Klein

And you towed him there.


[00:29:31.230] - Steve Sharp

That's awesome. And I towed him there. It was really hard for him to put the car back on the trainer.


[00:29:37.310] - Big Rich Klein

And let me tow it home, I would imagine.


[00:29:41.990] - Steve Sharp

And I had plenty of best show trophies. It was a beautiful truck. At one point, it got wrecked. At one point, we just kind of put it back together so we had something to drive. But it was like, I want to make that truck four wheel drive. We got to get out. By this point, my wife spoke to me about getting out more, and she knows that we can't go hike because she doesn't have the standard to do that. So I converted that truck to four wheel drive, and I still have parts of that truck around. We actually wield it until it was absolutely unidentifiable. But I have no regrets of taking that truck and convert it forward because it set us up for life. We've met some of the best people. I've had some of the best opportunities that are unimaginable. And they were all started because we took that truck and started playing in the dirt with it. Because the offroad community, I know it's been said a bunch is different than any other community I've ever seen or been around. They're genuinely good people for the most part, and then it becomes not so much the wheeling is important, but it's as much about the people.


[00:31:04.630] - Steve Sharp

Every person that I can genuinely call friend, I've met for you, every one of them, and some of them that I didn't need four wheeling. Well, they're four wheeling now, right? So it has been an awesome experience in life. I know that. We've talked a little bit about what I've done recently. We sold our house and moved out onto a piece of property with my best friend, and he and I own a bunch of that together and build a house in today's real estate market. There's no way I could afford to live where we're at today with what I have access to. I met him for just the quality of people has been outstanding. I know you know that.





[00:32:06.190] - Steve Sharp

I know that. You and I have talked about that. We talked about 2009 when you were talking about Quentin. Yeah. And when Shelley came into the picture and you changed your mind. First time I went and met Shelley. I just went and hugged her and said, thank you for taking care of Rich. He needs that.


[00:32:26.590] - Big Rich Klein

I did need that. I was on a destructive path up to that point.


[00:32:33.370] - Steve Sharp

Yes, but you are always fair, you're always honest, and you're always respectful.


[00:32:40.630] - Big Rich Klein

I appreciate you saying that I was also kind of a dick at times.


[00:32:47.950] - Steve Sharp

But, you know, you weren't out of line about it. You were just that brutally honest guy that was speaking his mind. But right or wrong, it was what was going to be said. I never felt that way. I'm sure others will say that I.


[00:33:01.640] - Big Rich Klein

Could name two or three in the general area that might take that, but I'd say the same thing about them exactly.


[00:33:13.730] - Steve Sharp

But kind of back to my professional life in that we were a supply house. We distribute fire protection stuff for buildings. We do waterborne sprinklers.


[00:33:26.530] - Big Rich Klein



[00:33:27.430] - Steve Sharp

So I deal with a lot of rough individuals, a lot of contractors, a lot of pipe fitters. At the core of it, if you serve people and you treat them with respect, that's what you get back. And that's how I've always looked at managing people, is if you serve them and put yourself in their place, they will respect you and they will do everything they can to help you. And that was something I learned from my dad. If you serve people, you will get that back tenfold. And I still to this day, feel that that's an important part of life because we have to serve people. I've always been wanting to help people and wanted to do something that was big for people, whether they knew it or not. And I feel like my profession does that. We sell a life safety device, and it's one of those things. Nobody wants it, but they have to have it, but when they need it, they're glad it's there. So I always feel like part of me is serving people and helping people, and at this point, maybe I can actually save some lives. I think that's a big deal, and I know that.


[00:34:50.330] - Steve Sharp

I own a business called Rocket Enterprises. I sponsored Kenny Bloom for years. I still, to this day, consult with several other companies as far as Jackie Design, suspensions, and different things that different things they have questions about or doubts or want to bounce an idea off somebody. That's part of what drove Jake Good in a relationship was we were always building stuff, so we started talking a lot. That's how we built our relationship. The wheeling was a big part of it, but also just the connections that we made. Just talking about design and stuff was huge. But I started that company in 2003 because the company that I worked for was bankrupt. And I knew that I knew that I needed somewhere to go, and I didn't want to relocate. I really wanted to stay where we were first. Time in my life I ever felt established and like I really had friends and really had a home. So I didn't want to leave. So I began to make myself a place to go. With Rocket Enterprises. I started, of course we do at the time we would do anything that was metal related fabrication.


[00:36:14.530] - Steve Sharp

Of course we specialized in off road stuff but that's how the name came about. Was sitting around with a friend of mine trying to figure out a name for a new company and didn't want it tied to my name. I didn't want it tied to off road because I wanted to be able to follow the money right. And not be locked into well you're just an offered shop or you're just or if I sold it or grew to the point that I wasn't the face guy anymore at the counter that we could they weren't looking for me, so I didn't want my name on it either. And one of the guys is Rocket Science. So we took a twist on that and made it ROKiT and made it Enterprises. But I started growing that company and working then in 2004, early in 2004, the company I work for got acquired by I'll give a plug from my employer, Ferguson Enterprises.





