Conversations with Big Rich

Founding Family member, George Schultz talks EJS and trail building in Moab, Episode 16

July 23, 2020 Guest George Schultz Season 1 Episode 16
Conversations with Big Rich
Founding Family member, George Schultz talks EJS and trail building in Moab, Episode 16
Show Notes Transcript

Like so many things this year, Easter Jeep Safari was canceled, but it was one of the first things off the list for off-roaders.  We caught up with George Schultz, a member of the Red Rock Four Wheelers to talk, not only about EJS, but also about trail building in Moab.  As a second-generation wheeler in Moab and part of the founding families, it’s a little bit different perspective.  Come take a listen, there is some great insight here.


3:46 – the formation of the Red Rock Four Wheelers

6:45 – Easter Jeep Safari, the early years

11:08 – Slick Rock bike trail was for Motor”bikes”

13:26 – Did you know Potato Salad Hill was part of Hell’s Revenge??

17:17 – digging holes…

21:58 – lesson for today, never trust your older brother

25:57 – trail ratings and how they change

30:34 – the lesson taught by “built or bought”

35:04 – flying through an arch 

40:04 – we should all, maybe, follow the rules for wheeling we share with others

51:28 – where do you wheel now?


The record books are going to have an ** next to 2020 as we continue to work through the off-road cancellations.  In all the years, EJS has never been canceled and only one trail has been.  2021 needs to be a banner year for our industry to keep everyone and everything afloat.  Start prepping now!

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

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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 enthusiast. So now's the time to sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation. 

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Big Rich Klein:

Well, welcome to another episode of Conversations with Big Rich On today’s show, our guest is George Schultz. George is a second-generation wheeler. His dad is one of the founders of Red Rock Four Wheelers. Early Easter Jeep Safari. Our conversation today will be about Red Rock Four Wheelers, Easter Jeep Safari, the history of wheeling in MOAB and any other information that we can yank out of George Schultz.



OK, George, thank you for joining us on Conversations with Big Rich. We're here to listen to your history and your upbringing in a Four-Wheel Drive family. Tell us about yourself, where you grew up and how you got started and your relationship with your dad and Moab Wheeling.



George Schultz: Well, I grew up in Moab, Utah. My dad spent quite a few years in Moab. He was a geologist. But before that, he worked in the oil industry, in the geophysical industry, looking for oil. So he spent quite a few years in southeastern Utah, Hanksville, other places, Moab, Blanding, Monticello, that whole area. Even up towards Price, probably during the probably early 70s, mid 70s.

 We moved to Texas for a while, then came back to Moab permanently. I'm trying to remember the date probably. Seventy six, something like that. About that time, he kind of switched over to uranium from oil and, you know, he knew most of the area like the back of his hand because of all the exploration. So he kind of he enjoyed that, that aspect of it. It spent time in Alaska and Saudi Arabia where they just trailblazer, you know, where they where they just need to go somewhere to to put down geophones.

Or in that time, they had big, big trucks called vibrators. So they're just a giant truck that sets down a pad and it vibrates and it creates a signal, sends it back to geophones. It reflects off of of oil. So they you know, geophysicists can tell you where there's oil. So they were used to just going where they needed to go. Their trucks were just crazy, amazing. Back even back then, they built them to go anywhere.

So when you got to Moab, he really wanted to continue that as a hobby and get other people involved. The uranium downturn kind of caused, he kinda saw that coming. And he loved Moab. We lived there a long time, so he didn't want to see Moab kind of fall off. So he wanted to get the four wheel bug started and everybody thought that would help tourism as well. So started the Red Rock Four Wheelers but even before he started the Red Rock Four Wheelers, we would go out and scout trails.

So he knew of a two track that went to this claim or went here, went there. And we would try to tie those two together. It was it was every weekend, every day after school, I'd get out of school. Me and my dad would take off in a jeep or whatever, whatever vehicle we had at the time. Truck tried to tie these these things together to make trails.  Hell’s Revenge was a big one that took years to put together.



So, yeah, I mean, that's that's kind of what probably didn't cover a lot there for from the beginning. But it took quite a bit to get the Red Rock four wheelers going. It took a lot of momentum to get a few people together and it was always kind of a let down. You know, we would put out a we're gonna we're going to do this run or we're going to go out and do this and we'd get three people.



And that kind of continued for a few years. And then it started to build up. Then the club was the club was actually officially formed a little later than the club was unofficially formed. So it it started off slow and it was all in our living rooms and houses and some of the first three or four members we just trade off. My dad worked for a uranium company. It would be in his office sometimes, so. So that was kind of interesting.



Got to got to be around a lot of interesting people then that turned, that continued through the off roading world. Some of the carols. That was kind of interesting to be around as a kid, you know, hanging out and seeing where that's the I guess that's another thing that still amazes me. And probably I probably took it for granted for a long time. What was started? By you know, as a kid, I take it for granted.



But then seeing now and looking back, it's just it's just crazy to think that this became that. And in all the connections to the people that started off here and branched out there, it's just got it. It's pretty neat to be fortunate enough to be able to to be able to meet some of the personalities. Right. That have become something, you know. And to see where they started and kind of know that history as well. It's kind of interesting.



So was Easter Jeep Safari started before the club was.



Yes. Yes. So the Easter Jeep Safari started. And, man, I can't remember the date I stuck my head in 60s. It ran for a number of years by the Chamber of Commerce. So it was it was tipped to start off with one rail, I believe ,that was Behind the Rocks, but it was a kind of a little different version. I think it grew to maybe three trails by the time we started going in the late 70s. Still run by the Chamber of Commerce.



I remember you know, we would Chamber of Commerce Building used to be north of Moab, Not quite to the river bridge, about halfway between, which is now, I think, that dentist office. But it's been torn down, rebuilt. But basically all it had was a like a U. Shaped pattern driveway. And there was a at the time on Jeep Safari weekend, you know, when we'd have the run, there's only one day kind of small move to about two to three days.



It was small enough that we would all fit in that little area and maybe line up just a little bit, down 191. So that was that was kind of interesting to see. Imagine. And it was that if you ever went to Moab when that the chamber was still in that location to see how small that that building was. And we had registration there. We had everything there, compared to what it takes now to put that on. That's where it started.



Then it moved in. Well, let's see. I think it moved moved it somewhere else after a while, because what happened was I think it was about an 80.



