Conversations with Big Rich

A conversation with Dustin Webster, the original North American Red Bull athlete

April 26, 2020 Guest Dustin Webster Season 1 Episode 2
Conversations with Big Rich
A conversation with Dustin Webster, the original North American Red Bull athlete
Show Notes Transcript

Professional athlete since age 17, Dustin Webster shares his cliff diving adventures, rockcrawling and what it takes to be a professional athlete.  The stories are all here, from diving off platforms in Croatia to racing King of the Hammers. Join us to here the inside track on the life and times of Dustin Webster, the first North American Red Bull athlete.

**we’re still new to podcasting and didn’t realize a chirp had developed in the recording of this episode.  Stick with it, the interview is that good.  We’ve fixed it for future episodes.**

Season 1, Episode 2, guest Dustin Webster

6:48 Want to know who the ‘Sugar Daddy’ of rock-crawling is?  Dustin tells us what he thinks

10:51 A how-to on how get the girls in three easy steps

15:06 How Captain Speedo got Red Bull’s attention

25:53 How Dustin tricked his wife in to being a rockcrawler

33:02 What it really takes to take care of your marketing partners

44:00 The biggest risk I ever took in a car.  You’re not going to believe what Dustin had to do

51:46 How HGTV ruined house-flipping

1:14:39 Sharing the spotlight, Dustin proves his class yet once again.

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Big Rich Klein:   0:01
Welcome to the Big Rich show. This podcast will focus on conversations with friends and acquaintances within the four wheel drive industry. Many of the people that I will be interviewing, you may know the name, you may know some of the history, but let's get in depth with these people and find out what truly makes them a four wheel drive enthusisast . So now is the time to sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation.  

Big Rich Klein:   0:29
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Big Rich Klein:   0:56
I'd like to take this opportunity to thank  4Low magazine for contributing to the success of this podcast.  4Low Magazine, an enthusiast magazine for the four by four off road community. Today's episode we're gonna be visiting with Dustin Webster, the original Red Bull team member in the United States and rock crawler and discuss his life leading up to rock crawling, rock crawling. And then after rockcrawling., sit back and enjoy conversation with Dustin.

Dustin Webster:   1:31
See? Is that working?

Big Rich Klein:   1:33
Yeah, that's working. Good. Excellent.

Dustin Webster:   1:34
I don't have the right color lighting, so of course,

Big Rich Klein:   1:38
that's all good.

Dustin Webster:   1:39
I'm all purple.

Big Rich Klein:   1:41
Yeah, you're a little blue. Yeah, not under the weather.

Dustin Webster:   1:46
Oh, but I have been, I've have been destroyed. I was with through COVID protocol, and I was down to quarter breaths and full-on full pneumonia, and, you know, after the hospital and the whole works so for me, it's been

Big Rich Klein:   2:04
So did you have it?

Dustin Webster:   2:05
few weeks? There's a problem. I'm too young to test. I went in, the doctors probably got it in Kaiser. And the Kaiser system in Southern California says we got, like, 1000 tests to go around all Kaiser hospitals. He said so it's only for the elderly and immuno compromised. He does. So I cannot do anything for you right now. This is there's no testing, so I'm gonna send you home. I want you to make sure that you ah, you go ahead and self quarantine. And so that was I got God ultra sick on the second of this month and then I was sick a few days before that as well, but it went away and I felt great and then boy, did it hit me. And I was up in Montana at a at an international ski event. So people have flown in from all over the place and I get really sick and was, like, you know, literally, uh, that was my breathing

Big Rich Klein:   3:13
sick in December. Um, after the we had a off road expo, Andy Myers did down in Phoenix. Yeah, And when we came back from that, we were remodeling my parents house, and I got sick at that time, and I haven't been sick in 3 years. Really? You know what I'm living for? A day It kicked my butt for a good three weeks. I thought maybe I had, like, you know, started in on bronchitis or something. But it never got super, super bad any worse, then probably then I been sick when I was younger. But, you know, I don't know if it had anything to do, you know, with with them not being able to test or have any conclusive, You know how far when this this thing actually started and how it got out and about. It's so hard to tell who is what? I mean, Jesse has been recovering, but they couldn't. They didn't test him as well. They just said we're gonna assume that you have. This has a long your symptoms. Both his daughters were Ah, both the kids were sick, but Sara never got sick. So they're they're all recovering now. Like it sounds like you are. So that's all good for sure.

Dustin Webster:   4:36
Yeah. I heard Jesse had gotten his butt kicked as well. And Becca, she felt kinda yucky for a few days. But she's avoided it, you know? But she's got to be a carrier if I have it. Garrett. He was sick separately from me. And now because he's he's back at home, you know? While he saves up money to buy a house, and it's pretty crazy. How bad it got me. You know, I was vicious. I was. I was sleeping 16 to 20 hours a day of full deep REM sleep, like gone. You'd I don't. Nothing wakes me 16 to 20 hours a day. That was for 10-12 days straight.

Big Rich Klein:   5:23
That's not like you, either. You're one of those little Energizer bunnies from

Dustin Webster:   5:27
home. Go Go, but not like Becca. But that woman goes, that's for sure.

Big Rich Klein:   5:34
Thank you for joining me. The whole idea behind the conversations with Big Rich is too enlighten people in the off road community about our history, about people that have been influencers in the in the industry. It's not. It's not time stamped so much with our lifestyle. It's really hard to find time to where we where everybody can get together at a time on, you know, fortunately or unfortunately, with this whole, uh, sheltering in place, people have more time now. So I'm trying to get caught up in a bunch of these done, which is gonna talk in general. I'm gonna let you just we'll get started. And you know, what I'd like to talk about is the early days before you got into rock crawling competition. Some of your background. There's a lot of people out there wheeling that nowadays that have never had the opportunity to meet you or see you on Pirate or whatever. You know. We want to bring those those old heroes back in to into, you know, into the fold. So when you make your rock crawling come back. People don't know way

Dustin Webster:   6:48
Oh God, we want to, we want to. It's so badass, but, life just takes it's turns. But well, that's cool. You know, you bring up Cody and I hope you've got enough time to dig into his history because man was from him. To be there, you know, in the early days and then disappear completely and then to make a comeback is very cool and the way he's doing it and spreading the love, let's just say by sharing it with everybody in so many ways, he's really is one of the icons of of the sport. Even though he's not, he hasn't gotten a win. The big win that he's after, Ah, you know, series championship, or, you know, or at King of the Hammers or any of that. But he's still he's one of the He's like I'm going to use this word lightly. But he's like the Sugar daddy of the sport right now because between him and his father and the family, they've done so well and they're not being greedy about it, and they're not being, you know, they don't have his nose in the air about it. It's badass to see him go from that beautiful little Willy's Jeep that he did so well. I mean, the springs hung down so frickin far. How did you not hang up on every little obstacle? And then to come in to owning two of the most incredible machines on the planet, handing the keys off to people to drive. I got to drive. Pretty Penny. Pretty penny  is insane.