[00:37:22.230] - Steve Sharp

We're the largest pipe fitting of all the supplier in the world, not just the United States.





[00:37:29.490] - Steve Sharp

Anyway, they acquired us and I kept plugging away on my business because I was really passionate about it. That's what I really wanted to do. And there was still some uncertainty there because I had one of the partners from the business that got acquired was in my office. We don't need two managers here. Not sure what's going to happen. So I kept plugging away at that until 2000. It was late in 2005. I had had enough to deal with a mild loss and business was at a point where I either needed to jump in all the way, do it full time and move, or back office stay where I was at. I'm not backing off and do this. In the meantime, I had a district manager that I technically worked for that I really liked and I really respected. But he was 5 hours away in Dallas. I called him on a Tuesday afternoon. So you're going to be in the office tomorrow? He's like, yeah, it's okay. And I hang up the phone at the end of our conversation. I was sitting in his office 5 hours away the next morning waiting for him to get in.


[00:38:44.310] - Steve Sharp

And he walked in. He took one look at me and he said, keep that envelope in your pocket, I'm not going to take it. I said, well you need to convince me why I need to. And he spent the rest of the day convinced me why I need to. Well, I still work for him and he's now the vice president of our division. I would follow him anywhere. And it's that some of that same things that I've always looked at for what makes a good leader, what makes a good manager, he does those things well. He does it usually without getting dirty.


[00:39:18.510] - Big Rich Klein

That's a smart man. That's a good salesman.


[00:39:24.850] - Steve Sharp

Yeah, that's a very good salesman. Anyway, I'm still with them. That's huge. And I'm glad I did. I'm sure you noticed I said that was late in 2005. Yeah, we all know what happened in 2007 and 2008. Actually, it was late 2006 when I did that. We know what happened 18 months later. I probably would not have survived. Not that being in the Midwest that it got that bad, but it sure took up everybody's extra spending money. And as a small fabrication shop, without very many commercial clients, that would have been tough to survive.





[00:40:14.790] - Steve Sharp

But on the upside, it's allowed me to keep that business going as a hobby, and I have made just enough over the years to help finance some trips and building some of my own stuff. It's been since genuinely a blessing that I get to do what I'm passionate about, both professionally and for a hobby. I really feel like if I had made it taken to what its potential was, that I really would have lost interest in my hobby. I genuinely feel that. And some of that's from some of the big builds I've done since then. I know. You remember Dan Gable?





[00:41:02.690] - Steve Sharp

He came to me and wanted to build up he was really trying to get Jason Polly to build on a car. But at that time, this was in 2007, they had a three year backlog. I don't want to wait three years. He said, do you want to build one? I was like, sure, we can do that. And it started out that we were just going to do a rolling chassis, and he paid for it upfront because he wanted the year he's trying to spend money. I took that, and the more I thought about it, knowing the time constraints that were going to be put on that and the time involved in doing that, I almost cashed the check and took it back and handed it back to him. I just told myself, you may never get the opportunity to build a car at this level, getting your life. So I did. So we built a twisted Customs knock off that performed very well. I finished that car on a Saturday. He loaded in the trailer, and he took it to a rock and ran against Brandon Bloom and Derek West. I forget what class they were running on Sunday, but they were doing one class on Saturday and another one on Sunday.


[00:42:32.750] - Steve Sharp

Tom Wambles called me while they were tallying the totals for the day to do their Words ceremony. He says, Would you do this car? What do you mean, when I do this car? He said, I could smell the paint when he opened the trailer. And they just want I said, I'm shocked, but, hey, it's just a car that we put together. But I felt that was quite the honor to actually get a call from promoted one. Hey, what do you do? I got real nervous at Grand Nationals the next year because that's where you had Grand Nationals was at Iraq. Jason Polly was there, and I walked up to that car and Jason's laying down underneath it. And you talk about an anxious moment for me because I have always admired Jason and looked at him as a mentor for me, as a fabricator, just for the quality of what you want to do and things need to be a certain way. Not only do I have a mentor looking at something I built, I copied his basic design because that's what the owner of the car wanted. So there's a lot of pressure there about once you think of this, right?


