Larry McCrae joins us from St George, Utah – his retirement home, to talk about rock crawling in the early days, Poison Spyder, his battle with throat cancer and what he’s up to now. And no, retirement isn’t really on the list. Check out https://www.zionjeeptours.com/ next time you’re in Southern Utah, that’s Larry’s latest endeavor that keeps him connected to Jeeps.
3:52 – everybody mods a Datsun pickup, right?
7:07 –the back story to Larry’s first Wrangler.
10:33 – meeting John Bondurant on the trails
17:40 – the impact of John nelson on the professionalism of the sport
23:49 – race advice from Rob McCachran
29:10 – When opportunities present themselves, the start of Poison Spyder for Larry
35:30 – the definition of “lightening in a bottle”
37:50 – what precipitated the sale of Poison Spyder to Transamerica
41:01 – shocked by the diagnosis
48:40 – “Get off the course!” – racing KOH
57:14 – what’s next after three years of retirement – how fast it all happens
Catching up with Larry was a lot of fun, it’s fascinating to hear the rest of the stories that we all know just a little bit about.
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Big Rich Klein:
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 4wheel drive enthusiast. So now is the time to sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation.
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Big Rich Klein: All right, we're here this morning with Larry McCrae. Larry, how are you doing?
Larry McCrae: I'm doing well. How are you Rich?
Big Rich Klein: Doing fantastic. How are you holding up with the, with our situation here You know, most of us are, feel like we're under house arrest. I guess you guys are not actually under house arrest. Just recommended you stay home.
Larry McCrae: Yeah. And Southern Utah’s full of wide open spaces where what we used to do for fun, we can still do for fun without violating the social restrictions. I guess you can jump in your razor and go drive. Even if you're with a couple of buddies, you can still stay far enough apart where safe and still do what we would have been doing the weekends anyway. but I've been staying busy here at the house, just catching up on projects that have been piling up. So, in that sense it’s been great. For the business, it’s really been impactful. I mean, we are in the tourism industry now. It is 100% shut down here. So,
Big Rich Klein: Yeah, we're feeling that. We're seeing that with our, a hotel that we have here in Texas. There's not a, not a lot going on. In fact, through the whole of April, most of March, we, we lost all of our business and cancellations. But, it'll all come back around here shortly. I hope. Hopefully the economy starts to flourish and everybody gets back to, to doing what they, they've decided to do. So let's, let's talk about the beginnings. where did, where did you grow up
Larry McCrae: So I grew up in a little rural town in Southern California, Banning- Beaumont. It was two communities, but we kind of bounced back and forth between the two towns as I was growing up. But, the only thing to do for recreation there as a teenager was, go out and drive around in the dirt in your trucks. And that's what we did for fun. Our family vacations were spent. No, if it was just a weekend trip, we'd go up to the mountains in the Bronco and drive around. And if it was a no, or we look up our little travel trailer and we go or ghost towns or yup. All kinds of places around the Southwest that weren’t accessible unless you had four wheel drive. So I kind of got me hooked like when I was 13, learned to drive in that Bronco when I was 13. Okay. And that's been my passion for a long time.
Big Rich Klein: Yeah. What was your, what was the first car that you got to drive You know, your own car or family car that was handed down
Larry McCrae: There was a family car handed down from my sister. We had horses when we were kids and my sister had a Datsun pickup truck that she used to use to get hay and feed and whatever and and she decided that she didn't want horses anymore and sold the horses and got a car. Yeah. Had this Datsun pickup, when I got it. It was still stock Datsun pickup. Back then, there wasn't a whole lot of aftermarket, but we, put a little body lift on it. Probably had 31’s,a little, rollcarge, rollbar with the KC lights. It was the stuff back in the late seventies, early eighties.
Big Rich Klein: Yeah, a little desert bomber.
Larry McCrae: And that was kind of what we did. It was all kind of pre-runner stuff back then. the off road racing was pretty big in Southern California. Still is in Southern California. I mean even was back then. Almost all the, the race teams were in a 30 mile radius of where we live. So
Larry McCrae: It's kind of what we were into, the four wheeling part of it, like when I was a kid, CJ5’s were all that were available and I was into desert trucks, but more of a pre-runner kind of truck. When I was a kid that helped dominance CJ5 was like, I've going down this wash at 80 and this guy's only going 20 and it’s beating the crap out of him. Right. And it wasn't until my thirties before I got our first Jeep. Okay. There's a lot more you can do with these and just bomb down a sand wash. But it was totally different back then. That's all I cared about. How far could I get out, down some wash and how fast could I get there Then it went to how slow can I go and still make this obstacle.
Big Rich Klein: So how long of a have you and Sherry been together
Larry McCrae: We met in 92 and she had a, an off-road background. She was raised in a Big Bear Mountains near Lake Arrowhead. so they went out on quads for fun and she knew all the trails around Arrowhead and Big Bear. At that point. I was recently divorced and kind of brokedick and had a little S10 pickup truck, two-wheel drive and we would try to go do those trails around Big Bear, Arrowhead in the, the S10 and we've got some places, I look back at it after I got my Jeep and it’s like, how did we get up here in that S10 pick up. It was a lot of determination, every Hill you'd look at, you're starting to go down something and think, can I get back up this? really learn to pick the line when you had a one wheel drive pickup truck.
Big Rich Klein: So you said your first Jeep was when you were about 30
Larry McCrae: Yeah. My, when I was, when Courtney was born, I was a framer and I worked a lot hours and was starting to really take a toll on my body actually even at 30, is old for a framer, so my parents had an insurance business and a real estate business and I had my insurance license, real estate license and started doing real estate and couldn't show real estate in a pickup truck. So I actually bought a Grand Cherokee and that was my very first Jeep. I went through a couple of those before I got my first Wrangler. There's a kind of a backstory to the Wrangler. It was Father’s Day. My wife, my first wife and I were recently separated and didn't really have the visitation nailed down. It was Father's Day and I went to go get Courtney and she wouldn't let me have them. Mothers have all the rights unless court tells you otherwise. So I couldn't do anything about it and I was so pissed I just went for a drive, this Jeep lot was 30 miles from town or this used car lot was this Jeep. I thought, man, that’d sure be fun
Larry McCrae: That's something that we can do, with Cheri and I were trying to figure out what kind of hobby can we do that’s year round. We were thinking about getting a boat that's seasonal and we thought about it, which is everything we did was kind of seasonal, what we can use in the desert in the summer and the winter in the mountains in the summer. And I saw some guy up in Bodie that was doing what I used to do as a kid with my dad, a lot exploring in his Jeep. So I ended up buying this Jeep, had to buy it in Cheri’s name actually because I was still going through a divorce. That Jeep’s still around. I just, I just went out,wheeling with it a couple of weekends ago. owns it now and still love it. It's a pretty fun Jeep.
