Rebelle Rally founder, Rod Hall prodigy, media and marketing guru – Emily Miller, joins us just 24 hours after the close of the last basecamp of the 2020 Rebelle Rally. That’s commitment. We get some insight into the background of one of the most powerful women in off-road. Join us for some great takeaways in perseverance.
3:46 – The similarities between skiing and driving off-road
5:18 – the family influencers
8:04 – here’s the backstory you may not know – how the dotcom boom changed everything
14:12 – how her brother’s death altered her world
18:43 – “I’m going to marry him”
22:21 – the start of Rod Hall’s influence
38:05 – the re-meet at Chocolate Thunder
44:05 – the influence on KOH
52:35 – the lead up to the Rebelle
1:00:54 – What is the Rebelle Rally?
1:31:44 – problem identifiers vs. problem solvers
For more information, go to www.rebellerally.com
We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.
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[00:00:01.080] - 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 four wheel drive enthusiasts. So now's the time to sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation.
[00:00:29.670] - Maxxis advertisement
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[00:00:56.220] - 4Low Advertisment
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[00:01:20.010] - Big Rich Klein
We are here with none other than Emily Miller. A lot of the ladies in the United States in off road will know who Emily is or have heard about her because of her recent endeavor with the Rebelle Rally. But what a lot of you may not know is that she has a real extensive background, from what I understand, in everything from marketing to racing. And we are going to find out all about Emily Miller starting now. So hey Emily, thank you for coming on.
Conversations with Big Rich. You're only the second female that I've interviewed. First one was with Shelby Hall. And we are now getting to you.
And you have a close relationship with Shelby's granddad and we'll get into that.
But we'd like to start off with where you started and what were your influences, where did you grow up. So let's let's get started. Thank you.
[00:02:15.050] - Emily Miller
Sounds good. Thanks for having me.
[00:02:16.740] - Big Rich Klein
Where did life start for Emily Miller?
[00:02:19.590] - Emily Miller
Life started for me in Little Rock, Arkansas. But home always has been a combination of Little Rock and Crested Butte, Colorado, where I spent a lot of time in my life. And also growing up, yeah, both places have had big impacts on me and I think a lot of people don't really realize that, you know, I was born, you know, in the south and yeah,
[00:02:44.420] - Big Rich Klein
you don't have that Arkansas accent.
[00:02:46.920] - Emily Miller
Wait till I get tired.
Wait til you get tired. You might have heard it a few times on the Rebelle.
[00:02:52.650] - Big Rich Klein
You were born in Little Rock, but you spent time in Crested Butte. At what age did you did you start spending time in Crested Butte?
[00:03:00.090] - Emily Miller
So when I was young, I think probably the first time I was there, I was nine years old. Maybe earlier I had family and quite a bit of family in Colorado, and I still have a home there today that I don't get to see enough and nephews and cousins, etc.. So, yeah, I miss Colorado. Definitely a fish out of water. I live now in Encinitas, California, and I married the lifeguard captain here.
And I love where I live. I love Encinitas. But at heart, I'm a mountain girl.
[00:03:39.090] - Big Rich Klein
I understand that my heart is in the mountains as well. The Sierra Nevadas. I take it then if you're in Crested Butte, you skied.
[00:03:46.500] - Emily Miller
Yeah, I skiied. I went to school in Gunnison, Colorado. And, you know, skiing is my passion. After spending a lot of my life on skis, I ended up picking up a snowboard and telemark skis and just about, you know, anything I could. Yeah, my you know, passion is picking a line and being in the moment and being outside and boy, you know, skiing and then the sports I did, you know, in the mountains, including mountain biking, cycling, they really shaped my life.
And in fact, they were probably a real impact on, you know, being able to drive off road. There's there's so much translation between those sports. They're all line picking sports. And I think that that's one of the things that living in Southern California has. It's worked out, you know, I love surfing. You know, I, I, I think I'm just picking the replacement sports because my my heart is still, you know, on the snow.
But, boy, you know, driving in sand dunes in Southern California and driving off road kind of takes me back to that. And so I think it helps me keep connected to sort of what was my old life.
[00:05:09.510] - Big Rich Klein
That's awesome. Who in your in your young life was probably the biggest inspiration, say, up until 10 or 11 years old.