Big Rich Klein:   8:16
Yeah, it is

Dustin Webster:   8:17
Insane to get to drive that machine  and that Armada car that he's got Oh, my God, I can't imagine I want to get a ride In that so bad, it's very cool to see Cody back in the game coming back the way he did. I'm

Big Rich Klein:   8:33
His contributions to the off-road/ four wheel drive industry right now is a lot bigger than most people know. He's one of our marketing partners. Same thing with Ultra4  and  Dave. You know, he's He's supporting a bunch of the rock crawlers right now in helping them out. You know, either in as a marketing partner or sponsor, it's it's nice to see him in a position to be able to do that.

Dustin Webster:   9:02
Uh, I'm proud of him, jealous of him for being able to get back into it. After he stepped out, he did exactly what Becca and I wanted to do, you know, we hope to find some success in between that time and now so we could jump back in full force. And the way he came back in is just, you know, hats off to you, Mr Waggoner. You kick ass, that's for sure.

Big Rich Klein:   9:27
Dustin, just, uh, tell us about your early history. You know, you go into you've been in competitive sports for a long time. Way before rock crawling. You want to touch some bases there. And how you got got involved with everything that you do.

Dustin Webster:   9:42
Well, I was it. I was in high school. Having some interesting family times. I needed some outside support to help me through some, some interesting times. Let's just say with my own family and I got into the sport of diving and there was a special coach, Carol Humphries who took me under her wing. She helped me through about five years of my life that I wouldn't have gone so well had I not had this person in my life. During that time, I just fell in love with the sport of diving. But I really fell in love with it because I wanted to do crazy things and just make people laugh and cheer and be in awe. I didn't I didn't do it because, oh, I wanted to win anything. I didn't care if I won these competitions that I was going to. I just wanted to do tricks and things that nobody would do. I want to make the judges laugh, which you never want to do. I was like the anti competitor of all things somebody had I seen his show at Magic Mountain for this high diving exhibition, and somebody there said, Hey, why don't you come and join us? You want to be a diver than you know Work Hard set it as a goal to join our team here at Magic Mountain because all we do is hang out all day long backstage, have some laughs and go out on stage for 15 minutes at a time, four times a day, dive and do silly things for the crowds. The end. We climb up this long, lonely tower 100 feet in the air and throw ourselves off of it and hope we survive. And at the end of the show, all the girlies want to come and meet the divers like sounds like my gig. So I get that. A few years later, I went and I auditioned for them, got the job and was diving at Magic Mountain in the show. But the only problem was I was afraid of heights, hated heights. They sent me up to the 10 meter platform, which is the highest Olympic level to set up some some some of the show props I had. I tied myself to the ladders. I was climbing up because I was afraid. And then after a few weeks, I realized that at the end of the day, I don't go home with the girlie because it's the high diver that goes home with the girl. Yeah, well, motivation. I better learn to high dive, so I did. I learned to high dive.  Instantly. I fell in love with it. It was instantly over my fear of heights. I had a super good talent for it because I could find my feet. We land on our feet from that high up. Don't land headfirst like like we would in Acapulco and I do go, I do go head first in Acapulco. But that's a very unique situation. So anyways, I learned to high dive, and I quickly learned tricks that nobody else was doing. Unfortunately, I still didn't go home with the girl. It wasn't about high diving, just how it worked.

Big Rich Klein:   12:41
But you got over your fear of heights.

Dustin Webster:   12:43
I got over my fear of heights. And then after after my first year, there were competitions going internationally where you could go on the road and just compete diving off of these cliffs and bridges and castles, and I dived off it. Crazy things. There's well, right after the Bosnian War, we went to this place called Mostar, which was famous for a little bridge that had stood from Roman times. They blew it up in the war, but before that, people would go there from from the time they were 15 ish, 14, 15, 16 years old. They walk for 100 miles or so as as a young man to pass the rites of manhood. They have to dive from this bridge. Most of them wiped out, would be unconscious. We call it mud skipping because The river was muddy and they dive off of this bridge and they'd land flat on their face and their unconscious in the water. And they've got people in kayaks there, paddle over to a drag him out of the water, Put him over there over the kayak paddle quick to the edge because the rivers haulin' ass, drag him over to the side and the crowd would pull him out and give him pats on the back and wake him up. You're a man now. It was the dumbest thing ever, the dumbest thing ever. But they blow up this bridge the days like literally three days after the ceasefire, All the bunch of cliff divers we've We flew over to the coast of Croatia and then drove inland and, uh, took a gigantic crane, one of the building cranes that the upright cranes that self lifts. We drug it out over the river. And we did a high diving competition from this bridge, and people came from all over so that we could dive. We could dive and they could watch us compete. The ritual restarted that had been shut down for like five years. So it was kind of, you know, those kinds of things. That's what we did. We just travel around diving off of things and would hope that the local tourism boards and hotels and stuff would help us out with a few bucks while we did our competitions. So I did that for a whole bunch of years, eventually ran into Red Bull, and I didn't. I was just sitting on the edge of a platform in my Speedo. Yeah, Captain Speedo I am. And I have my cowboy hat on. And I was, Ah, drinking Red Bull. Somebody saw me on live  TV because we were being filmed for TV. We'd follow soccer over there. You know, there's millions of people watching soccer because that is their sport. Over in Europe. They were into overtime on soccer, and they they panned. They switch to a shot of the cliff diving platform, saying, Hey, in just a few minutes, the cliff diving is going to start. So right after this game, stick around, stick around because they want people that continue watching their channel. I was sitting on the edge of the platform drinking a Red Bull right, and I just tipped the can Red Bowl chased us down and they said, Hey, we want to meet that guy They were brand new. Red Bull was brand new. There were like two years old .Only in Europe and have never seen a can here in the U. S. Or anywhere else in the world. And they said, Hey, we'd like you to be one of our athletes. I wasn't their first athlete in the international game, but they said, Hey, we're coming to the U. S would like you to be our first U S. Athlete. You know, we believe in you. They threw, they went all in behind me. They made it possible that I could continue diving around the world. And I did that for a bunch of years. And then I went to a rock crawling competition, and all of a sudden I didn't care about Cliff diving anymore. I continue to do it because that's how I made my money. But I went to a competition and it was in Farmington, and it was an ARCA competition. It was Palmer's birthday, Mike Palmer's birthday, and he had these balloons tied to the back of his, his Psycho Billy Cadillac? No, no, that wasn't it. It was He was driving. It was it was a Caddi- powered black Campbell buggy. That was just ridiculous. He made the most exciting climb up this wall that everybody else had taken, the trickier, it trickier Crawling line up. And he got to the top of that. That was the wildest ride I'd ever seen. And then there, Shannon in his red buggy and his brother, somebody hanging on to a rope making this downhills off-camber corner coming back up. Jason Bunch. Jason in in that little four banger. Jeep should not be doing what he's doing. It was it was off the charts and my jaw was on the floor the whole time. I remember pissing the hell out of off this. This guy was so pissed off at me because I had a camera and I and I ran forward and took some video of Palmer coming straight up at me. I remember turning around. It was this little scrawny little little kid with his video camera there. Turned out to be Pat Gallagher, and I fucked up his good shot. Excuse the French. I screwed up his great shot because I ran in front of him. So, you know, I had this experience of seeing the sport from the heart because there were about there weren't banners and stuff in that day. Man, you could walk out of the car when they were when they were on the course, you know, and they had spotters standing on the vehicles and all that. It was a very personal element to the sport. And I'm like, I got to do this. I really want to do this. I talked to Red Bull and they're like, You know what? I don't think so. Wedon't do you know crossover athletes at all. So when they told me No, I said Okay, well, I'm gonna go do it anyway, So I took my street driven. Jeep, my daily driver and I went just north of San Diego to Menifee and join this CRCA, which was a rock race put on by Jeff Knoll. And it was there. It was one of their very first events that they did. And I'm just like him. They've got a stock class, they've got a top class, it got, you know, different classes finding around in the top class because I'm badass. I am a very good driver. Well, I was an entertaining driver, it turns out, maybe not the greatest But in my heart. I knew I could compete complete all of those damn obstacles, and we pretty much did. But I destroyed my jeep along the way, and I showed I showed Red Bull this videos of me driving the jeep there and competing and driving at home. And they said, Hey, I want I want to put together this project to where we where we literally use the stock Jeep and competed in the biggest class of competition. And there's this organization. I've seen this video where this guy Chris Durham, you should have seen Mike Schaffer. These guys, they're they're drive. And this was a video that was one of the first videos that RP Films had put out. And it had What was your first competition? It was up in Northern California,