Big Rich Klein: So how did you get involved with the, with the competition scene
Larry McCrae: I think it kinda goes back to that was I joined a four wheel drive club and we got really active in building trails out at Johnson Valley. It was the closest hardcore wheeling to us. And back then there wasn't even really rock crawling yet. It was just, you know, trail rides and Victor Valley had built a couple of trails and sledge and Jack were built. One of the first times we went out there, we started going out and either adding onto those trails or building new trails. A lot of the trails they use today for King of the hammers are trails that we built or I was the first one up or a little back door, Highway 20, resolution, a lot of those trails were just canyons at one point and then we went and finished them out at the club. So active in all these events that the very, I think the first rock crawling event was at Chokecherry.
Larry McCrae: The second one was in Johnson Valley, us in the Victor Valley club were judges for the event, in the inland empire folded. So our club, the Victor Valley club, we took know eight courses, the A and B courses and we covered them all and I got to see all the courses and then at the end of the day at that stuff that were easier, I guess at that point pros. We're doing this stuff in our Jeep every weekend. You know, I'm on 33’s and I would drive, I drove all the courses, no problems. After watching these guys, you know, my course, only half the guys finished him after it was over. I go right up, I can do this. And then I realized it was expensive to prep, maintain, you know, my, I had 44’s, I probably should have had sixties I should have had 35’s back then instead of 33’s and so I thought, yeah, it's probably as a, young. Family and homeowner probably. Sure. Play smart and stay out of it.
Larry McCrae: and then met John Bondurant on the trails , we did an Ultimate Adventure together. Really started becoming friends at that Ultimate Adventure back in ‘01 , him and Nelson were working on Tiny around then. I think it was a couple a year after that actually was built, but they, John Nelson went to one rock crawling event and said I can build stuff that’s competitive. Yes. So we built Tiny. Him and John went out and they were practicing with it, compete. I think they even competed a few times and they had a spotter who was a friend of John's, wasn't necessarily rock crawler, but he was a great mechanic. So he is co-driver in the desert and John was never really comfortable with him and, and the spotter admitted that, you know, this wasn't what he didn't know what he was doing Back then it was, you know, you're lifting on the corners and you're pushing on it.
Larry McCrae: Jeeps still at spotter ropes of course back then. But it was more of a physical thing than it was technical tactical thing. And John and I have approached, rockcrawling kind of the same way he asked if I want to join him. And at first I thought Tiny is absolutely opposite of everything that we know about rock crawling right now, if you want to rock crawl, it gotta be tall so you're got a great break over and approach angle, departure angle.They all were, almost all of them were full body Jeeps. There's a few buggies and Campbell's had some, I think Paule had a couple back then. Maybe even Avalanche had some. Yeah, but still nothing looked like Tiny. I was almost, I think I even told no the first couple of times, finally Bondurant convinced me to go out for a weekend.
Larry McCrae: Just, just come out and see it work. And we went out and did stuff at the hammers that you've never been able to do on our trail rigs. I thought, Oh my God, there's something here. This thing is, it's pretty special. the very first event we did, Rich was a put up or shut up, I think, with you. Like it was that all through. So anyway, that was the very first event we did and we won. And from there I thought, okay, this is, there's something here, I'm gonna stick around. And it's funny, John John has been in off-roading or off road racing almost his entire life and he knew nothing about rock crawling, but he built the rig that was very competitive. Obviously John Bondurant and I both knew how to rock crawl, but what Nelson did is taught us how to win.
Larry McCrae: You know, we, I think we were the first teams that had uniforms, the first teams that had the first thing, they had headsets. I think really the first team that actually had team meetings, we practice. Like if we, screwed up on a course at the event, after everybody was gone, we'd go back out, set up our own cones and keep doing it until we figured out what we did but done wrong and said, okay, now we know for next time. Okay. Every between every event, John would make little improvements on the car that we're having problems with the Ram getting caught up on, on stuff. So we, moved the ram up and then you said for every pound that John Bonderant lost, he would take two pounds off the car. So we kept lightening the overall weight of the car , tuning the shocks. And we had set ups for every single, like if we go into Chokecherry, we had a really low set up because it wasn't necessarily, it was center of gravity was everything there.
Larry McCrae: People still didn't, I didn't realize that back then. And if we move into like Johnson Valley where big boulders, we might raise the belly height an inch and get a little bit more clearance and we would adjust it per courrse I was at and I don't think anybody at that point was that into it I guess. Yeah, the dog leash, which allowed me to get firm footing whenever I was pulling on the car cause I didn't have to be 30 feet away with the rope, I could be ten feet way or seven and a half feet and still have good footing and full ropes. A lot of stuff we did was groundbreaking. I think tiny is still kind of the model of rock buggie today and Tiny is almost 20 years old now. I bet Tiny could come out of retirement right now. Yup. Other than the rear steer was still be pretty competitive.
Big Rich Klein: Absolutely. Absolutely. He's a, the gentlemen in Mexico that has Tiny comes up to our events. There in Texas. Yes. And I believe he's, he was supposed to be up here for the, the Mason Katemcy Rocks event here the end of March. But we didn't, of course because of the COVID where we didn't have it, but they're planning on coming up when we do have the event and then Scrapper, one of the Scrapper chassiss is there as well with rear steer. Wow. They were looking at, at seeing what they could do with Tiny to get rear steer, but I don't think the way the car designed rear steer is going to work real well.
Larry McCrae: We looked at it back then, even when, Tracy and Jason were perfecting the art of rear steer, we thought, okay, to be competitive, we're going to have to figure this out. But Tiny’s chassis was so wide in the back that you really couldn't get any steering angle. Where Scrapper was built much narrower. I had an opportunity to add rear steer, and it wasn't until the rear steer points went away that we ever thought it was. It'd be a necessity. Like now it's a necessity. I don't think you can compete without rear steer and win, unless they have a non-rear steer class. But it seems like the unlimited class now it's free rear steer and They're really good at it now.
Big Rich Klein: Yeah. The, the rear steer buggies nowadays, the vehicles are definitely built just around the rear steer, you know, of course, center of gravity and everything else. I've always been built for vision, like Cody's Pretty Penny that Jesse Haines built the way they've got the bar set up so that when the driver's in there, there's not like two or three bars that may be in a vertical, a vertical point away from you there that are staggered.
Big Rich Klein: They actually bring them in line so that there's only, it appears that there's only one bar, so it opens up more room for vision. Right. You know, angles of the way the motor sits in the, you know, the way the engine will be clocked, things like that. You know, things that were not thought about even even at the the stage when Nelson built tiny, you know there was, there was things that they weren't even, you know, at that point thinking about it, it was a groundbreaking vehicle and I think you guys were a brow, a groundbreaking team as well. By practicing, by going back over what you did have team meetings, you really stepped up the professionalism of the sport
Larry McCrae: and that's all John Nelson we learned. I learned so much from John, that's not only helped me in rock crawling, but in business itself. I mean he is, that family is sitting around a campfire listening to him. Eric and his dad, I was so fortunate to be a part of that and get to hear these guys know. And then you know, they'll have, we'll drop in, you know, or Parnelli Jones or Larry Ragland or all of his trophy truck driver buddies. They've always been heroes of mine. They would just pop in and hang out with us at the campfires , this guy is something, I am really fortunate to be in the middle of all this. And I learned so much those few years doing that. No. First year I was spotter only, second year John had a issues with Ranch. And I think he just said I’m not doing this anymore, these events, we're obligated too whatever sponsors they had at that point to finish the series.