[00:05:18.720] - Emily Miller
Easily my brother and my dad for sure. My brother was one of the coolest guys I think anyone could ever meet. And he was a phenomenal athlete. He was really the a definition of extreme athlete before that term existed. And he was fifteen years older than I was or I am. And I think that I just idolized him so much that I would try to do whatever he did. And then the other person was my dad. And my dad passed away a year ago, about a little over a year ago.
And, you know, my dad just always believed in me and always just treated me like, you know, almost like a peer and always worked to educate me and encourage me, take me to do cool stuff. And so did my brother. And so they were, no question, my biggest influences, although I have to say that my mother passed away about five and a half years ago on Mother's Day and but she's the voice in my head.
So while I idolized, you know, my dad, my brother, my mom ended up being a much bigger impact on my life now that I'm older and I can see that you know really well. And so it's pretty great to have the people that surround you as family be your biggest role models.
[00:06:51.100] - Big Rich Klein
I have to agree with that.
What was the family business before you got into while you were growing up? I understand you have farmlands and stuff.
[00:07:01.070] - Emily Miller
Yes. Farming, investments, natural gas. Yeah. And it's been in our family for a long time and I now run that. I actually started really managing that for my father, you know, right after my mother died. And then now it's something that I, you know, I've been managing regularly.
But now that really the pressure's on, you know, dad's passed on, which has been interesting because I have a sports marketing business and I did something crazy, which is go and start the Rebelle Rally.
[00:07:37.950] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah never enough on the plate, right,
[00:07:39.740] - Emily Miller
never enough. Yes, actually, I'm starting to believe that there can be enough on the plate. I always live my life like there was. I always needed more. But, yeah, there's a lot.
[00:07:49.940] - Big Rich Klein
So let's talk about the sports marketing that's more in line with some of the things that our listeners do with motorsports and competitive rock crawling and racing and stuff. So how did how did that all come about?
[00:08:04.700] - Emily Miller
Oh, well, it was really interesting because I lived in San Francisco and after school and I was in the sports medicine world and, you know, absolutely loved it. But it was at a really interesting time where the first round of dotcom was rising up, basically. And it was a really exciting time in the Bay Area, super entrepreneurial. And I got the opportunity to work in dotcom because it was is very interesting.
One of the first people that pulled me into it said, hey, I can teach you, you can learn marketing, you can learn all these things.
His name was Dick Williams. Amazing guy.
I got an opportunity to work in Dotcom while I was in my work in sports medicine. And I worked for a phenomenal clinic, a phenomenal world class, world renowned doctor.
I worked with famous athletes I rehabbed and train them for, you know, world championships to Olympics, to national events, etc. It was extremely rewarding. I loved it. I got the opportunity at this time in San Francisco to work in dotcom. And it was pretty cool. When I got my first opportunity, they asked me to evaluate a company and I said, What do you mean? Like, come on, I have a glorified PE degree, you know, what do I know?
And one of the gentlemen said to me, he said, look, we have lawyers, we have programmers, we have people in those specialties. But it's about the content. And he said we need people who are content experts, but we also need people who know how to work on a team.
Never give up work super hard, and he goes, you can learn marketing, you can learn business development, you can learn all these things and books. He goes, I can teach you things, but I can't teach you, you know, those skills. I can't teach you how to never give up and to want to win, yet still be a team player. He goes, you either have it or you don't.
And so I took that open door, you know, that's what my my mom would always tell me. It's, you know, look for the door, looking for the open door, look for the open window. And it was good timing in my life. My brother had passed away the year before, had given so much and plowed so much of myself into the work I was doing. And I was ready for a new challenge. It really led me to all the opportunities that have continued to open doors, keep my life adventurous.
[00:10:57.840] - Big Rich Klein
I'm always surprised when I hear you talk and you talk about the people that you know and you work with one of the I'm a skier or I was as a youth, I always watch the Olympics and everything. And then all of a sudden, boom, we're at the Rebelle and there's Wendy Fisher, you know, and then you have a surfer that you work with that maybe we can talk a little bit about then the doctor, you know, the sports doctor up and up in San Francisco.
And I'm just. I'm just amazed at the the people that you have around you that I guess came from that dotcom era getting into the the sports medicine and all that from the sports medicine into marketing. How did that how did that kind of evolve?