Big Rich Klein:   20:06
Lake Amador

Dustin Webster:   20:07
Lake Amador? Yeah, it had Amador. And I'm like, I want to go compete with those guys because that's a big event. It's really exciting. And, you know, it looks like more fun than anything I've seen so far. And so that's when I reached out to you and I asked for some rules and said, You know, how do I build? I don't even know what the rules are and we built that daily driver. We built that stock Jeep into something that was still very stock had the kids seats in the back of spare tire and high lift on the back big racks and, you know, I was still fully daily driven. Compete that and Red Bull said, You're gonna compete that in the big in the toughest classes said, Yeah, I'm going to pro mod because that's that's the biggest class And at that time it was because in the unlimited's it was, you know, it was your heroes, like like Paule, Jordan. Don Robbins. You know, these guys were all in the top class with rear steer I wasn't there. I think you'll Uelsman computed in that class too in unlimited, but there was only like three or four of them. They were like 35 you know, 30 guys in ProMod. So that was a class I wanted to be in that and God We didn't finish many courses at my first. My first comp, that was at Lion's Pride. I think we finished. Half the courses may be on, and that was a very forgiving competition location. And our second comp was Donner.

Big Rich Klein:   21:39

Dustin Webster:   21:41
we thrash the Jeep there. I mean, we we put it on it's side so many times. But the spotter ride footage we had was off the charts and just making the attempts on all those huge obstacles. It was it was rewarding, self rewarding to me to do that, and Red Bull at the same time, instantly fell in love with what we're doing because we were out to have a great time. And if we got some, if we got a decent finishing position, great. If if we didn't oh, well, not not so big, because we're turning the crowds on. We had so much fun. Then the end of the season rolls around and we're out in ah, Cougar Buttes  area. That was the season finale for that year. Walker won that year with his pick up because he had taken the rear steer off first event. He had the rear steer locked out, and then the second event, he took the whole axle off and put on a different Dynatrac Pro Rock on the back. Competed, that truck was doing so well so well. And then gosh, we ended up third that year  in ProMod. And it was more because we went to every CalRocs  event and we scored points at 'em all and we could be terrible. We never we always finished middle of the pack, but it worked out because we didn't have any bad events that we didn't have any missed events. Red Bull's like, This is awesome. We love what you did here because, you know, you're against the odds driving this vehicle. You're you're you're making people want to follow you regardless. And they would I couldn't believe it. Tracy Jordan's ah, and he's doing these incredible runs, you know, most talent drivers on the planet and they run over and see him, and then they come back to see me because they were going to see him accomplish something awesome. And they were gonna see me self destruct. So they it was They knew that they had to follow, you know, a few of only a few drivers at that point. So the crowds

Big Rich Klein:   23:48
well, I still use. I still quote you a lot when, uh, people get when drivers get upset because they may roll over, They just they're down on themselves because they know they're not gonna win the event at that point. And I tell him I said, I always tell my so you know, you gotta do it Dustin Webster said, Because if you can't win the show, be the show!

Dustin Webster:   24:09
Yep. And it's always that way. Look, there could only be one winner, one winner, but there could be lots of heroes flat out there really can be. And and for your marketing partners, as long as it's not costing you too much, you know, to repair the damage that you do. For your marketing partners, being the hero is a surefire way to bring results, too. Your sponsors your partner's. We consider our sponsors our partners because once we went with them, we didn't jumpship,, you know that was it. It wasn't a money thing in in the end of that first season, Red Bull came to me and said look, you Do you know what you're doing here? You know you didn't you didn't win anything. Yeah, you got third place. And that's awesome, because you're on the podium in the season, but you didn't win any major events, but we're not disappointed at all by that. I never promised we'd win a day, I told you we probably wouldn't finish a single competition.

Dustin Webster:   25:09
You know we wouldn't be able to to even do half of the courses. We might not finish any of them. At that point. It was like to see what these guys were setting up. I'm gonna take a 90. I was I was stock of a stock wheelbase run over and flexier that I'll get out. That thing just wanted to fall over. We didn't know what we're doing. We didn't know what a sway bar was. You know, we don't know how that stuff works. We just saw opportunity. We put it together and made that first season happen. And then at the end of that season, we heard about a Pro Rocks competition on with Bob Hazel. And it was a women's only event, and that was gonna be up in Cedar City. Well, my wife Becca, she hated the idea of rock crawling. Um, I told the story a 1,000,000 times, but flat out, all she would see is a nice Jeep Leave the house and a pile of parts arrived back at the house after the competition because that jeep was trashed. And I go, I need another couple thousand dollars, $5000 or whatever. And she's like, This is the stupidest thing ever. We're spending every penny that you've got from Red Bull just to rebuild that Jeep. We're not gonna have any money left over at the end of the year from the repairs, this kind of thing. You know, she's looking at it from a practical sense of this, this is the dumbest sport ever. And she refused to watch videos. She refused. She didn't ever go to a competition. Nothing. So finally, I'm like, Hey, you know, there's a competition in Cedar City. I'd like you to go. We can stop in Vegas on the way back. You know, you have a good time. And on the way up, just as we get past, I said, um, by the way, this just we get past Vegas. We're almost a state. Er, by the way, this is women's nationals and you're competing. She'd never been in four wheel drive before. She'd never driven in four wheel drive. So she you she's like, you're an asshole. And I said, Look, you're gonna be fine. Your a competitor at heart. You ride three wheelers and motorcycles and quads like, you know, like, no tomorrow. I mean, she was at 15 years, 16 years old. She was on a 250R three wheeler, 1986 250R  was rides like a bat out of hell. Said you picked great lines, but you don't even have to pick any line. Just listen. Your spotter. That was Frank Johnson. Just listen to him. He's gonna tell you what to do. So she was like, alright, and she did so well, she she led all the way through. And then she snapped a drive shaft and took out a whole bunch of parts in the end,  on like the second to last course, and we couldn't repair it in time. So she ended up second place in the in the in the class at that first event and Red Bull went we love her. Give her that Jeep and you buy what you want. Perfect and that's That's where the two car team came from. I remember. Ah, goin' Jeez, Which car do I want? Oh, I want I most want Jason Paule's buggy because he was getting ready to sell. He was He was at SEMA. This is at SEMA. It was when we talked to Red Bull about it. They should go for it. He was at SEMA, and There's a little tiny for sale sign on this car. Little I wanted that car so bad it was the one of the single airbag in the center that he could use to pump it up just a little bit. But that was his first car. I guess that's the one he had. The shag carpet body, that diesel. Um, he had a shag carpet body for one of the events because he didn't have enough panels. ARCA was not happy with them, but anyway, that's his story to tell not mine. The, uh, I wanted that car, but I knew that that car may help me win competitions because it's so good. But there's a car that I think is almost as good, which was Walker Evans' pick up, and I knew that people relate more to the bodies And, you know, in the world of off road, at that time, nobody paid attention to any other class but trophy trucks. That was it. You know, that's the class. And they're recognizable on that. They could have built the trophy truck in any design they wanted, you know, before they named a trophy trucks and you had to build It is a truck. They could have built the top desert race class to look like anything. You know, that would be way more practical if you did, but because people fell in love with the sexiness of of a real vehicle and and the relatability of of the major brands Fords, Dodge the, you know, whatever. So I knew that that truck was the one that I needed. I made Walker an offer on the truck, and so OK, I'm gonna build something else. Anyway, I've got some things in my mind. He, uh he sold it to me and I got very lucky. That was It's a blessing that next season you came out with a bang into CalRocs  and won, I won a few events, including the season, you know, season title which was That was huge because that's a big It was a big year of competition, you know, maybe Walker and he had had all the advantages of that new buggy. And that old buggy just works so well. So I got I got what I consider my lucky year. Everything came together, right? The teams worked out right. We had so much support from all the other competitors that's the thing about this competition, Big Rich, you don't run off road competition. You're like the godfather of the greatest family on the planet. You know, it really is that way. What What you have done for the sport is, you know, give us an opportunity for all these friends to come together. And I really appreciate what you and and now. Shelley, of course, have have done for us is ah, as a family of competitors.