Eighty two, if I remember it now, I'm sorry. Probably eighty one. The BLM started requiring permits. There's no permit requirement where they would have to pay money for the Chamber to run these events, even if it's on BLM land. The BLM wanted to make a permitting process and those permits were expensive at the time, especially for the chamber. And the BLM wanted certain standards. So my dad was a friend, was the chamber president. I don't remember exactly.



I think he was the chamber president at the time he came to my dad said said I'd like you guys to kind of start taking this over because we can't we can't operate this anymore. It's going to it's going to be something that's out of our hands. Once we once the permits are required. So that's kind of where the club kind of formed not. I guess there's some history out there that suggests that the club was formed. After after the chamber said we can't run anymore.



And that's not the case. The club was formed prior to that. The chamber asked the club to take it over after the club was already formed. So that information the club was formed after the fact is incorrect. So then the next year, the first year first, actually the first probably two or three years, it was kind of a cooperative effort. The leaders of trails were from the club and what run those runs for the chamber. And then it kind of slowly changed hands.



It took a couple of years for that to happen, but the club had it solely by the time the permits permitting process from the BLM came into play. And so that helped out a lot because by that time, the club had built up enough and we had done enough runs. My dad was a stickler. I mean, we went out all the time and he would say, you're going, Dan Mick, whoever you're going to. We would go out every weekend.



Something was going on. And so by the time that happened, a lot of these leaders had run these trails enough. It wasn't it wasn't a shock. Some of them came over from the from the chamber and been running them before anyway. So it was kind of a it wasn't a difficult transition. So. 

Big Rich Klein: You mentioned Hels revenge. What was the process there? Were you guys just headed out and just trying to figure out a way to go through everything? Because, I mean, that's like that is probably truly the most active trail that I can think of



the most most iconic anyway. Yeah. Of Moab trails It's not the hardest, technically. It really isn't. I mean, it's it's what we call like a mind screw. If you can use a term, it's really mental. It's more of a mental issue than it is a technical issue. So that started a number of ways. My dad was also into motorcycles. He had  a friend that was a motocross rider at the time.



And so as a kid, we would go out and ride motorcycles. So there's this also goes back to another piece of history in Moab. So the slick rock bike trail that everyone now says is a mountain bike trail, which it is now The SlickRock bike trail, what it meant by bike was motor bike. There wasn't mountain bikes back then. No such thing. It was it was motorcycles. So we would go out on the slick ride bike trail.



Part of that trail existed. The first I can’t remember what they call it now, it's the first loop, basically existed. And and we would go out there on motorcycles all the time in the sand flat sand flats area, go to the Slick Rock bike trail tool around out there. We would always just be, oh, man, look at that. Next the next ridge, you know, how do we get there? So it kind of evolved.



There was some existing trails on the Moab side of the Slick rock, but only to access a couple of areas. There was the Grand County G. That was out there and there was a trail that ran along the ledge and ran out there. That was in existence kind of it's hard to explain. It would be the exit, the actual exit of Hell’s Revenge. Now, as part of that, some of it's been closed off. Technically, it's not closed off, though.



The section where you come out of tip over challenge and you make the left used to be to the right and you would go down in that little valley by the G and come back out. And some years ago, somehow, it got started as a rumor that that got closed off. It's never been closed off. It's a county road. So Grand County sheriff has even asserted just recently that it's not closed. It's it's an open county roads anyway.



And so it's basically just patching that stuff together. There's a lot of obstacles didn't exist back in the hot tubs existed, but not in the form they do now, as far as how they're ran. There was only really one that we went through at the time. It took a while for those to be to be noticed, really, because people you know, we just kind of Hey,What's this? Let's try this one. It wasn't as many restrictions as there was today, but there also wasn't as many people that were willing to venture out further than where everybody else was going.



Let's see. Escalator definitely didn't exist back in the early 80s. That stuff was was brought on later. Another interesting side note about Hell’s Revenge,, a lot of people don't know is Hell’s Revenge started at Mill Creek. It started. And actually, Steel Bender as well. So Steel Bender and Hell’s Revenge, you would you would go up Mill Creek Drive and you would go to the dam, the power dam there. And when you got to the power dam.



Hell’s Revenge would start and it would drop off into and cross Mill Creek and then go up right beside Potato Salad Hill,. That was actually the first obstacle, optional obstacle of Hell’s Revenge was Potato Salad Hill. On the right side is where Steel Bender you would head up the side of the hill and then eventually get towards Hidden Valley. So it was headed a hole that ran for a number of years that way..John Sensenbrenner, who used to own Milt's if anyone knows him, he always runs Steel Bender.



And my dad always did Hell’s Revenge, at least on Big Saturday, because it was, you know, their trails, you know, kind of pieced together. So we had some interesting. Interesting things happen when we're trying to piece together Steel Bender because at the time there was a lot of property being purchased in between the power dam where Hidden Valley is now. Right. There was a lot of groups that didn't didn't want us to be using that anymore.



So we would get some threats. One time we even had bullets whizzing at us.



Wow. So that was kind of Interesting. What else? What about Hells Revenge? That's probably not. There's so many things that have changed over the years with Hell’s Revenge. Of course, everybody knows the dump bump. Hell’s Revenge also used to exit and come through the little sand dune next to Lion’s Back.We used to, that would be how we would exit? We would come through that way and then kind of make our way back over.



Big Rich Klein: I can remember  doing Hell’s Revenge not too long ago. And we came in the back. We came out the back side of  Lions' back. Yep. And then you came out where the sheriff now always has their checkpoint. Yep. Yeah. Right across from the dump road. Yep.



And that's  technically the exit for Hell’s Revenge. It's in. I don't know, I want to place any blame on anybody for why the exit is this now. It's a it's a two way. Well most of the trail is a two way to get people back to that original spot. But that that was never the case. It was always pretty much a one way trail. I mean, nobody ever I think I think I think just the combination of the tour companies wanting a quick, you know, go out and return and then the sand flats recreation, wanting a little more control over the entrance and exit.



So it's a lot of people, you probably most people that go on Hell’s Revenge, non-EJS probably come back the same way they came. But even during EJSwe actually go out to the actual exit that goes over below the radio towers where Sheriff sets up. Yeah, that's that's the official exit now.