Larry McCrae: So I drove and had a buddy of mine spot and then I think at that point Bondurant even owned Tiny, he had bought it. Nelson built Scrapper. Hmm. I think near the end of the ‘04 season, John Nelson wanted it to keep going and going because John was going to sell it. So she bought tiny and that was going to have me drive in 2005 and we came back. I was driving home from super crawl in ‘04 got a phone call from John Nelson, just said, we’re nobody's circus clowns, we’re done. And that was I getting hung up. What does that mean? And he was so upset about how these concrete courses were taking away from sport. It's technical, strategical when you were, we had to think about what you're doing and now he said it's just throttle.
Larry McCrae: He said, you know when a K5 blazer makes the toughest obstacle they have just because he has a 454 or whatever, and just pinned it. And hopped up to the top, he says then it's not a technical sport anymore, it's just a spectator show. He was out. That was it. She sold it to sold the car to Jason. Scherer. And then, I was a spectator. It was good. It started and ended as fast as that.
Big Rich Klein: So how did you get the, the nickname Full Pull?
Larry McCrae: that was a Tim Sanchez I think he was, my, in my four wheel drive club, my nickname was, or my CB handle I guess at that time was rock Walker. and then, I'm not sure how that, maybe it was a four wheel drive I formed a four wheel drive clue when I was in high school actually.
Larry McCrae: And we, yeah, we got noticed by the promoters of the truck and tractor pull series and they would take us to all the different events to do the judging scoring the, well we would, we had guys would be the guy that hop in the mud pit, hook up the chain or we would be the guys measuring for it. And if you got to do you want all the way to the end of the course it was, Full Pull, Full Pull, and somehow Tim put that together with a pulling on Tiny and gave me the nickname Full Pull, It kind of stuck it. Oh wait, it's funny now it's like Mitch Guthrie or somebody will say, Hey FP and very few people know or remember that at handle anymore. Yeah.
Big Rich Klein: So after, after Tiny and didn't you own, didn't you own one of the scrappers for awhile?
Larry McCrae: No, I had one of the Carnivores, I had the carnivore that a four wheel drive or Petersen’s Four Wheel and off road built in raffle or had Avalanche build it. They raffled it off. the guy that bought it or won it, I mean he, that's funny, with SuperCrawl. We just won at Super Crawll. They gave away that buggy and I said, I'm going to own that.
Larry McCrae: I wrote it down. I was like as a, as a life goal. And then because Johnny G did incredible things with that at these events. The guy that bought it sold it just so he could pay the income tax on it. And the guy that bought it from him borrowed against this house. He was driving it one day and he said, if I wreck this, I'm paying on it for the next 30 years. So he sold it. And then from there retail value too. By the time I got it was a pretty reasonably priced a buggy and was a lot of fun. I did a lot of cool things in that. Oh, because I own that, I got an invitation to the first KOH. But at that point I was still kind of a rock crawling purist. I hated the fact that it was going to rock racing because I thought it kind of took away from the sport.
Larry McCrae: I understood why because wow. Spectators like a green flag and checkered flag. And I think they liked to know there's a leaderboard, you know, it's kind of, it's easier to follow as a spectator then and rock crawling was or is, no, you really have to know the drivers in the sport to understand what's going on. But with the green flag and checker flag It's this guy. It's winning. Yeah. I kind of thought it a carnivore had no uptravel. It was all droop. It was set up as a pure rock buggy, small fuel cell, because really it only had eight minutes at a time, we could refuel between courses, Although I knew all the trails. Well, most of them, I knew how well the carnivores worked. Mmm. Yeah. Getting between the trails would have just beat us up. I kind of regret that. I, did, because it’d been kind of cool.
Larry McCrae: to be one of the OG13, actually would have been 14, because there was actually only 12. Right, right. And then, got into the, after that first year, like, Oh, there's something here. And then Shannon had me, as part of his crew on eight and nine. And then, because of my rockcrawling experience, BFG had put Rob MacCachren in one of the blue torch fab cars, which was quite a bitchin; car for the time in 2010, and again, I think it was probably a Tim Sanchez put this team together, Tim Sanchez and Frank D’Angelo put it together, but it had me in there as a co-driver. They probably would have had John, but I don't think he fit in the chassis, so I got the job and it was just eye opening to me. Oh, amazing. This machine worked and how fast it could really go through the desert. And I had absolutely no off-road racing experience. I've been to the thousand at that point, you know, as a kid. And I was into the going fast, but had no idea what it took to be a co-driver.
Larry McCrae: I hung out with Rob for a day and just, I mean, I was scared the whole time. I called him that night and said, Rob, I just, I'm not your guy. I can't do this. I right, I'm scared to death. He goes, well, you're the guy. He said, I want you, you're, I need help the rocks and you're the guy to help me in the rocks. Most of my peers would say that that I was probably slow because I don't drive faster than I can see. I'm very conservative. I very, rarely wreck, my number one job is to protect us. Second job is to protect the car. and, and all you have to do is relax and you're, you were holding on your life. Is it just fold your hands in your lap And just so we went out again. And took his advice.
Larry McCrae: Just kind of relax, thought ok, I could do this. And then, and I was just blown away. Not only Rob’s talent of course, but how fast, he picked up the rocks, but how fast a rock crawler could go across the desert, somebody like Rob, I was hooked at that point so did a couple of, desert races that That same year, I think I did the a thousand with a Brian Hartman. He had a Jeep speed. Scott Hartman, excuse me, he had a Jeep speed and I had, Brian was there of course,but I had no idea, but it was all about the race and that was basically just a sack of potatoes in the passenger seat for it's 350 miles. But I learned a lot from Scott. Learned a lot about race It was fun.
Larry McCrae: I think I can get into this. And then I had a couple of opportunities with BFG to race in the Wide Open class. That's awesome. Success and three years or three years.
Big Rich Klein: Are you still with the BFG program there with the influencers
Larry McCrae: Yes. I'm still one of the ambassadors and performance team members and I'm still on the performance team. I'm not sure how or why. I guess the fact that I own a Jeep tour company keeps me qualified for it, but, but I'm a part of that. And it's still, I mean BFG does it right, not only do they have great tires and they spend a lot of time and money on R and D. They don’t spend a lot of money on marketing. They spend all their money on developing a better tire and they just continue to do that, maybe hurts them in the overall sales because you know, all the other guys are buying baseball teams or, or professional MMA fights.
Larry McCrae: They’re sponsoring and you don't see BFG at most of those but, but if you want to rock crawling if you want to win, you had to be on it wasn't, it is probably still that way in the desert. But the other teams are, the tire companies are pretty smart at buying the, it really got their bases covered. When you have the top five drivers on, on your tire, chances are pretty good. You're going to get a win and you know, BFG had wins in Baja for 25 years straight. Then had a couple of, BJ Baldwin wins that kind of interrupted that there. It's still likely it's still the best tire. And so being a part of that is pretty cool. The stuff we get to do, we get to go test tires. So on the KO2 and the KO3 both. On the sidewall it says Baja champion. Yeah, I was fortunate and honored to be on that team that won, first KO2. I'm one of the first KO3 that gave it, gave them the right to put Baja champion on the sidewall. So that's a pretty cool accomplishment.