Big Rich Klein:   31:33
Well, thank you. I remember WE Rock changed from CalRocs to WE Rock, we became the only rock crawling series. And I remember Jeff Mello called me up and said, Well, after ARCA had put out their, uh, their famous email about we're no longer going to be in business, Mello called me up and goes, Hey, Rich, you won? And I'm like I won?What do you mean? And he said, Well, you know, you're the only event Series now ARCA has, or UROC is no longer going to be putting on events. And I was like, Oh, man, you know, it was always good to have competition. Yes, so that you could set yourself apart from what somebody else was doing. And then you told me Well, now you can't quit. Rich and I went, What do you mean, I can't quit? And you said the rock crawling was built on companies and so many companies were built off of the rock crawling and people's shops and everything else that if there's no more rock crawling series all these people are gonna you know, that have built industries around it are gonna have a chance of failing. And I remember telling you oh, man,don't put that shit on me. I was

Dustin Webster:   32:44
pressure. That was pressure.

Big Rich Klein:   32:46
Yes, it was. And here we are. It's now 2020 and we're still going

Dustin Webster:   32:52
Quite impressive. It's ah, two decades, my friend. Yes, you know, for you, that's ah, that's a hell of a time investment, personal investment. But, you know, in the end, the sport has longevity. I believed it back then and they were talking about, you know, all the racing and all that kind of stuff, And I keep I kept saying, even to Red Bull, they're like, Well, would you want to pushover into the desert race? We could, you know, you want to get it. It's like No, because that doesn't have a lot of longevity. If you look at the sport as a whole for desert racing, this guy's change. Sponsors like a like they change their socks. You know they have to because it's such a huge investment in the win cycle. In the hero cycle, it's if it's not, it's not as affordable. It's not as easy. It's not as practical. You literally live your life for that sport in so many ways. You have to be able to do that or have so much money that that you can afford to eat that many dollars along the way. That was my feeling when we got into the sport was hey, it's possible to have longevity in the sport of rock crawling, even if you don't have major sponsors. People don't realize that having major sponsors actually takes more work than just going to work. You know, most people, if you have a steady job, 20 bucks an hour, you're probably doing better than most sponsored people are. And you compete, you know then, But they can't believe how much we spent just trying to keep the team float and looking the way it had the look and and pushing the marketing. You know the way we did. And, you know, there's all kinds of of things that you need to do for your sponsors that cost dollars, get him a flight here in a limousine. There, you know it. It all adds up. But in the end, I would have made just a much money at the end of the year, or maybe even more had I not had the sponsor if I had had a decent job, but it didnt, I was an athlete when you when you started 17- 18 years old as a professional athlete and you live that through your thirties, you you don't save any money being a cliff diver, i sure. Don't cause there's no money in the damn sport. like none, you know, so it wasn't like I had anything. So for me, I had it was do or die. I had to have somebody like Red Bull support me because I couldn't really go out and get a job that would work.

Big Rich Klein:   35:39
You have you brought something into the rock crawling sport that that nobody realized before that, you know, I mean, guys had had sponsors from the people in the automotive industry or in the that were directly related to off-road.

Dustin Webster:   35:58
That's not endemic.

Big Rich Klein:   36:00
Yeah, you brought in. You brought in that that outside the industry marketing partner Sponsor. And you did things a lot differently. And I'm It was great that you did that because it got people to thinking about how you should be. Treating sponsors, everybody. You know, I hate the term sponsor. You know, we talked. We talked about this years ago, you know, and it is marketing partners. It's about when converting those partnerships. You know, even nowadays, when we when we're interested in working with somebody, it's all about building a relationship first. It's not about sending them a proposal and saying, Hey, I want you to be part of our our off-road family, and this is what I can do for you. I want those people to know who I am before I present a package, right? And that's how you keep people around forever, you know? And you know, there are some guys that can jump ship and go after the biggest dollar. That's not what we've ever done. We've always, you know, we've prided ourselves on being with good companies that produced a good product. And then we do everything we can for them, too, to give back to them to help them grow their business,

Dustin Webster:   37:19
right? But really, you know, the thing is, some people, you so people, some people treat people that the athletes were competitors that jumped from one to another to another Ah, sponsor. They give them crap for that, and it really shouldn't because it takes both kinds. It takes people like me and you. We ride for the brand, right? It will. Riding for the brand is huge to me. Um, because I build a pride in building a relationship and working together to take us both from point A to point B and beyond, if possible. But the thing is, is it you? Not everybody has that skill set or has that particular drive. Some people have a win of the vision of win. win at all costs, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. God, no, you know their Their goal is a completely different thing. Their goal is maybe not to push the sponsor, you know, to where they want to go. It's more of okay, let's we have this mutual short term agreement. How can we blast? How can we launch my team to the top? And that's That's actually harder work, I think, than building the long term