Big Rich Klein: Now, Dump, bump. My first time in Moab was during Easter Jeeps Safari. I was living in Cedar City and I came over in with the Color Country Four Wheel drive club. And that was Phil Smith and Dean Bullock and a bunch of guys from over there. Phil Smith was running Doc. He was running. I know he was always a volunteer and ran a bunch of the trails back then, but this was in the oh probably ninety six, ninety seven.



Somewhere in there was my first trip and I remember doing Dump Bump at night. It really had a lot of people there, everybody just standing around partying and stuff. It was much more popular than potato salad. From what I remember. Yeah. Yeah. And little rich. I don't know if you've met my son. He's the one who runs Trail Hero. I believe I have.



Okay. Well, here he was with us and he was eighth grade, I think. So everybody's standing around out there. It's at night. It's dark. People have got, you know, some flashlights and stuff, but just headlights and, you know, I mean, there seem to be like a thousand people out there, but there was probably at least a couple hundred. Well, he's going around and he's digging holes. And these holes are like, oh, twelve inches, 14 inches in diameter and like eight inches deep.



And he's just got this whole area apart, pockmarked well, as people are trying to walk through the area at night. They step into one of these holes and just face plant. They weren't deep enough where somebody would break a leg or anything. They would just they would just eat shit, you know, I mean, just bam, out in the sand, you know, and then look around like, wow, what was that? You know, just one of the many things that I, you know, kind of the stories that I remember is they're from the early days when you were a young youngster out with your dad and stuff.



Were there any stories like that that you can share, anything that that you will as far as you know, personally?



The funny thing is, is, you know, I rode and even drove sometimes that trail so much with my dad, non organized events that a lot of times during organized events, I would be out walking. So I would I would know where the next obstacle is and I would head up and getting a shady spot. You know, there was a couple of key locations where me and my brothers knew we can go hide in this rock and watch everybody do this obstacle.



And we'll be there long before they get there and we'll skip all the boring stuff to us, you know, take us through that. Yeah. We have to take the shortcuts and just beeline it straight across. So, yeah, there's there's a lot of good memory, especially at tip over challenge. So there's a little little hole. Two of them. Almost three of them. Me and my three brothers would suck into these holes and kind of kind of watch everybody come up before and get there long before anybody else.



Probably some of the scariest memories on Hell’s Revenge Just my dad didn't care if it was snowing,he was going on Hell's revenge. It wasn't a big deal, just some of the some of those some of those domes and the snow on slick rock. It's pretty interesting. I can imagine. And also, you know, some of that some of those domes when you were exploring and trying to find the next ridge can quickly become steeper than than you expected. Even on foot, I think there's some of the things that I've driven would be harder to do.



Walking. Yeah. No, exactly. Yeah. You know, and it doesn't matter if it's slick rock or if it's just like right there area BFE, that little ridge it goes up off the side of. Not Green Day, but whatever the lower part of that is. But, yeah, that ridge run that goes straight up the hill there. That's always just, you know, it's always loose. And I can't even imagine trying to drive to walk up that hill.



It's just. Well, especially at my age, I don't want to walk anyway. Yes. Yeah, I actually we were out. There's a picture of it. There's actually my step mom snapped a picture right before it happened, but we were out wheeling and my dad standing there and we're with a few other people. I think Dan made John Sensenbrenner, maybe the Christiansen's were out there. And I'm I'm probably eight, nine, 10. And I'm up in a slick rock little cavern, you know?



And my brothers climbed up above me and I'm like, oh, I can get there. Well, then I get to where I'm at. And I realized I can't get back down. I'm just gonna slide off. And so my dad's like, Get in the Jeep, I’m like dad, I can't. And I start yelling for him. He's like get in the damn jeep, you know, he's ready to go. And I. And I end up falling down and rolled all the way down.



That was that was pretty interesting.



Another another terrifying incident when I was pretty small was my dad just got it. Almost never ran a full top, only in the dead of winter when it was cold and he’d just got a new one. And back then, the windows were really brittle. If it was cold and he had just got the new one and we were above Ken’s Lake and going to Steel Bender kind of backwards. And me, my brothers were having some snowball fights and my older brother Shane, he decided he was going to trick me.



So throwing snowballs back and forth. And he stood right at the back of the jeep and was taunting me, yeah, you can't hit me, blah, blah, blah. So I packed up a snowball and hurled it. And of course, he just stepped out of the way. And where does Snowball go? It went right through that very brittle, frozen back window at my dad's brand new top. So that was that was probably scarier than falling down the cliff, having to deal with your dad because.



Yes. Yeah. Yeah.



Big Rich Klein: So besides, hell's revenge? What are what are you personally your favorite trials out in Moab 


You know, for as far as, like, edge of the Canyon stuff. I like Angel canyon. It's not again, it's not a super technical when there is some technical spots, but it's fun. I used to go out there after my dad died. Me and John would go out there quite a bit then just to see how far we could get down through the tamarisk by the river.



You know that one. I've always like poison spider. That's that's that's a neat one because it's got a lot of variable in it. If you if you include some other areas and it's like the trifecta type stuff. Steel Bender.. There's so many of them, Hell’s Revenge, of course, is my favorite. I haven't been on Pritchett Canyon in a number of years, but I always like that one. Years ago, probably before it got to its rating.



Yeah. Yes. We just did it last year during Easter Jeep in 19. And I was amazed at how blown out and how much different it was as I hadn't run it since the early 2000s. Maybe two thousand four or somewhere around there. And then we were we were in a comp jeep, but it was a it was a mod stocks. It was on 33’s  only three inches,CJ7. And and so it was just ninety six and a half inches or something like that.



But it's, it was a comp rig and you know, I mean it was pretty much it would do anything. Yeah. And I do remember rolling it and this was Jeff Mello’s Jeep and we had borrowed it. We were we had done upper proving grounds. So the series of five waterfalls, I think it is, we're coming back around down to where the parking lot was at. And there's like this last little triple drop into the sand. And I I launched it off of that off the top and.



Rolled it, Pat Gremillion told me, Oh, don't worry about it, Rich. I've rolled off of that, too, so I didn't feel so bad. Somebody else had done it. Somebody like Pat, you know, had done it. So messed up, that jeep. Oh, my God.