[00:11:47.370] - Emily Miller
Yeah, it's pretty interesting because I was more on the athletes side of the world and an athlete myself, but then worked with all these like world class athletes. And it was really super rewarding.
And I love that coaching side. I would say that there are a lot of similarities between the two, and it really wasn't that hard of a transition to transition into sports marketing. And I've stayed very focused on sports marketing. And the reason why is, you know, I get asked to do other projects and sometimes I'll take them on depending on whether I'm passionate about it. But I've always been so passionate about sports. You know, it was a real easy transition into the sports marketing side of it.
Really, that happened from the dotcom side. I ended up really being able to learn the marketing side in a really interesting time where the world was transitioning to digital.
And so I was in kind of more early on the side of the digital, you know, dotcom world and combining it with sports and then having to really make the world know about what we were doing. And, gosh, you know, I feel like with the people that I worked with, I was very fortunate that I got to work with really top notch people. And I learned a lot, you know, probably school of hard knocks, you know, and just get out there, roll up your sleeves and make mistakes.
I was very fortunate, too, that I was allowed to make mistakes, learn from them and apply them. And, you know. I think we were sort of there are a lot of us, and it was also, you know, involved in the earlier days in the action sports world, which was a really exciting time, you know, with Red Bull events and things like that. So it was almost like a perfect storm to take a bunch of dynamic people out there in the world that were passionate about what they do and build brands, build projects, build sports and genres.
And, you know, there's a pretty great group of people that were kind of all involved in that era.
And I think that was also, you know, I I really do feel very fortunate that it was the right time. It was the right profession switch with the right mentors. And I was young enough, but with some experience.
And it really was a fun ride, you know, just it was. Fun because I got to learn so much, but then what happened was my brother ended up dying after a motorcycle accident and he had three young sons and stepdaughter. Those kids were super important to me. And so and they were in Gunnison, Colorado. And so for a while, I commuted back and forth between San Francisco. Well, you know, while I was in dotcom and had still been doing kind of consulting and work and sports medicine and with the Stone Clinic, with the doctor you were referring to, I remember my little nephew, Daniel, who is actually now a great filmmaker.
Editor, you know, Daniel, Daniel Mayfield. Yeah, I love his mustache.
That's so his dad it's so his dad can't grow a beard, but definitely can and can grow the stache.
And Daniel, we were out on a bike ride and he was nine years old and he stopped me and he said "you always said if anything ever happened to mom or dad, you'd be there for us.
What are you going to do? You know, are you just going to fly back and forth? Are you going to be here? And I went back to San Francisco that week and I put in my notice and I packed my bags. And, you know, I had built a house up in Crested Butte and I went back home and I helped raise them. And I took a little bit of time off. I really needed the time off, you know?
And I said, I'm just going to take a little bit of time.
And I ended up working with a group in production and I realized it was great, you know, doing fun events. And I realized that there was no reason why I couldn't go ahead and start my own business. I had felt I had learned so much. Like I said, I you know, I don't have some in San Francisco, you know, everybody's like I have a Stanford MBA. I have a Harvard MBA.
Well, I didn't, but I felt like I had because of the the experiences that I had been given, you know, I had a real street education in in the marketing, sports, marketing, business development world and digital and a real passion.
I have a real passion for digital and technology. So I went ahead and started my own business and I realized that I could help this one company, but I didn't need to work for them full time. I love working super hard and I don't have any problem working of 15, 17 hour day. And I said I'm starting my own business. I was very fortunate that I immediately got some great projects.
I felt very blessed by that.
I also wanted the flexibility to be able to be there for my nephews, you know, teach them how to snowboard, get out and go ski with them. You know, every chance I could be it all their hockey games and really be an active part of raising them.
If that had happened to me, my brother would have done the same thing for me. And so I did.
Turns out, running your own business doesn't necessarily give you all the flexibility in the world, but it did give me the ability to work from wherever I needed to and to be there for them and to have a flexible schedule which I needed.
And so that's how. You know, once I got good. Clients, which happened, like I said, happened quickly, I just said, this is the path I'm on. And I think that that was what year is it, two thousand and twenty oh yeah, twenty, twenty, twenty twenty. How can we forget? Perfect site. Yeah. So I've been I've had my business now for 19 years.
