If it has an acronym, Chris May has probably raced there – KOH, ECORS, UROC, WE Rock, XRRA – it’s been a long road and now he’s started on the next generation of racers. Great stories of a couple of guys with high-budget dreams and low-budget pockets; it’s a fun listen. Be sure to tune in on your favorite podcast app.
5:52 – My dad was like, “you do not want to work on cars, that’s a bad profession”
12:08 – don’t ever take your vehicle to a WalMart, we tore up so many vehicles goofing around
19:52 – we entered Tuff Truck, our vehicles kind of sucked, but we entered anyway
24:16 – being in South Carolina, we didn’t learn about a lot of stuff til later on
32:15 – I got to do something easier so I have energy to go work after work
50:08 – Drew got an invite to the OG race, be he was like, my dad’s never going to pay for that much gas to go to California
52:14 – When everybody went off the line, I just followed the last guy and took off
59:28 – my daughter is racing the kids stuff, and it’s kind of short course
1:10:46 – Keep it real, it makes it less stressful and you can have more fun
Special thanks to 4low Magazine and Maxxis Tires for support and sponsorship of this podcast.
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Welcome to conversations with Big Rich. This is an interview style podcast. Those interviewed are all involved in the offroad industry. Being involved, like all of my guests are, is a lifestyle, not just a job. I talk to past, present and future legends, as well as business owners, employees, media and land use warriors. Men and women who have found their way into this exciting and addictive lifestyle we call offroad. 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 that we live and love and call offroad.
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[00:01:39.220] - Big Rich Klein
On today's episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Chris May. Chris is an old time rock crawler. I first met him, I think back in the EROC days out in Jellico, Tennessee, maybe New Rock, but I think it was EROC. And then he competed with us at We Rock. And I know Ultra Four and Koh. We're going to talk about all the other things that happened in between and what got Chris to where he is at now. Hey Chris, thank you for coming on board and taking the time.
[00:02:11.600] - Chris May
Yeah, thanks for reaching out. I'm glad we can make this happen. Good chatting with you. I haven't talked with you in a while, so this would be good to catch up.
[00:02:17.270] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, it is. That's one thing I'm really loving about this podcast is it gives me a chance to catch up with people I haven't had a chance to see or talk to. So I'm excited. So let's jump right in. And where were you born and raised?
[00:02:32.840] - Chris May
So I was actually born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, but we kind of lived all over Florida. My parents kind of just we lived in Jacksonville and Pompano Beach kind of all around Florida until I was about twelve and then I moved to where I live now in South Carolina. So I kind of was born in Florida, but pretty much raised in South Carolina.
[00:02:56.630] - Big Rich Klein
What did your parents do that kept them bouncing around?
[00:03:00.300] - Chris May
Well, nothing good, like no army stories or anything like that my dad wasn't an army for just a short stint, but really my dad just worked on cars, my mom waited tables and my dad actually wanted to become a firefighter. So I moved to Jacksonville. And trying to think how old I was, I don't even know the years. I was young, maybe eight. And actually the last day of training for him to become a firefighter for the city of Jacksonville there, the training building like blew up, caught on fire. It kind of really messed him up for a while. I mean, he stayed skin grass really bad.
[00:03:36.540] - Big Rich Klein
[00:03:37.130] - Chris May
And so we, we kind of lived in Florida for a little while there, but that's kind of when my dad was like, I just need to change the scenery, change everything. And we moved to South Carolina. So I kind of been here since I was about twelve.
[00:03:51.220] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, I would imagine that was pretty traumatic, going through training to be a firefighter and then having something like that happen to where you get injured before you're full blown into it.
[00:04:03.200] - Chris May
Yeah, there was a mess because it messed them up and there were some lawsuits involved with it and everything and I don't think he come out too good on the end of things. But anyways, it moved me to South Carolina and man, I think aback about what I'd be doing if I grew up in Florida versus where I grew up here in South Carolina. I'm sure it would be totally different because Broward County, you can only imagine people broward county is way different than the backwoods of South Carolina.
[00:04:30.640] - Big Rich Klein
Well, and Broward County is one of those that you used to see on Cops all the time.
[00:04:34.650] - Chris May
Yes, I moved South Carolina in 92, so yeah, the early, late 80s, early 90s, there was definitely gangs and all that. I remember that in middle school and stuff. So it was totally different than South Carolina.
[00:04:50.100] - Big Rich Klein
Well, I'm glad that happened. I was going to ask but if you're bouncing around and stuff, was it hard for you to make friends or were you in an area each time? Were you in a spot long enough to where you were able to make friends?
[00:05:06.180] - Chris May
So I remember some friends, but I don't remember much. I mean, I was twelve when I moved to South Carolina, but my wife can tell you every teacher she ever had, everything. I on the other hand, I don't remember a lot of that. So, I mean, I kind of don't. I had friends and I always was out in Florida. Man, I roller bladed rode my bike skateboard. I never had any dirt bikes or I think my dad bought a dirt bike one time, but we didn't keep it long and we lived in just cities and everything. And I always wanted something with a motor. Never got it.
[00:05:44.980] - Big Rich Klein
How did that love for motors come about? Is it just something that happened or can you remember an instance?
[00:05:52.190] - Chris May
Well, my dad was an auto mechanic, and he always had trucks and everything, but it wasn't like I do remember hanging out at some of my dad's friend's shops and everything, but my dad had some full drives, but we never really went. My dad being auto mechanic really wasn't what drove me to love vehicles, but I guess maybe it steered me, really. In high school, I moved to South Carolina, started going to school up here and everything. And then high school came around, and I've heard other people talk about how they offer different things. It was like shop class or agriculture or band. Well, my high school actually had an automotive and actually when I joined it, my dad was like, oh, you do not want to work on cars. That's a bad profession or whatnot. But I joined it, and really, that meeting people in that class is what propelled me into liking things. So I guess I'll keep talking in that automotive class. I started in 9th grade. But then you stayed in that automotive class forever. Like my senior year, I think I went to maybe one other class, and I went to automotive school or automotive class the rest of the time, and it was right on our high school campus.
[00:07:09.520] - Chris May
But I met basically a lifelong friend to this day, still good friend, and a guy that got me into full wheel. And it's the name of people that is drew Goldie. I met Drew Goldie in that automotive class.
[00:07:21.970] - Big Rich Klein
I was going to ask that question, so I'm glad you brought it up.
[00:07:25.540] - Chris May
Yeah. So we met in automotive class. Going back to Man, I begged my parents for a dirt bike or a go cart. Never got it. And when I got my first vehicle, which was an 87 Ford Ranger, two wheel drive, I was just really kind of hell on wheels. I broke it all the time, just always tearing it up.
[00:07:53.100] - Big Rich Klein
But you were in auto shop so you could fix it.
[00:07:55.760] - Chris May
I was. I was in auto shop so I could fix it. But it was only two wheel drive. So going back to meeting Drew, drew was in this automotive class with me, and he had an 89 Ford Ranger, but it was four wheel drive, so he was all the time talking about this was like 96, 97. I graduated in 2000. Around here in these parts, we had a lot of gravel roads. There was some decent full wheeling. I mean, back then, 32s were huge. So he would always talk about full wheeling. And I was like, Man, I want to go. I even went in my two wheel drive truck with him a couple of times. But I wound up trading my 87 two wheel drive Ranger on an 87 full drive Ranger. And man, we just being an automotive class together, we actually had a few other buddies. It was like a Ford Ranger Club. We had nothing but Ford Rangers and pretty much went full wheel in all the time.