[00:44:11.850] - Steve Sharp

And he stood back up, test himself off, and he shook my hand and he said, that is the nicest knock off I've ever seen. And he did some things that I'm going to start doing excellent. So I really felt like that was quite an eye opening experience that, hey, I really am as good as everybody thinks I am. I'm just a knucklehead knuckle dragon fabricator that builds stuff. That's when I started taking myself a little more serious as far as partaking more in conversations about design, because it's what really got me into comp was I started going I mean, I went to Pro Rocks and Ramsey Challenge just to go watch and look and see what worked and what didn't because I want my stuff to work better. And if I saw somebody's car that did things better than somebody else's, I tried to figure out, is it the driver or is it the car? And if I determined it was the car, I'd go crawl all over it, figure out what they did and look and figure things out and try to understand what made things work. And then I'd go home and try to build it with my twist on it, and we'd go to Disney and go try it out.


[00:45:42.550] - Steve Sharp

If it works, great. If it didn't, well, we'd come back, cut it off and do something different. So I have been doing that for eight or nine years by this point. And my Blazer had been through so many renditions all the way up to where it was at that point. By 2004, it was down to just a cab truck because we had just literally beat the truck to death, but putting it together and using it. And then when we Kenny built his skinny car in 2004, we were out doing a test run after we got it done, and he was banking me everywhere we went. And I was like, I got to do something different. So I parked the truck. And I went to work gathering parts and saving money to build a new car. And I disassembled it, used as much as the drive train as I could. And I built the rocket buggy that I still own today. I call it the world smallest Rockwell buggy because it's small. It's 48 inches wide in the chassis, 105 inch wheel base, and it's 78 inches wide on rockwalls in 40s. It is not competitive and unlimited today, but all the way up until recent, at least in the promo side of things, it would have been competitive.


[00:47:24.130] - Steve Sharp

I would have raised it. It climbs very well. It works very well. It's very stable. I don't know why it'd be stable. Half the weight is axle, tires, and wheels on the ground.


[00:47:37.790] - Big Rich Klein

Unspung weight.


[00:47:39.710] - Steve Sharp



[00:47:40.210] - Big Rich Klein

Absolutely phenomenal for rock crawling.


[00:47:43.040] - Steve Sharp

Yes. When I started first talking about putting water in the tires and the like, see, I always told you rock crawls are your friends. I thought I was crazy. And in the early days, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with the wagon machine shop crew, actually help them develop a lot of parts, even part some of those parts are still on my buggy because I had helped them come up with ideas for Rockwell stuff when that first kicked off, and I'm still running some of those. That was like one or two, but it's really been fun.


[00:48:22.770] - Big Rich Klein

And when was your first competition that you attended?


[00:48:28.390] - Steve Sharp

First one I attended was probably it was the ramsey challenge that was at birds.


[00:48:33.580] - Big Rich Klein



[00:48:34.570] - Steve Sharp

And then the next one would have been r rock at Disney or pro rock at Disney.


[00:48:39.740] - Big Rich Klein



[00:48:40.810] - Steve Sharp

And of course, by then, I was deep into doing link suspensions and trying different stuff and really pushing those envelopes about what was especially for those days, about what worked and what did it. I know in one year, we added it up. I had had 14 different suspension suspensions on my blazer, trying to figure out something that just trying to make it work better and for what it was work great, but it's nothing like what we're building today.





[00:49:12.250] - Steve Sharp

Although the rear geometry was pretty close to what we're doing today, that part of it worked really well. But it's definitely been definitely been a fun ride. I know. I started working Kenny bloom in 2003. I think that's when I met you the first time was with Kenny at a counter rocks event. And in 2003 and then 2004, getting really kicked it into gear. And we started doing 22 events that year. Keep in mind we're in central midwest, and it's a short drive everywhere. Yeah. Our closest event was in jellico, Tennessee. We were excited to go to jellico because it was only we could be there in 11 hours.





[00:50:07.550] - Steve Sharp

Farmington was the best thing. Everything else was 1618, 20 hours away. And I always spotted a couple of times for him in the early days, mostly as a fill in when Chuck wasn't there or Brusa wasn't available. And then in 2005, we did the East Coast series with Bill Bailey in the Mod stock. I was actually using his TJ as a test bed for a lot of parts I was developing for Rocket because I knew that building stuff is great, and that's where my heart is. But you got to build parts. That's really where you make a living at, right? And building vehicles is just a fluff unless you can get where you're doing enough of them that it's profitable. So I was using his Jeep as a test bed for a lot of stuff. We never did do really well, but we didn't do bad either. We had a lot of podium finishes. I don't think I've ever finished thirds much of my life because Dan and Derek were hard to beat. We only beat Derek once just because he had a bad day. But then towards by the end of the season, build kind of lost interest because he was really wanting to do a buggy and go to promod and continue on.


[00:51:55.330] - Steve Sharp

But he took a really bad role at Boyd at the Nationals in 2005, and that really took the wind out of his sales. After that, he was finished. He just couldn't do it. Have all the respect in the world for that. It was hard to get him back in the seat after that.