[00:18:10.950] - Big Rich Klein
Very good. Yeah, it's like me, I started in 2000 and. It's it's been a roller coaster, that's for sure. It's when I walked away from corporate America saying I'm done and decided to just jump in and become an event promoter, but at a lot smaller level than like the events that you you helped with.
I mean, you mentioned Red Bull. And I understand that's it was one of those events where you met your husband. Yes.
So let's talk a little bit about that. Yeah.
[00:18:43.730] - Emily Miller
Wow. I was running a big event for Red Bull called Flugtag, and he was our water safety team. You know, these are 65, 70 thousand plus person events. You build the venue from scratch, I had a great team. But I needed a water safety team and I needed people who could do rescue on jet skis.
Apparently, I met him at the first one than the one I did in Baltimore, Maryland. He was there and I was in a room with a meeting, in a meeting, and I won't give the details. But he was the voice of reason.
In some. In some in some. In some unreasonable moments. There was some he was a voice of reason. And Larry is the his name's Laramie Giles. He's the lifeguard captain here in Encinitas. He's actually been doing it for, I think, 32 years. And he's amazing. And he's also very well known for jet ski or P.W.C. Rescue, especially in big waves. And he really pioneered a lot of that and a lot of, you know, traveled all over teaching it to other lifeguards, et cetera.
And he's a very humble, very solid, grounded individual.
And I remember when I heard his voice speaking, I'd been told by one of the Red Bull athletes, a guy named Randy Layne, and he had said, hey, you know, you need a water safety program. You need to call this guy Captain Larry Giles. He is the man I like. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, does he have his certifications? Yeah. Just call the guy. He is the man. OK, great.
Larry Giles, the man sent him off to the risk management group and department. But I remember when I heard him speaking in that room, I went, ah.
That's the man you know, I remember talking to him and I knew that next day that I'd marry him. Wow. Knew for sure.
I don't think he knew.
And then, you know, we had such busy schedules. I had a really gnarly schedule. I was doing another event. I was traveling then. I was racing the Baja 1000. And so we've developed this phone relationship, you know, got to know each other that way. And then our first date, I took him to Whistler snowboarding because it was one hundred and ten inch base like the first week of December and which, you know, is great.
And I had a passport and a snowboard with me and I said, let's go. And we hopped on a plane the next day and and then. And then we knew for sure, you know, that was it.
[00:21:35.450] - Big Rich Klein
That's awesome. Great story. He's a great guy. And about what year was that.
[00:21:40.500] - Emily Miller
Mhm. Oh. So bad with dates. I'm happy I can remember our anniversary which I think is April 18th.
That was 14 years ago. Oh yeah. It was 14 years ago. So I just gave away my age.
[00:21:57.500] - Big Rich Klein
There you go. Oh well I can edit that out. OK, thank you. Oh, yeah, that was pretty cool. So how did how did you get involved with Rod Hall and off road racing, since this is an off road motorized conversations with Big Rich podcast. Let's go there.
[00:22:21.410] - Emily Miller
OK, so I had my business, Soulside Network, and one of my clients was the tourism authority for Reno, Lake Tahoe.
And I had been asked to come to a meeting at the board meeting at the National Automobile Museum, and they there was an open board member position for the tourism authority.
And so I went in and I sat, you know, got to meet everybody there and love the Harrah car collection. You know, I grew up as a kid with my dad. You know, I never went to Disneyland or Disney World. I went to see famous buildings and famous car collections.
And so I was sitting in this meeting and I remember exactly who was there, this little guy sitting there.
And I mean, he's a little guy, you know, small in stature, big in presence.
And he just started, you know, talking to me and like, I, you know, can I get your phone number?
Let's work together, you know? You know, didn't know who he was, although I love cars and I love car collections and I love motor sports. I really didn't know Off-Road. I really didn't. And he kept calling me and I started spending some time with him. He had some projects he wanted me to help him with. One of them was to revive the Off-Road Motor Sports Hall of Fame that he had purchased from Ed Pearlman. The assets of wanted me to help him get a Tier one vendor status with General Motors, who he raced for.