Big Rich Klein: How did you go from construction into then I know there had to be a lot of things or a couple of things in between, but then you became, to where you are now with Zion, but also with Poison Spyder.
Larry McCrae: So I, at that point I owned a real estate business and a construction business and they kind of work hand in hand. We're doing spec houses and I enjoy the construction part of it. And the real estate part was the one that was making the money and I, okay. It was a great business and it made great money, but I wasn't as passionate about it as I should have been. And that's a real problem. But I was always passionate about, I mean, what we did every other weekend, if not every weekend, we were out in the desert in the Jeeps and camping and, yep. And a lot of great opportunities from the Ultimate Adventures to rock crawling. And I got to meet a lot of, yeah, I actually did work with John at all pro. he had us do a bunch of market or working with them on a bunch of marketing.
Larry McCrae: We were helping them with events and motion. And actually I think at one point we were talking about possibly buying as a partner, but I was a Jeep guy and was very passionate about Jeeps that wasn't as passionate about the Toyota is. I bought one and we fixed it up and they're fun and, but it was just, no, it just wasn't a perfect fit. And, I asked John to help me find a Jeep based business that I could get into. I looked at starting from scratch. You know, I had a full business plan or how long it would take for, you know, Joe blow off road, whatever, call it to get to a point where I was making money. It was like five years before it even broke even. And then, once I bought an existing business that already had a brand that it was going to go much quicker and we looked at Downey was first.
Larry McCrae: There was all kinds of them that were for sale back then. And, just none of them fit. I didn't give up. I was still working with John and then Clifton posted on Pirate that he’s going to shut Poison Spyder down , I though, man, what a waste. He's got such a great brand. I loved his products. I was building my own stuff for my Jeep back then that was very similar, but he was building was like the first armor back then. You know, before that it was Chrome to bumpers and diamond plate corners and, but he was actually building stuff for the new sport of rock crawling And I really kind of dug his stuff and he talked about shutting down. I thought that's it. That's a waste of, because I'd been on an Ultimate Adventure with him and I, yup. I don't know if we had a relationship, but at least I knew him.
Larry McCrae: I knew he would take a call. I got, got ahold of him and said, don't shut it down. Let's me buy that part of it. Keep the tire or the wheels, keep the buggies and just let me buy the, part of it. And that was Midsummer in ’08 or ’09, I think. And then so what's made it seem that we met at SEMA, we came up with a price, we agreed to it and it was supposed to close just before Christmas in December. And a lot of things happened to Clifton, not stuff that he was in control of, things that other forces had some influence on that forced him to go into bankruptcy and that killed the deal. So it was off everything that was going to get you the equipment and fixtures and all that was gone.
Larry McCrae: So and so, now, alright, it's in bankruptcy. Clifton and I are still talking and then we should figure out a way to buy it at the end, the bankruptcy so Clifton’s got a fresh slate, he’s got some cash. The banks Paid off. But all I'm getting in is the logo basically is what I'm buying. So the price change on a quite a bit. So I got some intellectual property and the, as soon as they closed, Clifton started sending over drawings. So I had, I get three or four drawings per email and I probably got 2000 drawings. I had no idea it was a fixture part was this part for, I had no idea. It took me months to go through them and then we'd cut our first TJ fender and realized all this is not the, they don't fit. So this was revision one, let's find revision three in here somewhere.
Larry McCrae: So it took us months and months and months. It was eight months before we had our first product that we could actually sell. There were some legal issues with the title, but just which money and almost wiped us out to get through that part so we could actually open it up. And I guess the good thing about the timing was that a lot of really talented people were out of work. I was able to hire stuff or people that I could never have afforded or that that wouldn't have been available. And I still call it lightening in the bottle. That first five or six people we had at the beginning , most of them stayed with us til the very end. Well the key to that, businesses success. I mean we had, that's the good marketing. My daughter was doing all the accounting and my wife was basically a real estate business
Larry McCrae: This was funded us for a couple of years. another friend that was doing our sales and then had a fabricator that came in and, and then it's slowly took a few years, years worth second man. I'm biggest mistake in my life. I'm throwing good money after bad, trying to keep this open. And then something just finally changed the term. I think the key was buying our own equipment, John, I was following John's business model and that was still a pretty smart business model where yeah, you designed it, send it to a job shop to have it built. So if you needed 10 bumpers, you ordered 10 bumpers, you need a hundred you order a hundred you don't have all these capital expenses. You don't have to have a huge building. You don't have to have a million dollar laser, $500,000 press brake. You just order what you need.
Larry McCrae: I was doing that, but then our sales got to the point where you're leaving a lot of money on the table. Cody had a second bomber, half million dollar motor home, I thought, maybe we’re leaving some money on the table here. He's doing pretty good job shops. We're looking pretty good at that point. He was doing, you did great work then, but he was making good money and one of the laser companies came out and they looked at our product line. They figured out how much time it would take to cut it and to bend it. And then put together a proposal and showed us how much money we were leaving on the table every month. And it was, what I used to make it a year. That was what we were losing every month by not having. So we took that huge leap. Huge risk. You can't, you didn't pay cash for these or you finance it like a car for five years and can you imagine what a payment is on, well, three quarters, a million, a million bucks, five years.
Larry McCrae: That's huge chunk of money. So it was a huge risk. but I think that was the point. We turned the corner and actually started making money and we paid it off early and had no debt. I had a guy in Florida, Kha, did a bunch of marketing for us. Really. I think it helped and he was big into Facebook and we were into the forums and the forums were slowly kind of dying because of Facebook. And so they started to take off. So we kind of and just transitioned and we're, you're kind of ahead of the curve on some of that marketing. Yeah, lightening in the bottle, the right people at the right time, at the right place. If it just, it kind of took off and it was very comfortable. I was happy with what I was doing. I do. It got to be really a big job and there was 130 people at one point that, wow, that's a lot, a lot to manage.
Larry McCrae: So, I kept thinking the economy was going to turn. We had to, we needed to make some big investments to take, to go to the next step. You know, a lot of automation, a robotic welder. We are looking at a laser press brake. I mean we're looking at a couple million dollars of expenses. Again, that would have to be paid off infive years. I kept thinking all it would take is one little blip in the market. I lose everything that I, I'd ever worked for pretty quickly if the market turned. So I was a little hesitant. So we've kind of just coasted for a while, afraid to make that next step. I got an offer from another company. I did a bunch of research and told us how much the thing was worth it. I can't believe it. Okay, I have to work again if you, if this happens.
Larry McCrae: So they looked at it, we got really close and then somebody looked at buying them. So they had to stay really lean and they couldn't finish the sale also. I'm not, I've never gone through that again because it was three months of hell, I'm trying to go through all the paperwork, all the processes, and we were trying to stay lean. So the EBITDA looked really good. Then that's a cool story. I guess over here we are doing the best we've ever done. You know, we're doing, it's huge money every month. And that was so happy and my daughter was doing the books and one day she came to me and said, dad, you're going to have to put some money in to cover payroll. What are you talking about, we just had the best month we've ever had. How could there not be money We've got, you know, a million bucks in receivables.