Yeah. And that trail has changed a lot even. Even so, my friends that have been out on it recently, it's it's not the same trail. Didn't even just like you said, just a few years have gone by. And it's funny because going back to that, it's kind of it's kind of funny because that rating actually used to be so much lower. And as a club there in a four wheelers are just introduced a couple of new trails and they're only threes.



You know, they're only fours. And people are always like, oh, it's only this, but that's how the trail starts. Those those trails that are, you know, eights and nines. And they didn't used to be right. You've got to keep some new trails coming because the the older ones are just going to continue to get harder. At least that's the hope. I mean, I'm not a big fan of land management agencies doing a lot of repair.



I can understand some repair, but I don't I don't want them to fill in something that wasn't originally. Their normal wear and tear erosion, I think should be just a personal opinion, I think should be allowable. You know, we don't want to make it and I don't want to go off a tangent, but some of the things I see with those revenge, I can understand some of it. Some of it kind of bothers me because I think we're we're we're making things somehow too easy.



And I think that's just causing more problems because you get people that probably shouldn't be there, don't have the equipment or the skills, but things are made easier at the first. So it's like, well, if the whole trails like this, this is nothing. And then they get back in there and give them something they just can't they can't cope with either on a skill level or an equipment level. So I think a little bit of erosion and a little bit of wear in that that rating coming up, because that is not necessarily a bad thing as long as it's semi natural.



Right. So sometimes some of that some of the places I see damaged are dug out. That's, you know, it's. And some of that is, I think, caused by maybe that particular that particular obstacle didn't require the equipment or the level of skill that someone. This is really off the wall that someone used to do that. Right. So you don't need supercharged V8 to get up the ledge. But somebody will do it and they will rip everything out of it.



When it was it wasn't necessary. So I see some of those some obstacles becoming so much harder and so much more damage simply because people are just, you know, they're saying used to be wheel it like you stole it, And I think now it's probably more like wheel it like you're on YouTube.



Right. So I'm always I'm always amazed. During Easter Jeep, I mean, to be honest, I I've never signed up for Red Rock and done any of the trails with with Red Rock. I always I go out with friends while I'm there. And we we have.



We take the trails, of course, that aren't being used for later in the day after they're done. And I'm always really amazed at what I see people struggle on with vehicles that I'm thinkin there's no way they should be struggling. Yeah. You know, there's there's a couple of spots, but for sure with me it's Moab rim that I have never figured out how where that crack is, whatever they call that crack that people roll over there. I haven't figured out how people managed to do that.



Course, now I'm going to probably get a whole bunch of hate mail because, you know, I mean, it's I just don't fit. I haven't figured it out. And then the other is the Z turn. The people's struggle going up the z-turn with rigs that have lockers and everything, and I just I mean, I don't I don't. I consider myself a fairly good wheeler. I can I can read terrain but that comes from designing courses. Yeah.



And trying to think outside the box. But, you know, I've in my Cherokee is fairly well built for a Cherokee. I mean, it's not a buggy Cherokee and it's only on thirty fives on only like three inches a lift really. But I cut it out and stuff. But watching others that drive that and struggle just so I really think that a lot of it has to do with people not knowing.



Yeah. I think, I think the equipment is advanced so much with the skill level hasn't I. I think this was probably a year or two ago and this happens more than once. But just one I can remember right off the top of my head. Hells Revenge. Somebody in my family was from out of town. So took em on Hell’s Revenge, So we're cruising along and here comes this jeep. Unbelievably built jeep had temporary plates on them like. All right. So he probably just bought it.



But man, he just bought it and within 30 days he there built it or this was a built jeep. This guy bought. Thought, Well, that's that's fine. As long as you know, as long as this guy has some skill experience, then he's going to be OK. Now that you can tell this guy probably never even owned a four wheel drive and it was a disaster. I was pretty sure that that I was going to be on the phone with search and rescue in the sheriff's office and everything else because a guy was doing everything wrong.



Not you know, he had all the equipment in the world. He could have went anywhere and done anything, but he just didn’t have the level. But he just assumed he did because he had the equipment. So and I think that's true. And the fact that if you get somebody that that has wheeled without lockers, has wheeled their stock rig to death and then built it there, a totally different wheeler than a wheeler that bought a built rig or built it up right away because it's two different skill sets.



It's just different skill sets. You can be a old school non-locker Wheeler and still wheell a very equipped rig and do it, but it's hard to do it the other way around. You learn things by taking a stock rig and wheeling it and learning as you go and building up that you will never learn. Just simply hopping in a vehicle and that has lockers, front and rear and Dana 60s and all this, that you're just not going to get there.



You're always going to expect more out of your equipment than yourself. And that's the problem. You should you should always rely on yourself first and equipment second. Right. You need to. I agree. You rely on the equipment. And I see that a lot. Know, that's that's probably the whole thing on like Moab Rim Another place cliffhanger, the beginning, a cliffhanger. You know, just dropping off the road and then out of the creek.



Yeah. I mean, that is so, so much different than it was even five or six years ago. Yeah. Oh, yeah. It's it's amazing. It always amazes me when I every time we drop into that thing and I'm like each that's it. Oh.



But that's another one that the entrances changed a few times since its inception. I think it's I think it's good now because cliffhangers are pretty. It's it's way up there on the mental scale, right. Yes. Definitely technical. But that first that first drop into the creek, that weeds out a lot of people, even though it's it's just a draw, there's nothing super special about it. Mentally, the way it looks, it's it's amazing to people that haven't done that.



They may have wheeled in some of their trains, but, man, when they're faced with that, if they can't make it through that and they can make it through the other, then they're probably okay. But I kind of like the fact that now that entrance is worse because it didn't used to be that way. The entrance was pretty easy, I think. And it's evolved. And it's it's pretty difficult now, which I like.



I say, I think it's a good thing, you know, the the one place I will not go ever again, one trail. And I'd probably do part of it, but I'm not going to do it. Where eagles dare.



Yeah, that was that's another one. That is totally up here.



Yes. Yes. That's that's a scary one for me. Even to the day. It it's just get you.



It just gets my blood pressure up when you can't see off either side and you're going up, up out of his. I think it's it is that Corona Arch you can see from there.



Yeah. I think that's Corona Arch. OK.