Big Rich Klein:   38:50
because more pressure

Dustin Webster:   38:51
constantly had. There's a lot more pressure, and you're constantly having to change constantly having to rebuild partnerships. You're constantly chasing new partnerships, but it's one of those. It's almost like a Shannon Campbell mantra of win or explode, you know, in the competition from the time that green flag drops, you're either going to be on top of the podium or you're gonna self destruct in the in the works, and that's kind of how it is when you jump sponsors a lot, but they're also winning or pretty damn high you know, their odds of maybe more so than the people that build the partnership for the long haul, because I just want to make sure that along the way I'm doing my part to make sure my partners rocket up because the higher they go, the more they'll be able to take me with them. I don't need to be above A lot of people will say, Oh, that's bullshit. You go into every competition to win. Well, define win, am I not winning at life by By taking my avenue versus, you know, in personal satisfaction Then I am. You know, if my I'm gonna win at all costs kind of person No, don't get me wrong I want to win, Throw in a competition. It feels great. You know, I pushed myself super hard and in cliff diving and, you know, I got a bunch of world titles and and Acapulco title on, you know, a whole bunch of cool titles that were awesome, and it was very personally rewarding to do that. But it wasn't until I retired from the sport that I went Oh shit. I forgot to bring the rest of the sport with me. And so now I've gone back to that sport in the past 10 years and have gone back and started working with them again to do the things that I should have been doing from the very beginning, which is taking everybody with me, you know,

Big Rich Klein:   40:56
like, I let

Dustin Webster:   40:57
myself at my own sacrifice,

Big Rich Klein:   40:59
right? Yeah, that that's a big part of that. Absolutely. You know, as I've after 20 years of doing this, as a promoter and the couple few years before that, helping others with their events. Got that point where it's like, you know, how much longer do I really physically want to do this? Mentally, I want to do this the rest of my life. Yeah, but it's that physical thing about, you know? Okay. You know, my knees air bad. I got one. You know, Achilles heel. That's Ah, that is bothering me quite a bit. You know, I'm not getting any younger, and now I'm working pretty much the courses all by myself. I do all the set up. I do all the tear down, do all the load in all the load out, do all the driving to events. It's like. Okay, what's for the future? You know what? How much longer am I truly going to be able to do this? I haven't put a date on it. You know, guys, we're asking all the time, You know how much longer you gonna do it on building a car? It's a go ahead. Build your car. There will be something. Even if I decide to quit, somebody will go. Okay. We got to keep this going. Yeah, and, uh, and I'll never fully quit. I love the industry. I love the people involved with it, whether it's on the racing or on the or the trail side. You know, I've made a lot of great relationships over the years, and I don't want to forsake those just to go sit on a couch because, yeah, that's sitting on a couch is not I mean, hell, I'm sitting on a bed doing this. You know, my studio is one of the hotel rooms. That

Dustin Webster:   42:39
great studio. Good sound. Come on.

Big Rich Klein:   42:41
It works good. Yeah, it does. So you guys, you know, went through the rock crawling. Then you got into into the racing end of it as well.

Dustin Webster:   42:51
Okay, Well, we've

Big Rich Klein:   42:53
for a while.

Dustin Webster:   42:53
We did, but it was more of, ah, plain and simple. The King of the Hammers type. Racing is a different kind of commitment it's a huge risk. Dollar wise, massive risk dollar wise. It takes its toll on you and a whole bunch of people. I'm not the kind of person that wants to bring 15 people 20 people out to run pits for me and then never show up at their pit. And, you know, they have come all this way. They paid all this money and and they sit out there all day not getting into the action, waiting for me to come in. And And we never arrived because something went wrong. Yeah, but, you know, if we had better prep, better plans, everything, we'd have a better chance of getting there. But to me, it doesn't. Doesn't feel right. And we're not sharing like we did in crawling in crawling. You're always 100 feet from your trailer 200 feet from your trailer and your whole team is laughing with you and crying with you. I remember there was one point We're on Aftershock when were racing King of the Hammers. Dallas was my co driver and we were taking the bypass. And, uh, we just passed up Ken Mercer burning car. Do you think of the skins? Yeah, we just passed that burning car gone on the bypass would kick the rock with the right rear tire in the back end. Kind of split down. I'm like, I'm gonna back up just a little bit and reshoot it. And all of a sudden, worst were upside down on Aftershock on the bypass right above a giant cliff. And we get out and I'm like, we're all alone out here and this is a massive risk. We've got ham radio, but it's not reaching the repeater because of where we're at the canyon. And we're about 1/4 mile, you know, maybe more from the pits. But there's nobody here. When we had a self recover on the side of that cliff and I'm an adrenaline junkie, I love challenges. I love fear. But to self recover, If people saw what we did to self recover, they go. What the hell were you thinking? Why would you like literally It was that it was the biggest cheating death scenario that I've ever had. I mean the Jeep is all the way upside down on its roof. And I have a center mounted winch in the car, it's mounted right behind my seat, right behind the driver and passenger seat, and I'm able to put it there so that I could route, route the winch line up through the chassis, out through the top, and I put a big ring in the center of my roll cage. That's a big, fairlead, you know, inch 3/4 diameter tubing and I can run the winch, line out any direction, and so that if I had to go around a hillside leaning, I could pull the winch line out through the roof and I started front. When should I could pull myself and then I could pitch. I could just do a big swing around the hill if I needed to do that. Well, now I'm upside down and I'm not strapped in. I can't get strapped back in because I had to get out, rig all this stuff. How do you belt back into a buggy

Big Rich Klein:   46:17
when you're upside down? 

Dustin Webster:   46:18
When you're upside down, you can't, so we get the winch lines rigged. I get both winch lines, the front winch line and ran it back and around the shock tower and up and up the hill. And then the the center mount winch line runs out the roof around the buggy and up the hill as well. And I'm grabbing onto boulders that that you and I together, rock him and push him down the hill. And that's what I'm grabbing onto. I'm what I'm trying to winch the vehicle uphill. Well, I'm standing in the middle of the vehicle, pushing my winch button that's in the center console. I'm pushing the button and I'm standing in the middle of the vehicle, walking across the ends up in the bottom of the roof and then into the to the cage. I figured it out that Okay, if if the rocks come down in the buggy starts to roll, I'm going to dive straight, sideways out the window and hope that the buggy rolls off of me otherwise is taking me with me. And then I'm going off of the cliff. Those kinds of moments are like, you know, I really, really miss rock crawling at this very moment. What the hell am I doing? This is crazy And Dallas, is just shaking his head the whole time because this is why, why we really need to walk and you know, it's like it's 1/2 mile or more at its, We're not going to finish this race. If we do that, we're not. We have to continue nobody. This is like 45 minutes to an hour. Nobody came up that canyon. In that whole time, that was it was just us and a plume of smoke. Quarterback eighth of a mile down the hill where the last of Ken Mercer buggy is burning. I think it was cancer. I don't remember.

Big Rich Klein:   48:08
Pretty surreal.

Dustin Webster:   48:09
It was just one of those moments of this is not okay, So we did. We did do the racing and we did it. We did King of the Hammers on a different idea. We did it. We started back with the Daily Driver Project. You know, we wanted to be able to take a street street Jeep, you know, street legal. Even though California would it wouldn't pass smog because we had to put a fuel cell in it. I want to drive to the competition race it and drive home. And it was that Jeep that we built in a week. It was it was it was a fun project to do, but it was pretty dumb. It was really a dumb idea. Had some riot laughs, you know, a lot of a big laughs, but for me, I think more of a Dirt Riot, that type you know, that short course, the you know, those kinds of things make more sense to my style of competition. I hate leaving people out in the boondocks waiting on me, and I hate that I like the family part. That is my reward. All the friends and like you said, laughing together, crying together, screaming at each other, whatever it took, you know, it was always great great emotions and camaraderie and that, but I never felt that when I was doing the King of the Hammers and we did it three times

Big Rich Klein:   49:32
after the rock crawling. You guys started getting into flipping houses. as a business.