Larry McCrae: So how we don't offer credit, we have two companies I think that we give credit to and we've limit them to a hundred grand, Well, that hundred grand that they used to buy a month. Well now they're doing that in a week and they were only paying monthly and we didn't want to cut them off. So one got to four and the other got to 750 or whatever. Yeah, this is crazy. I'm glad we're getting the sales and I don't want to cut them off. So I had a meeting with TransAmerica to figure out how do we do this We pay every couple of weeks now. I don't want to cut you guys off. I want you to be able to, selling what you’re selling, but, but I can't afford to float it.
Larry McCrae: So I had a meeting with their controller and I think Greg was sitting in the other room, kind of listening in and before he left he said, Hey, can I talk to you before you take off, I said sure. We walk into his office And he said, looking at our paperwork here and it shows that we're doing this much money with you every month. I said, yes, that’s about right. He said, well, you're not even on our programs. You know, typically you have to buy-in,you have to promise to go to 13 TruckFests, you've got to pay to advertise in our magazine. You got to pay if you want us to stock. Yeah. All these requirements. And I said, I can't, I can't afford to do any of that, so I’ve never done it. So the only way we sell is if somebody walks in to Four Wheel Parts,.
Larry McCrae: insists on your part. My guy's job is to talk him out of that part. And then the guy still has to insist and we have to tell him he's got to wait two weeks to get it. Or we can walk out with one of our housebrands and they still are asking for that stuff and you're still doing this much money. What do you got going on I said, my customer is a guy that put his hands on the steering wheel, your customer is Myers, and Keystone. And your message never gets down to the guy with the hands on the steering wheel. That's where we're herding all of our marketing. And they're asking for it. You're forcing it up, you're trying to force it down their throats. And they're trying to, well, they're bringing it from the bottom up. So anyway, he said, you know, we'd be interested in buying.
Larry McCrae: And I said, why would he know what it's worth I just had somebody look at it. So here's my number, he said okay And then several months and then of course I got, cancer in the middle of it. So it, really made me reevaluate at that, you know, I die, I leave this mess to Cheri. What a mess to try and manage. Right You just can't do that to her, selling started to make a lot more sense at that much easier to give her a check. If I died, it would be to give her a 130 employees in this. Yes. Monster. Oh, all kind of worked out. I miss it, but I don't regret that I sold it. I think I, it was for my health, probably one of those best things I could have done. a very stressful job, the level of stress at the Jeep tour company is nothing compared to, the decisions I'm making now are minuscule compared to the decisions I had to make then. So a lot less stressful sucks to be in the tourism business right now. But while less stressful than it was managing Poison Spyder.
Big Rich Klein: So you touched on on the fact that you had cancer. I think it really was a big shock, I'm sure for your family, but also for all of your friends and acquaintances out there in the off-road world. I think it was the first, the first word were, at least for me, were an illness like that hit what I would call hit home with somebody real close to us. But you know, it was going through what you went through. Do you, do you mind discussing that a little bit
Larry McCrae: Yeah, it was a shocker for me. Also, I always consider myself the healthy guy. It didn't eat great, but I thought I ate pretty well. I worked out every day. I always felt like I was healthy and I was always chat. You know, we push up contest and one end pushed up. I mean all these things that God, I can hike more, I can lift more. I was very competitive physically. So getting cancer was a huge shock to this us, Just so everybody who was listening, the throat cancer is the fastest growing form of cancer in males 40 to 60, I think. So if you have any of these symptoms, I had really bad headaches and it was like behind my ear, my primary care doctor thought for sure it was an ear related problem but he didn't want to send me to an ear, nose and throat doctor because he said the first thing is going to do is stick tubes in your ear, eliminate everything else first.
Larry McCrae: And then we were out at the hammers one weekend camping and it's like right after expo and I at expo, I drink a lot of Pedialyte just because it's hydrating so it has a foil cap and use the, cut the lid and you cut the foil, you bend it in and you drink it. Well, I cut it and it fell in, I guess, but I just poured it in a cup and drank it. And then I was in the motor home in the middle of the night. I got up and thirsty. I thought, I’, just going to grab a swig of this Pedialite. I took a drink, the foil went down my throat. I got caught in my throat and was acting like a valve as I was trying to exhale it would shut. Oh, I to try to inhale it would shut was trying to exhale it would open so I couldn't cough it out because it was just open it up and inhale up and shut it.
Larry McCrae: I'm going to die in my bathroom in the motor home in the middle of the hammers because I can't keep think of how to give myself the Heimlich. Finally I made myself throw up and got the foil out. Well, my throat was horribly raw for weeks after that. so I added that to my symptoms. I said, man, I've got a real scratching throat, sore throat. It's now, it went on for months after that. So finally they sent me to an ear, nose and throat doctor and realized, but there I looked at my ear, looked at my throat, I expected him to Say we’re to give you tubes or an antibiotic or whatever it is, it cleans my wax out of your ear, he said, we're gonna make an appointment with an oncologist. I'm gonna do a biopsy today, give you an EKG. Oncologist, that sounds like cancer, isn't it? Could be,
Larry McCrae: I don't want you to get upset yet. But it could be. And that was that appointment changed our lives. It really put everything into perspective, valuable, how invaluable the monetary things were and how valuable family and friends, and it might've been one of the best things that ever happened to us. It really changed my whole perspective. I probably would have worked myself to death, had not got cancer and now we are much slower paced and I didn't take time to enjoy stuff that we ever did before, but throatache, sore throat, consistent sore throat, headaches, go see an ENT, your dentist can usually spot it, the tumor in your throat. But mine was so far back that the dentist never saw it. He was, I had the same dentist for 20-25 years and he was so apologetic that he didn't see it. But since I've had it, I've learned of several other people in our community.
Larry McCrae: That’ve had it, Walker Evans had it. Dave Cole had it. Ricky Rocket that we had both achieved for, the drummer from Poison. He got it. I'm thinking, man, the common denominator here is all of us spend time with the hammers. Is this Hammers related And my doctor said, no, it's HPV is what causes, that was my form of throat cancer and Walker’s and probably Dave’s and Ricky's 80% of the American population has HPV and doesn't know it and you can get vaccinated for it now as a kid. So if you've got kids, don’t fight it, get that vaccination, eliminate the risk of having this type of cancer anyway. But having Walker Walker would call me and say, don't be a pussy, get out and do stuff or whatever. I know this guy could do it. And I saw him at Moab one year and he looked horrible. I looked at my pictures at the hammers right after my treatment. I looked the same way. It just ruins your neck and all your muscles and skin and everything just from the radiation and just kind of fall off your face. And it took a while for it to slowly start acting back up. But I saw a Walker right after your treatment.
Larry McCrae: He aged a lot in the last year. Then the next year, so when we look back and know that the treatment is, and Dave was, Dave didn't talk about it, you know, Walker did a little bit, but we were pretty active socially because of the business and I just disappeared for a couple months. I didn't want people thinking that there was a problem with Poison Spyder. So I thought it was better. That made it public and it helped. I mean, there's a lot of people that have reached out to us. There's a friend of ours right now that we're in California that's stopped several times to know, trying to figure out what's next. You know, best thing I can tell you is it's treatable. Since you're doing that, if you have any symptoms, get it checked because the earlier you catch it. The better, your chances of recovery and the worst of the less invasive the treatment is treatment.
