“You don’t know what you can do until you do it, right?” Our man, Rob Usnick is still pushing the limits. From Ranger School to Bridal Fashion, and everything in between. No, seriously, this renaissance man is throwing things up and hitting them out of the park daily.
4:35 – I put all my cards and chips in the middle
9:55 – small towns are bad when they are your small town
14:50 – it’s hard to get into a firefight
22:18 – when you’re with people who are badasses, you don’t realize you are one too
33:13 – the paparazzi’s here, it was a training distractor
41:32 – then I did King of the Motos, which is up there in the five dumbest things I’ve ever done
45:13 – there’s not many days to make your whole nut for the year
52.25 – “what are you doing in here, boy?” I’m here to get some fabric, I’m like, “daddy can sew!”
1:00:06 – one thing I hate is when people say, “oh, you can’t do that”
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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 to 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 off road.
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[00:01:47.090] - Big Rich Klein
On today's episode of conversations with Big Rich, we have Rob Usnick. Rob, the ultimate renaissance man. And how I mean, this is let me give you an example, army Ranger, race KOH, fishing charter captain, podcaster, and Bridal fashion designer. That makes a man a Renaissance man because you're touching all the bases. So, Rob, thank you very much for coming on board and talking with us and letting everybody know more about Rob.
[00:02:23.310] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, my pleasure Rich, It's good to talk to you. It's been a while. We used to hang out a lot back in the old Dirt Riot days and the KOH days, and then I kind of moved way out here where not a whole lot of offroading whatsoever, so I kind of lost touch as far as seeing everybody all the time. But, yeah, it's a pleasure to be on here and thanks for having me.
[00:02:41.080] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, I'm glad we were able to get the timing to work out and everything. We've got so much to talk about. Like you said, the old days, racing and stuff. But before we get into those racing days and all that, let's find out what makes Rob Rob. So where were you born and raised?
[00:03:00.510] - Rob Usnick
I was actually born in Kansas city, Kansas? At the time, my parents were right across the river in Missouri, and I was born in Kansas City, Kansas and went all the way through high school living in Missouri, mostly rural, and when I graduated in 1991 from high school, a month later, I went right to Wyoming Tech and with their automotive program, out in Laramie. Well, once I got out, the session is in full swing and all that stuff, so I couldn't get a job anywhere. And the first Gulf War was ending and everything was bad. So I ended up working for a moving company called Carlisle Van Lines. And I was down at Warrensburg, Missouri. That's where my girlfriend at the time went to college. And we were moving these people on and off Whiteman Air Force Base. So I'm standing there and I'm looking at these kids are my age, and they're living it up. So with nothing else to do. That's when I joined the Air Force in, like, 92. Did four years of that as a weapons loader. I was actually a pararescue trainee, but I couldn't make the cut end up getting dropped.
[00:04:12.050] - Rob Usnick
So I was a nuclear weapon and conventional weapons loader on B One bombers. And then when the base realignment and closure came through, they realigned everything. And I went to fighter jets out in Las Vegas on Nellis Air Force Base the last two years there. And I got out and I actually got out, believe it or not, to join the army to fly Apaches.
[00:04:35.160] - Big Rich Klein
[00:04:35.740] - Rob Usnick
And that was all going good until I went to a Special Forces recruiting briefing and ended up throwing everything, putting all my cards and all my chips in the middle. And I actually went to selection, got selected, and then went back to Fort Bragg for the Q course. It's been three and a half years to be a green beret, then I stayed the rest of my time at Fort Bragg until I retired at 26 years.
[00:05:00.140] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, let's go back in time to those early years in Missouri. You said it's pretty rural. You were still in that Kansas City area, but on the Missouri side.
[00:05:15.510] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, we're on the Missouri side, but I was a little bitty baby then. My dad was a railroader, so he retired from the railroad as an engineer. So we were kind of always moving around. And most of my growing up years was a real small town. So I ended up graduating high school in a little town called Slater, Missouri. And the population is 1300. My graduating class like 31 people. I'm talking small town.
[00:05:45.770] - Big Rich Klein
[00:05:46.720] - Rob Usnick
So a lot of small town stuff.
[00:05:49.860] - Big Rich Klein
And being in those small communities. Your dad with the railroad, he was gone a lot, I would imagine.
[00:05:56.150] - Rob Usnick
[00:05:59.200] - Big Rich Klein
So I'm sure you still got to see him and everything, but it was almost like having a military dad, I would imagine.
[00:06:09.380] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, it was really, really close. And it's funny you say that because I was talking to my friends about the other day, I was moving around like a military kid, although I wasn't because nobody in my family came to the military. But dad would be gone a couple of days at a time running the trains around. It was very similar.
[00:06:32.240] - Big Rich Klein
And in a small school or towns like that, was there an opportunity for you to play sports, to stay involved or what was your thing?
[00:06:43.570] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, but we all had so much going on and it was small, so we all played sports. When I played football in high school, you're going to play both sides of the ball, offensive defense, and at least one special team. Because I think at my senior year I had like nine seniors, ten juniors, no sophomores whatsoever, and like 15 freshmen. So it was so small that you just in order to make the teams work it was like twelve, man, it wasn't our eleven, man, it wasn't the small. I think it was texas. We didn't play that. We actually played the full squad. So it was your non stop going. But then all we did in the summer time saw, hey, I think the summer that before I graduated high school, we put up 25,000 bales of hay. It's on this little team that we just traveled around and I can't believe I was doing that at 1516 years old, but travel around all these little towns, like gone for four, five, six weeks at a time on these hay hauling crews, just get hit in the field, get it out of the field, get in the barn, and then just travel around doing this.
[00:07:57.440] - Big Rich Klein
So you were hucking bales?
[00:07:59.540] - Rob Usnick
Oh yeah, man. Front of your pant legs all worn out.
[00:08:04.790] - Big Rich Klein
But you were in great shape.
[00:08:08.460] - Rob Usnick
[00:08:11.460] - Big Rich Klein
So then you spent your summers doing that or falls before jumping back into school. And you said you went to WyoTech. What made you want to go into automotive?
[00:08:28.560] - Rob Usnick
Well, in those small towns, none of us really had a whole lot of cash, so we were always working on something, dirt bikes or quads, and they were coming out. We all had junk. We did a lot of working on cars. And my best friend in high school, his older brother actually with the wild mech, like 79 or 80, like they were first starting off. So that's what we're going to do too. And of course we have vocational school, so we did that. I went to two years of the vocational school in automotive, and then I was going to Wyoming Tech as this is what we were going to do. What I didn't understand at the time was just the economy aspect of it and nobody wanted to hire a punk kid.
[00:09:15.060] - Big Rich Klein
Right. So then you're out of high school, you're out of WyoTech, you're working for the moving company and you get into you see the guys in the military and you decide to jump in.
[00:09:28.410] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, it's funny because even this day you guys in the interstate, I ten, I 70, I 90, whatever, and I always see Carlisle's and Lines and the Roycork Carlisle faces on there. That guy was the biggest buckle in the world. But yeah, because of that moving company.
[00:09:48.060] - Big Rich Klein
So when you joined up the military, was your family surprised?
[00:09:55.110] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, they really were. And they totally understood because there just with nothing going on. And as much as I love small towns, small towns are bad if they're your small town. Does that make sense?
[00:10:12.710] - Big Rich Klein
[00:10:13.790] - Rob Usnick
I can go right back to Slater, Missouri, 65349, and there's still the same dudes sitting on the front porch that were there when I left. There 91. Either you're doing the military with the college, or you stayed right where you're at and your mom and dad's front porch still drinking Natural light. It's easy to get into a rut. Now. You can go to another small town and be fine, but your small town is really hard unless you got some you're a farmer or you got a lot of stuff going on to get in that rut. So we all knew we had to leave because the only way you can become a farmer is if you marry into it or you inherit it, because you just don't become a farmer one day and buy millions of dollars of implements and land. So for most of us, we knew we had to get out of Dodge.
[00:11:00.100] - Big Rich Klein
Right. Okay. And you joined the now, I forgot what order it was in. You went into the Air Force first and weapons loader. Now, why did you not make the cut? You said you didn't make the cut. As medic?