[00:52:18.510] - Steve Sharp

And that's why we didn't see Bill anymore after that. Competing. Always wondered, yeah, I still talk to him. He's still back in Missouri. He's doing really well. That role really just took the wind out of the sales. He's back to doing some trail riding and stuff again, finally, but has no desire to compete or do anything really extreme.


[00:52:47.890] - Big Rich Klein

I'm of the same mindset. I am totally a scenic wheeler, and.


[00:52:55.560] - Steve Sharp

You know, I'm getting more and more that way. I had taken my wife K five that I had built her to my lab, and I broke it in half. I broke the frame in half on the rim trail. Of course, I did a quick guys trip. It was just a four day trip. We went out and wheeled for two days and came home. Second day I broke her truck. She was not real happy when I got home. That's when I told her, I'm not fixing this. So we took that truck apart, and by then I'd become friends with Gordon Bailey. And Gordon is a big bronco guy, and he was wanting me to he was really pushing me to build a bronco. And I like, Gordon, I can't afford to build a bronco. That's not in the budget for this. And besides, you want to build a bronco because it's not going to be a bronco. In 2011, everybody in the bronco world was still building. Old school broncos. They were just building just like they were in the 80s, they had better parts because they had some really good vendors, but they were still building them, saying they're still radius Arm, still eastbrung.


[00:54:21.270] - Steve Sharp

They worked okay, but they weren't anything to really shout home about, right? And he's like, no, you need to build a rocket. None of my budget. I had a buddy who had a CJ six. I was going to build that because the price was right. He said, well, give me one more day before you go pick that up. He called me, says, hey, I got something you need to come look at. So he found that old Bronco had a friend of Godfather. He has done nothing but broncos his entire life. He has a whole hillside behind his house, full parts and broccoli and pieces and stuff. He had a tub that he was going to scrap because the door posts are rotten and the floorboards I don't care about floorboards. They're going to go away anyway. Because I really wanted to build an old school promo with a full body on it. I want to take all of that. All those lessons I've learned building cars for Kenny and worked on for Dan Gable, and I wanted to do something to put that on the street. So I built a rectangular tube chassis and did a three lank and a four lank, made it low, put 37s on it, and has since commenced to that.


[00:55:47.810] - Steve Sharp

Kind of set the Bronco world upside down. I showed up and I'm doing things that just blew their minds, right? They're doing trail rides, which is great. I love trail riding. And I'd be over climbing a wall or going through a giant notch and then I'd get in it and drive it down the highway. We drive to dinner that night. It might be 15 miles to town, run as fast as we wanted to go and it's comfortable. We got to have some of this. So that really set the bar high. And Gordon's really stepped up and done a lot of that. So some of the vendors, they've really done well. But that has really taken that truck and started to explore more because it does drive so well. That was one of the goals. I wanted to get out and explore more. I had gone through phases where I love doing all the hardest stuff. I love trail riding, just like we're doing a competition and making those trail rides like a competition because we're just doing the hardest lines we can find as we're going through a trail. But I also have a passion for exploring and just seeing what's out there, what's around the corner, what's over that hill.


[00:57:03.910] - Steve Sharp

It's huge. So that was part of the goal behind that truck. It had to be perform as well on the street as it does on the trail. And that was why we wanted that to happen, was I want to be able to go explore if it's 100 miles to go to trailhead. Well, let's go 100 miles to Trailhead. I don't care.


[00:57:28.150] - Big Rich Klein

Right. To me, it's all about the experience.


[00:57:31.750] - Steve Sharp



[00:57:32.440] - Big Rich Klein

And that's getting there and getting back or going to the next spot.


[00:57:38.330] - Steve Sharp

Yeah. And I'm actually doing my first overland trip next week since I built another truck that I can drive and has windows and doors, and it's very comfortable, just big enough to hold my stuff.


[00:57:56.730] - Big Rich Klein

Okay, so you're doing an overland trip. Does that mean you got a rooftop tent?


[00:58:01.860] - Steve Sharp

I do not.


[00:58:02.890] - Big Rich Klein

Okay, so you're going to pitch a tent, though?


[00:58:05.420] - Steve Sharp

I have an RTT. I have a rooftop tarp. Perfect. Okay. Yeah, I can just throw a little frame over the back of the truck, throw a tarp over it, and get a place to sleep.


[00:58:15.480] - Big Rich Klein



[00:58:16.610] - Steve Sharp

That's dry. Hopefully it's not wet. Anyway, I'm going to try that out because there's some stuff I really want to do that requires it to spend some nights on the trail. I really want to do rim rocker and pocatelli and one big loop right in my lab. I really want to do that. So we're going to try it out, see what we think.