Big Rich Klein: Well, that's good. I know that a lot of us, you know with you having it and then Dave having it shortly thereafter, a lot of us, anytime we got a sore throat, we're like, are we now right I mean, every time I got a sore throat I was thinking that. But the awareness we we, it's tough to have a friend go through that, but it also, you know, it does bring the awareness of the possibilities.
Larry McCrae: All right. All right. There's nothing else. I hope that it helps somebody else catch it sooner just by knowing that it's prevalent, number one and knowing what the symptoms are. That's just two of the potential system or symptoms, but trouble swallowing, sore throat, earaches, headaches, mine, the tumor just happened to be pressing on a nerve. That's where I got the headache from. Swollen lymph glands in your neck. Swollen lymph nodes are just potential an issue with the cancer. Not necessarily just throat cancer.
Big Rich Klein: Let's talk about KOH. The 40, was it 4,500 class Right. Thinking outside the box. I remember when, when you built that poison spider car, was that, what was the name of that car Was that daddy long legs?
That was Venom and eight and nine. I was with Shannon 10 I was with Rob MacCachren 11 we built a JK for Dave Cole in like 17 days. We got it. I think he bought it in December. We got it early January and we only had it for a short amount of time and had to go to somewhere else. We had 17 days to try and build this thing and we raced in a King of the Hammers before there was a modified class in this JK. I remember being on the course and having a courseworker yell at me, “ get off the course.”
Larry McCrae: Yeah, Thinking I was a spectator on the course cause it was so stock looking and then Dave started talking at Easter Jeep Safari it for that same year about doing classes at King of the Hammers and they talked about what it was going to be, you know, here's a stock class and a modified class. And the modified, the way he explained it sounded like, you know somebody who's going to be able to take their trail rig and some safety stuff race in this modified class. So I bought a burnout chassis. You thinking that's as a most of the tub I need and it had the frame which I needed for this class and everything else to drive it painless, I'll get tampered with it. So I had that had it already was just waiting for the rules to come out before we started building and the rules came out and I read through them.
Larry McCrae: If anybody's reading these rules like I'm reading, no you don't have to start with it. It has to look like a Jeep or cool. I can do that with fiberglass. It has to have frame from the back seat to the motor Mount would say what frame it has to be. He doesn't even have to match the body. It just has to be a frame and it doesn't say to you that it had to be any distance apart and just say you had to frame in there. So I started thinking about it that, well, what Jeep has a C channel frame So I'll look at a CJ2A frame, bought that one of those, they slid into each other pretty nicely. Now, I had two frame rails. I had welded them together and had a little tab in the front and the back.
Larry McCrae: where I could push the frame in and well that requires met the frame requirement. And I had Dave as, every step or every decision I was making, I would call Dave, and say listen, I read the rules does this work. And he said, yeah, it does. when we had the idea for the steering and it's about, I can't tell you until it's built whether or not it's going to qualify it. And then we spent a lot of time trying to get it built and he came out and we did a couple, shut the motor off and had to steer it with cables and did everything. that's required to become mechanical steering. and this was the, when Pirate was pretty big and we had to build thread on Pirate and we got, I got hate mail. from people because of that build is probably, I guess it's like, you know, any publicity is good publicity even though, you know, pissed off a lot of people, they probably weren't our customers anyway.
Larry McCrae: customers, no, I thought it was cool. And, and a lot of that stuff I learned from learn from John Nelson. If it doesn't say in the rules, you can't do it. You can do it. Basically he was the best at reading between the lines and the rules and you know, people are saying it, it doesn't meet the spirit of the class and then no, now that class, unless you're in a tube frame buggy, you're not competitive. It's just totally different in a couple of guys are using that boat steering because it is approved. Oh, or the the class though. Well, the nice thing of, you know, steering box kind of sucks through the desert. Oh, Currie and Savvy have kind of got it figured out where it doesn't affect them too much. but you know, we were looking at it all the swing set stuff and trying to get it all where he didn't have a bump steer.
Larry McCrae: Okay, we'll just work out. So that very first race, we really, you're waiting so long to get the rules that we, it took us till almost the day before the race for the car was done. We didn't get a lot of testing done. The very first race we started 14th I think, and the car was fast when we passed everybody in our class, bye hill or whatever that is going out towards the Marine base except for Rector, who was in one of Dean Bullochs cars. And we caught the guy several times but it was, you know, two track and rough, you couldn't pass the guy. Never let me pass. Never Let me pass him. Well we go down to the Lake bed and we were both hauling ass motors. So we got around him and then we got, you're so far ahead that, I don't know if we felt bad, but we didn't want to piss people off by coming in hour or so.
Larry McCrae: You were just kind of cruising around. I see dust speed up a little bit, cruise, see dust speed up a little bit. And then we got to a, what was it, chocolate No, it was Big Johnson got to the top of big Johnson and the steering broke. And then while we were working on the steering, Gerald drove by a John dust behind us. Wasn't even in our class. This is a stock class guy. That's how her but so called our guys in the pit and they said, you know, she didn't get it here and it was such a thing or just going back and forth so you couldn't really get any speed. Drove down the pit and they said, we have nothing to help you here. You're 20 miles from the finish line. It's all desert. Let's see what you can do. So we drove it back and it was go straight for a while and shoot off to the left and no, when I kept, and then the helicopter would fly over.
Larry McCrae: So as soon as the helicopter is there, do you want to go faster And then it started going a little bit faster than force it right in the course and almost roll kind of. So finally I just reel to in a little bit. Yeah, got it across the finish line. We won our class but of course the stock class car came in first and kind of ruined our overall all right. Was that car could have other than this not having enough time to refine the steering and now that the rest of the year you use that refining the steering just two cables instead of one and it was much better handling machine. and then it went on. Yeah. 10th or 11th and King of the hammers in the modified class car, in our modified class car. Cause you're allowed to race it when you get a, when you win your class. So, so it's still, it's still was a, I mean it's still like somebody bought it or no, Mike Heston bought about it for a unlimited class card. Is it okay to finish that thing a couple times he raced it. It could have been another one of the years we race, we were up front for quite a bit. And then I broke their Ram off the car that took us out. It's still finished, but it took us out for several hours. We were in the top five for a while. But everybody does, I guess, everybody’s winning until whatever happens.
Big Rich Klein: Let's talk about, Zion and how you ended up in a tourist business now, but how you ended up in St George
Larry McCrae: . So when we came here to rock crawl in 2003, Cheri and I kind of fell in love with St George. We at that point had aluminum patio cover business, one of the several businesses we own. And they only work in certain conditions. You know, if there's a snow load, they don't work well. We saw a lot of them up here and at that, like it easily moved this business up here with St George and we had family and businesses area that, you know, we didn't really want to walk away from. So kind of put it on back burner for awhile. And then, came up in 2011 for an event and went to Sand Hollowl for the first time at that. Man, this is something special. I, I really want to get up here. So we started looking at moving Poison Spyder here. I was looking to build a building in Banning for a hundred thousand square foot building in Banning that was going to cost me $9 million.