[00:11:19.510] - Rob Usnick
No, as a pararescal. PJ.
[00:11:21.200] - Big Rich Klein
[00:11:21.700] - Rob Usnick
And they selected, like, three of us, I think, at a time that you could volunteer and sign up and come in and their special operations, but I just want to he said, hey, you got selected for this. So I was like, okay. So I go down there, and I lasted a couple of weeks, and then my biggest problem, Rich, was at 19 years old when I went. I wanted to underage drink and chase girls around. So my mind wasn't right to handle that training because the same dive school that we were going to, I went to at 29 when I was in Special Forces and passed right through it. And I wasn't any better off physically than I was, but it's all about the mind part of it, and I was in a much better place to endure it than I was then.
[00:12:12.500] - Big Rich Klein
Well, and I can understand that, especially when you're young. I equate it to sports like myself. When I was in high school sports, it was something that my friends were doing and school sports, and I was interested because that's what they did. But I didn't have the mindset, especially for football. I don't think I had enough aggression to make the team. I mean, I made the team, but I didn't start I didn't play much because I didn't have that aggression. I didn't feel like I needed to get out there and hit somebody hard enough for snot bubbles and tears.
[00:13:00.680] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, there's no passion. You're just doing it because nobody else.
[00:13:03.170] - Big Rich Klein
Is doing it right yet on the ski slopes or water skiing. That was a passion. And so I skied violently. I was a violent skier, very forceful, where I wasn't that way with football. But when I got into college and I understood rules of the jungle more, I wish I'd have been that way in high school. Yeah, just because the opportunity would have been I would have been a better player, and it wouldn't have opened up much doors because I didn't ever get big enough, tall enough, or heavy enough at least to play that kind of sport. But, yeah, I get it. And that happens when kids go into the military, too, because they're the same. They're still kids.
[00:14:02.910] - Rob Usnick
Yeah. Well, if I had to do over of course, you don't know what you don't know. But I think I missed out a lot of opportunities because I did know what I didn't know. And even today, a lot of people who don't come from a military background, and I actually was a recruiter for a little bit for Special Forces. When mom and dad sees these recruiters on a college campus, they're not there to jerk little Johnny and Jane out of college and put them on the front lines. They're there to keep them in school by joining the reserves or whatever. And if you don't understand that, it can be menacing. And I with no military background in my family, you know, hell, I didn't know what was going to happen. Am I going to join up in 90, 92 or whatever and be in a trench somewhere? That's all you really know because of TV.
[00:14:49.460] - Big Rich Klein
[00:14:50.990] - Rob Usnick
And when I was a recruiter, I told people, I was like, it's not what you think it is. And even as an SF guy, where our job is to go, you know, do combat, it's hard to get into a firefight. And that's our only job. And it's not like our grandparents who went over there and fought like Vietnam and stuff before that where you're fighting nonstop until you come home, if you come home. No Internet and all that stuff. And it's just not like that these days. If you don't know, you don't know.
[00:15:26.540] - Big Rich Klein
Right. I think the people nowadays that get the most action, at least it appears to be, would be the guys that are flying the drones from outside of Vegas, and they're half a world away from what they're doing. It's more like a game.
[00:15:46.810] - Rob Usnick
It is, exactly. Yeah. That's technology, man. I can't beat that.
[00:15:53.290] - Big Rich Klein
Right. So then you go to Air Force and then you decide to jump into the arm as an army and get into the Ranger program. How did that transition from Air Force.
[00:16:08.630] - Rob Usnick
To well, I just did my regular four years and got out and then immediately went to recruiter because by that time I'd learned a little bit about the military and opportunities because the Air Force, as much as I loved it, you're not going to change your job. Remember back in the army was like, be all you can be. It really is. Be all you can be. Because you can come in as a cook. You can go be a Ranger, you can go into a Special Forces, pass all that stuff, go do that for a little while. You can put in a warrant officer packet and go fly helicopters. And then you can put in your master's program to be a physician's assistant and do that. There's always opportunity, whereas the Air Force, it was nothing. Whatever you come in as, you're pretty much going to die, retire or get out as that same job. So that by the time I've been in for a little bit and start talking to people, that's what I knew, like, okay, I need to get out, join the army, and go fly helicopters. Because the only way you go to fly anything in the Air Force is you have to have a four year degree.
[00:17:08.540] - Rob Usnick
And I still don't have a four year degree to this day. So the army, you can be a war officer. Not necessarily. You don't need a four year degree to be a war officer. That's what I was going to do, special Forces recruiting briefing, and that's all it took.
[00:17:28.860] - Big Rich Klein
Let me ask this, because I have no idea. My dad was in the military. I didn't do military. I was in that after Vietnam before anything else really got started.
[00:17:39.890] - Rob Usnick
[00:17:41.010] - Big Rich Klein
And it didn't make sense to go for me at that time, at that age, even up until when I was 24, 25, it just didn't make sense. Even though I went and talked to the recruiters one time, it didn't make sense for me to do that. I don't think the recruiter did a very good job of explaining what the benefits would have been. Otherwise I probably would have done it because now I look back on it and go, well, I missed out on the GI loan, and I already had my education, so I didn't have to worry about having to get a degree and paying for that again. But when you went from the Air Force into the army, do you still have to go through, like, boot? Then.
[00:18:27.360] - Rob Usnick
I knew I was going to have to go back to basic training because the Air Force does what's called basic military training. And then the army, we do basic combat training. So if you do the Marine Corps first, then you don't have to do any other one. And if you want to go to the army from the Navy or the Air Force, then you have to go back to basic training. So when I sign up, I actually took a train to this is crazy. It put me on a train from Warrensburg to Kansas City. Or maybe Sidalia to Kansas City. Then it flew me to Chicago, to St. Louis, then I hop on a bus to go to Fort Leonardwood in Missouri. So I was like, plane, trains and automobiles get to go like literally 100 miles down the road. When you get there, you go to what's called reception, and that's when you kind of like in process. You get your issue and all your shots and all that stuff. So we're sitting in this room, this walks in and says, hey, if you spent one day in any other branch of the service, get in line right here.
[00:19:29.350] - Rob Usnick
So I'm in the line and people are kind of going to the left, go to the right, go to the left, go to the right. And I was like, oh, maybe they changed the policy. And I told her I did four years in the Air Force. And she's like, get over there. So I was going to walk with the basic training pile, and I was just like, oh my God, I was 24 years old. Here we go again. But it wasn't that bad.
[00:19:52.520] - Big Rich Klein
So you mean it wasn't that bad in which way?
[00:19:56.690] - Rob Usnick
So in the Air Force everything we did wall lock inspections 03:00 in the morning. You did four or five a day, I think. In the army we did wall outer inspections twice now. Both times everything got dumped over. It was a mess. But it wasn't the mental part of always worrying, like, where every little attention of detail in the Air Force was so far different from the army. The army was just like not quitting and being cold and being hungry versus the Air Force is like, okay, you're not going to be cold or hungry, but you will make sure everything is exactly how it's supposed to be. And don't ever leave anything out of place because they'll walk up to you for the next in the morning, wake up, wake up a man, open your Wallacre and everything has to be perfect, you know, and the army is just like, get up and go run. That makes sense. It was more physical, not mental. And honestly, the Air Force basic training was probably harder because of that fact, because you're always wondering, am I going to get in trouble for not having little whiskers in my white towel?
[00:21:01.750] - Rob Usnick
And I display nobody cared about that.
[00:21:07.390] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, so the physical part of it though, did you thrive on that?
[00:21:14.310] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, you did pretty good. I went through at 24 to make you training, and most of the people with me were 1819 out of high school. But because old man strength, man, you know how it is. Yeah, I was getting it. And these kids, they all looked better at their shirts off, but I was still like in the fast agility group running and still max in the PT test where they were struggling on that.
[00:21:44.170] - Big Rich Klein
Right now I know that at 24, 25, I was much stronger even at 30 than I was at 18 or 19.
[00:21:52.640] - Rob Usnick
[00:21:53.210] - Big Rich Klein
Even though I was lifting weights and everything in high school, it wasn't the same kind of strength.
[00:21:59.240] - Rob Usnick
Yeah. You understand your body more and understanding, like, limits.