[00:08:50.240] - Big Rich Klein
Very good. And what about your other classes? Was there anything else that interested you at all?
[00:08:57.520] - Chris May
Man, no. I played a lot of sports in Florida. I liked football, but, I mean, I'm like five, eight, maybe £160, and I'm not that fast of a runner. I loved baseball. I love sports, but I really wasn't that good when I got to high school. You trying out? I was never really even good, but when I got to high school, once I got a vehicle, I didn't care about anything. I didn't go to football games. I didn't do really party much. I was probably working on a vehicle or full wheeling the whole time.
[00:09:31.810] - Big Rich Klein
Wow. Okay. From that, if you're working on your car all the time, you got to be able to buy parts. So what created the income or the finances to be able to work on it?
[00:09:47.760] - Chris May
So finances were slim. Like I said, my dad was a mechanic. My mom, she, like, waited tables, and we didn't have a whole lot of money. But it was funny. My parents, they didn't even have that nice of cars. My dad would fix his car to drive it and just pray it didn't break. Well, I would fix it just to go break it on the weekends. And my dad hated it. Like, putting a lift on a vehicle was just frowned upon. Big tires. Why are you wearing it out? Insurance is more expensive. But no, I did some odd end jobs, like cooking at a restaurant, this and that while I was in high school. What kind of restaurant? It was actually an Irish pub. Really? In town. Here in Arizona? South Carolina. And I just cooked. I don't know, I started washing dishes, then cook some. And the bad part about that is you had to work in a restaurant. You got to work on Friday and Saturday night, so it's a busy night. So that was the night everybody wanted to go full wheeling and hang out, so I didn't much like working there.
[00:10:53.300] - Big Rich Klein
So what happened after the restaurant?
[00:10:56.520] - Chris May
Well, so back to automotive class, friends in the automotive class, our teacher, his name was Ken McKinney, and, man, he was like, the best automotive teacher. Knew everybody in the community. When you graduate, a lot of his graduates would go work at the Ford dealership or the Chevrolet place, this and that. Well, to work at a dealership, you had to be 18. And I can't remember I wasn't quite 18, but another guy had went to work at Walmart changing oil and tires. You know them little they call them like, tire lube expresses or something.
[00:11:29.090] - Big Rich Klein
[00:11:30.400] - Chris May
Well, the restaurant business, I was making like, five or $6 an hour. The Walmart was going to pay me I think it was like, $10 an hour to come change oil. So a friend in the automotive class got me on at Walmart, and I was like, oh, I'm going to work here. Like, one summer. I wound up working at Walmart all through college in that automotive thing, and it was really a good, really fun job. They had, like, benefits and all kind of crazy stuff that I never even cared about. But Walmart was actually a good place to work there kind of late 90s, early two thousand s. I can't say.
[00:12:03.040] - Big Rich Klein
That I've ever heard anybody that said that. So that's good that you had that experience.
[00:12:08.380] - Chris May
Well, I will say so. A funny story about Walmart. If anybody's listening, don't ever take your vehicle to a Walmart. We tore up so many vehicles. I can't tell you how many cars we blew up or tires that fell off. You had a bunch of young guys in there. They weren't making $10 an hour. We were all goofing around. It was a fun place to work, but we definitely tore some cars up.
[00:12:36.200] - Big Rich Klein
Luckily, they had insurance. Yeah, I managed a couple of lube and tune up stores for different companies. And one of the things that I found is that getting the new employees changed and typically they were fresh out of high school and just trying to remind them that, hey, you've got to put the oil drain plug back in. You have to tighten. You have to put the filter on after you've taken one off, and you have to put it on and make sure it's sealed correctly. Lube the seal first. All the little tiny steps that are just like common sense to try to get them to remember to do that.
[00:13:17.410] - Chris May
Well, it's funny you said that about the loop source. I got to back up because I forgot. So after the automotive class, that's what it was. You had to be 18 to work at Walmart. The auto mechanic teacher got me a job at it was called Precision Tune Auto Care or something. It was one of them little tune up places, right? So, funny story. I'm working there, changing oil. I'm 17, and I say I've been working on cars a lot, but I don't know how to work on nothing. I mean, I'm good at tearing stuff up is all I'm really good at. Well, I don't know what it is about Ford Rangers, but this story so they had the pit. You pull the cars over the pit, right? It was like, one of the first times he can let me do one by myself. I remember it was like a 91 Ford Ranger, little two wheel drive truck. I pulled it in to change the oil. I crawled down the stairs, and when I got underneath there, I was about to take the drain plug out. Well, the back tire was hanging on the lip of the pit.
[00:14:10.910] - Chris May
It was about to fall in. I was, like, panicked. I was like, oh, gosh. So I ran back up there, jumped in the car, and I cut the wheels all the way to the driver's side to back up to get the back tire off the lip. And I drove the front tire into the pit. Oh, Jesus. And it threw me in the passenger seat. The truck went kind of down to the pit. They had to call a record service to get it out of the pit. Tore the man's truck up. And I didn't lose my job, but working at that little moment, that precision tune place real quick, I didn't want to become a mechanic. I mean, the guys there, they worked hard. I don't know, they didn't make the best money. So that's when I basically went to Walmart and started changing oil there.
[00:14:58.610] - Big Rich Klein
Right. And four years there. Did you stay an oil change mechanic or did you move up? Did you become like a shift leader or something like that?
[00:15:09.580] - Chris May
No. So the reason I went to Walmart, too, was they're open until I think it was like 09:00 at night or something. Well, after high school, I did go to college. Same thing. We had a friend from that automotive class. Actually, I don't know if he was in the automotive class or not, but I had a good friend that was a state trooper. His name was Eric Dickard. He actually was a spotter for Drew Goldie back in those rock crawling days. But I thought I wanted to become a cop, so I went to college for criminal justice. So I was working at Walmart changing oil at night. I would go to change oil at Walmart, but during the day I was going to this little community college and the classes just they kind of sucked. I mean, it was kind of law stuff. There was cops in the class. And then, I don't know, I guess I just got older and realized that a profession of being a cop. That's a tough job too. You're definitely not going to get rich being a cop.
[00:16:07.410] - Big Rich Klein
No. Unless you're one of those that you see in the movies that are the bad cops.
[00:16:14.440] - Chris May
Well, yeah, but no. I did have a grandfather that was like big into electronics. He had electrical engineering and he pushed me to electronics. So I changed majors and I went to that same community college for electrical engineering, a little two year program and didn't like electronics. I mean, I really didn't like it, but I was like, I don't know, you got to get a degree. So I worked at Walmart the whole time and I got a two year degree in electrical engineering and graduated college. Now meanwhile, I'm full willing all the time and all my money is going to full wheel and actually got some tuition money to buy books, this and that. I was not buying books for classes, using the money to buy off road parts. I mean, anything I could do to get off road parts that's how it went.
[00:17:13.440] - Big Rich Klein
Do you wish you hadn't spent it that way now, or are you glad you did?