He did a lot of events and a lot of projects for them, but as a like a kind of a layer down or a couple of layers down in the vendor process. And so I said, yeah, sure, you know, I can help you. Plus, he once Rod Hall gets your cell phone number, you hear from him a lot and or get a lot of texts. And I know some people listening to that will understand this, right, Nate?
And, you know, it's really endearing. It's super fun. So I really got to know Rod and I you know, I still didn't really necessarily know. I got to learn his depth, you know, in the sport as I got to know him better. But, you know, one day we start spending tons of time working together and with projects together. And then he taught me how to drive off road. I remember the first drive we did was up around Virginia City.
And I mean, he literally taught me the car like we teach in our classes and that like the classes we taught together, you know, starts out tells me exactly what's going on. In very simple terms, it's really easy to understand. And, you know, I really enjoyed driving and I really enjoyed the time that I got to spent with him just in a car and talking and hearing his stories. And then I was very fortunate that we were we are actually going to meet meeting one day.
We're going to go get coffee with Rod. You always go get coffee. And we went to go get some coffee. We're driving. And he said, you know, I found the new person, the new driver for our team.
And I went, oh, cool. You know who? And he said, You. And I didn't totally know what that that meant, I kind of figured he had wanted me, he was racing for the time at the time for Hummer, and he said, you know, I I kind of figured that he just wanted me to drive cars and park them in, like parking lots and guerilla market events that I was already at. I mean, because that would have made sense right now.
That just made all the sense in the world. And he said, no, you know, I can teach you how to race. You are going to have to learn how to win. He said, I can teach you. He goes, I need someone who.
Can be coached and who won't give up? And I love being coached, and for anybody who knows me, I don't give up. And it was really fun, but I really love being coached. And and he said also, he said the worst habit you can have in driving or racing is driving too fast. He said you can't break that from a driver. And he said, you know, he had try. He's also tried to coach people in the past.
And I think, you know, that, you know, sometimes that worked out better than other times. But he said, you know, the most important thing is that, you know, you've got to take the you know, you've got to take the instruction. And I did you know, I soaked it up. I loved it. I started driving for his team and I, you know, which is Rod's way like you just do. I knew I would always have a job.
Rod would tell me what the job was. And my job was to do exactly what he said. It was not to prove anything to anybody. It was not about me. It was about making that car look good or do exactly what I needed to do, which was get it to him or, you know, whatever it was. But you did what your job was to do what Rod Hall told you to do.
And it was great. It was awesome. I learned a lot. We became very, very great friends and I worked with him for years.
I started out as a demo driver in the Michelin BF Goodrich program, just taking people to do hot laps. You know, they knew my background in events. And so I was able to come in and streamline that the light truck tire program for him. And that was really fun. So Rod and I coached together, you know, developed exercises together, you know, drove taught people how to drive, you know, thousands we ran thousands of people through that program.
And I got to pre run with him so much and, you know, so many trips down. Baja, back up Baja all through Nevada all over. I went to, you know, Australia with him and and drove him around Western Australia, which was hilarious. We spent so much time together. And, you know, I just learned a lot, you know, I learned a lot of lessons and a lot all of his one is, you know, Rod Hall isms, you know, his one liners.
You know, I hear them all the time. He had the best one liners. He had the he had the best stories. Yeah. I remember we laid out the program for General Motors to launch two new cars, and we did it as a it was running the original Baja 1000 race course from Rod's memory. And we spent so much time like pre running it and getting ready for that.
And, you know, I've heard and so many times I've heard so many stories like this rock, you know, Roger Mears did this, you know, and at this, you know you know, at this corner, you know, Parnelli Jones did this. And, you know, I just heard all those stories and it was incredible to hear that from him. And I was just very, very blessed for, you know, a decade. I got to spend all the time in the world with that man.
And and it was really cool. You know, it was so important to Rod that the Hall of Fame not just be all about off road racing. That was his number one goal, is that the sport on dirt, you know, from rally to rock crawling, you know, everything be represented. And I just, you know, hope that as ORMHOF moves forward that they can go back to the intention of Rod now that he's passed and make sure it's not not just about off road racing and not just filled with off road racers.
You know, the diversity is so important and that it was extremely, extremely important to him.
[00:31:10.520] - Big Rich Klein
And I agree. I mean, I know that in Southern California, Nevada, Arizona, that off road racing as we know it in those in that area is huge and has a big following. But, you know, you go outside of that area and it diminishes quickly compared to a lot of other aspects of off road.