[00:58:41.600] - Big Rich Klein



[00:58:42.650] - Steve Sharp

And we're doing that in the Jeep that I had it at the competition a few weeks ago.


[00:58:47.500] - Big Rich Klein



[00:58:48.830] - Steve Sharp



[00:58:50.630] - Big Rich Klein

It's an old J ten, right?


[00:58:52.970] - Steve Sharp

Yes, it's a 70 model. It is. Back when they were still calling Gladiators. So it's an original an original Gladiator.


[00:59:03.570] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah. Not the full electronic yeah.


[00:59:08.870] - Steve Sharp

Not the new whatever it is that.


[00:59:11.640] - Big Rich Klein

They'Ve built that they call the Gladiator.


[00:59:14.890] - Steve Sharp

Yes. Not that they're terrible. They have their place, but not what I wanted. I wanted something that was more me. Right. And that definitely was not me.


[00:59:27.110] - Big Rich Klein

No, you're more old school. I get it.


[00:59:29.660] - Steve Sharp

Yup. Yeah, because I've gotten where for daily, I have an F 350 that we travel all over the country on. It's an awesome asphalt eating machine. It's comfortable. It doesn't care what's behind it. It's kind of like driving your semi truck. You just push cruise and wake me up when I get there.


[00:59:53.870] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, but your AC works all the time, right?


[00:59:57.110] - Steve Sharp

Yes, it does. Okay, you tell me your story about.


[01:00:00.490] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, it's a coin toss. If my AC and the semi truck.


[01:00:04.370] - Steve Sharp

Is going to work anymore today, that would be bad. Heat index today was 108. Yeah.


[01:00:12.990] - Big Rich Klein

Well, I get to drive it an hour and a half on Thursday, and then I'll drive it an hour and a half on Monday, and then I won't drive it again for two weeks when I take it, pick it back up after Tennessee and head to Washington. And then after Washington, it goes to Farmington, and then it's going to go to Texas, and it's probably going to retire there.


[01:00:37.790] - Steve Sharp

Wow. You know how to act like that?


[01:00:41.930] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, I'm in training now.


[01:00:44.150] - Steve Sharp

Ask Jake. But running the debt 350 has a drawback, just like the Taj Mahal. You got to get back to it.


[01:00:59.390] - Big Rich Klein



[01:01:00.990] - Steve Sharp

So I'm looking forward to being able to get into something and just take off from home and drive it there and drive it back and just go have a good time.


[01:01:10.190] - Big Rich Klein

Excellent. So what else do you have going on?


[01:01:14.790] - Steve Sharp

A shop that's about half done that's full of stuff, so it's really hard to finish. It's really making it hard to build new stuff. I've managed to build this Jeep with it like that, mostly because I just haven't had the motivation to work on that part of the shop I do share that with. And I know you know John, I share that. I share that space with him. And it's like getting married. When you combine shops with two gear heads, it's a lot of stuff. Of course, I've owned a business for the last 15 years. It's a lot of stuff, really a lot of stuff. And when we moved here, I actually purged over half of it, and I'm still purging stuff, but it's all good. I really like where we're at. I feel like I'm on vacation when I get home. It's a nice place to be.


[01:02:20.330] - Big Rich Klein

Excellent. And how many more years are you putting in with Ferguson?


[01:02:24.790] - Steve Sharp

It will have to be at least 15 because I'm only 50.


[01:02:28.030] - Big Rich Klein



[01:02:29.870] - Steve Sharp

I'd like it to not be that long. We'll see. I know that. One thing I'd like to touch on that we haven't talked about is I know that you know that my wife is bipolar and narcoleptic. That's why she doesn't have a stamina to do a lot of physical activity. Right. And if you think that you're having issues, if you feel like you're depressed, if you feel like you're manic, if there's something going on, seek out help. And it's not a magic pill, it's not a one and done thing, but seek that help. You have to find a therapy that works for you, because the results of not getting that help literally can be life ending. I can't express that enough. Find somebody to talk to, find a therapist, whatever it takes, whatever works for you. It's not the same for everybody.


[01:03:35.790] - Big Rich Klein

No, it's not. Never is.


[01:03:39.090] - Steve Sharp

It's a big deal. There's been some things in life that have been really hard to deal with. And I've said for a long time that there's two illnesses in life that are as hard on the caregiver as it is for the recipient with cancer and mental illness. Neither one, they can be treated, but neither one has a cure. They can be really hard to live with, not only for the person that's suffering, but for the caregiver as well.