[00:17:18.480] - Chris May
Well, I wouldn't change anything. I mean, I wish I'd have got the job I have now straight out of college. It's funny, I had that Ford Ranger and me and Drew Goldie, actually, we actually roommated together. We got a house out of high school. We moved in together, which was probably the worst thing because now all we did is full wheel work on trucks all the time. And this is back when Telico was huge. I don't know if you ever got a chance to go to the old Teleco.
[00:17:52.900] - Big Rich Klein
No, I did not.
[00:17:54.160] - Chris May
You see all the videos of, I don't know, that guy that made Rick Russell or I don't know, he made all the videos. But we went to Teleco. It was like 120 miles from my house, maybe three hour drive. So we were going to Teleco a good bit. But I had a Ford Ranger with Dana 28 TTB, and I decided to weld the front end up one time. And of course, it destroyed the whole front end instantly at Teleco. But going to Teleco back in the old days, I kept seeing all these Toyotas. So that's kind of where I came home, sold my Ranger, and I bought a 1983 Toyota pickup truck. And that's when it really just started snowballing. From there, it really took off. That's why I was buying them parts, dual cases, and bought every long field and bell field they made back in the early days.
[00:18:49.600] - Big Rich Klein
Nice. And was Drew still in doing the Ford thing or did he move over to Toyota as well?
[00:18:57.120] - Chris May
No, so Drew drew had he put like a nine inch. That was a big thing. Getting a nine inch and a Ranger was a big deal. I think he had like a day and a 35. It was a little stronger in the front end. But when I got the Toyota, I feel like I started it was like, man, the Toyota was doing better than his Ranger. Well, his dad actually had a Jeep Cherokee. So he got this Cherokee and then he started building the Cherokee, which was had the straight axles, had a little bit more power. So he started messing with the Cherokee and putting bigger axles in it and everything. And then I had the Toyota. And from there, some of the first early events I did was you remember them four wheel drive jamborees? I can't think of the company that put them on. They were out of, like, Pennsylvania, maybe.
[00:19:50.670] - Big Rich Klein
Sports in the rough.
[00:19:52.640] - Chris May
No, this was like jamborees. Anyway, they were really popular. Everybody had the lifted up trucks family and all that. Yeah, that's what it was. It was family events. One of them came to our hometown here in Anderson, South Carolina. Well, they had a tough truck and the mud drags. And I was like, we entered it. And our vehicles kind of sucked. But yeah, we entered one of them, did the tough trucks and the Toyota and just met a lot of people. But that same event came to our same town and they put a rock crawl on one time and Clemson full of center, put this rock crawl on and all these guys showed up. Chris Durham, Ken Shupe, I think Matt Dees was there. There was just a lot of old school rock crawl guys. Well, they weren't old school back then. They was brand new.
[00:20:49.480] - Big Rich Klein
[00:20:50.100] - Chris May
And met a few of those guys.
[00:20:57.160] - Big Rich Klein
That got the blood flowing for rock crawling.
[00:21:00.530] - Chris May
[00:21:01.800] - Big Rich Klein
So let me ask this question since I haven't been able to get Shoop on, was Shoop still wearing his boy toy shorts?
[00:21:10.700] - Chris May
So what's funny back then, I'm trying to think of the year this might have been 2000, it might have been 99, 2000. 2001 is like the three years that came to our hometown, maybe. And I really didn't even know who he was then. I didn't know who any of them guys were because I guess we were more into the mud and all we would do is find construction sites, we'd find sewer trails. We're probably doing a lot of trespassing to go full wheel. And there were a few spots, definitely a few spots. But getting in the Toyota, we were driving everywhere. I didn't have no tow rigs. I was driving everywhere. The mud was tearing everything up. But I do remember I mentioned teleco. Started going to Teleco, but there was another event that a local, I think the place was called iron man, four wheel drive. They were from? Maybe Pickens or something. South Carolina. They put an event on at a speedway here. And it was the first time that I really saw rock crawling. Like, I remember Chris Durham was there in a brand new jeep that he built and it had front dig.
[00:22:16.560] - Chris May
It was like, I'd never even seen this. Didn't know what it was, but the course they built was like a little bitty thing and he could just spin around. So that event right there, it's like a great American motorfare is what it was. 2001 really opened my eyes up to like, man, this is super cool. So Chris Durman had that brand new Jeep. He kind of showed it off. Well, there was rumors of this guy showing up in this new rig also, and I didn't know who it was, but Ken Schoop showed up to that event and his brand new coalovers and links. Chris Derm still had leaf springs. And that rig that I'm talking about, I think is the one that Ken went on to win all kinds of crazy stuff. But it was kind of cool that he debuted it there at that little backyard rock crawl event. But that's when it really I actually met Chris Durham and I talked to him and he was like, hey, man, you ever hear Jellico? I'm like, oh, yeah, we go to Teleco all the time. He's like, no, Jellico. And then that's I think we went and watched one event, and then after that I went and competed.
[00:23:22.180] - Big Rich Klein
And you competed in the Toyota to begin with?
[00:23:25.590] - Chris May
Yeah, I had that 83 Toyota. It had 35, it had a beat up cage. And the crazy thing was, again, I'm still in college, scraping by. Didn't even have a tow rig. Drew's dad drew didn't have a tow rig either. Drew's dad actually had a I think he had an Expedition at the time. And me and Drew went in together, bought a trailer. Drew is my spotter. But yeah. So we went to Jellico. I had a Toyota on 35s with a roll cage, some dual cases and some stuff. But it was all leaf spring, nothing cool. And went up there and competed in one of them first EROC events.
[00:24:11.780] - Big Rich Klein
And what was that like when you saw everybody there? Because those were pretty good size events.
[00:24:16.920] - Chris May
Oh, that's the thing. I can't remember if we even went and watched. I think we might have just showed up and competed that first time. I mean, had no clue. That was back when. So Chris Derma, Kenchup are obviously, like, the top guys. Jeff Rowland is that name, right? Is that the guy? He had, like, the ultimate Toyota Buggy. And then Matt Dees was there. I remember them guys, but we were way out of our element. I think we did good. I don't even remember what happened. I probably broke a dang Burfield. Be honest with you. That was like, the downfall of the Toyotas in the very early days. Because being in South Carolina, you didn't learn about a lot of stuff till later on.
[00:25:00.260] - Big Rich Klein
How long did you compete at EROC? How many years do you think?
[00:25:05.960] - Chris May
I go back and think about this all the time. That was probably 2002 or three. And I swear, I don't know if I've ever missed an event. I mean, I've missed some, but ever since that first event, I have been hooked. I mean, hooked hard. But you hear a lot of people talking about fabrication and working on stuff. Man, from the stories I told, you could tell I wasn't the best at working on stuff. I could get by. I'd done some dual cases and I did some third member setups. I was just getting started in this stuff. But we met a guy and I'm bringing his name up because he's Drew Goldie and this guy named Tommy Glenn. People that go back with me know Tommy Glenn is who really started everything off road for me, like, hardcore. Because me and Drew has no we didn't even own a welder. We didn't have a shop. We were working in driveway. But we met this guy, Tommy Glenn, who ran his parents, had a muffler shop. So this guy been bending tubes since he was, like, 13. And, man, he could build anything or do anything, especially back in those days.