[00:22:04.040] - Big Rich Klein
Right. So then let's talk more about that Army Ranger stuff. If I remember right, you competed in the Special Forces Olympics or whatever they call it.
[00:22:18.770] - Rob Usnick
Well, yeah, I did. Best ranger. So basically I have a point here, but I got to kind of preface it with this. No worries. Especially Forces. Right. They call it three time volunteers. You volunteered for the army. You volunteered for Airborne School because you have to jump out of airplanes. And then, of course, you volunteered for Special Forces training. So once you get, you know, the people who fall out of the bottom of that process, everybody has the same core values as standards. So everybody's a badass. And it sucks because when you're with people who are badasses, you don't realize that you are one because you're surrounded with excellence everywhere you look. So we have a company. We have dive team, we have a rock team, we have a mountain team, we have a Halo team. Each special for this company has a specialty. And I went to dive school and saw the dive team, which is like, you know, they're the commander's go to team because we're idiots and we don't quit and we don't mind being miserable. But when I get my dive team, everybody was a Ranger except for me. When it comes to Ranger school, the thing is, like, either you got a story or a tab, meaning you got a story on either why you didn't go or why you didn't pass, or you actually have the Ranger tab.
[00:23:46.610] - Rob Usnick
And there's two different rangers. There's a Ranger that's a graduate of the school, then there's actually a member of Ranger battalion. So I always wanted to go, but when I was in Special Forces, especially the early years, 2003, 2004, five, six, seven we were deploying so much that you're going eight months home for six. I got two little kids. I can't burn up three months of that. Four or five months, and I'm off running around in the woods trying to get a Ranger tab. So I didn't go to Ranger school until I was 39.
[00:24:17.160] - Big Rich Klein
[00:24:18.290] - Rob Usnick
Yeah. So then I went the best ranger. The 30 tangled best ranger, which is the dumbest thing I think I ever did. Yeah, that's what they're trying to kill us. So that's how I got into that part.
[00:24:32.160] - Big Rich Klein
And let's talk about that competition that Best Ranger.
[00:24:44.090] - Rob Usnick
At that point, I was trying to retire to go out west because the only reason I ever got into off road racing is because I wanted to prep race cars. I went to T. J. flored as a shopping vibe to sober one day, and I knew that that's what I wanted to do. And each car has its bay and it's torn down and all this stuff. But the only way that you can prep a desert car or any kind of race car is you better know what it takes to you need to know what they go through. So that's the only reason I was ever doing it, because that's what I wanted to do anyways. I wanted to retire out west. So I took that recruiting job and I was a Special Forces recruiter at Fort Bliss in El Paso. And that's when you and I really started running around because that's when you were doing the dirt riot stuff. And on the way to when I was moving out there, because my wife Kristen, at the time, she was in Iraq, and it was me and the kids. So I had to make one trip from Phantom.
[00:25:35.240] - Rob Usnick
North Carolina to El Paso. And I got the kids off the grandma and grandpa flew back. Grabbed my 45 foot triple axle deuce neck and my F 250s. All the racers in it. Drove back across. Picked the kids up and made the El Paso. And I was on the way out. I got promoted to e eight. And my job. I was thinking. Was e seven. So they told me I can't stay in that job. Well, I ended up being able to stay in it, but I was able to relist, so I took they offered us a presubstantial bonus because we're losing so many senior guys in Special Forces to State for 25. So I moved all the way out there, ended up doing my three years as a recruiter, and then moved back to Fort Bragg and finished up my last six years there. But that's what I was moving out west to do. That. That's the only reason I took that job, to try to get as far out west as I could in El Paso.
[00:26:34.480] - Big Rich Klein
[00:26:35.200] - Rob Usnick
Which is yeah, that was the farthest because we were driving back and forth on the East Coast. Vegas Arena King of the Hammer is a long drive. Have your guests on there that you've had Midwest and East Coast. It's a long drive in Southern California.
[00:26:49.070] - Big Rich Klein
Right? What did you think of El Paso? Because I know what I think, but I only drive through it.
[00:26:55.460] - Rob Usnick
So I moved there in 2010 or eleven, and right across the board in Moreeze is like the most dangerous city in the world, and El Paso, like, the safest city per capita in the world. I loved it. Me and Kyle could rip the dirt bikes out at 08:00 on a Saturday morning, rip the Las Cruces right out the driveway, you know, have breakfast burritos, I'd have a couple of beers, and we'd rip back and we're done by noon before it gets to 10,000 degrees. I love El Paso. I really did like it.
[00:27:30.740] - Big Rich Klein
I don't like driving through it because the traffic just sucks.
[00:27:34.190] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, it gets a little and there's.
[00:27:36.910] - Big Rich Klein
No way it doesn't have a loop around it. No, the highways are getting better. You just don't hit it at the right. If you hit it at the right time, it's perfect.
[00:27:45.360] - Rob Usnick
The base is beautiful for Blizzard is amazing.
[00:27:50.090] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. Yeah. Believe it or not, that's awesome to hear. So then I understand that you did pretty good at that. From what I recall, that you did really well at that best Ranger competition.
[00:28:08.090] - Rob Usnick
Yeah. So when you're a recruiter on these bases, right, remember, I'm going to these units and I'm asking these units, I don't need all your best people, but I do need a few of them. And in order to you got to build rapport with the Sergeant majors especially, and to get nobody can stop these kids from doing it, but they can make these kids life hell. So you got to kind of, like, make it smooth and glossy for Bliss. Put together a best Ranger competition to select the two best Rangers to go represent Fort Bliss and First Armored Division. And I just graduated Ranger school, and I was like, you know what? I'm a part of this base. I need to make my space known. So I just go over there and help them set up and organize it and be help out as I could because I was rendered qualified. And I went over there the first day, had nine people. The second meeting there was down to seven, and they got down to, like, five people. And I'm like, you know what? I'm entering this thing just to make the numbers look good.
[00:29:13.000] - Big Rich Klein
[00:29:13.460] - Rob Usnick
Well, I messed around. I got second place, and I was going to go and represent First Armored Division. Although I was a member of the special operations recruiting battalion, I was going to go and represent Fort Bless. I thought it was a great idea and made me a part of the base. Right. And when you're trying to deal with people, when you represent the base, they're more likely to let you talk to formation and stuff. Well, my battalion commander at Fort Bragg got the news, and he put a stop to that, and then we end up going on. He put together his own team, which is me and another guy to represent the Sob, the special operations recruiting Italian. The guy I went with, Marcus Daniels, I think he was a recruiter in New York, like Ford drummer somewhere. He flew out to El Paso because of the elevation, and we trained there for like, four or five weeks before he went. But so we get there, and I'm telling you, it's actually pretty funny because in the military, when you're in airborne school, they call you airborne. What are you doing? Airborne? Like, it's derogatory.
[00:30:20.760] - Rob Usnick
And then you go to ranger school. What are you doing, Ranger? Like, everything so negative. Well, six months later, I'm back at Forbidden again, and the same Ri, the ranger instructors are calling. US Ranger, but all of a sudden you stay up a little straighter. The same person saying the same word, but it means something totally different now, right? It was just funny being we were celebrities. I think Colin Powell was the grand marshal of the event, and he was there like, he's big. We got all this free stuff. We're treated like royalty there at the best range of competitions. But, man, those guys, I'm telling you, man, they were trying to kill us. I never carry. What the most ridiculous stuff you can think of? And then triple it and now double the length of whatever it was non stop. It went out for three days straight.
[00:31:15.810] - Big Rich Klein
And how did you do there?
[00:31:18.290] - Rob Usnick
So we were in the top half, but then my Ranger buddy, he couldn't make the road march. And the road march, which is the cutoff, once time expires, they drop you and everybody else moves on. He's on the side of the road. He's like, Man, I can't I just can't move my feet anymore. And I was kind of frustrated a little bit because the dude that got first at Fort Bliss and I got second, me and him, his buddy quit on him. And I was like I told Josh, I was like, man, these lieutenants like, man, sir, we should have been together. But I end up getting second place in Fort Bliss and their best Ranger. And then I think we ended up getting 27 places overall for whatever it was, which was essentially with a DNS. But it was just cool to be a part of it.