So whatever arch that is and you got your eye on that and I mean that's a that's a hell of a lookout any way, especially for somebody with me like me with vertigo and any drive up come out of that. And, you know, you've already gone through the pinch to get there and then you go up that face. And I wasn't even driving, but you go up that and then you get to the top and you turn and come back down the guy drive and he goes to me, Rich, Can you see anything off that side? I said just sky. And he goes, Same here. And I mean, you're looking everywhere. And you all you can see a sky.



And I'm like, we don't ever have to do this trail again. You're feeling your way and you just keep going and going and going. It's like. Eventually we're going to drop off, you know, three thousand foot drop into the hole that, you know, is there.



It's it's there. You know, that that kind of brings you back to another. Growing up in Moab memory. So I've got a friend that that flies airplanes and he's a little crazy. And he'll he used to fly us through Arches and under bridges. And so there's that there's a one spot that we always would take somebody, you know, that hadn’t ben around. And basically, I can't remember the name this arch now, but it's it's south towards Monticello. We'd fly around and fly right to this cliff face, you know, and looking at the cliff face, you can't see this arch because it drops down.



So it's always shaded. And he would just fly right into that and the look on and he would always point out something, you know, we'd be right in there, you'd point out something to the other guy. And I would always be in the back with the camera ready, you know, and he would point out something down on the ground, a look at that Indian run down there as we're flying at this and at right as they look up, you know, boom, we're flying through this arch.



It reminds me of that because you think you think you're gonna die, but you're not.



So one of these days, I'm gonna have to meet up with you there in Moab and do some of the stuff that I've never done. And it's just for the simple fact that I've not gone on organized runs with anybody. I've done a lot of trails, like for the winter that Shelley and I lived there. We stayed at Danny Grimes's house and we wintered there for we were there for like eighty four days or something like during the winter. And so we did like first time I did Rose Garden Hill.



I thought I was on Thompson Canyon or whatever the one is that's farther. You go up closer to the ranch. I mean you swing around. We thought we were on that. And so we're just cruising along and we get up to the top of Rose Garden and I'm like, this is a four or five. I'm like, this is crazy. You know, I can't believe, you know, it's just that one boulder on the way up and we got up to the top and we kept going and then we.



I see the signs for the Kokapelli trail. Or however you say it like we are. I don't think they are. All right. So we get up all the way to the top. And I didn't realize it, but we're wherever that that goes back off. If you keep going from Rose Garden Hill and in turn to go up Kokopelli and then you go over the. Keep going down and around. You come out to where that bridge is at the Dewey is a duey bridge or something.



The one that's the only the one doing bridge is the one that burned down. Yeah. Ten years ago. Something like that.



So that you drop in on it. I think it's you drop back it down into that area. If I remember. Right. But it was it was kind of crazy because were we get up to the top and we have no idea where we're at. We're on the wrong page in the trail guidebook. Look, as we got that one of those, you know how to how to find all the trails. Yeah. So it starts snowing on us when we're on the top and we turn around.



I said, well, I don't know how far we have to go out really close to being off of whatever the top of the world is. There's another trail out there. So we're really close to that. But I didn't know that. So we turned around and went back down Rose Garden Hill. And by the time we got started down, what you would call, you know, the difficult part of that, there was probably six inches of snow on the ground.



It made it it made quite the interesting trip down that hill. And then right where that big rock is. About halfway down that face or that that hill trip part of the trail. I heard a pop in the front end. And all of a sudden, I had very little steering. No, Shelley goes. Should we be concerned? And I'm like, no, not at all. Everything's fine. So we get down into Onion Creek, we get all the way out and we get to the pavement.



I get out to unlock the hubs and now I'm starting to steer. You know, we're on pavement then still snowing. And I said, wow, I can't believe we made it all the way down. That would just one bolt in the steering box. And I broke it broke like three of the bolts on the steering box right off. Well, good thing you waited until tell her that.. Exactly. Because I'm like, it turns really easy one way and then it's like, well.



But we made it.



And we were we didn't know where we were at. We told nobody where we were going. We knew that there was a house down there. And Shelly was thinking on the way back. Well, at least I think I could walk to that house, you know, that whatever that ranches back there. Yeah, but it was. I have a tendency to do the things that they tell you not to do. Don't wheel alone, don't go out without people knowing where you're going and a return time.



It's just that it's what I do. I've been doing it forever. I'm the same way.



I cannot tell you how many times I've been out by myself. That's just what I've done my whole life. You know, like, I just go out and do it. And I think it's funny because people ask me, I'm like, don't go out alone. Don't take this, do this. And I think back I never did that. I would end up by myself somewhere in the middle of nowhere. You know, kind of an interesting story, almost the same place that that happen to you.



But up on the mountain, on the LaSalles, I was actually at work. I was working. I worked for the state of Utah State, Utah at the time. And me and my boss decided, hey, we're gonna go up the data flat. We got to we me to go do some assessments, I don't think. But it had been snowing like we can make it. So I got up there, almost got to take it flat literally and probably two miles of the Taylor Ranch on Taylor Flat and got totally buried in the snow.



No big deal. We got four hours. You know, we'll unload the four wheelers off here and go back and get a radio signal and call up a buddy in Castle Valley that had a deuce and a half and have him come pull us out., you know, so we get with four wheelers, get back to where we can see Professor Valley and Castle Valley, the Ice Point, get cell-service call down there. Have the deuce and a half coming,a BLM ranger had heard my radio traffic as I radioed the county to let em know we were at the half gets to within about a quarter mile of our truck and he gets stuck on a real thin section of road.



So the BLM ranger shows up and he gets stuck. I mean, this is just it just goes on and on. Eventually, the county had to call out a blade for us to come out and pull us out and got one by one out of there. But it's kind of similar situation. If it hadn't been for the fact that we knew where we could get cell service and radio signal, we would've been stuck there and we didn't tell anybody where we're going.



Of course, there was two of us. We did have ATVs, but still it wasn't the smartest thing. So.



So you're still part of Redrock four wheelers? Yeah. Yeah. OK. What's it like nowadays? I don't know if we should. I should ask that question. I have a I have a really hard time and always had a hard time dealing with Bureau of Land Management since especially. It all started in Carson City, Nevada office for me having issues. We had opened up the Moon Rocks area just north of Reno Sparks and for competitions, and I put an event on there, 



Ranch Pratt went in and put an event on and then BLM just shut it off on us for no more events where I paid at that time, it was like fifteen thousand dollars to have the neep and all the other studies that I needed done, even though it was an open wheeling area. I mean, it's you can go anywhere in Nevada and you can drive over any bush you want. You know, there's no rules. But I had to do this this thing, and then they took it away from us.