I'm not putting off road racing down because I. Absolutely enjoy It and love it, and my times in Baja are some of the funnest times that I've had, but, you know, there is more to it. So it's it's nice to see that. You know, we've got Shannon Campbell in the Offroad Hall of Fame now, Dean Bullock, who's started off with rock crawling and trials and snowmobile and everything else. And he has quite a history with Off Road.
Which is really good to see the diversity that he has, but eventually we'll start getting more rock crawlers in there, you know, at least on the competitive side or the promoter side. And there's a lot of guys out there that deserve to be in it for what they've done for the industry, not just the sport, but the industry.
[00:32:17.590] - Emily Miller
Right. Right. So true. I think they're doing a good job with some of the special categories that they have that maybe you're not inducted into the Hall of Fame, but they're these, you know, exciting categories. And I think that that's been something that's been really positive.
Yeah, I think so, too. It it grabs more people to get involved and understand that this that this entity is out there. Yeah, that's one of the things I think is is been hard is to get the saturation outside of off road racing that there is, you know, an Off-Road Racing Hall of Fame. Yeah, yeah. So you want to hear a good Rod Hall story?
Yes, absolutely. I'll tell you one to one that will always stick with me.
So when I drove in my first Baja 1000, I got in the car and I got in the car down by Visciano and Rod was going to be my co-driver sitting right seat. Talk about intimidating.
You know, it reassuring at one moment that your coach is sitting right next to you and nerve wracking that it's Rod. And we get in the car and he sits down. We go. You know, buckles in heat, we go, our intercom isn't working. So I can't hear anything like and, you know, when Rod's in the car with you, you want to do what Rod wants you to do. And so I couldn't hear. We couldn't hear.
And then finally, I'm like, OK, let's just let's just reset the radio, you know, what do you do? You panic that while we have no comms and so we end up, you know, resetting, turning back on the radio and we have comm's and the first thing out of my mouth, he goes, his mouth is. Hmm. I don't think I've ever sat over here before, and it was is just incredible to have him sit there, but he was the kind of person who would evaluate, you know, every every line, every line choice you took.
You know, he was about throttle control line choice, throttle control line choice.
And the way if, you know, if he didn't like your line choice, it just kind of reach over and just kind of punch you in the shoulder and say, why did you do that?
And then sometimes he'd say, why you do it? Why did you do that? And you'd tell him why. And he goes and then he'd say, Oh, I'd do that, too. I was just I was just checking. But it was it was funny. It was is really fun. That's awesome.
[00:34:55.550] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. So then you did Red Bull events, you did Rob Hall events. You did your own events. And then where I got to meet you again, because I think I met you at Vorra, you may have come out and raced at either Hawthorne or Fallon. There was two races that Rod brought the Hummers out to.
[00:35:16.760] - Emily Miller
Yeah, actually I know. Well, I know one I did. I actually was going to drive and I ended up not driving. I rode and helped Damian Michelin do his first race and it was snowing. I remember that one. And that was, gosh, why am I going blank? This is a great place down in Yerington, the year. And that's such a great race.
Such a great race. It was it was great terrain.
So, so great. I remember it snowed like six times on us. Yeah. That was that was really cool as fun out there. You know, when I first started I actually started events. My first client, four actually on my own is my own business. Doing events is I was with Warren Moon. Oh really. Yeah. The famous quarterback. Right. And with his group. And we did, you know, did quite a few every year fundraising events with all the top NFL and NBA players, especially for like for for for youth.
And that was awesome. We did some really incredible events. Yeah. That that was a really good period of time.
And then Kirsten, who you know, who works with me, who's worked with me now, Kirsten, I don't know if you're close by, but I think Kirsten's worked with me for maybe about eleven years and we worked she worked for Tony Hawk in the Tony Hawk Foundation. And we used to work on there doing the press and like celebrity management, things like that, for his fundraising events. And we used to raise a ton of money for skate parks in underserved communities.
And then Kirsten fortunately came to work, you know, with me and is still here and done a great job on building the Rebelle with me.