[00:32:06.440] - Big Rich Klein
And then you were probably the oldest guy there.
[00:32:13.490] - Rob Usnick
Actually not. And this is the prize. It's funny you mentioned that a lot of the people who do best are these old Delta Force guys that are probably, I don't know, high 40s, low 50s that are target max out there. They'll go through with a major or lieutenant colonel who's 45 years old. Those guys kill it either those guys are the guys who come from Ranger Regiment. Because when Ranger Regiment and even the 82nd Airborne Division for that matter, if you get selected for best Ranger, your job for a year before you go is to train. The rest of them got jobs. Give me a year to go running around. So those guys, you get the course. Delta Force, those guys are physical specimens of their own, right? But yeah, I was surprised at how many old dudes of course they're all Delta guys, but how many old dudes were there now at Ranger school? I was the second oldest. There was one dude. They're older than me.
[00:33:11.890] - Big Rich Klein
And did he pass?
[00:33:13.490] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, he retired into my class and he was the group sergeant major for the psyop group. Like, this is the command sergeant major, which is you can't get any higher ranked in the command sergeant major. And it's like, man, his name was Courtney Mavis. AFN, the Armed Forces Network was there and they kept doing interviews on me and Mavis. And so we'd be in the patrol base and the Ri will be like, okay Rangers, listen to paparazzi's here. Our eyes hate it because it was a training distractor. Because all of this light camera action and they're out there interviewing me and Mavis the whole time. It was the most surreal experience of my life. Just the whole everything. All these videos are on YouTube and stuff. I'm like, it's ridiculous.
[00:34:05.540] - Big Rich Klein
[00:34:07.560] - Rob Usnick
What's going on here?
[00:34:09.360] - Big Rich Klein
So then you're racing during your military time, correct?
[00:34:16.710] - Rob Usnick
Yeah. Other than deployments, we do whatever we want, especially in Special forces. It's our twelve man team. We got a training calendar and you just do what you want loads. You're not going to miss an appointment or a training event. You're good to go. So I would look at the schedules and then we just start planning. And the biggest thing, listen, I'm definitely not the anomaly three cores to do to do all this stupid stuff. We rely on friends and I lean on friends a lot, just like everybody else does, to get us out there and back even no matter how crappy the showing is, because it just takes so much resources and it comes from that far away from the east coast. And then juggle the military part, that wasn't bad. And that part was as bad as it was before Brag. It was a lot easier for Bliss because we could zip over to Tucson for a weekend and do a dirt riot race. We could go to El Paso and one year we did the Parker 425 and then on a Saturday and then ran down to KLA the next week and it wasn't recruiting, it was no problem taking two weeks off to do that good.
[00:35:28.010] - Rob Usnick
No problem at all. And then of course we're racing. We're doing all these little practice races, these little local these are actually pretty fun races right there in El Paso. I think Kyle's first desert race on his little KX 100, he was twelve years old, did 125 miles desert race on the KX 100 and then he got third place. And the funny thing is you're going to get a kick out of this. The trophies are like these little printed out things and it had a little white label on it and it said third place tile, but the picture was like Pete Soren and like the old number two trophy truck, you know, I'm sure most of them knew who Pistol Pete was. It's funny, like they just grabbed some stock images of desert racing trucks off internet. But I was like, Dang, Kyle, you got a pistol. Pete trophy.
[00:36:19.040] - Big Rich Klein
[00:36:19.790] - Rob Usnick
Yes. Then he got out, he got out the dirt bike and then hopped into Veranda with me and was codriving. Of course he already knew the track. Twelve years old, like a bobblehead and that stupid thing. But yeah, but it was nice to do. I was little practice for those shakedown races, right? It's nice to go do 100 because I test running and stuff. We can do test running, but you can't test run the way you do in a race. I'm not going to go there and test run 100 miles, but we're racing and it's $30 to enter. Just go running hard, Shakespeare. And it's nice to have that ability right there in your backyard, right?
[00:37:02.180] - Big Rich Klein
That does help because they sure didn't.
[00:37:04.580] - Rob Usnick
Have that in Fadeville, North Carolina, my friend.
[00:37:08.390] - Big Rich Klein
So then you're racing, you're still in the military and how long did you continue racing for?
[00:37:20.910] - Rob Usnick
When I built my Goldzookie Buggy back in the very first race we did was that you are a four x four cross and you cannot remember back. That was in Greg Stone. That was the second year he ran his Buggy off into the lake. They had moved it the year before that. They actually ran it through the national forest and it was actually a pretty big deal to get the permits and stuff. And I finished that Buggy and the night before and raced it the next day. Ended up hitting a tree and breaking it. But that was the first my little Buggy race. And I was going to Little Creek, Virginia, and I was watching I forgot what magazine it was back then, crawl magazine, probably. And they had Shannon Campbell and the KLH thing, and I was just like blown away. Because for us on the East Coast, 2008, it hadn't really gotten to us as much as everybody on the West Coast knew about it. It was kind of like we watched it on Pirate and such a new little bit. But when Dave Cole said, you know, we're going to take applicants, and that's when I actually had my laser guy cut out that it was on that Crawl magazine, like the page of it.
[00:38:33.050] - Rob Usnick
It had this big king of the hammers, like all these skulls, this emblem of the crown, and I had my laser cutter print that out and then that'll I put my application form in there like a picture book and all these pictures of like this all this junk we were building and racing and stuff and put in the FedEx box and shipped it off. And then of course, Dave calls, but I was talking to Jody, I think he might have been down to Baja then talking to Jody Everton. I was a bob rogue, right, for the 1000. And Jody said he's like, brother, I was there, I was there when that box came in because they were doing the interviews for the Koh movie, right? And he's like, Jeff know. And they pulled that out and said, I don't care who he is, he's in. They saw that big aluminum cut out of it and then that's all I thought. So we go out there and no idea what we're getting into. I've never seen rocks that big and the desert. I think I had Rancho Coilovers on that thing or some craziness. Again, like we said earlier, you don't know what you don't know.
[00:39:32.720] - Rob Usnick
And that stuff was just so out of my scope of knowledge, despite pirate. And speaking of pirate, I think my member number was like 3000. Like old school dude, right? Not old as, like Lance and Camo and probably you. But definitely remember 3000 because meaning I knew a lot about what was going on, but I never had put my hand on a real coil over before. It was just crazy. You get out there, it's like I think we made it 11 miles and broke the wishbone behind the ready Welder. So we got it welded. And then those big rocks, man, I think I had 42 inch stickies on this time. And my little Toyota axles, this one having it.
[00:40:20.760] - Big Rich Klein
So did you race that buggy again? Any point Koh jump into the UCD.
[00:40:29.840] - Rob Usnick
910? Eleven. So raising nine got her butt handed to us. And then I was like, all right, we know something now. So we went back and then that's when we did the very first race, I think, was in May. It was up in Pennsylvania at Ralph Street. And that's when I had to kick Billy out of the car cause he's too fat. And we'd already lost one coil over broke off. I think I was on FOAS then. Which part of the problem? Of course, it was just rough. And that's when I rolled at the finish line. And I think Will Carter got first, but he's already qualified. And I was 11th person, although over time, they came to get ten people, and I was a 10th person actually finished. And that's the whole Houston finish from Will Gentile and those guys in the video. That's what got us into 2009 or 2010. And then we did a little bit better that year, but not a whole lot. And then we did what do they call that? The International. They had three series going on in 2010, and then that's how we qualified to go back in.
[00:41:32.650] - Rob Usnick
Eleven. And then 1213 14, I raised the UTVs right, and then I went back to Dirt by the King of the Moto in 2015, which is up there in the top five dumbest things I've ever done.
[00:41:46.790] - Big Rich Klein
Those were pretty wild, watching those starts and watching the guys just trying to drag their bikes up the hills and everything.