Larry McCrae: I found a 75,000 square foot building here with a 25,000 square foot covered area that we could use for material. So I would have had my a hundred thousand square feet and it was only two or 3 million bucks. So I would've saved $6 million just by moving here but would have been probably 250 grand to move all the equipment. We had to do it and we would have to build an inventory. Just the process was overwhelming. I had my engineer, Dusty, my marketing guy, a couple of really key employees that I was worried that wouldn't come with us and that, okay, no, that lightening in the bottle just wouldn’t be the same without them. So after going through the whole process, Cheri and I decided and that just doesn't make sense to move at this point. Come to find out later I engineered who had just bought a house.
Larry McCrae: I would have rented it and my other guy who was like dusty, his wife had it work anywhere. We would have done it but, but then I sold poison spider. You know what Let's just get a second house up there. We can go back and forth and visit it and you know we love the place, Lance. At that point we'd gone looking with Lance. He ended up buying the house. Oh, a year or so before us. We were commuting back and forth and it got harder and harder to go back to Banning. You still own the real estate business know After a couple of years I convinced Cheri to sell the real estate business, and then we moved up here full time. I still, we were going to retire. I did. It wasn't going to work anymore. I was just going to have a fun. After three years of being retired, I was really bored and I had a no compete contract with poison spider so I couldn't get back into what I really enjoy doing.
Larry McCrae: Which was build parts for Jeeps. I still wanted to play with Jeeps. At first I thought I would get into guiding where that'd be like what Dan Mick’s doing, just taking people out the group and either they follow me in their Jeep or the ride with me in my Jeep, all of them. That's trails. And I looked at insurance and permitting and all that started the sound kind of overwhelming the tourism committee here in Southern Utah, specifically Springdale, which is a little town outside Zion, they were trying to figure out how to, you know, they were kind of a one trick pony. It was you go in and hike a day or two and then you leave. And the hotels wanted people to stay here longer and we're looking for other activities for their guests and invited, Lance, myself and Ryan Hagel to a meeting, dinner meeting to discuss.
Larry McCrae:the off-road market talk a little bit. They took us over to the visitor center and there was a Jeep tour, yeah. And display in there. And I said, yeah, that guy's got it. He's got the right names. That'd be like, look, he's got, yeah, it goes look cool. And one of the tourism guys that I thought it was for sale. I don't know if it was that morning or the next morning at eight o'clock I had a meeting with the guy an hour later. I shook his hand and we were in escrow. I became a tour business owner that I knew nothing about, but for me the challenge is trying to figure it out. I think that was, I knew nothing about building. I could build one bumper one set of rockers are my Jeep. I had no idea how to mass produce that look. The process of learning that was fascinating so it was learning this tour business and put a lot of money in it the last couple of years and we just vehicle knowing what I know about the bills and what I know about the vehicles now and what sealed out of my guilt physical that we thought was going to be, it's still a little bit perfect tour vehicle for what we do and then training in it.
Larry McCrae: I spent a bunch of money on training. We hired a bunch of new guides because we had more vehicles in the training for all that and then light switch flipped and people stop traveling, get dozens of canceling, you know, people book a year in advance for us know I'd say, what'd you say 70% yes. Answer. Anyway, so a lot of people both in the week prior, but most people book in advance. All the ones that booked in advance and August they booked when he goes in, it's for our account, like a checking account and then so getting cancellations know we have to pay for our insurance, which is the most expensive expense we have besides payroll fuel. If you don't have it, you're not looking at anyway, that's paid at the beginning of the year, so it takes till may or so to even make that money back.
Larry McCrae: But all that money in the account left refunds and nobody books. Everything has stopped, so we had to put money in the account just to get to a point where hopefully we can reopened and we're not sure what it's going to look like when we're open. We have a a group or two and only have two 12 passenger trucks that go out lot. That's kind of the bread and butter. But are we going to be allowed to do put strangers in a truck together or is it going to be all private tours where guide and a guest are separated and the guy but yesterday in the open air and it's only your family. It's trying to figure out what it's going to look like when this comes back around. You have options but we just don't know what option exercise yet. But what is it going to look like in a month or two
Larry McCrae: I don't think anybody really knows. No, it's going to be the why. What happened after 9/11 where you're telling your kids out. We used to fly, I could bring my nail Clippers with me when we flew. Yeah. So we're just wondering if it's going to totally change the way people do business after this. You know, just like nine 11 changed. The way we fly is this is going to change the way people travel. Is it going to be more regional travel than it is international travel A big part of our business is international, so we're trying to figure that out so that we can be prepared when it finally does come back around. It's just a guess at this moment.
Big Rich Klein: Yeah. I think we're, we're in that same kind of situation, not with the hotel, but with our, with the rock crawls, whether or not they're going to allow us, you know, we're outdoors people. There's social distancing anyways at the event, everybody standing around trying to get the best view and not, you know, they're not in, seats right next to each other. You know, we're talking about, you know, making sure that the masks are available, you know, to the general public is, have, have some of those on sites so that people coming in can use them if they don't bring their own. Making sure that there's handsanitizer, you know, all this stuff you can't get right now. Hopefully, Oh, sorry.
Larry McCrae: Same boat we are in, we thought, well, let's try to keep it open a little longer and see what happens. we'll just take precautions, but we couldn't get Clorox wipes, to wipe the vehicle down, we couldn't get hand sanitizer, we couldn't get anything that would make or mastered anything. We couldn't get anything that we felt like we'd be protecting not only our guides but the guests. so it was just made sense to shut down. We have buffs which are because or in the summer that the rides are dusty where it's like a heads off. Right. I think that would qualify as a mask. We usually only give them out if it's really dusty, but I think those are just be something we automatically give out now and everybody can under buffing, I guess it just helps check those around you, not necessarily protect you but, and then it's starting to be able to find hand sanitizers and wipes.
Larry McCrae: So I think when it opens back up we can take the precautions. And did you just not do group tours right away Way Just do private tours and see how, you know, not bring all the vehicles back on the insurance. Just bring one or two. What happens when I'll just bring them on as as needed. If it happens. This year we have a really small, it's a, I've never had such as seasonal business. We're close, but this had happened in November. Wouldn't have affected us at all. It would have been because that's when you do all the vehicle maintenance builds and repairs and cause we have no tours basically from November to March 1st you just started ramping up in March and it happened April and may is when we really started making money over that time. It keeps growing gradually throughout the summer. But we'll never get that time back.
Larry McCrae: We'll never get those people back. We might get them next year, but, well most of the ones that cancel stuff little bit. We'll try again next year. Right. No people that were coming for spring break, I gotta come the summer or next spring break. So it's a scary proposition. Fortunately we were in a position where we don't have any bills. Everything's paid for all the vehicles. The only bills we had, only bill we had to pay was that a insurance upfront and they've allowed us to pause it. some of our marketing, fortunately a lot of our contracts expired and we're getting ready to rewrite. So now I can just start them in June instead of paying for these last couple of months. But something we couldn't, but those expenses are minor. I would hate to own Poison Spyder right now, especially with monthly nut that we had there. It was 300 grand a month just to pay the bills, cover the overhead there. So it was be scary and it wouldn't take three or four bad months and it's a million bucks. Yeah, it was bad.