[00:26:23.200] - Chris May
And he got into it with us. I don't know why he never competed himself because he had kids and everything, but, man, he loved helping me and Drew build our cars, watch us go to these events and get better.
[00:26:37.540] - Big Rich Klein
That's awesome. Yeah, that's great when you can find somebody like that.
[00:26:42.040] - Chris May
Yeah, well and it sucks. That guy built every one of my chassis. I'd ever raced all the way up to Ultra four stuff now, but he actually just passed away. He was, like, 49. He had a heart attack. So kind of never know when it's your time. So you got to live up while you're here, for sure.
[00:27:00.360] - Big Rich Klein
I agree with that. I agree with that. Don't sit on your laurels and wait for things to happen. Go out and grab them.
[00:27:07.290] - Chris May
Do it right. Well, that goes back to would I have changed anything? Man, I had spent so much money full wheeling, and I didn't have any money, so it wasn't like I was spending a lot, but it was spending everything I had. Another funny thing, so I was talking about we didn't own a tow rig. Drew was into it just as much as I was, but he wasn't quite ready to build a car yet, which Tommy built me a roll cage, put my Toyota, but then he built me a chassis. And our first real sponsor was Drew's dad. Drew's dad has a company. It's like environmental engineering. So it didn't really rock crawling. Wasn't quite a good fit for environmental stuff. But he gave basically me and Drew, we upgraded the expedition to an excursion. He gave Drew an excursion and a gas car to me, and Drew bought a two car trailer, and we went to every event. I don't think we missed many events from early 2000 to 2008. We were at all the East Coast events. We might have not been doing very well because we didn't have a lot of money, but we were there.
[00:28:23.060] - Big Rich Klein
You were learning.
[00:28:24.820] - Chris May
Yeah, learning a ton. Well, what I was learning is I got to start making some money. That's what I was learning. It was like, man, it was something somebody always had something new, and stuff was just crazy expensive. And the only thing we had going for us, we had a gas card, we had a tow rig. And then Tommy was charging us pennies on one dollars to do work. I mean, he just enjoyed helping us out and watching us go to these events and do decent for what we had. We're competing against some really talented people that had a lot of skill and money. I feel like we held our own there.
[00:29:06.580] - Big Rich Klein
So when did that need for money equate into doing more? What you're doing now, work wise?
[00:29:17.540] - Chris May
Well, that's another thing. Rock crawler. I mean, full wheeling and rock crawling. Have kind of played my life out for me. So I'm working at Walmart now. That's not making any money at all. I got a college degree. I graduated from college. I got this electrical engineering degree thing. I don't have a clue what I want to do. So another friend from that automotive class, I go back to automotive class. I worked with this guy at Walmart. I don't remember, we were just talking buddies. He had a Toyota at the time, too. We'd fold some. He said, hey, man, I got this job. He said, I'm installing underground power and I only work four days a week. He said, Man, I work Monday through Thursday. I'm off every Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Well, I had never been cooking working at Walmart, you always work nights and weekends. And he basically was like, yeah, they'll pay you $15 an hour. He's like, you pretty much start tomorrow if you want to, dude. I said you tell me. I'm going to be off every Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. He's like, yeah. I said, Dude, sign me up. I can go to all the events.
[00:30:20.940] - Chris May
And so really, that got me into the utility business of installing underground power for Pike Electric. And that was actually decent money, nothing crazy, but I worked my way up to being a foreman on the underground, and then I got into doing overhead work, and that actually paid pretty good money. It was pretty dangerous. But that was another working on the power lines. It never failed rock crawling. I was off every weekend doing the underground stuff, but I went to the overhead work. Then you had to work all these storms. I was making a bunch of money, but then I couldn't get off to go to some of the events.
[00:31:04.380] - Big Rich Klein
Right. Especially during storm season.
[00:31:06.130] - Chris May
Yeah, oh, yeah. It was like, man, if the wind blew or a hurricane came through or an ice storm, you might as well forget any competitions for a month. That put a damper on things. But I had this college degree and I was a contractor for the local utility here. And I was like, man, they make more money doing the same thing. So I got a job. Actually, I tried to become a lineman for the local utility and it just wouldn't work out. I couldn't get a job with them. So I had this degree and I applied for this it was a different job called Relaying. You still work in the substations, but it had more to do with electronics and everything. And I looked up and got that job, and that's what I do now. I actually work in substations, kind of on computer systems, kind of monitoring the power lines, and that's really been doing that for about twelve years. And it's an awesome job, a good company. I work for Duke Energy.
[00:32:13.280] - Big Rich Klein
So you don't have to go climb poles anymore.
[00:32:15.880] - Chris May
I don't have to climb poles anymore. I don't have to deal with storms anymore. We have outages and stuff. We work. If power goes out, big power outage, like the whole city goes out, we'll go out there and do stuff. But it's a lot being a lineman. I think there's a lot of guys probably listening to this. That may be some lineman. Man, I wasn't 30 years old. I was late. Twenty s, and man, I was just wore out. After a day of work, the last thing I want to do is go work on my stuff in the shop. So it was kind of like, man, do I want to do this the rest of my life? So that was another thing. I was like, I got to do something a little easier so I could have energy to go work after work and everything.
[00:32:56.860] - Big Rich Klein
So when you were competing there, EROC especially, what were some of the things that you remember? Because they did all their events at Jellico, is that correct?
[00:33:13.060] - Chris May
EROC did? Yes. I've got so many memories and we're only going to talk for maybe an hour or so, but, man, some of the cool things in the beginning of rock crawling for me was, well, one, everybody that was doing good lived within an hour of me, like Chris Durham, Ken Shoot, Buddy Carlton, Mike Cole, Brad Styles, Matt D's. He didn't live too much farther. It was like, man, these guys right here, we all lived right there. But that was obviously, EROC they were more local. But as the sport grew, those guys were still kicking butt at, like, major events. But, EROC didn't last. I don't know. All my dates are messed up year wise. I wish I could remember them. I don't know why I can't, but they all run together. But EROC didn't last too long and I feel like it turned into Uroc maybe one or two seasons in.
[00:34:11.890] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, they got absorbed by Uroc.
[00:34:14.670] - Chris May
[00:34:15.310] - Big Rich Klein
That's when uroc was going on their growth thing. They were going to take over the world of rock crawling and change the world, make rock crawling household, like WWE or monster truck racing, all that kind of stuff. And they tried to get everybody under one umbrella. And it kind of created, I think, some problems.
[00:34:40.300] - Chris May
And that's it. This is one event or one memory I have. I remember that whole thing. But when I really was like, man, this rock crawling is huge, I remember it was Jellico. The place was insane. It was like east and west all met at Jellico, and ESPN was there. They had like a show like Speed Sport. You remember the guy would come with the headset, and I remember John Bundrett came and Shannon Campbell was there. And that to me, it was like that was the peak, almost. That was one of the peaks of East Coast. Rock crawling was that event. I don't remember what year, but I just remember it being huge. I mean, like just insane people everywhere, right? And then that was still when Unlimited was like the class moon buggies. I was in the pro mod class. I don't even remember if it was pro mod. I might have been in the stock class back then. I might have had 37. So I was in the pro mod class back then.
[00:35:35.780] - Big Rich Klein
I think they called it Legends. At We Rock, we coined the name pro mod.