Dustin Webster:   49:40
Yeah, that's that's what we did. Um, we started in 2009. Right at right at the end. And it was, you know, have the big the big crash of 2008, you know, all the banking and mortgage companies, everything you have that recession, that point money was hard to come by. We started by helping some neighbors were just like, Don't don't just walk away from your homes here. Here's how to do a short sale of your house. We don't want to see you devastated because you're gonna get charged taxes on losses and it'll be on your record forever versus short term. So we started talking to neighbors and helping them out, and then we just decided, Well, you know what? We don't have any skills beyond I you know, I was a machinist, so I can build things, I mean I know, I know how we can build a car. Do fiberglass. We can, you know, we can spray paint. You know, I've had a little bit of of experience in all these areas. Houses are way easier than this stuff, way easier, there's nothing to 'em. So we said well, we'll start taking them on. When we started buying homes that nobody wants they're the ones where the slabs and the foundations are all cracked up and picked up all messed up. There's rotten mold or whatever. We picked up the ones that nobody wanted. And we change the layouts of interiors and and put everything brand new. And I'm, you know, would pull brand new wire from all the way from the from the electrical panels and re plumbed the whole damn thing, if that's what it took. Re slab, the whole house, whatever. Whatever it took, we took the ones that nobody would want. And during that time it was good, because we we started right at the bottom of the market when things when things were at their worst and it was a steady climb. So even if we had to work longer, that which cost us money, the rise in the value of the House would make up for that. And so things were pretty good. And then HGTV came along HGTV. All these people were going on with their shows going well, Yeah, we bought this house for this and and we put this much money into it. And then we sold it for this. And this is our profit. And everybody's looking at this at home. They're going Oh, my God, I could be rich. This is so easy. Look how much money they're making. Well, yeah, but they didn't include all their sponsored products in what their cost was, they  didn't include. They didn't include their overhead. They didn't include their commissions. They didn't include, you know, just normal business operations, permits all that stuff. They don't put that in there to those shows in the early days, they never did. So people got into it and started spending obnoxious amounts of money on some into into these homes. And now we had competition. So now we're buying houses a $20-$30-$40,000 more than they should be purchased for, our profit margins are down, are slimming down more and more and more. And then when the housing housing prices kind of leveled off, But the for the for the remodeled houses. But the junkers were still climbing. Now, all of a sudden, there's this tiny margin and there's competition to buy. So the with that said, What do you dio It got too difficult And we just just now way haven't been making hardly any money at all on our flips. And California just passed this state law to where even in the construction industry. If you're hiring contract labor, you have to hire them as a full employee. You know Workman's comp Everything Wait, I have to. I hire contract labor for I hire a guy for three days and say, You know, here I need this particular job done. So this and this California law came out called 85. And now, even in the construction industry, if you hire a contract labor a guy that's a 1099 labor and he you want him to come in for three days to do something simple that doesn't take a contractors license to do, you have to hire him as a full time employee, even if it's only for three days. Well, California just made it impossible to run a construction business. Unless you're one of the big, big guys that has 50 people on full time crew that's jumping from job site to job site to job site to job site because you can keep them employed year round those only guys that can survive. The unions love this. They're great with it, but the rest of us they've just pulled up, pull the rug out from under us. Yeah, I just I know so many industries got hurt by this badly. Um, you know, from musicians To Yeah. Hairdressers to a bunch of people, and yet they're starting to carve outs some niches where they say, OK, that particular job, that particular industry that they could do contract labor, but nobody else can. Well, we're still stuck, so I'm inspecting homes now. That's my new job. I started a newcompany inspecting homes, and it's gonna work out in the long haul. It'll allow me to have less risks. Because the homes that we were dealing with, we have a $1,000,000 on the line all the time. We've got a $1,000,000 out of basically loan shark money. You know, stuff from hard money lenders at all. Very high percentage rates. We've got a $1,000,000 out, and we're gonna work for three months in the profits. Gonna be $20,000. Yeah, that risk reward there. It's not there. Yeah, we're

Big Rich Klein:   55:26
Might as well get back into racing. 

Dustin Webster:   55:29
Yeah, good point. There you go. I like your line of thinking there, Big. No, you know what, and we may be in for a big crash here, you know, right now, a big a big market crash. And if that happens, if things drop. Then there will be right. There will be some room in in the remodel because as you hold the values that come back up when you're doing the remodel now, maybe there will be some room again. If there is a crash. I know it's terrible. I don't want to see an economic crash because people are currently hurting pretty badly. But if it does come, then we'll be back into the into the flipping game again.

Big Rich Klein:   56:05
Yeah, I think the people that are getting hurt right now are those that that play that investment game day to day or hour to hour. Oh man. You know, the all of our investments are long term. It's just the biggest differences. I don't think I'll be retiring as soon as I had as I could. Probably it's gonna be, you know, love to put it off a while. Yeah, this whole COVID thing is, is really you know, it hurts stock market, that's for sure.

Dustin Webster:   56:37
Well it has and you know the chance of hyperinflation with all the money that they put in that the fact that the hedge this is in the in the real estate industry, pretty specifically the hedge funds that bought mortgage backed securities. Now, with interest rates dropping off, they're calling their hedges to get their money back out of the industry. And so all these mortgage brokers that had borrowed money from these big funds and stuff, they're gonna have to pay it back in the next. Like in the next few weeks, they're gonna have to pay it back because they get called on it. The you know, I know that I'm just generalizing. It's not exactly how it works, but this is a general idea. Do those mortgage brokers have enough money to be able to pay those people back? If not, mortgage companies fall, fold all their portfolio gets bought out by somebody else of the lesser value, and then all the sudden you have a nightmare on your hands because right now, with people not being able to pay mortgages and mortgage companies themselves faltering, that can really send a kind of a shock wave through the entire industry houses with see another drop, you know, in the real estate side. So the stock market, God,  I I don't know enough about the markets, but I can only imagine that's on a wild ride.

Big Rich Klein:   57:57
It is right now. It's like, Make sure your seatbelts on because we're dropping. Everything's dropping so rapidly. But it again, you know, like I said, You know, if people play smart or invest smart, you know that it's all gonna turn around, come back. People that are bailing out right now and taking the loss, though it's really hard to recover from that.

Dustin Webster:   58:19
Well, hey, I know this is gonna be silly, but can I turn this interview around on you for a second?

Big Rich Klein:   58:26
Sure. Why not? Why not?

Dustin Webster:   58:28
I've never heard the story. Uh, I know you said, you know well, after Amador, you know, you kind of committed to the rock crawling and you got into that. But around Amador time, and you were you were also you were doing the valley off road racing. You're were doing VORRA

Big Rich Klein:   58:47
Well, you know. What are

Dustin Webster:   58:48
you doing? You're working in that industry. I never heard the story of how you got involved with that. And then how that whole thing went for you? Because I know that you were that you had your fingers in that are, or at least a lot of work into that.