Big Rich Klein: Yeah. We're, we're in a situation where we're able to postpone the events and hoping that once this thing breaks loose, that the people that have been sitting at home wanting to do something, wanting to be around others, you know, but still maybe not, you know, to that hugging stage, but still being around other people will want to come out and, and be at the events. Of course the later it gets the means, you know, moving venues as well as moving, you know, event dates.
Larry McRae: Yeah, I guess. I mean some of those venues are seasonal. No you don't. You don't want to be in salt Lake in February and you don't want to be the hammers in August. So a lot of those are okay. If you've missed that window, it may not come again next year. So yeah. And the competitors want a little time between events to get prepped and so do you want to take just stack them all and October, it's a tough, but I agree with you. I think yours, your events or a lot easier to have spectators without social distancing issues, like a, basketball game or auto race where you're in grandstands sitting next to strangers too though. That was the, I think a little easier. Yeah, I agree. I'm hoping no big case, as long as we can convince the local governments probably state by state. Most of the places that we used to rock crawl I'm sure you still do rock crawl are in rural areas where there's not a lot of concentrated, if You're doing it in downtown New York city, it might be an issue. But, but if you're doing it in Congress, Arizona, yes. It's such an issue.
Big Rich Klein: Exactly. So we're, we're hoping that, we can get back to business here pretty, we're in the same situation insurance wise, beginning of the year, you know, we pay, we make a big down and then, by event, by month or whatever. And you know, we did one event. That event was absolutely phenomenal off the hook and we were thinking, okay, this is great. This is going to be a great year.
Big Rich Klein: You know, we, we have a, this hotel that we own in Tex, in Mason, Texas is a four bedroom boutique hotel. You know, they're, they're themed rooms to a point, you know, there's, we have a library room, a ranch room, shop room, and a farmhouse room. And there, there's no cooking facilities. I mean, that's bedroom and a bathroom. Right. And it is, we're spread out across three rooms right now. I'm in one of the rooms using it as an office. We're staying most of the time in the balcony room, which overlooks the, it's the library room. It has a balcony and overlooks main street. We're right across from the courthouse. So we do that cause it's, you know, a lot of windows and airy. And then our back room has what we think is the best shower. That's the ranch room. So that's kind of where, you know, all our clothes are at, where we take showers walking up and down.
Big Rich Klein: I mean there's four rooms and a hallway. We walk up and down the hallway, you know, like it's our house. Luckily nobody's just wandered in because it is a self check in. I think everybody in town has the code to the door, you know, because once they, I mean there's a main locked door downstairs. Then you come up 22 steps up to the hotel area. Like I said, you know, most people have their family stay here when they come to visit or wedding party stay here. So most pretty has that, that downstairs code. Luckily none of them have caught me going from where we're sleeping. They're going to take a shower. Sounds like a pretty cool place though. It is. It's, it's pretty awesome. It was a, it was a really good investment for us except for this last month and a half. That'll, that'll change. Right. Well, I want to, I want to thank you for coming out and, and spending, spending some time with us and talking about your history. Is there anything that, that we didn't touch on that you would like to talk about
Larry McCrae: I think we covered it all. I know that this morning, I just pulled out a bio that, is that an off-road.com did during the rock crawling days and it brought back all kinds of memories. It's some fun. They're really fun. And most of this started at 40. I mean, you know, I was business man trying to raise a family and then started taking my hobby a little more seriously and then that hobby into a business. And from that moment on it was, it's been a incredible ride from,
Big Rich Klein: Yeah, I started promoting my first event. I was 42 years old when we started promoting events when I started doing that. So I understand. Been doing this 20 years now. I love, what I love about off-road is it is the family and the comradery, the people we get to hang out with that we all have a like interest and enthusiasm about, about it. You know, it truly is a lifestyle, not just a job.
Larry McCrae: And that's what I miss most about the Poison Spyder days and the rock crawling days and the rock crawling days. It was like I was getting to see my buddies every couple of weekends, you know, we did a bunch of events, but then for poison spider, we did over 50 events a year. I didn't go to all of them, but you know, it was very much what we did is promote and you got to meet a lot of great. Then there were some people that really stood out at every one of the locations and you looked forward to seeing that handful of people every time we traveled. And you know, we shut that down. No, we sold between cancer and then the sale and I just, it wasn't up to going out much and then, really missed that part of the game. I don't miss the managing 130 people and all, all the stuff that goes along with owning the business that big, but I do miss yeah, events because number one, there's some great wheeling, and number two, there was a lot of great people that you got to hang out with.
Big Rich Klein: I really appreciate your friendship. Over the years, we've never really had a chance to hang out as much as, as I like to hang out with people just because we're always moving from an event weekend, a weekend as things start to wind down our events after 20 years. I'm not going to be doing this for another 20 years. I know that, you know, and now with the, and a little rich and his family down in your area, you know, I hope to be able to spend some more time down in that area and hanging out. Maybe coming on one of your tours.
Larry McCrae: I hope you do. It's a, it's a beautiful area. I mean it's, I'm looking out my window. It's like a guy. We're, we're so lucky that we live where we live. It's just so beautiful. I'll drive home and I'll get mad because the cars in front of me going so slow than I realized this view is spectacular. I understand why they're driving so slow and they're all pull over and take pictures and they're guiding with their cell phones out. Hurry. But then I realized God's country, I should just be thankful. But I live - your son's house. I could probably almost set it with a rock. I'm sure I could shoot a 22 and over his house, but it's pretty close to where we're at now. So visit some more. Excellent. All right, well Larry, take care.
Big Rich Klein: Take care of Sherry and I'll let you know when we, there she is. Okay.
Larry McCrae: You gave us, you gave me an excuse to take a shower and put clothes on today. Thank you.
Big Rich Klein: The little rich. He said, he goes, next time we do an it, you know, do this interview cause we did his at nine o'clock in the morning. Right. Do it later in the day so I can have a couple of drinks and feel relaxed.
Larry McCrae: Right. Well I thought about that too. You said afternoons No, it was a covert 19 shut. And I've been, you know, by four o'clock. I've had a few cocktails so that I should do it in the afternoon. Let's, let's do the morning. Yeah. That damn Tracy Jordan, Jordan. I love it. You were a greatest motivator. It's
Big Rich Klein: Okay. Right. Well, I thank you very much and I'll let you know when we bring this all to, to Eric.
Larry McCrae: I appreciate it. Thanks for including us. Love to, hang out with them when you come up here next.
Big Rich Klein: Alright.
Larry McCrae: Thank you. Yeah. Okay.
Big Rich Klein: If you enjoy these podcasts, please give us a rating, share some feedback with us via Facebook or Instagram, and share our link among your friends who might be likeminded. Well, that brings this episode to an end book. You enjoyed it. We'll catch you next week with conversations with big rich. Thank you very much.