[00:35:48.260] - Chris May
Okay, that's right.
[00:35:49.330] - Big Rich Klein
Mod, stock, then pro mod and then unlimited. And they had I don't remember if they had a stock class, but they had what they called Legends and then unlimited. Right, go ahead.
[00:36:04.520] - Chris May
I was going to say that led to I think we went to Jellico a bunch, but then somehow or another we branched out and heard about like, New Rock. So we went to an event in Pennsylvania, and about the time we went to New Rock, that's when I first heard the term. It was like everything was a rock. You had, EROC you had euroc. There was new rock. And then it was like, oh, wait, there's this new one, We Rock. And I'm like, Dang, how many series are we going to have? And I wish I could remember the first true We Rock event I went to, but I don't remember where it was. I really don't.
[00:36:42.980] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, I think we had done Jellico under the name. Well, we started off with Calrox in California. Then we expanded that and people were going, well, why would I compete at a Calrox event when I'm in Texas or I'm in Tennessee or I'm in New York or wherever? And it was like, well, okay. And then that's when Uroc was grabbing every because it started out uroc started off as the Utah rock crawling off road Challenge.
[00:37:13.080] - Chris May
[00:37:13.920] - Big Rich Klein
And when Craig Stump had it and then they did the super crawl, tried to get everybody to get everybody to come to the super crawl, which was a great idea. Of course, none of the promoters wanted to cross over and join that because then it devalued what they were doing, myself and others. But Uroc was putting it all together. So they called it the United. They changed it to United and they started doing events. And then that's when we looked at it and said, okay, well, if you guys are going to get everybody in the US. Together, I'm going to go outside of the US. And before I started We Rock, I called all the other countries that I could think of and got hold of people because of Pirate. And we started an international sanctioning body using our rules. So we had Australia, Mexico, Canada, and a couple of other countries that never actually put on events, but they were trying to. And so that's why we called it we Rock The World extreme I figured, hey, the Uroc guys want to call it United for the United States. That's great. They can have the United States.
[00:38:25.720] - Big Rich Klein
I'm taking the world. And then that's when we started banging heads.
[00:38:31.010] - Chris May
Well, what year did you start coming to the east with We Rock then.
[00:38:34.270] - Big Rich Klein
Under the term we rock? It was 2005. Okay, I'm sure earlier, under Cal Rocks. And then I called it Narca when Arka was still in, before they joined Uroc, we called it Narco, which was North American, the North American Rock Crawlers Association or something like that, which was regional. I mean, North American Regional Rock Crawlers Association. And that's where we went. And that's when I first went to Jellico, the very first new rock event. Me and Bob Roge went out there and helped the Kyles get that event started, that series started. And of course, that created a lot of butthurt with the guys that were running EROC because they didn't like the idea of new rock coming in. Everybody that started up a new series or anything was all of a sudden was bad juju for everybody else, which.
[00:39:39.600] - Chris May
Wasn'T really the case. That almost happened. Again, it's kind of like as a racer, as a fan of the sport, I'm like, can't we all just get along? Like, man, just somebody but I mean, obviously everybody's got to get some of the money. You've seen that with Ultra Four. It's kind of like you got these EROCs or Pro Rocks and Ultra Four and all these well dirt right. Was in there. That's right. And it's just like it watered the events down a little bit because people had so many options.
[00:40:13.240] - Big Rich Klein
It did. But what it did is with us is that when I first was putting on the rock crawling events, I didn't want to be the big dog. I just wanted to be the guy that would have trailer. We'll travel and I'll come put on an event in your neighborhood. If we get 2025 guys that were willing to travel half a day to get there, that's great. I wasn't looking to be flyovers and guys parachuting in and all of the.
[00:40:48.070] - Chris May
Well, but now, man, we rock. That's the thing. It's kind of like EROC for me was big because it was the east. But then URock came in very hot and heavy. But then in rock crawling, we Rock was it there for me, it was like I felt for a while there, them were the big. But that's when promod, too. I remember Wombat and those guys in the promod class. We had a ton of people in the promod class.
[00:41:12.750] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. When we dropped the regional idea and just said, the hell with it, we're going to battle and try to go after and just put on the best event, not maybe the biggest show.
[00:41:26.640] - Chris May
[00:41:27.170] - Big Rich Klein
That was our philosophy.
[00:41:28.090] - Chris May
Well, some of them turned in like Dayton, Tennessee. That turned into a heck of a dang show for years.
[00:41:35.460] - Big Rich Klein
Oh, absolutely. And it still is, actually. Yeah, but the problem is that we didn't do all the things that the other guys were spending all this money on, like trying to get ESPN to come out. And I made deals with the guys at Lucas Oil doing the shows that they were doing because they would come out and do the shows for free. We didn't have to pay them, we didn't have to produce it ourself and then send them so where they could edit it and put it together, which is basically what I think Uroc was doing.
[00:42:11.900] - Chris May
Well, and I was going to say so I remember one event, I don't know if you were there, uroc, they had to spend a ton of money. It was called like the X plex. Was it in Portland somewhere? Yes, it was the axle company. They're still around that. It was near their headquarters. I can't remember. I think it was Moser axles.
[00:42:27.050] - Big Rich Klein
[00:42:28.820] - Chris May
But man, the amount of concrete now that was a cool event, but I can only imagine the money somebody spent. I don't know if it was You Rock or what, but it was a good event, but I don't think we went there, but maybe one year or two years. I don't remember. We didn't go there many times.
[00:42:43.080] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, they had teamed up with the property owner there to create that and then they were going to do event sites like that all over the place and it just didn't quite happen. There was even talk about doing an event in Hawaii and all I could think about was, yeah, that's going to cost a fortune to get cars over there. I mean, it'd make a great show, but it just didn't financially make sense, at least to me, because, I mean, I was doing I was doing like the teams where we were shoestring it, right?
[00:43:21.940] - Chris May
Yeah, that's me. I'm still shoestring it. Back in all the rock crawling days, I was thank goodness we had a tow rig and a gas card and we bought a trailer together. So I'm going to these events. And we did build a chassis. It was like air shocks by then. Everybody had like two and a half inch air shocks. I just wanted two inch air shocks. But my buddy Tommy basically invented this kind of slider thing. We were still using like, coal springs with a slider, but man, we were doing pretty good for years. Wombat won everything. We weren't very far behind Wombat. I mean, we was up there in the mix a couple of times.
[00:44:05.300] - Big Rich Klein
Danny Rohr was a good driver.
[00:44:08.420] - Chris May
Yeah, and partier that's it. It was a good driver because I was not saying partying. I mean, he'd show up with a bloat head gasket and be like putting pepper in a tech inspection and he'd just wear everybody out.
[00:44:26.600] - Big Rich Klein
So then besides the rock crawling, you got in, I know you raced Dirt Riot with us a couple of times. Was there anything else? Did you race XRA or anything I did.
[00:44:38.050] - Chris May
So that's the rock crawling. I'm trying to think rock crawling. You guys had an event at like a man made place, maybe in Ohio. It had all the tubes.
[00:44:49.100] - Big Rich Klein
Yes. Columbus, Ohio.
[00:44:50.440] - Chris May
Yes, there was that. We did that. But then we had some rock crawling. Was it hannibal, Missouri?