[01:04:11.850] - Steve Sharp

So if you're a caregiver, same goes for you. You've got to have support. There's no way I could do I would have survived. We're about to have our 30th wedding anniversary, and she started really showing signs of her illness when we were, like, three years in if you feel like you got an issue or if you're caring for somebody as an issue, reach out. Find somebody that can help you find what works for you is critical. I feel very fortunate because I've not had to witness this, but I've had to give myself permission to say goodbye a couple of times because her health got so bad, and that's hard to have to swallow. So again, it's just about you got to find what works for you. For me, I've got a really good group of friends that I can share anything with. I can talk about anything or not talk about anything because sometimes it's not talking about it. There's as much therapy as talking about it.


[01:05:24.970] - Big Rich Klein

Right. Finding something else.


[01:05:27.010] - Steve Sharp

Yeah, I know that. One thing I learned with Jake when Amanda got sick was I promised him that I would never ask him how she was doing. If I wanted really want to know how she's doing. I got a phone number, I'll call her direct. And it wasn't because I didn't care. It was because I did care. Sometimes when you're in that position, you have to have an outlet. You can have a conversation that doesn't revolve around the other person's illness. It's very important that you get that you have that ability because you have issues too.


[01:06:09.670] - Big Rich Klein

Right. You got to be able to step away for a bit.


[01:06:12.810] - Steve Sharp

Yes. You got to be able to step away. And I love the mandate like a sister. And that was really hard for all of us, and that was a big deal. I live 5 hours apart, and when she was at home in hospice, I drove to their house at least once a week just to check on him, check on the boys, check on his parents, and get to hold her hand one more time. So if you've got trouble, got issues, seek help. I must say that tell them blue in the face. I know that it seems redundant, but sometimes it's easy. Things that we forget about and don't deal with that become hard.


[01:07:04.270] - Big Rich Klein



[01:07:08.090] - Steve Sharp

What else do you want to know, Rich?


[01:07:11.210] - Big Rich Klein

Well, let's talk about what you want to do in the future as far as getting out and exploring what's on your list.


[01:07:26.550] - Steve Sharp

I really want to go to Baja. Talked about it for years, have never had the right opportunity. And then, of course, with the ups and downs of the political climate there, sometimes that gets hard, especially when you don't know people that go and are familiar.


[01:07:40.850] - Big Rich Klein



[01:07:43.830] - Steve Sharp

And I really want to go to Koh again. Or actually, I've never been to Koh because up until a few years ago, part of my job required that I be at work that weekend. Your only excuses to miss inventory is a death certificate or hospital bed.


[01:08:09.040] - Big Rich Klein



[01:08:10.630] - Steve Sharp

So, yeah, going to Koh was never one of those things.


[01:08:18.770] - Big Rich Klein

She asked Dave to change the date. Good luck.


[01:08:26.310] - Steve Sharp

Yeah, I could do that now. I'm in a different position, a different role. I could take care of that now. But at the same time, Derek's retired, kenny is retired, so I've lost some of that drive for some of that.


[01:08:45.770] - Big Rich Klein



[01:08:46.890] - Steve Sharp

Just because, again, the sport is great, but it also comes back to the people. So that's part of that as well. And then really, that's what keeps trying to keep coming back to the competitions. I love the competitions and I love being there, but it's also about the people. It makes me very happy to get to see you and Shelley and the other racers as well. It's been a big deal. I was at Bronco Super Celebration West, which is just a big car show, basically last year and a half ago. And I stand there to lean up talking to this guy, and Brad Lovel pulls in, in his bronco, and he jumps out and he looks at me, man, where have you been for 20 years? So those relationships carry with you. Sometimes you got to reach out. And then there's times like rainsley's. This coming weekend, I had it on my work calendar. Correct. I had it on my trip, notes from my trip to Colorado next week, next weekend. And I had made some commitments for this weekend that I would really feel bad if I canceled, right. Because there's people involved but changed their plans because we were going to be there.


[01:10:27.790] - Steve Sharp

So I don't feel like I can bail on that.


[01:10:30.390] - Big Rich Klein

No, I completely understand. So I'm going to throw this out. I'm going to throw this out to you. I'm going to start doing more social runs, you might say, putting together trips. And one of those trips is going to be a Baja trip. And when I do that, I'll get in touch with you. So start honing your overland skills.


[01:10:55.250] - Steve Sharp



[01:10:56.040] - Big Rich Klein

We'll make that happen.


[01:10:58.370] - Steve Sharp

That'd be awesome. Yeah, that would be awesome. Because it's been a big deal. I've done the Rubicon, I've been to Forte, I've been to the Hammers. I've really getting where I just really want to get out and explore more. And of course, I'm in Oklahoma, so that means I got to go west. The areas that we've had in the past that belong to the plumber companies, because there was a point when lumber companies in southeast Oklahoma gave control of their land to the state for recreation, couldn't establish any trails, couldn't do a bunch of things, but they had roads and trails and stuff that went all over southeast Oklahoma. Well, the lumber companies changed their policies. They dissolved that program to control that property, put the dates back up. So we don't have that anymore. Bits and pieces of it are still there and still open, but you can't get anywhere like we used to, right. So to make that happen, I really have to go west. My goal is every time I drive to Wyoming, i. Feel the red desert calling there's absolutely nothing there, but I want to go explore it. And there's some more in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada.