But I was also the owner of Valley Off Road Racing at the time, VORRA And they since I was threatening to sue him on the WE Rock/CalRoc side, they started to go after me to put pressure on me on the Vorra side. And my permits at Vorra were five year permits and I could race in the same area. All they had to do is approve the track and it was all stuff we'd alreadyraced on. So I would just change up the track here and there.



And so they they made it very difficult for me to continue doing business because they found a way to pull my permits. So I had to get a permit for each individual race each time and they wouldn't give me the five year continuous use permit. Yeah. Yeah. And that's when I finally said, OK, forget it, I'm done with desert racing because I didn't want to deal with BLM anymore. And then I had problems down in in Farmington, but we got that resolved in Farmington is really good to us now.



Rangeley, Colorado, those guys are great up there. One of the things that that concerned me was the interpretation of BLM with the media permits for the last couple of years in MOAB. I think that they have. I think that particular office, whether it's the that office in MOAB or it's the state office, I mean, they really are taking anything considered media and making it so that we can't even cover Easter Jeep taking pictures without all these permits.



Per day and how much it costs, you know, just to photograph people on the trail. We're not advertising. You know, they told me as a magazine owner. I wasn't real news because I don't do breaking news. Yeah. Yeah. That to me, was just ridiculous. Yeah, I know. As far as the club goes, the club has always had a really good working relationship with the local BLM, and that extends years and years ago.



And I think I think the biggest thing is it's it's because it's such a such a tight group of people there in Moab. Right. So the local BLM office, the Monticello office, let a lot of people know each other. They may live down the street. They may not be politically aligned or maybe in the same off-road arena. But I think it helps that it's always the same people. So the club deals with permits all year long? Pretty much.



So we have land use coordinators that are doing this stuff in communicating with them a lot. So the club really has a pretty good relationship with the BLM. We would always it's just like anything that hasn't always been that way. There's been this or that, but it's not the club. And the BLM, I think, really get along probably more than most places with any other clubs, or events only because I believe that relationship is this is tenured almost even though the people are changing.



There's there's kind of a mutual respect. We know what they what they expect and what they want. And they know what we're gonna do. The club's going to do that helps, you know, that that it's not an unknown. And they've they've actually been pretty proactive. You know, the trail maintenance stuff and even encouragement of newer trails to get to to get a lower rating so more people can go on this lower ratings. We're not you know, it's it's a pretty good relationship.



The you know, the permit things with the media. I have I've seen it a lot. And this is just my personal interpretation of why in Moab in particular, that is such a bigger deal maybe than other places is because of the film industry that's attracted to Moab as well. So I think a lot of these policies are based on large entertainment organizations. You know, filming a big movie is going to you're gonna have more people getting more traffic. You're gonna have more more opportunity to say this, more environmental opportunities to have something go bad.



Right. Bigger is larger. Negative impact. Exactly. Our base. You're right on that idea. I think a lot of it, too, is is at least during Easter Jeep Safari. So many companies use it as a way to promote their products or their businesses that they just lumped everybody in together. Exactly. Yeah. Know whether you're just there to photograph one jeep, you know, like if if if you had you told me, hey, I want you to take pictures of my jeep.



And if there's any kind of transaction, you know, if I'm a professional photographer or if I'm shooting your Jeep for the magazine, you know, as a reader ride. I'm supposed to have a permit. And that's that's that's where I think they need to. That they need to re-evaluate some of that. And I know BLM has done that with their cost recovery programs, and I know that you guys must really have to go through a lot on that, like Dave does with Ultra four, or we are having to do with our racing as well because of the the the size of footprint.



And everywhere you go, we and them having to oversee it and then follow ups and everything else. You don't really know that there. They make it so they're making it so difficult for people to do to use public lands by pretending like we're all big oil companies or something, you know?



Yeah. And that and that's kind of breaking in. Whether it it started with water or came to the other, I don't know exactly. But I've seen a similar things in new technologies like like drones. Right. So even not thinking of the professional side of drones, but thinking of the the what the federal government, the FAA says that you can do and not do with a drone and be considered professional versus amateur versus this. And it's real similar if you look at it, if you really read it, that the filming permits to the BLM are real similar to the FAA interpretation of what is for profit.



Right. It's kind of same thing. If you if I fly or if we fly drones for something that someone will use at all for a promotion, then yes, it's got to be we have to be professionally licensed. It has to be a drone has to be registered with the FAA. All that stuff has to be accountable. It's commercial pilot license, that kind of thing. It's real similar. If you look at it, it's it's kind of it's kind of a real small thing based on a big organization.



And sometimes those don't exist. Most most drone most aerial service companies that operate drones are usually only a couple of people, you know, and you're not talking about a huge income, but they're basing it like on Bon Jovi  filming a video with three helicopters and, you know, back in the 80s.



So, I mean, they don't they don't have levels. They just say, here's here's what it is. And yeah, I think the whole cost recovery thing has been a nightmare for me as an event promoter.



Yeah, I think it would be nice, too, if they could revisit that somehow. I don't I don't know. I don't have an answer. I don't know how they would do that, how they would determine that. You know, Joe blow out there with a single camera is only filming it for his YouTube channel. You may get one hundred dollars monetization vs., you know, a major tire company filming a commercial that's going to make lots of money off of that proposed video, you know.



Yeah, I guess that's I don't know how they would do that, but yeah, it would be nice if if it was if it was geared towards them, towards what's going on in the background. So what do you besides these Easter Jeep or  Red Rock four wheelers? What other, you know? How do you spend your time wheeling and where?



Mostly. Well, you know, I used to I used to always say I. Because we've moved know we lived in Moab forever. And, you know, we still go back and forth. But we moved to Arizona a number of years ago and we used to just drop. But I would hardly ever wheel in Arizona. I would actually just drive back to Moab. Right. And now we're starting. I started a small club here in Arizona, copper rock, four wheelers.



We try to do a little runs. I'm trying to gear it towards. I don't. I don't want to. I want to gear it on. I kind of want it. I kind of like the idea of when we started Red Rock. So it was kind of open to anyone. Didn't matter what you had. We would try to find something to do that matched everybody. And I kind of wanted to do that because now in our in the current world we live in, it's in the least in the off road world.