Big Rich Klein:   59:03
Right? And, uh, I had a real job. And then once I did the Put up or Shut up, I walked in threw my keys on the counter with the district manager and said, Bye, I'm out of here and quit. I decided to do the rock crawling full time. That was right there at the end of 2001-2002. I went all in after doing one event and decided to make rock crawling my life. We, uh, when we did Donner? We did. Before we did Donner as a series event that year, we had gone up there and did an event called Carnage for the Con, and it was a rock crawling bunch of clubs. I think there were five clubs that were involved, and we put on the rock crawl at Donner Spectator showed up and we the money. The proceeds all went to Friends of the Rubicon after that event. Ed Robinson, who was the guy that originally started VORRA, Valley Off Road Racing Association, approached me and said, Hey, you know, I got I'm running this off road series been doing it for 27 years and I'm looking to step away and somebody like you needs to run this somebody that can organize an event and understands what it takes for the permitting and all that kind of stuff. That mind, you had only done three events, four events at that point, and I was like, Oh, sure, yeah, let's let's talk about this Well, next thing I know, I'm I'm purchased VORRA from him. But that was after I said, I gotta go see what this is all about First of went to an event with him down in Prairie City, I got to meet everybody saw that it was a family type racing association like we were building with CalRocs So I purchased it from him, and we ran it for about four years, 3.5-4 years and dealing with BLM Bureau of Land Management. They had just switched over to what they call cost recovery, which was great. If they're working events or working with industries like the gas and oil industry and stuff like that, where they're spending so much time on on, you know, permits and follow through and all the other things that they had to do. But BLM started doing that on small events like us and basically would end up taking every single dollar that we could make on BLM land, and it made it to where it was not cost effective to do. They became harder and harder to work with. I walked away from doing VORRA Valley off Road, turned it over to a guy named Dennis Cadanaway, who had been a racer  and said Here into yours, Just run it and I walked away. He ran it. One race, decided to do the same thing. Wes Harbor ended up buying it. Now he's on the Off Road Hall of Fame, is a board of director with the Off-Road Hall of Fame, and he sold it to a Cole, Dave Cole had it for a couple of years so he could run the desert races up in northern Nevada and then turned around. And now B. J. Butcher, who is one of the kids that was racing in our series, is the owner, so it's gone. You know how a couple of full circles B J. His wife is in the does the Rebelle Rally which Shelley and I work as volunteers for for Emily Miller's event, which is a really cool event. So I got see BJ again this year and at Registration and Tech up in Squaw Valley. And then we saw him at the awards banquet as well. And it was just it was really nice to see how everybody you know is doing. He's doing really well with the desert racing and and bring it back to the grassroots like it was, but that that background really helped us when we decided to change CalRocs into WE Rock, try to get this the whole world involved in our rock, crawling and trying to get everybody into the same kind of rules so that there was some consistency. Then when we started Dirt Riot, we did the same thing where we were. But we took it all to private property with private property it necessitated that we have smaller races and not smaller races and how many people show up, but just smaller. And But what I realized is that it was easier for us to manage without having a big crew and a lot of volunteers. Yeah, it was easier on the teams because they didn't need, you know, every lap you know, which was only four or five miles. Think our longest that we ever did was, uh was like 12.5 miles. But every lap you come through your pits. So you didn't get, you know you had a chance to make repairs and keep racing. But it also helped guys learn to race and finish what be able to finish a race and what it took to go finish a race. So if they did go to Ultra 4 or back then just King of the Hammers, it wasn't even called Ultra4 then that they had a They had the opportunity then to have met other people that are there racing with. So they build that family so everybody could bring just a couple of guys to the race and they could combine and help in the pits. You know, one pit crew could help 4-5 cars. Then all of a sudden, every team has 4-5 pits. If each one of those teams brings enough to run a pit and then you share resource's like that, and it it helps keep the teams financially viable so they can continue to do that. Plus, it gave guys the opportunity to finish the race because now they've learned how to finish a race. If they can finish a smaller race, you know, they learn how to race basically and what it takes and figure out what all the all the things that kill you in a race figure out all those problems before getting there. We just let up on Dirt Riot, Dirt Riots no longer a thing. This year we're concentrating just on the rock crawling again, you know, letting the racers. And there's a lot of other organizations out there now where people can go race. You know, it was time for us to concentrate. You're just physically impossible to do 20 events a year. 

Dustin Webster:   1:5:51
Yeah, I was gonna say I couldn't believe how much how much you bit off to chew there. That's pretty crazy. But the difficulty you know of of trying to make the logistics happen seems crazy. The Dirt Riot concept seemed perfect from, you know, for guys like me that still want the family, you know you laugh and cry together because you're always right there. The same crew, same pit, you know, it's it's not the long distance stuff, you know, Short, short court, short course racing in the wild.

Big Rich Klein:   1:6:28
Yeah, it was a really difficult decision for us to make, because we have. We love the racing. We love the racing family. But it just didn't make sense, physically or economically, any longer to do it. And it just got to the point where we weighed the two, two together, rock crawling won out. Not only is it my first love in off Road, but it's ah, you know, it's where all my roots are at where my deepest relationships are. We had to make a decision. We couldn't offer enough races in all the different other regions of the United States that everybody needed, so you'd have like a local race  series in Texas could do seven races in Texas. Well, we come in and we do three races in a central series that might include two or three states. Teams would go Well, you know what? I can get more racing if I raced with these guys and we understood that it was time for us to, you know, shelve Dirt, Riot. And we've had some interest where people are saying, Hey, we want to bring that back. We're gonna try a race and we'll see what happens. And I'm like, Hey, you know, you guys want to do it we'll help. You know, we've got a lot of experience putting on events and races, and you know, we may not do it the biggest in the flashiest, but we do it right.  You know, everybody, all the competitors, you know that deserve it. Get paid. Everybody gets their trophies. Everybody gets acknowledged. Everybody gets treated the same. You know, that's one of the things that we've we've we've tried to instill or I've tried to instill Is that you know, there's no, no, there's no favoritism. It doesn't matter if you're the number one racer in the world of the biggest name out there, I'm gonna treat you the same as I do. The guy that shows up for the first time in a clapped out, you know, whatever he's got, got you just had enough money to show up to race. Yeah, treat him the same way. In fact, I'll probably treat him a little bit better than the other guy. Spend more time with him because, you know, that's the guy that needs that encouragement. But that's how it was for me when I started putting on the events. The teams didn't need to come out to run our events. CalRocs, they you know, they had Pro Rock and they had UROC.  UROC and us started at the same time but they had ARCA. And there was other events series all across the United States. I mean, one time there was, like, seven promoters out there putting on rock crawls. 

Dustin Webster:   1:8:59
Yep, remember that time EROC and UROC

Big Rich Klein:   1:9:00
they eventually got swallowed up or they quit? You know, here I am. Look, and hopefully find somebody to take over for me someday.

Dustin Webster:   1:9:10
Yeah, well, I hope somebody carries on, but what You're started because it's obviously been incredible. You built a good foundation for everybody, you know, through a lot of blood. Sweat. Uh, sure. A lot of tears that we never heard about

Big Rich Klein:   1:9:23
Lot of arguments 

Dustin Webster:   1:9:28
between you and Little Rich and Josh and others over the time. And now in the modern era, your incredible wife, how in the world did our sport get so lucky? And

Big Rich Klein:   1:9:45
I ask that I asked that every time I look in the mirror, how did I get so lucky to find her?