[00:44:55.760] - Big Rich Klein
[00:44:56.740] - Chris May
But then I want to say I think my first XRA would, might have been at Hannibal. I did all the XRA too, so I still was die hard. Toyota, I love toyota stuff. I mean I tried to make it work. I had every Burfield you can imagine. I eventually put a dana 60 in my toyota chassis, but then XRA came around and I still had a fuel injected 22 re. And I did a whole season with that fuel injected 22 re. People had LS? I've always just enjoyed traveling, hanging out with my friends. The rock crawling and racing is really just a reason to go somewhere. So I mean, I wasn't doing that well, but then I did XRA. Of course you had to have something fast. Well, I mean, I'm still not making all that much money, but at the time, rick dermo had a car and this thing was kicking everybody's butt, but it had a supercharged 3.8 in it. So I was going to build a chassis and I was going to use that engine. So I found a junkyard like I had found old buick regal, and did a bunch of research on pirate to figure out what kind of s ten transmission I could make work for this thing.
[00:46:14.290] - Chris May
But tommy Glenn, we built a chassis from the ground up. I had that supercharged 38, had a 700 r four, had a stack transfer case. Back in the day, atlas was a little bit too much. I think stack gave me a pretty good deal, kind of worked a sponsor out with them and built some sixty s. And yeah, I did XRA there until it kind of faded out.
[00:46:37.460] - Big Rich Klein
Right. And when they faded out, that's when we looked at there was all those cars that were built to go fast for a short period of time and I said, okay, those guys need to be able to transition to something else, so let's start dirt riot. And that's when we decided to go on the road full time. And so we started dirt riot with the intent of getting people to kind of like what we did with the original days of rock crawling. And that was just to expand the sport into areas where people were having to travel and maybe only be able to afford to go out and race once or twice a year and give them the ability to travel less and maybe be able to compete three or four times a year.
[00:47:21.620] - Chris May
Right, yeah, I remember the dirt right races for sure. I was at them too. So after XRA, for me, ultra four was just starting up. But, man, it was big money even back then. I don't know. I say big money back then. It was like 60, 70, $80,000. And I was like, I definitely got that kind of money. But there was a local series for me called it Wasn't Erot. It was ECORES. You remember them?
[00:47:48.600] - Big Rich Klein
Oh, yeah. I remember ECORES.
[00:47:49.820] - Chris May
Yeah, rob and Ron, they did a lot of north. They were actually pirate four by four is huge. But there was actually this North Carolina four x four forum that was really big in the south here. And they started that series on the forum kind of North Carolina area, the Mud Devils playground deal. It's funny. Actually, I just took a visit. It was my first time going to CT RaceWorks. Alex Reed, CT RaceWorks. They're super successful building UTVs, right? And I've obviously got a UTV now, but I went up there, and that was the first time I've seen Alex Reed, probably since back in those days when he was racing like a Trex way back in the day. So it's kind of funny how all these people through all these years, at some point in time, I've met them and raced against a lot of these people. But that series for me, filled the gap for a while there because that was a four dirt ride. Yes. And we did that for a little bit, but during that is when, again, my buddy Tommy Glenn was like, man, we need to build something. I was like, all right, well, I'm making a little bit of money now.
[00:48:55.040] - Chris May
Maybe we'll do something. And then I set out to build an ultra four car. And with the triple bypasses and fab housings and all that, and actually, I still stayed with the Supercharged Three. I built this crazy probably put more money into it than I could have LS, but I built a car. It took, like a year to build this car, to go ultra four racing. I can't remember if I'm pretty sure my first hammers in that car was maybe 2010 is when I went out to the Hammers in that car. But then I also was that before.
[00:49:34.410] - Big Rich Klein
Drew's caught on fire?
[00:49:35.890] - Chris May
Well, I was thinking about that before this call, so I'm going to go back to like five, six Boyd, Texas. You had an event. It was maybe the nationals.
[00:49:47.770] - Big Rich Klein
[00:49:50.000] - Chris May
I'll talk about this. Drew built his own car. Tommy Glenn built him a Jeep Cherokee based rig. And me and him competed against each other. But at that event, Drew was competing. I was competing in pro mod. But Dave Cole had a Toyota.
[00:50:08.160] - Big Rich Klein
[00:50:08.570] - Chris May
And I think Brian Ellinger drove it at the event. Talked to Dave about this before, but I didn't really meet Dave that well. But Drew kind of got to talking to Dave at that event, and I knew who he was and everything, and me and Drew travel together. But anyways, the start of Ultra Four was the story is, like, at SEMA, dave was basically on everybody telling this crazy idea, and Griffin Radiators is one of the people that were, like, dumb enough to say, hey, that sounds great. Let me give you some money. Well, we didn't know it, and Drew didn't know it, but Griffin Radiators is 35 minutes from my house right here in Piedmont, South Carolina. So Dave Cole was thinking, well, Dang, who lives in South Carolina, he's like, oh, well, Drew Goldie lives in South Carolina. So Drew actually got an invite to the OG race, but he was like, man, my dad's not going to pay that much gas to go to California for this crazy guy's idea of maybe whatever. So, yeah, Drew didn't go to the OG race, but he went to the next race. And that's when it's funny.
[00:51:15.490] - Chris May
I think Drew borrowed second line. We didn't even know what GPS was. I think he borrowed a GPS from you. Yeah, he did. And his car burnt to the ground.
[00:51:24.440] - Big Rich Klein
He blamed the GPS.
[00:51:26.720] - Chris May
Yeah. Well, yeah, I think it wound up being, I think a winch cable thing, maybe a battery cable on the exhaust might have melted or something.
[00:51:36.100] - Big Rich Klein
He was blaming the GPS. It was hilarious.
[00:51:38.810] - Chris May
But I think Drew's car I mean, you hate to be known, but it was one of the first ones to burn down. It was terrible. I mean, he lost everything in that fire borrowed a GPS from you, and back then, they were $400. That was a lot of money. Drew kind of got the Koh thing because he knew Dave, and obviously, I started talking to Dave, but that's why I was like, oh, man, I got to go to this race. So I built the car, and then I went spectated. One year, actually, Drew was building another rig when it's called On Fire. Didn't get it finished. Remember Alan Rich?
[00:52:13.380] - Big Rich Klein
[00:52:14.560] - Chris May
So Alan Rich had a car, and we actually went out there with Alan Rich, I think, and raced his car instead of Drew's new car, this and that. My first Koh was actually in my XRA car. Went out there with me, and Drew went out there together. And I had the LCQ can't remember, maybe 2009 or something. But anyways, LCQ and I didn't make it. I broke an upper link, and back Door still finished the qualifier. But I think I finished two or three spots out of getting into the race. Dang so it was a long way to drive out there not to race. But actually, back then, it was so not unorganized. And it's probably still is a little unorganized, but you just lined up and raced. Well, the night before, Dave Cole came to me and said, hey, man, you're only two or three spots out. You need to be ready to race in the morning. I was like, well, am I racing? He's like, I don't know. We won't know, until 07:00 in the morning. So we got the car ready. I'm sitting there winding that's up. Never really got told I was in the race, but when everybody went off the race, the last guy went off the race, I just followed him behind him, took off and raced the race myself.