The new guy, there's two types is the new guys that are the new guys that really don't know anything. And they want to learn something, but they're shut down by people that claim to know everything. You know what? Why are you even asking this question? You should know this. Well, they don't know that. So a lot of people I see would just get an off road vehicle. They really want to do it, but they're really scared to talk to anybody.



And they're really scared to go out with anybody because they're afraid of what could happen. Or there's the new guy. And, of course, that thinks he knows everything and he's not going to go out with a club because his buddy who's, you know, been wheeling forever clubs or stupid wheel clubs have a place. And that's the thing, somebody you need to start somewhere. And a lot of the times there's there's there's I think there's a lack of structure and I think it's spilling over.



Maybe it's generational. We saw we see a lot more. Destruction of of things that are unnecessary. A lot of people doing some things that they shouldn't be out on the trail going off trail when there's really no reason. But, hey, I saw it on YouTube. So it's acceptable. They don't. They don't know any better. Or they they they learn it from watching their body do it or whatever. The courteous, being courteous to people on the trail, pulling over.



Let somebody pass you there. If they want to go faster, you know, you're not a cop. Let them let them do whatever they want. You know, you should if you see him doing something illegal, you know. Yeah, sure. You should. You should try to maybe let him know. But that's that's a tough one, too. But this man who you run into, you know. But, yeah, I think clubs have a place because of a lot.



And there needs to be some type of structure, you know, in and carrying on a tradition. And to me, it's more about tradition than necessarily structure. So I think it's important to teach history, just like, you know, what we're talking about, the history of how things started. I mean, you know, everybody knows king of the hammers and Ultra4. Can you imagine and even yourself, can you imagine in 10 years or 30 years, somebody talking about ultra four or we rock and not mentioning Dave Cole or Rich Klein?



To me, to me, that's a travesty. Right. Or that or the original competitors or their original locations and how those got started. To me, that's just crazy. I can't imagine it. It's I think that's where we again, that's where we lose history and that's where we lose that continuity. Four wheeling is different now than it was. There's there's not as much in circles. There's camaraderie. But not in general. Right. I agree.



It's kind of sad to see it's not like that with everybody. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that's on the whole, because there is a to me, real four wheelers are also, you know. They care about each other, right? So they're going to stop and help somebody. They're gonna do something. But also it's kind of like a dad, right? So you do something stupid. I'm not going to break my vehicle for you.



You figure out a way. I'll help you figure out a way. But we're not. You know what I mean? It's kind of like. It's also part of the learning process. You know, you can't just rescue everybody. So.



So we. We had something happen that hadn't happened in a long time, of course, or hadn't happened ever. And that was cancellation or postponing of 2020 Easter jeeps Safari Yeah. I've heard that they were that there might be a re- schedule or they're just gonna wait until 2020 one. What's the what's, what is the word inside the club on what you might do.



So. So first of all, sadly that's the first Easter jeep's Safari that's ever been canceled since its inception and we've only ever canceled one other trail. And that was Strike Ravine ever just once. So, I mean, it's it was it was a big deal. And it was it was a real hard decision for everybody to come to. It was not taking lightly at all. It was it was it was a big deal. So there's not really going to be a rescheduling.



And I'm not going to answer officially. But I'm just gonna tell you what you know what I what I can tell you. There's no official risk. There's no 2020 EJS,. It's done and over with. There is you know, every year we also have a Labor Day camp out, which is  kind of like a mini safari. You know, it's limited to about a hundred fifty vehicles, three days a multitude of trails. People camp together.



That kind of thing. That's still gonna happen. It's in September. People can actually sign up for that here once they get Milken's. Now, I don't remember. I don't remember. I've done my head registration date. You can go to Red Rock for this site and check it out. Well, that's still gonna happen. So, yeah, it's it's sad that it was a loss. But the problem is, is the permitting process to put on an Easter Jeep safari with that many trails that many participants and the volunteers that need to come together to put on those events, to lead those trails that gunnars.



It's it's astronomical. I don't really know if a lot of people know what it takes to put on a Jeep Safari. It is. It is crazy. It's a year long of it. Just to put that on. So scheduling another one. It just wouldn't be positive, there'd be no way to get the permitting done here or find enough volunteers. Exactly. Not without that kind of notice, because typically most of those volunteers, probably from year to year, always tell their their employers, I'm taking this much time off during this time.



Yep. Yep. And it's usually the first time that you can put in, you know, vacation January 1st or fourth or whatever. And it's a done deal. And it's, you know, for a lot of people, for a lot of our volunteers, the gun and lead these these trails, that's that's their vacation. That's most of their time. That's most of their PTO for the year. You know, by the time they drive out there and we pre run a lot, you know, so there's guys that come out beforehand and don't live there and pre run stuff.



So they got to take vacation time, know a day or two on each side the weekend to do that. There's a lot of there's a lot of members that are leaders or or gunners that don't live anywhere near Moab. But they may have used to, but they don't anymore, you know. So it does take a lot. It takes a lot of coordination. Well, is there anything that you want people to know about? The organization or the event that we haven't touched on, probably probably the biggest thing would just be I see a lot of you know, we live in a fast paced world where people get things right now.



Red Rock four wheelers are ran. The core organization is a group of folks have been doing it for a long time and things that happens a little slower. There's still a lot of actual males being sent out. A lot. A lot of e-mail. Some things don't happen on a dime. And, you know, I'll hear comments. Why didn't this happen? How come we didn't get this notification right away? Or a we put it we put in for a trail and we didn't get it.



You know, that and all that stuff. It takes so much energy for these guys. And there's not a lot of people stepping forward to fill these shoes. We've got we've got people that this isn't four wheeling. It's just in life that want to utilize something that they don't want to get back on the other end to be involved in what it takes to put something like that on. So I think just understanding the what the effort goes into it for some of these volunteers, because 90 percent of them are volunteers.



And what they give because they love it, they love wheeling and they they love the organization. They love the town. They love the sport, the industry. I guess just just appreciating their their their hard work just as much the same as I mean, you know this you know what it takes to put on events. I mean, it's there's a lot that people don't see. And it's real easy to say, well, I'm pissed off because the you know, the registration pages, it is easy is read as I want it to be, whatever.