Dustin Webster:   1:9:48
And it's a beautiful thing. That's it really has come around. And, you know, of course, you know, between the Pateys and Ranch and and Bob Hazel and those guys, you know, they played huge roles to make sure that that we stayed on our toes. We were We were, you know, we weren't getting complacent with how we're running things in there, you know, some of them brought flash and some of them brought, you know, the personality. And some of you know everybody has bought their little piece to the table. But it's been you all along for you in the heart and soul of it. Thank God for you, Big Rich, Really

Big Rich Klein:   1:10:28
Well, Dustin thank you. And I want to say thank you for the relationship that I know that we that you've given us whether you know, it was back in the old days with Howard and some of the other people that have come in in and out of rock crawling. I remember one time in Pirate  you use to dial me up and text me or whatever and say, Hey, you need to change what you just said And I finally just gave you my password and said, If I make if I put something stupid up there, just fix it. You know, those were my But I beat when I call my BS years before Shelley.

Dustin Webster:   1:11:06
Ah, but as a public note, I never actually signed into your account. It's all good.

Big Rich Klein:   1:11:14
It would have been fine if you had, I probably wouldn't look like an idiot so many times. Yeah, well, is there anything else that you want to touch upon? And, uh, in this interview or

Dustin Webster:   1:11:27
okay for me, as somebody who would love to get back into it dreams of it. Where does the sport go from here?

Big Rich Klein:   1:11:35
Well, right now, we're, uh we're moving our schedule down the year so that we can continue doing it. We were not canceling. Any events were postponing. We'll see how long this whole thing last that we're going through right now that this shelter in place, the sport is going to stay as it is. You know we dropped the rear steer rule in unlimited so that almost every single car now well, actually, every single car that's that's running unlimited is ah, rear steer. Although BZ came out to Arizona and ran the first event this year and until he broke, he was doing really well. In fact, I think he was after the 1st 2 obstacles or something. I think he had, like, low scorers or tied with low scores on the obstacles, even though he didn't have rear steer and there was no penalty for rear steer him and George did really well, they were proving that, you know you can still do this without rear steer the pro mod. It looks like the pro mod course class. As soon as I As soon as I got rid of the the rear steer penalty, everybody jumped into rear steer. They all jumped in unlimited. There was a lot of cars in pro mod at that time, but not a lot of cars. We get we you know, we didn't have a whole lot of cars at any events, but this last event we did in Arizona we had 52 cars show up so great. Nearly 3000 Spectators. So 2020 was looking like it was going to be a banner year. I believe that once all this, uh, everybody's, you know, taking vacations or whatever you wanna call it sheltering in place it they're gonna be hungry for entertainment when we get out of this. And so I think the year will finish off really well us as well. The future after this is a couple more years at least of rock crawling. And you know that we now that we have our sportsmen classes. We have three pro classes and we have three sportsman classes. So we kind of we kind of mirror those. It's really working out. Well, he's got, I mean, with 39. 39 sportsman, 38 sportsman at out of the 52. So then a really long day. But a lot of a lot of those people are moving up. There was some unlimited's and pro mods that didn't show up that will be coming out to the next events When we get him rescheduled. I foresee that the next event as soon as we announced the date and that we're able to do it. You know, we could see 60 cars again. You know, that would be really great to get back to those those big numbers. So sports growing.

Dustin Webster:   1:14:13
Well, that's nice. That's really nice

Big Rich Klein:   1:14:16
people. Some of those guys that were racing of have gotten back into looking at crawling because, like you said, it's Ah, financially, it's a lot more palatable to go rock crawling than it is racing

Dustin Webster:   1:14:29
ridiculously so. But, you know, we know it still takes so many people, you know, to make it happen. And it's insane. You know, when I look back, I've always I've always tried to share the spotlight with people that helped me along the way because there were so many people from, you know, from the beginning. Sure, it was just Frank Johnson and I building. He drive down to San Diego and help me with the car every once in a while and, you know, and show up at all these events. And then, you know, as we built the team through Dallas and Bender and our partnerships with, Blue Torch Fabworks, you know with, Dan and his crew, and then the list goes on and on. Axl, Jack, Scotty Ward from Pro Comp and so many people that helped carry me there that you never consider financially how much it really costs. Because you most people just look at what came out of their wallet, not what came out of everybody's wallet to make that happen. You know it's not free for Dallas to traveled all these events for him. He's putting his own money into it. He's putting his own future into it because he's burning time with me when he should be studying for something else. It was the same when we took a Little Rich on the road with this. You know all those times like he could have been working to words stuff for WE Rock or for his future, whatever. But he went on the road. So the cost outlays, as as a group, are incredible. I just can't believe how many people do it. The volunteers like your judges. They come out, they get the best seats in the house, you know, they really get to be a part of it all, and they become one of the most important parts of our family. But that's taking money out of their pocket just the same, you know, because then they fall in love with it, and they start to start following it. And if you're somebody who's if you're somebody who has judged more than one event in your own town, God bless you. Thank you. You've been incredible for helping the sport do that because we couldn't do it without the volunteers, that's for sure.

Big Rich Klein:   1:16:35
That's true. And you know what? We've come close a couple of times doing it without volunteers. I mean, I've had events where, you know, we got eight courses running and I have three volunteers or two volunteers. We made it work. What we do is, you know, we just we didn't run all the courses at once, you know, we combined. Everybody had the team's sportsman. Unfortunately, you know, sometimes they have to judge themselves. Yeah, they better watch the judges training.

Dustin Webster:   1:17:03
I don't mind that. I actually think that's a great way to do it, because it really teaches them more about the sport.

Big Rich Klein:   1:17:09
And another thing is forces fair. Yeah, it has more camaraderie between 'em

Dustin Webster:   1:17:15
I I agree. I agree, and I actually think there's an element of fairness in it because there's enough of them watching and trying to work with each one. You know that. I think it's a great idea.

Big Rich Klein:   1:17:26
It just makes them better drivers to

Dustin Webster:   1:17:28
I don't disagree. People don't realize how difficult it is to judge and a nail it, you know, to be a perfect judge. It takes a lot more knowledge and and skill and planning than people realize. So, yes, but God bless the people to volunteer to do it because we all know how important they are.

Big Rich Klein:   1:17:51
Yeah, absolutely. Well, Dustin, thank you very much for joining us today and sharing your life with with everyone. And it was good to talk to you again. It's been way too long, dude

Dustin Webster:   1:18:03
I miss you? I miss you so much. Ah, God is best part of my life right there. It was mostly sitting, you know, sitting in the deserts with you and all my friends and, you know, enjoying those times. I miss it horribly. I want to go back.

Big Rich Klein:   1:18:20
But we'd love to have you back. All right

Dustin Webster:   1:18:23
Thank you, buddy. Have a great day. Hi Mom!

Big Rich Klein:   1:18:25
You take care. Thank you. Well, that brings this episode to an end Hope you enjoyed it. We'll catch you next week with Conversations with Big Rich Thank you very much.