[01:12:21.290] - Steve Sharp

I really want to go explore.


[01:12:23.570] - Big Rich Klein

Well, you can go border to border, all dirt roads except for maybe a couple of paved bridges.


[01:12:31.070] - Steve Sharp

Yeah. In fact, on this trip coming up, we're going to follow the tap for good ways.


[01:12:36.180] - Big Rich Klein

Good. That's one of my goals for hopefully maybe next year.


[01:12:40.850] - Steve Sharp

Cool. When you do that, give me a shout. I have driven most all of it in Oklahoma, a good chunk of it in Arkansas, and the little bit that's in New Mexico and the southern part of the southeastern part of Colorado. The stuff in Colorado and New Mexico I actually towed through there. I didn't drive a truck. You get some really funny looks from ranchers when you're driving through some of those back roads, back through there with a two car trailer and two jeeps on it, they look at you like you're really lost.


[01:13:22.670] - Big Rich Klein

I get that look a lot from people.


[01:13:27.990] - Steve Sharp

Where does this guy think he's going? It's incredible when you get some of them want to talk to you.


[01:13:39.100] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, absolutely. Because they never see anybody.


[01:13:42.130] - Steve Sharp

Yeah. I've had some of them waving down when we're out, especially out there where we're doing something weird like that, and they're like, what are you doing? Where are you going? Something going on. But they're usually just curious because they haven't seen anybody in a couple of days.


[01:13:57.260] - Big Rich Klein

Right? Yeah. The Transamerican Trail is what we're talking about. Goes from Georgia to Oregon and there's offshoots in various states. But that is an off road trail that's been scouted out. It's been run a million times by different people. It started off as a motorcycle trail and that's one of the things that I want to do. I also want to forge my own path through Montana into Idaho. That is not what the standard courses now I've got a route mapped out that is different from what everybody else has driven. I have no idea if it's drivable or not because during the summer I've always been busy doing events and traveling back and forth across the country. And I am not going to be able to do Montana in the winter.


[01:14:58.210] - Steve Sharp

No, they wouldn't be advisable.


[01:14:59.830] - Big Rich Klein

No, not in jeep or not in a pick up. Maybe a snow rap.


[01:15:07.510] - Steve Sharp

Yes, I was going to say the Raptor won't be very happy with that for very long.


[01:15:10.560] - Big Rich Klein

No, it wouldn't be.


[01:15:15.110] - Steve Sharp

And I'd really like to go back and explore eastern Oregon and Washington. I always wasn't interested in that part of the state when I lived there growing up just because it was so different than the western part.


[01:15:31.710] - Big Rich Klein

Absolutely. In always.


[01:15:35.210] - Steve Sharp

Yes, in always. And really, once you get out of the Blamet Valley and out of the valley going up Seattle, it's totally different as far as people and.


[01:15:51.870] - Big Rich Klein

Climate geology.


[01:15:53.910] - Steve Sharp

Yeah, it's all just totally different.


[01:15:56.210] - Big Rich Klein



[01:15:58.470] - Steve Sharp

I grew up in the rainforest. I get it.


[01:16:03.910] - Big Rich Klein

By ten. You've got web feet.


[01:16:07.150] - Steve Sharp

Oh, yes. I didn't realize how much the weather affects you until I moved from Oregon, where we had 280 cloudy days or whatever it was. I figured, but it was huge. We moved to Arkansas, where you get 280 honey days. It was just emotionally mind changing and life changing for me anyway, getting away from that dreary, always misty, always cloudy environment. Somewhere where it was sunny all the time. It was just emotionally it was such a change in my life. I lived in Arkansas for a month, and I had absolutely no desire to go back except to visit some of my family that was still there. Right. I get it. Yeah. I just absolutely didn't care. And I had opportunities, especially coming out of school. Out of high school. I had standing job offers for contractors that my dad worked for. They're like, when you get to the age you want job, just call me. I could have went there and actually made a very good living right out of high school and just couldn't bring myself back. And I tried getting into construction, some of those things that we did that I knew I could make good money at if I moved.


[01:17:44.150] - Steve Sharp

But it was just a different mindset in the industry that I couldn't ever wrap my head around and be accepted and accept it's just a different culture.



Absolutely. Yeah.


[01:17:56.290] - Steve Sharp

What do you mean we're not working today? It's raining. So what? We put on gear and we go. I went to work for a construction company. Right. In high school. I worked for them for six weeks out. About six weeks. I worked eight days. I got to do something else. I'll start with a death, wait for you guys to say, hey, we're going to work today because it's not raining.