[00:41:56.240] - Rob Usnick
I went there with this kid who we do hair samples with in North Carolina, and my buddy Cathedee, and this kid can ride a dirt bike like nobody else. And we left out there chocolate thunder at night. All right, no problem. We made it, I think 24 hours. I think the winter is like 24 minutes or something. So then the next morning we lined up again and we have that big, huge wall. Okay, that stuff was stupid. Well, my visor broken off, so I'm lighting up on stage three. This is where we're going to cross, all back behind school bus, like all up in that stuff. And I was like, Is it illegal for me to race without a visor on my helmet? Like, I was looking for any way for someone who's like, hey, you can't run like that. All right. Okay, I'm out, man, my advisor is broke. And they're like, no, you're good, dude. So I'm like, oh. So we're running up here, running up here, and I come across Cassidy. And dude, this dude can ride a dirt bike. Rich. I mean, he is a master. And he has his arms, his forearms on the handlebars.
[00:42:57.520] - Rob Usnick
Leaving over, he says, Rob, I got to turn back. And I'm like, Why, buddy? He's like, I don't want to die today, man. I can't get anymore. I was like, well, I'm going back. I don't know what's in front of us, but I know what's behind us sucks. So he turned back, and I just kept going, and finally I timed out on the backside. But yeah, that was stupid. I was so glad. And what was his name that formulated that he came up with his horses? Yeah, he's the one who pulled up and said, that, man, times over. Drop down to the road and head back to camp. Yes, sir.
[00:43:31.860] - Big Rich Klein
I worked with Jimmy every year now on the Rebel rally. The guy's phenomena.
[00:43:36.050] - Rob Usnick
I was scared. I was scared. And then, of course, the good thing is you have arm pumps so bad, you can't even hold on anymore. So I was just like, you're throwing the bike around, and I just go striding it up and God bless those KPMS.
[00:43:53.390] - Big Rich Klein
That's awesome. So then, Koh, when did the bug hit you to fish?
[00:44:06.140] - Rob Usnick
So coming from Missouri, we all fish. You have all those guys in the Midwest and the East Coast. It's all freshwater fishing. Most of us have farm ponds, so I've always fished. And because our dive schools in Key West from 2003 on, that's when I went to dive school, we were always down there and we're training, but then we had these 26, 30 foot center console boats that are used for dive operations. Somebody always bring tackle, and we go fish. Like, okay, you get to a fish that would be something to be proud of out of a pond, £4, whatever. And it's a bait fish here. And it blew my mind how big it was. And so I just started doing these guys and you guys all the time. And I did a fishing tournament in North Carolina. We came down to Ocean Island to dive and did a fishing tournament. And the dude I was with, him and his buddy it was me and my son Kyle, and him and his buddy came down, and at 430 in the morning, me and Kyle, we've gotten up, they were icing the boat. They're coming in from the club, and I'm like, well, damn.
[00:45:13.010] - Rob Usnick
I went to the club. I thought this was serious and paying big money to get in this thing. So get them in the truck, go down, put the boat in the water, and we take off. And these two dudes pass out and puke all day long and left me and my son Kyle out there trolling all these lines, and we didn't catch a single fish. We trolled all the way up to the cutoff boat. When you come back into the intertwastal cutoff terms at 05:00 and at like, 455, we got to the cutoff boat. We had to roll everything in and work those dudes up. We pulled in there and pulled the right out of the water. And when those guys got out of the truck at the hotel, I told Kyle, I will never, ever, ever go through that again. We're going to figure this out. And Dick thing, you know, we just figured it out, but that's what got it going. And then I bought my big boat. Why not? Which took you and Shelley out, I think, who was with us that day?
[00:46:12.510] - Big Rich Klein
[00:46:13.210] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, Nick. Yeah. We brought my knot down here, but he's been full throttle since then. And I'm telling you, man, I had to quit switching down here because I did 1056 charters in two and a half years, and the water is three to five and almost 50. I just can't do 15 hours days and get my teeth kicked in on those boats anymore. I can't deliver the product. So now I'm a backup guy for them if they need help. And then I run these party boats, which is easy, breezy, beautiful, 100 junks get on here, drive them around and come right back in. It's easy. And the boat is big, like 63ft. But now I fish on my boat for fun versus doing the charter fishing where there's just so much work and the money is amazing. It's ridiculous, but it's a lot of work.
[00:47:08.720] - Big Rich Klein
[00:47:11.540] - Rob Usnick
We don't have mates. So you do everything. You rig the tackle, drive the boat, set the lines out. You're by yourself. So it's just you're running every day. You're just non stop on your feet.
[00:47:22.220] - Big Rich Klein
And doing that many charters in that shorter time. That's crazy.
[00:47:28.490] - Rob Usnick
Yeah. Every day down here, we'll do a six hour to four hour, then we have a 1 hour turn, meaning you got to come back from seven to 01:00, get back at 01:00 or 115 or whatever it is, clean the fish, clean the boat. Monday. When is on? Friday. You've got to run over the fuel dock at Gas, and then you've got a stained on pickup. You got a 15 minutes boat right over there, pick up those gas, do a four hour trip, get back, clean the fish, you come back. I mean, you're running. It's the most ridiculous I've never seen boats run this much. And it's 355 days a year, right? It is insane beach. I ended up there's 14 weeks of charter fishing, where you have tourists because the snowbirds come down from November to March. And they're not booking charters, they're stealing salt and pepper shakers in the Walter house. It's going to buy it for their rental because they are on fixed income. And then the spring breakers come and they're 15 to a room. They can natural light, they're not booking charters. So you have a couple of weeks in April and then Memorial Day to the first week in August and then a couple of weeks in October, and it has to be 14 weeks, minus mechanical, minus weather, and it's not very many days to make your whole nuts for the whole year.
[00:48:38.890] - Big Rich Klein
[00:48:39.700] - Rob Usnick
And then all my buddies who are up there doing it, and they'll go work someplace else in the winter, home Depot or do clean gutters or construction or whatever, and I just wanted to run boats. And down here we run the boats.
[00:48:50.690] - Big Rich Klein
And so you moved down there. You were in the Virgin Islands. You were on American Virgin Islands or British.
[00:49:01.580] - Rob Usnick
Yeah. No, we're in the USB. I'm on St Thomas.
[00:49:05.570] - Big Rich Klein
[00:49:07.110] - Rob Usnick
I call it Santo Thomas because, you know, everybody wasn't really funny, but yeah, St Thomas.
[00:49:15.850] - Big Rich Klein
So then you've had a lot some of your friends come down, guys that you raced with come down and charter.
[00:49:23.980] - Rob Usnick
Or did you yes. It's pretty funny how many people have actually been down here, Camou's down the boat? I think Camo Heather were on the boat they lived on. Why not give you a month? Last December they came down, it was a couple of weeks from a month. It was a long time. And Brian Sterling, those guys all came down. It was just funny how many people were coming down here. Not necessarily from me, but they were coming down here and luckily we got to hang out. Yes, it's pretty funny, actually, how many people I've seen now, of course, the two people that I always see anywhere, camo and JT Taylor. I see those two dudes, I'll be in some random country somewhere, and all of sudden, a JT Taylor, they're buying whatever, or deep in Mexico or some little town, camel walks up, hey, Rob. So it's always fun. No matter what, I always see JT And I've seen JT twice here, and then Camel came out there. People have come out here.
[00:50:23.330] - Big Rich Klein
I know that Shelley and I have been wanting to come out and things have just not worked out yet, but we're going to get down there. Hopefully you'll still be there.
[00:50:31.790] - Rob Usnick
Well, it's tough for you guys on the West Coast, but what's crazy is when COBIT I was here before COBIT, and then we shut down from like, March 27 to the 1 June and 2020, and when we open back up. We were gangbusters. Normally the summertime our slow season, and we open up in June, broke all time records. July broke all time records. We broke all time records for the first seven months we were back open because BBI, which is 4 miles away, they fall under European protocols, so nobody was in and out of there. For you guys in the West Coast, hawaii wasn't necessarily closed, but it was like, come on out. Stay 14 days in your room, and then after that you can stay on the property and nobody's really going to burn up their vacation for that. And then Mexico had all the weird rules that somebody's going there. So we had so many people come from Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington state idol. Who? That part of the country does not come to St. Thomas, but we're the only show in town. And the beauty of it is there's no passport needed.