[00:37:09.500] - Big Rich Klein
So just let people know we are sitting in Emily's kitchen and the day after the it's the second day after the end of the Rebelle. It's Monday. The Rebelle ends on Saturday with the gala. The event actually competition ends on Friday and we're all still a little dust weary, desert weary. The heat was pretty incredible down there in Glamis. But any of the noises you hear sounds just bear with us. It's it's it's a business there. So we're all we're all just unwinding, you might say.
[00:37:45.830] - Emily Miller
So it's very authentic. Yeah, very. On the train go by motorcycles. Cars. Yeah, it is. The only thing I haven't heard yet is birds.
And I'm surprised because of the well you'll see there are a couple of crows that sit right up on that power line. You'll hear them there actually. They'll probably try to get in the house and steal some food. So.
[00:38:05.390] - Big Rich Klein
So I met you again at KOH, Dave Cole's event, King of the Hammers and I was working out on Chocolate Thunder. David asked me to run that section. High visibility, high exposure to. With all the spectators there and everything and the BLM dealing with the photographers and BLM and then everybody else that came along and I remember you were bringing people out and introducing me.
To these people and then having me explain what was actually happening and it was a lot of Dave's marketing partners, and then you brought Ricky Johnson out and you go.
I would like you to meet Rich Klein, this is and Ricky goes Big Rich, how's it going? And gives me a hug because we'd work together.
And you looked at me and you went Big Rich Klein, Rich Klein from Vorra?
And I was like, yup. And so that was the. That was the re-meeting, you might say, of us, and then we got hooked up again after that because Shelly looked at your pre-event advertising for the Rebelle.
And she really was interested in the event. She looked at it and said, oh, this is great, but I do a lot of off-road, but I don't drive. And then she goes, I could probably learn to navigate. But, you know, she's she really isn't a very good navigator.
Rich No, I'm just saying she's she always misses the the exits and stuff and can't I mean, it's 50 first dates with her. Shelley, are you listening to this?
Shelley. I don't know. I think she's gone. I think she's asleep. I think I see her feet. I think she's sleeping. OK, well, she she always says with her, it's like having 50 first dates the movie, because she she can't remember the road that we just drove on yesterday.
If we drive out on it again, going the opposite direction. Now she's sitting up and looking.
Yeah. But it's it's kind of true.
So then she looked at me and said, well, you know Emily Miller, right? And I said, yeah. She goes, I really want to do this. Why don't you call her and see if she'll have us as volunteers? And so I called you and you were like, yes, yes, yes.
And so here we are five years later and.
I want to talk about your time at KOH and then we'll go into the Rebelle oK, sounds good. So how did you how did you get started with Dave and.
I know what you what I think you brought to the table for him, but I want to hear it from you.
[00:40:54.920] - Emily Miller
OK, I had come out to King of the Hammers, maybe like the second hammers, where Rod Hall was the grand marshal. And so Rod had asked me to come down with them. I remember going and I could not believe what I saw the racing action. I remember being up in this one spot, standing on a rock.
Couldn't believe how close I could get to the car back then.
And I saw this car like drive off a cliff. And then I saw like Brad Lovell, which I didn't realize it was Brad, you know, basically roll his car over and then drive it up.
Right. And drive off. And I thought, this is the best racing action I have ever seen. And I've seen, you know, a lot of stuff in my life.
And I just remember being extremely impressed because that's what the world wants to see. The world wants to see that kind of action. And they but they don't want to see people get hurt. So where do you get that?
You definitely get that a king of the hammers. Right. And I had been on a BFG, I had been a brand ambassador for BFG back in the day as a driver. And Jeff Cummings had taken myself and Brad Lovell to Laguna Seca for a three day program. And at the end, Brad said, look, you really need to meet Dave Cole.
You know, King the Hammers is this amazing thing and it can go either way, could go big or, you know, it could go away. He goes, I don't know how he goes, but I think it's at a crux moment. And so he said, Can I connect you with Dave? And I agreed to it. And Dave called and I think I pulled a Dave Cole, which is sort of like saying, yeah, maybe, yeah, I don't know if I'm interested and which makes people want it more.
And, you know, we stayed in touch. And I think because I had already seen it, because the racing action was so great, I said, yes, that I would get involved.
And I have been very, very careful not to get involved in working in off road racing and in off road.
I love it.