[01:18:25.810] - Big Rich Klein

Exactly. There's such a huge difference in humidity. I tell people where I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area on the coast. It could be if it was 45, 50% humidity, it was raining.


[01:18:45.670] - Steve Sharp



[01:18:46.410] - Big Rich Klein

Or like you're talking about the mist. And then I've been in Arkansas, and it's 98 degrees and 100% humidity, and there's not a cloud in the sky. But you can chew the air.


[01:19:01.630] - Steve Sharp

Yes. And you're swimming in your underwear.


[01:19:06.390] - Big Rich Klein

Yes. I prefer dry over that heavy, chewable humidity. But I don't want it be raining.


[01:19:22.790] - Steve Sharp

Correct. And I'm the same way.


[01:19:25.400] - Big Rich Klein

I'm getting old and cranky anyway.


[01:19:27.890] - Steve Sharp

Yeah, I get it. It's like this house we built. I actually heating air conditioned garage when I'm building stuff. I'll go to heavy fab over in the shop, do all the cutting, grinding, wielding, all the dirty stuff over there, and then I bring it to the house. But it in the garage to do the plumbing and the wiring and the finish up, just because it's so much more comfortable. Right.


[01:19:58.310] - Big Rich Klein

What you accepted at 30, you don't accept at 50.


[01:20:03.050] - Steve Sharp



[01:20:06.690] - Big Rich Klein

And then you don't accept what you did at 50 or 60.


[01:20:10.830] - Steve Sharp

Right. And I'm finding that to be more and more true.


[01:20:14.850] - Big Rich Klein

Well, cool. Have we missed anything?


[01:20:18.090] - Steve Sharp

Not that I can think of.


[01:20:19.460] - Big Rich Klein



[01:20:21.510] - Steve Sharp

We need to get together and do something fun.


[01:20:23.300] - Big Rich Klein

Yes, I agree. Well, I'm definitely going to be doing the Tat, and that will probably even be before a trip to Mexico or to Baja, unless I go down to race Nora. And that's on the list, the life list, you might say.


[01:20:42.990] - Steve Sharp



[01:20:43.580] - Big Rich Klein

So, yeah, we'll make sure that happens.


[01:20:46.890] - Steve Sharp

Yeah. And, you know, the top passes within 10 miles of my house.


[01:20:51.040] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, wow. Excellent.


[01:20:52.360] - Steve Sharp

So if you need somewhere to base for a little bit while you do something different, you are more than welcome.


[01:21:00.380] - Big Rich Klein

And I know where you live. That's even better.


[01:21:06.190] - Steve Sharp

Yeah. Like around the park, whatever you're driving.


[01:21:10.270] - Big Rich Klein

Well, it'll be the raptor in the adventure trailer, trust me. Excellent.


[01:21:19.770] - Steve Sharp

Yeah. Now, Rich, I'm looking forward to seeing what you do in your next venture in life because you and I have talked a lot over the years about things that we want to do and things that we've done. And I'm excited to see you feel like you have the ability to do some of the things that you still want to do.


[01:21:44.750] - Big Rich Klein

It's going to be about slowing down and enjoying the road markers.


[01:21:50.990] - Steve Sharp

Yes. It's like this trip I'm getting ready to take. We talked about it. A good friend of mine lives half mile on the road, is going with me because I was planning on taking a strip by myself because I didn't think he'd be interested in it because it's not structured like he likes things structured. But he's retired in the last year, so he's kind of backed off a lot of that. He's kind of figured out that there's a whole lot of good and just whatever we want to do, it's all good. But he took interest in that. So I extended the trip. And the first day, we're going to drive 500 miles, but after that, we have no agenda. We got four days to get to your way, and how we are going to get there, I have no idea yet. That's likely to change by the minute.


[01:22:51.080] - Big Rich Klein

That's perfect. All right. Well, Steve, thank you so much for coming on and spending some time with us and talking about your life and aspirations and what you've accomplished and everything that's been involved with that. I appreciate it.


[01:23:09.180] - Steve Sharp

You're welcome. I've always just been that quiet guy sitting in the background and not really anybody's face and just always there. That's the way I like it. It's made me have a lot of relationships over the years that have been very influential in my life.


[01:23:29.870] - Big Rich Klein

Perfect. Okay, well, thank you. And I'll let you know when we're going to air this.


[01:23:36.170] - Steve Sharp

All right.


[01:23:36.980] - Big Rich Klein

All right. Take care.


[01:23:38.760] - Steve Sharp

You too.


[01:23:39.560] - Big Rich Klein



[01:23:40.400] - Steve Sharp



[01:23:41.160] - Big Rich Klein

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