[00:51:32.720] - Rob Usnick
And people are telling me rich, and I kid you not, people are telling me that their company that they work for said, hey, if you guys go on vacation, don't leave the United States. Well, guess what? This is the United States. Although it is America, ish it's still United States, right? So we got a lot so many people from, I call it west of the Dallas Fort Worth imaginary line that cut the United States in half. West of there, you guys usually go to Mexico or Hawaii, and then east of there, Florida, out to here where so many people were coming from that part of the country. It was pretty crazy sweet. Only show in town.
[00:52:15.160] - Big Rich Klein
So what are you doing there now? If you're just part time? Or is that enough to survive?
[00:52:25.260] - Rob Usnick
Yes, I got my retirement stuff in the military, and that's good. And then running these boats a couple of days a week is good. And then the part everybody, I'm sure is wondering, the whole bridal thing. My beautiful gowns right here. Yes. So I actually got a couple of bids on that stuff going too, but that was more one of those things where I just like being able to do it for like when my daughter gets married or when like my friend, you know, I'm saying it's more like that not something making them is one of the hardest things ever done. And my joke is because I'm always making fun of kyle sent me all these pictures he's fabricating, like doing man stuff and all this stuff like a fab school he's tig wells and all this crazy stuff. Working on Ferraris. I'm still fabricating too, buddy. I just use a sewing machine and I'm using cloth or no fabric. There's a reason why these gowns take so long to make. And I've worked for five or six weeks on these last two to get them done. And I'm talking 20 hours a day because there's a lot to them.
[00:53:29.860] - Rob Usnick
And mine are even that elaborate. So what started that was I've always liked the fashion industry. And when I was in Milan, I actually linked up with the fashion school there and enrolled, and I did two classes. I did women's lingerie. It's one way, which is kind of the same thing, because swimsuits is where the money is at, man. They're easy to make, and you can charge whatever you want. And then, of course, bridal. And then with bridal, it's not necessarily bridal gowns. All kinds of dresses, too. But my goal was to get two gowns to New York for Bridal Fashion Week. And what I was trying to do was go to get into Martha Stewart's after show or her little after party with the gallery on display. But that didn't work out. The funny thing about the whole fashion industry is this is all new to me too, buddy. I was going away. They're called fashion figures. Our little drawings that we do, right? And it's on a scale from heavy pro. It's a ten, like a head is one. And it scaled down, you know, chest bust, waist, hips, all the way down.
[00:54:41.980] - Rob Usnick
And you draw them that scale because of the mannequins that you use. They're to that model size. And the very first assignment I did, I was like, I'm not going to send these little skinny model jigs. Look around. That's not what a woman looks like. So I drew full figured women with my garment designs. Am I a professor? Lit me up? No, we don't do that. And I was like, well, why not? Who can explain it to me? Here's why. If you draw the fashion figure scale and you make this garment on this model that's based off that, you can make this garment, put it in a box, take it to London, and when the model walks in, it'll fit her or him. Does that make sense?
[00:55:27.440] - Big Rich Klein
[00:55:29.090] - Rob Usnick
It's a standard. It's a standard used now, you can get full figured models or real skinny models or whatever, but for what we do, it's to that standard, that industry standard, where that model, no matter where in the country, they can put it on, right? So it all makes sense then. Okay. But yeah, the bridal stuff really blows me away, man. Some of these gowns, 25, $30,000, depending on how much the handmade stuff goes into them. But it's been pretty exciting, and it's definitely something that I was just totally like, I've never seen the side of what goes on. And then the funny thing is and you're gonna kick out of this. So I go downtown, right, for the fabric store is and, you know, it's all West Indian west Indian ladies in there. So I walk in and she goes she's like, what are you doing in here, boy? I'm like, I'm here to get some fabric. Making dresses like, oh, you need dress. She can make you a dress. And I'm like, Daddy, can sew. So she kind of rolled her eyes and then next time I went in there, give me a hard time.
[00:56:37.810] - Rob Usnick
So now I start bringing coffee and donuts. And I started bringing some of my stuff in there, showing them or showing them pictures or whatever. And when they started getting street cred, they started helping me because it's kind of like welding. You can weld and all of a sudden you've got stainless steel in front of you. Oh, I think you got aluminum in front of you. Like, welding isn't just welding. Metal isn't just metal. And these fabrics are the same. And it got to the point now I go down, there's some really nice fabric. She's like, oh, they call me Rabba rabba. You don't want that. I was like, Why not? She's like, Because you're not good at the selling. And I'm like, what does that mean? She's like, Brother, I've been showing my whole life, and I have a hard time with it. And I get it because some of this stuff doesn't so machine, right? And you have to have years of experience or natural talent, which I don't have to sew it to make it look good. And they teach me all that stuff of it too. Does that make sense? Yes, but that's kind of been a hard road.
[00:57:31.490] - Rob Usnick
A ho down there, ladies, because, man, they weren't having me down there. What you doing in your boy? They didn't think like it first.
[00:57:42.360] - Big Rich Klein
So talk about Milan. How did you end up in Milan?
[00:57:47.990] - Rob Usnick
I went there for my girlfriend of the time s birthday. We went all through Italian stuff and Milan, I don't have ever been. The Lawn is my favorite city in the world. It is so nice. And if people are nice and there's so much stuff going on, it's an amazing place to be. And as far as fashion goes, that's where you want to be. At least my opinion. There's no fashion stuff going on in Later, Missouri, where I grew up. So that's where it all starts. And I fell in love with the city and enrolled in the course and started off there. And then the rest of it, I could come back and do it here and just do the assignments. But a lot of the basic stuff, they have to make sure that we can do the sewing part of it all that's involved with it, the pattern, making the drawing, whatever it is, designing it and then making it from paper to an actual garment and how to fit. There's all kinds of ways you move the material over, make darts and whatever to like, fold around, especially like a bust. A woman and how a woman's body is generally shaped and then how to start offsetting for women who have larger butts or women who are smaller chested.
[00:59:04.810] - Rob Usnick
All that stuff they teach you when you design it, when you actually start to making it, how to. Offset for that stuff.
[00:59:13.000] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. How old were you when you went to Milan?
[00:59:19.490] - Rob Usnick
This is the summer. It was me when this class, all the dudes are gay, and then all the girls are like, early twenty s. And then there's me. You talk about being a minority, bro. I told him as I told him, that was 83 degrees outside. Be like, no, it's not. No matter what I said, I was wrong. What are you doing? What are you doing in your boy?
[00:59:47.540] - Big Rich Klein
I didn't realize that this was something that was brand new.
[00:59:51.440] - Rob Usnick
Oh, yeah, brand new, yeah. That's why I posted that stuff. And my dad was getting emails like, I think Rob's Facebook's been hacked.
[01:00:01.860] - Big Rich Klein
I was like, what is going on?
[01:00:06.510] - Rob Usnick
Well, you know, the thing is, so many people, I was on mission, too, because one thing I hate, man, is when people say, oh, you can't do that. I can't stand that. And by God, I was going to get two grounds in New York City no matter what, and I pulled it off. But I was mad. Like, Wyatt and Kelly Kaiser and Miles Jab nat, you were on that group tax that we've been on for like 14 years. They all believed in me. They're like my friends did, but just random people do what? No, I was surprised to have any haters. Like, there was no I wasn't a hater.
[01:00:47.760] - Big Rich Klein
It came out of left field.
[01:00:49.940] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, no, left field. That was normal. A lot of people that left field, but the people that knew it, that dude, I had this stuff going on. They were just like dude rolling their eyes. Girls are probably the worst about it. And here's another thing, too. I can't believe I've been saying this. Downtown was a bar called Bernie here, and the guy's like, what do you do? I'm a seamstress. And this guy, he's like a boat mechanic. He's like, but you're a dude. Wouldn't you be called a seamster? And I was like, well, damn, that's a good question. So I Googled it, and it was like non gender specific. It was like a person who sews, but I was like, damn, later, waitress, you know, actor, actress, seamster. But I thought being called seamstress, right, that just blows people away.
[01:01:43.420] - Big Rich Klein
So is it something you're going to continue to do?