[00:53:24.810] - Chris May
I wasn't even in the race, but I was out there just racing, getting lost. We were passing checkpoints. People were waving us down, just having a good time.
[00:53:35.500] - Big Rich Klein
That's awesome. I didn't realize that. That's cool.
[00:53:38.080] - Chris May
[00:53:39.660] - Big Rich Klein
So then your koh or ultra four career has taken you up and down the ladder, but you've had some success, especially the last few years, and.
[00:53:59.120] - Chris May
[00:53:59.460] - Big Rich Klein
You going to continue doing that?
[00:54:03.680] - Chris May
Yeah, I built a dedicated ultra four car after that, and I started going, I had that supercharged v six started going, but I was 4400 because back in the day, there was no classes. So when they started doing classes, I was in 4400. So I just stayed in 4400. And I mean, I'm making good money, but I'm not making, let's throw 150,000 $200,000 at a race car money. And I did good in 4400. But then one year, it was kind of like Casey Gilbert was kicking butt in the 4800 class. One year, I decided, I said, man, I'm getting rid of the dual shock set up. And I remember I had kings. I called king. I was like, hey, I need the best money can buy, single shocks. Well, I had just bought a few years ago, I bought this shock package that was like, I don't know, like 12,000, $13,000. But I got eight shocks. I got bump stops, everything. I remember calling king, and these three IBPS are the new magic whatever. Well, I basically told him, I said, look, I want to go to this 4000 class. I got a really good car.
[00:55:09.080] - Chris May
I said, I want the best you got. And I remember them shocks being for four shocks. I spent probably like ten grand on shocks. It was a lot of money, but it was kind of the first time that I ever bought something that it was like, all right, I want the best you can buy. And yeah, I put them single shocks on what was a 4400 car. And, man, I gave those guys a run for the money in 40 earn class. Won a couple of races, and I kind of been racing so long. All them years of racing, I was kind of like I definitely had gotten to a burnout point. But I priced my car for sale kind of high after I won a race here and there. And a few months later, a guy called me and basically said, hey, you want to sell your car? Still? I was like, yeah. I was like, I'm fixing to leave you to crank in a couple of weeks. Like, if you're serious, you need to give me a $5,000 deposit because I'm doing good in the championship. But I feel like I sold the car at the right time and that was kind of the end of my, I say my big car, Ultra Four career.
[00:56:11.340] - Chris May
But yeah, I had a blast doing it and obviously still doing it right.
[00:56:16.450] - Big Rich Klein
And now what classes are you racing?
[00:56:21.520] - Chris May
I sold that big car and was just kind of taking some time off. But when I started building that Ultra Four car, I had a daughter. So she's almost eleven now. Well, man, if I'm not racing, I'm still full wheel. And I've got jeeps. I've got forerunners. I've got all that stuff. So we're all the time camping full wheel and racing. Well, man, this kids racing started getting pretty popular around here. Like racing these Razor one hundred and seventy s. And so I got my daughter. It was kind of a knock off Razor 170. So I got really big into that. Still kind of Am big into that. So I started going to all these events where they were racing UTVs kind of local to me and watching people race when you've been racing all those years, it was kind of hard just sitting there watching. So I bought me a Can Am and started racing it at local stuff while my daughter was racing. But then, now I'm right back into Ultra Four with these UTVs. I built her a car from the ground up and I built a Can Am. I tore it down in the frame and everything and actually me and her just went out.
[00:57:43.660] - Chris May
It was the first time my wife and daughter ever got to go to King of the Hammers was this past year. So she raced the kids race and I raced 4900 stock class at King of Hammers.
[00:57:54.560] - Big Rich Klein
Awesome. So tell me about your wife and when you guys got hooked up.
[00:58:02.560] - Chris May
Well, through full wheeling, I met my wife. Like I said, I'm terrible with years. I'll tell you how I met my wife and I'll tell you the date. Basically, I met my wife on MySpace, back in the MySpace days. She was going to a college, I was doing the tech school thing. We met like, hey, you want to go full wheeling? That's what we do. So we're going full wheeling, me and Drew and loaded my wife up in the truck. And we probably went full wheeling. But my wife went to a couple of events. I remember her coming to come to Attica and this and that. She liked traveling too. And there for a while it was funny. Right before we had my daughter, my wife was like, all right. She didn't mind me doing it, but it was like, gosh, this is too much work. Why do you do this? So she kind of would hang back. Well, I had my daughter 2012 and man, it was kind of like me and my daughter just go to all these. Events. So now it's kind of like my wife's having to come. She's like, well, if you all are going, I got to go.
[00:59:12.340] - Chris May
So my wife comes all the events again, and she's starting to enjoy it, but she's like, man, this is a lot of work and a lot of time away from work and everything.
[00:59:22.920] - Big Rich Klein
So what are your plans for the future?
[00:59:28.680] - Chris May
That's a really good question. So I bought this can am on a whim. Just kind of a friend of mine had it. It was kind of a beat up race car. I've raced it. My daughter is racing the kids stuff, and it's kind of short course. We go to Mid America. That's obviously huge right now, but man, some of them kids at Mid America one, I hate short course racing. Like, everybody I can't stand short course racing because it's like, throw a bunch of money at it, see how fast you go. Yeah, there's shock and suspension setups, but I just love the rocks. That's why I love King of the Hammers and stuff. It's like, man, I don't care how much money you got, how many times we've seen somebody spend by the winning car, and they suck and they just can't drive the rocks. So I definitely don't want to get in the short course racing for the kids stuff. That's kind of her next move is maybe get like, a 570, but I don't want to do the short course stuff. Actually, just last week I bought a Volkswagen. I was at an auction looking for a Tig Welder, and I bought a Volkswagen.
[01:00:36.020] - Chris May
And these class eleven are so popular. Every one of my best friends have been fabricators. I've never welded. Like, I bet I didn't. Weld for the first ten years of rock crawling, all my friends were welders. I never welded. But just here in the last ten years, I've started fabricating. I built a shop out behind my house and everything. And I don't know, this Class Eleven stuff kind of looks cool. And I could build the whole thing right here. I've been to Baja a few times with Dave. I've kind of got that. Okay, I've done all this stuff. It sure would be cool to go desert racing. Not necessarily in Mexico. Maybe the mint or something. But I'm going to be racing, but I don't know what the future holds.
[01:01:22.810] - Big Rich Klein
Awesome. And how long you've been married?
[01:01:26.720] - Chris May
I got married in eight. Got married six, seven, eight.
[01:01:30.290] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, so then you're still working as the technician and you're still racing. Got your kid into it. Is your wife ever going to race or is she just going to be support?
[01:01:46.680] - Chris May
So, funny thing, Toyotas. Obviously I've had a lot of Toyotas in the day, but you get a Toyota with, like, triple crazy low. You can just let out the clutch and it'll do everything. Well, there was a powder puff event long time ago, and I had this Toyota truck that it had everything you can imagine done to it. So we had probably the best rig at this little local competition, and it was a cone dodging deal. She actually won the event. I mean, it was like she didn't even know how to drive a stick. I was like, look, all you got to do is let off the clutch and watch me go through the cone. So that was her only win and only time she'll ever do it. But, no, my wife is not racing, not driving. She's all about going now and watching my daughter. She's all about my daughter racing. And she's very competitive, and, I mean, we're but she ain't gonna be racing. No, it's gonna be me and my daughter.