You know, it's not that you can't please everybody. Especially now, especially with technology. You know, there's companies out there that they don't mind spending a million dollars to make their Web site happen instantly and look great. You know, registration sometimes is a tricky registration for EJSs now is kind of like ordering an iPhone unlocked, you know, prelaunch. Right. You've got to get there at the right time. There's so many people that want to do EJS yet to get there at the right time.



And, yeah, things happen. Servers go down, you know, something slow and it messes up and you click the pay button and it doesn't go through. It's happened to me, too. I mean it. So just maybe the understanding that, you know, things don't always run smoothly. It'll be here next year. It's. Again, 2020 is the only year EJS has ever canceled if you don't get your spot this year. You may get it next year and put yourself on a waiting list.



A lot of people don't know they can do that. It's not something necessarily officially, but you can call in and say, hey, I want to be on a  waiting list. If somebody cancel because there's always cancels. There's always the guy that's coming down from New Hampshire that breaks down on his way to EJS and he calls and cancels and that opens up trails that would tell those two hotel rooms. Exactly.



I've gotten hotel rooms away. I get into town and start calling everybody up. Yep. Yeah. And I again, I think it's important that even even industry people I know there's a lot of industry people out there because I'm friends with a lot of them, didn't have never run an organized run with EJS. And man, I think to me, I think it's a missed opportunity because you you are getting a audience that probably wouldn't normally get successfully when we're talking about lower level trails as far as lower rating trails where you've got somebody, that one isn't necessarily a hardcore wheeler.



Maybe they never will be, or maybe they're just starting out, but they don't even know you exist. And if you're only going to do corporate runs, nine trails with everybody on one tons, you're never going to you're never gonna get that customer. You're never going to see it. But you've got something that they need. I mean, most companies do. Yes. Eventually they're going to need it. I think it's I think it's a lost opportunity.



That's just my opinion. And I don't know, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe this shouldn't air. But sometimes I think it's kind of it bugs me a little bit because it's almost. Taking advantage. I don't know how to explain that, but to me, being involved in it since it was started, it seems like some some companies and I've seen it happen, especially with up and coming company. They've never been EJS. They don't actually wheel. but still go there and sell their stuff to people on the street.



But they've never been on a trip even by themselves. They never they don't know what the Red Rock Four Wheelers are. They don't know what EJS really means. They don't know about the trails, the people, the town. It's just it's just a way to sell something. And I don't know if that bugs me a little bit. I'm biased.



I mean, I. I agree with you. You know, I. I take advantage. Of the event, you know, the last couple of years, I stood there out in front of, you know, the Spanish trails where you guys are doing registration and I'm handing out magazines to everybody that comes in for like four days. And, you know, it's but but then again, to me, you are.



But you're targeting those people that actually may need that information that's in that magazine, something they may not have known, especially today with the downfall of print. You know, that kind of stuff is important. I liked reading the magazine. You know, it looks like kind of pictures every once in a while.



And remember, the print industry has not gone away. Just a hand. Just a large. A large corporation that was producing a bunch of magazine magazine decided to say we're out of print because they were all run by people that did not create editorial. All they did was create bills and advertising rates and subscription rates. They did not really work the magazine at the at that at the purchaser's. You know, side of it. Yeah. So they weren't enthusiasts.



They're just bookkeepers and lawyers. And I think that that catches people that they feel a magazine spent, you know, in off Road magazine catches whether it's an ad in the back or maybe a write up or part of an article catches people's attention that normally wouldn't. You know, you learn something when you read something that you don't learn when you watch it. I don't know how to explain that. People know what I'm talking about. But if I read, it's just like, you know, when you read something, you retain it more.



Well, the same thing happens when you're reading about maybe a guy is never used as a winch. You know, he's watched a couple of YouTube videos. Yeah, but those are so cut and spliced and edited. You know, it's kind of ridiculous. You're not really. But you got that same guy. Read something. He's got an idea. He may have never done it, but then he can you can go ask for help and not be so embarrassed.



Maybe at the lads in the back. You know, there's there's a couple of companies that I just love to see their ads because they're still putting an ad in the back of that magazine after all these years. Cool.



Well, George, thank you very much for taking time out of your day, especially since you just got back from the gas wheeling and you got family over in visiting and you took the first hour and 20 minutes of of that time with your family to come join us. I appreciate it very much. And you stay safe and healthy, and I will see you. Oh, no, I see you again probably next hopefully before next year when we get to the Bagdad.



Hopefully. Yeah, right. And yes, there's probably lots of stuff I've I've missed that I wanted to tell you and all that. But hopefully, hopefully everything I said was entertaining to somebody or educational or at least some kind of history that maybe they didn't know. There's lots more out there. I could probably go on forever, but most people would go and whatever.



I will probably need to do a revisit or we'll do something. We'll get more information from you and we'll put together a magazine article on on the history. You know, lots of lots. You know, I actually still have that from, like the foundation of a club. I still have all the handwritten notes from every meeting for years setting. You know, I've got it. There's so much history in there because, you know, at at every meeting we would we would go back and talk about the trails we did.



Well, somebody had to do this. And it's really interesting to go back and read some of that stuff and see some of the problems we dealt with or, you know, what we had to do to connect these two. But that's only a different story that wouldn't probably fly today with today anyway.



Hopefully get some of that digitized so that it's not lost forever. Yes. You know, you've got it. But I don't know if your your kids are into it or not or if they're somebody else's, that it could be passed on to you. I don't know that. And what is that? That stuff is important. Yeah, it definitely is. All right. Well, thank you, George. Well, I appreciate you having me on.



I appreciate you doing this podcast. My found out you were doing this podcast and the premise of it. I've I've been saying that for, you know, saying the same thing for years now, at least a few years. That man, I wish we could really take someone could take a look at the history of of off roading in general, whether it's you know, I mean, Ultra four is fairly new. This is kind of new. But just generally, all of because there's so much if if simple history of stuff like EJS is being lost, it's going to happen to everyone else, too, if we don't try to start bringing it back up and let people know that history gives them more of a appreciation of what they're out there doing.



So that's the whole idea. So thank you. Enjoy your family tonight and I'll at least talk to you online. All right. Sounds good, George. Take care. Thank you. See you. 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 like minded. 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.