[01:01:46.270] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, I'm going to do it, but not on the list. This is a crazy thing because this industry is like so I just don't know hardly anything about it. I've actually got hit up by one fashion designer in Puerto Rico. Big name. I'm not going to see the name, but she is a pretty big name in the fashion in Puerto Rico has reached out and it's inquired. And then I had another one from New York, and I'm just kind of like, I'll get back with you. I need to take a step back from it because it just all comes so fast that I don't even I don't know. I just don't know. I love making them and I love man, when these girls put these gowns on, it's just funny how even my two girls that are down here that were tried to train them on when I was fitting them, you know, these girls like 22 years old when you put their face lights up and you put a wedding gown on, you know. And here's the thing with my gown. I got pockets. Got two little pockets on the side. Not big pockets, like a pack of new porch or something, but maybe a vape pen, maybe eyeliner, maybe mascara, all that little, like something a bride would want to feel like a little comfort item.
[01:03:01.640] - Rob Usnick
Nobody's like pockets. And then I talked to women, they're like, oh, my God, dude, I wish I had poke it to mine. Not to put your hands or your phone in, but it's a little something little interesting. I'm outside of the paradigm of what normal people do stuff. I'm like, I don't have the pockets in it. And it's almost like everybody's like gasping, known as blasting you to put a pocket in a wedding gown. Well, mine got pockets.
[01:03:31.260] - Big Rich Klein
And if people like it yeah. And I think it's breaking the norms. And that's something that if we look at what you've done in your life, you've kind of taken that approach anyhow, whether you've meant to or not. I think you're a restless spirit and you don't mind living that bedouin lifestyle where you're not anchored in one spot with a white picket fence and two and a half kids and that typical thing that everybody expects. And I can relate to that.
[01:04:11.710] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, if anybody can, you can.
[01:04:14.650] - Big Rich Klein
[01:04:15.670] - Rob Usnick
You know? And you know another thing, sewing, right? It's very feminine in nature. But every sailboat down here, there's a sewing machine on that boat because when you're out there and you get the repairs, you're going to use a sewing machine. And it's amazing how many men actually slow down here with the upholstery. It's a big huge shop right behind my boat where it's parked, and they're in there. They do upholstery from about seven in the morning to about midnight every single day. And they have sales pulled up. And it's funny how in the Midwest, you know, grandma will sew your pants or mom will turn up your jeans or whatever. But here in the maritime world, sewing isn't so much something that's on the feminine side.
[01:05:03.590] - Big Rich Klein
Right. Because it's more industrial.
[01:05:07.110] - Rob Usnick
[01:05:09.590] - Big Rich Klein
But it still takes that same talent.
[01:05:12.960] - Rob Usnick
Yeah. And I'm actually surprised at how hard it is to do absolutely. Building something. There's a lot to it that you don't realize until you all sudden you got a roll of fabric in front of you and it's like, all right, let's start making patterns. There's a lot to it is like anything else you don't realize until you do it.
[01:05:36.650] - Big Rich Klein
Right. You're just not grabbing a bolt of fabric and hanging it on a mannequin and just lit in a rip.
[01:05:46.430] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, I think it's not like that at all, although it seems like it should be, but well, it's like somebody.
[01:05:53.240] - Big Rich Klein
Building a chassis, okay? You just can't just bend pipe and then expect it to all come together. Right. You got to plan it out because everything has to fit.
[01:06:07.410] - Rob Usnick
You know what? It's crazy to say that because I was telling somebody that races and I was like, dresses are the hardest thing to make. Wedding gowns are like above that. And it's like going to welding school and learning how to weld. And now you're going to build an ISS IRS rock crawler. What? You're still welding. But there's I missed the formal toy. I missed the national progression of that. I went straight to Shannon Campbell. I went from welding school to Shannon Campbell in my garage. And the warmth of life woke me up because it was a lot. And I didn't do that natural progression. I was like, oh, let me build a pair of shorts or make a pair of shorts or a shirt. No, we go to wedding gowns, dog. I'm going to push all in.
[01:07:03.810] - Big Rich Klein
Like going to ranger school at 39.
[01:07:08.010] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, I was just happy to go. I'll say this too. Probably the hardest thing ever did. I want to do one more hard thing. And I tell you, Rich, I got to stop watching Discovery Channel because I get myself in so much trouble, but I want to do one more thing. And I applied to be a test subject at the Navy experimental dad unit. And that down there, my friend, running on those treadmills, doing max run. They were diving these trance for like 6 hours. It was the most they want to call my dad. And dad was like, uh oh, I know this call. And I was like, man, I don't know. I've messed up. But I made it through. So I got my one last hard thing to do. But that experimental dive unit, best ranger, all that stuff. It's just funny how you don't know what you can do until you do it, right? I was definitely pushing to the limits.
[01:08:10.560] - Big Rich Klein
So the only thing we haven't talked about that I know that you did or you were doing, I don't know if you're still doing it is podcasting. You started a podcast on fishing.
[01:08:22.640] - Rob Usnick
I did it in Panama City Beach and I was going to move it down here. And it's just so busy working. And these podcasts, the interviews are fun and you're talking to people you know, people you don't know and hear my story and it's awesome. And I was going to move it here, but the editing takes so much time, I just couldn't do it. And there are legends of fishing down here, like in the offshore fishing world and sport fishing. There's guys down here who discovered the drop and put sport fishing down here on the map. And the one that I always wanted to do and talk to, Jimmy, he died like two months ago. And I was like, son of a buck. And I missed my chance. So the next podcast I got going on now, I'm starting it is called, you know, I told you earlier in the army, it's Ranger School. Either you got a story or a tab because you wear the Ranger tab, right? Ranger school stories are so ridiculous and they're funny to hear. So my podcast is Rangers a story and a tab, meaning you went to range of school, you graduated, let's say your story because you're so sleepdeprived and hungry and everything else that your body is just this crazy stuff.
[01:09:35.690] - Rob Usnick
My next podcast is here to buy Rangers stories because they're funny. And the old school guys, they'll be a little bit different than the new school guys, but they're all going to have that common theme of what their body was doing when they were standing there acting like they're putting quarters into a Coke machine and it's really a tree. And they're just standing there putting a tree with hitting the buttons because you're droning. You're actually sleepwalking. People do walk off cliffs. And it gets dangerous because you just go on autopilot and you just sleep.
[01:10:14.010] - Big Rich Klein
So there's one other guy that I know used to spot for Hal Frost back in the rock crawling days. And Doug, I'm going to screw up his last name, but it's like Keith. So I asked him because he's still friends. We're friends on Facebook and stuff. And he did the whole special forces thing too. And I asked him, I said, so do you know Rob? And he goes, oh, damn. Yeah, I thought he has a pretty interesting story, too. And I hope to get him on here at some point because I think it's an interesting story that he was a wild crazy.
[01:11:08.010] - Rob Usnick
Yeah. And it's funny because he was around early days of all the rock crime stuff.
[01:11:12.950] - Big Rich Klein
[01:11:14.460] - Rob Usnick
And then he kind of got more career oriented and kind of had to put us up to the side. Doug Kay, doug's Weather.
[01:11:29.540] - Big Rich Klein
A lot closer than I could get.
[01:11:31.400] - Rob Usnick
Yeah. He lives in Southern Pines, right outside Pay a bill.
[01:11:35.270] - Big Rich Klein
Right. So cool. What else do you have going? You're the kind of guy that's going to have something crazy planned or is going to come into the mind. I guess it's that Discovery Channel stuff. But anything else that you're going to.
[01:11:53.990] - Rob Usnick
The only I got going on right now is me and my buddy. We're going to go take the big boat down to Costa Rica and the transmission went out and nothing on this boat. Small Detroit, 671 of these big transmissions and only the transmission outlet. I cut the floor underneath the couch and lift it straight up. And I've been putting it off and putting it off. It's to the point now where I'm just going to fix it because it's been like three or four months. Let's go fix it. So I'm going to charter this boat a little bit on the side, but I got opportunities. Costa Rica. Coming up Puerto Rico. There's fishing jobs there and there's the fashion stuff in San Juan. And Puerto Rico is really, really nice compared to St. Thomas. I love St. Thomas, but Puerto Rico is actually, like, not Third World. So I got that going on. I'm kind of like in limbo right now. I'm really kind of seeing what our season down here is going to do because with my retirement stuff, I don't have to really work that much. But what I found out is being retired isn't that great, because just where all your friends are at work, then you just sit around all day.