[01:02:44.990] - Big Rich Klein
Perfect. Perfect. Somebody's got to keep a clear head, right?
[01:02:49.660] - Chris May
Yeah, that's right. For sure.
[01:02:52.940] - Big Rich Klein
So, you still see Drew a lot?
[01:02:56.460] - Chris May
Well, not as much, probably. Drew's got three kids. I see him. His kids play some flag football. My daughter actually plays flag football. I might see him at the park. We do go full wheel and every now and again, Drew this is funny. Drew was in the Jeeps when I was in the Toyotas. He had a Cherokee. I had the Toyotas. Well, I have recently bought I bought a JK or whatever and been wheeling it. Well, now Drew is in the dang Land Cruisers, so it's kind of crazy. He's got these old school Land Cruisers. I'll throw another name out there. Drew has kept in touch with Mike Hale a lot.
[01:03:36.780] - Big Rich Klein
[01:03:37.720] - Chris May
Remember Mike? Yeah. So I don't know if Mike Kale is a Toyota nut. I don't know if Mike Kale got Drew into these Toyotas, but he's got Land Cruisers, and I got Jeeps now, which I still have, like, this forerunner that I've had forever. I do talk to Drew at least once a week, probably.
[01:03:57.070] - Big Rich Klein
Oh, good. Yeah. Mike Hale was probably the best driver I ever seen drive on his side.
[01:04:03.300] - Chris May
Yeah. I got to tell another funny story, how we met Mike Hale. I think we were going to Pennsylvania. That's a long haul for us. It was 13 hours, and we didn't know a whole lot of people. We're driving up, I don't know, 81, maybe Interstate 81. And on the side of the road, we see this contraption. It was a yellow north folk, southern railroad truck, four door service bed trailer behind it. But it had Mike Hill's buggy backed off. It had the back tires off the trailer. The front tires were strapped on the trailer, and it was obviously a Toyota Buggy. He had the Toyota Buggy in crazy double low, dumps the clutch on it. It's pushing his rig up an exit ramp. We see this. We fly by in 50 miles an hour. We're like, what do we just see? So we turned around and stopped, and, yeah, Mike Hale, I can't remember if he was by himself or had Carl with him, but they were getting that truck off the side of the interstate with the dang buggy on the trailer, half on the trailer, and we stopped and pulled them up the exit ramp and everything.
[01:05:19.660] - Chris May
And really, we just became friends that day. Then we part next to each other, always help each other out, and man, Mike Hale could fix anything. That guy could fix anything with nothing. I mean, just nothing.
[01:05:35.760] - Big Rich Klein
So true. Well, that's cool. You got any other stories about people out there you can think of?
[01:05:42.560] - Chris May
Oh, man, there's probably too many. I don't know. There's just a lot of good times. I listened to one of your episodes, and you're talking about things that have changed. I don't know. So back in the day, some big things have changed. Back in the day, you were cool if you stayed in a hotel because that's where all the fun was at. Like, everyone's heard of the Jellico Motel, but back in the day, everybody wanted to stay at the hotel, and then it drifted into, like, now you're cool if you got a Totor home and you stay on site. I don't know when that transitioned, but it was kind of like I remember getting a hotel and be like, man, where's everybody at? Oh, they're all staying in their enclosed trailers, and we had an open trailer. It's like, oh, man, we got to stay at the event site. Lots of good times at the hotels for sure, with all the guys, right?
[01:06:33.620] - Big Rich Klein
And that's what happened everywhere. And it doesn't matter that if it's rock crawling or racing, everybody wants to stay where everybody is at. And transitions from the hotels to enclosed trailers to Totor homes to diesel pushers. God, it's just amazing where transportation has gone. Semi trucks with converted trailers. Like, what I have I wished I'd have done that day one, but it would have saved me a lot of headaches and time on the side of the road. But it has been a big transition as transportation and lodging for all the teams.
[01:07:19.680] - Chris May
Ultra Four. It's fun, but I've heard that people say this too. It's a business for a lot of people nowadays, so it's not near as fun at the events as it used to be because there's so many people taking it serious. And I don't know, that's one reason. I've teamed up with Team Indiana long time ago from really, like, rock crawling days. I met a few guys and we've just transitioned them. Guys are always having a good time, so I've definitely always camped with those guys, hanging out with them. They keep it fun. We all have a good time. We all help each other out, and it's still a really good time.
[01:07:56.930] - Big Rich Klein
It's one reason I quit going to Koh was it became more about, well, for me to see all my friends, I would have to go through the pits and about 30 times just to see everybody I wanted to see, because there's not, like, a schedule so you can't find everybody. Everybody used to hang out at the Fire, so you could see everybody at the Fire at least one or two nights a week, and that just doesn't happen anymore. You go by the fire now, unless it's after the big race or after one of the big races, that's the only time that people might be there. But as soon as their cars come in, they're gone. And if the races don't last into the dark, there's nobody there except for the people that want to hang out by the Fire, and it's not the teams.
[01:08:54.000] - Chris May
[01:08:55.040] - Big Rich Klein
I mean, I walked by the Fire the last time I was there, and there was probably 50, 60 people out there instead of 1000, and there was, like, nobody that I knew. And I was like, okay, well, this has changed. But, hell, I'm old, so don't take it that way.
[01:09:16.520] - Chris May
But, yeah, it's just been fun getting my daughter into it and just keeping at it. Like I said, I don't know what's next, but I enjoy working on stuff, fabricating stuff more now than I did. So I don't know, I'll maybe build something, but at one point when I sold my car, my Ultra four car, I was like, oh, man, I want to try. Ifs I talked to Adam about some plans and doing a bunch of the work myself, this and that, but you're realistically going to have to spend, like, 150 grand. And it's just kind of glad I didn't go that route, because that's just been a bad financial decision, I think.
[01:09:55.880] - Big Rich Klein
Right, I understand. I remember ten years ago, people were financing their houses two or three times, it seemed like, just to build a car. Crazy.
[01:10:09.240] - Chris May
Well, as long as I've been doing this, granted, I was probably never the guy. Like, when I show up, everybody like, oh, he's the guy to beat. But that's because I've definitely been responsible with my money and not refinance my house or spend 20 or 30 grand on an engine. I mean, some people have that money, I don't, but some people don't have it, and they finance it, and they get burnt out real quick. So I've been around a long time because it's kind of one of those things, like, I stay within my means.
[01:10:41.990] - Big Rich Klein
[01:10:42.390] - Chris May
Keep it real, and it makes it less stressful, and you can have more fun.
[01:10:46.440] - Big Rich Klein
Absolutely. Well, Chris, I think we've touched all the bases, and I want to say thank you so much for spending the time and making this possible.
[01:10:58.020] - Chris May
Yeah, thanks for calling and chatting, and it's good catching up.
[01:11:01.660] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, I hope to catch you somewhere maybe at Mid America at some point. Yeah, take it easy and say hello to the family. And next time you talk to Drew, say hello for me.
[01:11:11.740] - Chris May
All right, we'll do okay later. Thank you. Have a good.
[01:11:16.060] - 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 happen to be listening on or send us an email or a text message or a 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.