[01:13:12.590] - Rob Usnick
It's like skipping school, man. It's fun for a minute, but then all your buddies are in school. So being busy and having some kind of schedule, I got to do that because otherwise I was going to waste the way down here. But yeah, I got a couple of things going on with that. I was trying to get Kyle, my son, to come out here and, you know, Rich and I was telling Wyatt and those guys, this is like, never discount how much influence you can have in anybody's life at any given time, doing any given thing. Because Kyle, my son, is the only person I know who from ten years old running on his little CRF 50 at Koh in 2009 and racing next to me, I got videos. You're waving the green flag. Kyle was so into that stuff from ten years old, all you want to do is go to fab school. And that little shit went and did it. And now he's doing some big stuff. And it's just cool to see all this stuff that we were doing and this kid hanging out with you and me and all these other dudes.
[01:14:15.860] - Rob Usnick
How much change is life, you know? Right. So he's doing good things. So I kind of backed off getting him out here. He cold calls these shops and get these jobs. And you raised the Baja 1000 on a derby because you raised To Nora. Oh, you've been to King of Hammers. You've been to SEMA. You know Dave Cole and Big Rich. Like, you know, all these people that people in Pennsylvania think they only know and to, here come this 21 year old kid. Oh, yeah, I don't know. Here's all my pictures. And so every time you walk into a shop and then, oh, you go to the Fab school, people, these fab shops on the East Coast know what the fab school is. And he's doing great things. And I'm super proud of that kid. He's a talent. He has so much talent, and he has the one thing that you can't teach, like what we talked about earlier, Rich, is passion. He loves welding, he loves motorsport, he loves tube chassis and third bike. He loves all that stuff and he has a passion for it. But then what he has too, is a natural talent.
[01:15:20.270] - Rob Usnick
And then on top of that, you got formal training. And dude, I was like, bro, you're going to be good forever. And if you're not, I'll buy you a welding truck and you go to Midland, Texas and do that for a couple of years, burn 78 teams up out there and make big money. But he's good. And it's all because of guys like you and the whole crew that we hung out with for all these years, right? He grew up with this stuff, so it's cool to see all that stuff. Man, I got some great videos, man. You and he did an interview at Tucson Race. The guy walks up and out there, what's your name? Kyle. And it was all because of the stuff that you guys were doing. And we were just hagging along, having a good time, too.
[01:16:06.440] - Big Rich Klein
[01:16:08.990] - Rob Usnick
What gets us is friendship. Only reason I ever did any stuff, really, was to hang out with my friends because my army guys weren't doing it. So I had to go hang out with all the other dudes. I was on my Internet friends. Really?
[01:16:21.960] - Big Rich Klein
Make believe Internet friends.
[01:16:24.440] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, well, then you find out, damn, you, all guys do exist. It's funny how all that stuff starts. And then to see a young kid give you influence so greatly, and it's pretty cool. So again, like I said, for anybody, never discount how much influence you can have on any person's life, training or doing any little thing at any given time, and it just changes their whole thing.
[01:16:49.410] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, I feel that's my legacy, that my legacy was bringing people together and then hopefully awakening a passion in some to continue in the sport one way or another or the industry. And that's kind of why I do the podcast as well, is to tell everybody's story with people that have passion and why they are who they are and where they're at. And hopefully that awakens in somebody else.
[01:17:22.940] - Rob Usnick
And let me tell you this, man, and my mom, who she passed the other 15, but she lives in Phoenix, so she met us at the Tucson race. There was another one up north of Phoenix somewhere. We did this little track I think we should have laid or something like right at the driver's meeting that we pull up. But the very first time my mom ever any of my off road cars was and then she did the finish line at Parker and the Blue Water, all the Koh. But the only time she ever rode in any of the race cars was at that race north of Phoenix in 2012 or something. And I took her in that little lap. And the picture I have of her is amazing. And it's at a Dirt riot race. All the races she ever went to. She met us in Mexico for the Nora one time. Every Koa that I did until she passed, she was there, but the only time was at a Dirt riot race. So I'll never forget that. The picture I have is amazing.
[01:18:26.480] - Big Rich Klein
[01:18:27.160] - Rob Usnick
But, yeah, we showed up late, the driver's meeting. I got out of the car and I didn't even look at the car. Got out of the truck and the driver's meeting right in front of the podium. Yeah, I still got all my Dirt riot trophies, man. We used to clean up in the little Rhino back in those days.
[01:18:42.010] - Big Rich Klein
Yes, that's cool. Well, Rob, if there's anything else that comes up and hits, like the fashion designer, we're going to have to have a second interview so that we can discuss those things. Because I just love how you have a passion for each one of these things that you've done, and you just go for it. I've always been of the mind as you never fail unless you don't try.
[01:19:16.040] - Rob Usnick
Yeah, man, you got to try. You fail. You know what it is? What it is.
[01:19:20.080] - Big Rich Klein
Yup. The only failure is never trying.
[01:19:25.710] - Rob Usnick
It raises me, and the older I get, the more I see it. I mean, people just don't try. Nope, not going to do it. They're just so scared of failure. I'm not. I say all the time.
[01:19:36.680] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. I spent 23 years as a promoter failing a lot, but I stuck with it.
[01:19:45.700] - Rob Usnick
Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want. Hey, before you get off here, man, I just want to send a shout out because actually, you know, bringing up Pistol Pete earlier. The last time I saw you when you came to the Panel city beach, went fishing was when Pete was in that accident and got killed. And I think Pete Soren was kind of the rock donkeys and the desert racing. Like, he was like our little mediator between the two. And I got a picture of him. I had rock dumps to get across my samurai buggy at Parker, or maybe it was Vegas Arena. And I have a picture of him standing there because he's the one. He named us. That right. I always thought the world of that dude. And the fact that talking to you the last time I saw you is we were all going to have to eat that night when we all found out that's right. Yeah, we're going to eat that cajun place. I think he's one of the good ones, man.
[01:20:50.540] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, he was one of those guys. You loved him or hate him. There was like no in between. And I think that once people got to know him better, especially on the guys on the Koh racing side, the rock racers or rock crawlers. They got to understand him better, because at first he came on like, oh, you guys just want to be like me? And what he meant was, you guys want to race trophy trucks? You want to race at the highest level. And that's true. We just may not have wanted to do it like Pete did, but we all aspired to do what he was trying to do, and that was where the misunderstanding came. And I even told him that at the fire ath when he first said that, and 100 people looked at him like, you're an ass, and it was like, no, what he means is.
[01:21:45.440] - Rob Usnick
A character, man. What?
[01:21:48.290] - Big Rich Klein
Rob, thank you so much for spending the time today and talking with me and going over all the things that you've done in life. I know we could probably spend another 4 hours really diving deep into all these stories and stuff, but you know what? We'll leave those stories for when we're back on a boat together.
[01:22:06.890] - Rob Usnick
Yeah. I appreciate it. Thanks. Because I'm way out here, and I'm so far detached from that part of my life to offroad stuff that is good that it's still going to be like, oh, yeah, what's going on, big dog? We remember you. So it's definitely my pleasure having you, and Rick have known you for years, man. Your dear friend, and I'm looking forward to seeing you. I hope you guys do come out. Everybody else comes out. Let's come on out.
[01:22:36.140] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, we're going to do it.
[01:22:38.760] - Rob Usnick
We'll go fishing, have some beers, and we'll talk about how cool we were at one point, and we'll make sure.
[01:22:45.160] - Big Rich Klein
Shelley doesn't bring bananas.
[01:22:47.460] - Rob Usnick
Yeah. Oh, my gosh.
[01:22:50.910] - Big Rich Klein
We have to have somebody to blame for our boat ride that day.
[01:22:54.370] - Rob Usnick
Yeah. God hate us back.
[01:22:58.110] - Big Rich Klein
Anyway, thank you, Rob, and take care and good luck on any endeavor that you decide to pursue.
[01:23:06.590] - Rob Usnick
Well, I appreciate it, Rich. Same to you. And give Shelley big hugs for me. Hopefully I see you soon, brother.
[01:23:14.960] - Big Rich Klein
Yes, hopefully. Take care.
[01:23:16.990] - Rob Usnick
All right. Thanks, man. Bye bye.
[01:23:19.340] - 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.