I love to drive. I love the events.
You know, Rod and, I produced quite a quite a few events together and events for General Motors and off road events that we had created ourselves and done for dealers, et cetera. But I was very, very careful not to get involved, just being, you know, doing the work.
And because I really wanted to keep my passion for it, you know, I don't think I wanted to get burned out in it. And I said yes. And one of the first things that we did is kind of break it down and look at the event. And I brought in like the Jumbotron. You know, I was able to kind of leverage my relationships of all the the things that not all the things, but, you know, the things that I'd done with Red Bull with and say, hey, can you help us with this over here on this growing event?
And, you know, people that I trusted and brought in, you know, some pieces that I think were really helpful, which the goal was to keep people in Hammertown, too, and not necessarily all at the rock venues. You know, not everybody can get out there, you know, as many people as want to be there. You can't really get in there and see it and see it safely. And Dave was very, very committed to live webcasting it, you know, wanting to grow that and, you know, wanting to, you know, having a lot of pressure to do television.
But we didn't have the budgets for television. So I really worked on a lot of pieces at first and to help kind of lay a really good foundation.
And then I also wanted to make sure that we got media, we needed the world to know, you know, we set a goal and we set a goal for the reach, which we wanted to be global, not, you know, not just in a corner of the country. And we set out real goals to meet our real action items, to meet the goals and stayed on task and focused and committed. And it was it's been really fun ride and it's been really rewarding to see it grow.
And now I manage more of the the media third party press the social on site at the event.
But yeah, I mean, we really rolled up our sleeves in those earlier days.
[00:45:40.660] - Big Rich Klein
And I think that you brought what you brought to the table for him, really helped with the expansion. You know, you get those people in in Europe. And everywhere else involved and, you know, because of because of that media. So congratulations on that. Thank you.
[00:45:58.620] - Emily Miller
What's your take on it? I would love to hear what your take is on the whole sport. Now, just on you know, I think I just have seen it, you know, like just kind of dug down in it and.
I don't know. Well, first you're saying you're going to give your feedback on what you think my contribution was?
[00:46:19.440] - Big Rich Klein
Well, I think that that you bringing in the media and the big screen TV and taking it internationally was phenomenal. I mean, it was it definitely it takes all the aspects of off road and puts them into one thing. It takes the rock crawling, not quite as technical because it is about time and distance, but it it incorporates, you know, the Baja style off road racing with the rocks, which gives people places to watch. You know, one of the things that I've always found difficult with off road racing is that especially like in Baja or any of the ones in the United States really is that you see the car go by once.
And, you know, hopefully you have 400 cars at entry, so you get to see 400 people go by, you know, otherwise. Otherwise, it's much more fun being part of a team. Like in Baja, where you may only see your car once or if you're chasing, like what I've had to do with the teams that I've helped, which always the smaller teams is that we'd see them at every pit stop. So you had your own race.
OK. And that's more comes into what what you're doing now in the Rebelle and why I like it because it's the same it's kind of the same thing with what we're doing with helping on the Rebelle.
What King of the Hammers brings is that combination of of the racing and a place for people to actually watch for more than just five seconds as the truck goes by it, you know, 100 miles an hour or whatever, it's those rock trails are where the people congregate if they can.
You know, you won't see three hundred people standing out in the desert in a high speed section. Right. People don't mind seeing it on on film where where it goes by in a hurry. But it's that it's more intimate when it's going slower. Yeah. And I think people enjoy that.
Plus, it's it's absolutely just, you know, rock sports is just bad ass.
You have to be able to take a machine and and just thrash it. To get to do something that a machine really wasn't. Intended to do I mean, and what I mean intended to do is when the people when designers of automobiles first put these things together, you know, they were just looking at transportation from town to town to town to town. And then across the country, you know, there was no pavement. So, yes, you know, they they had to figure out how to make them work and in muddy conditions and everything else, but they never saw what we were going to do to them.
Yeah. And, you know, now it's it's a whole industry on on building specific vehicles to do specific things. And you're seeing that more in the auto industry and manufacturer wise as well, you know, with with the new vehicles that are coming out and and some that we're seeing on the Rebelle. And a lot of that, you know, I'd like to think was developed or thought about developing because of what we have done off road and rock sports.
Oh, yeah. Rock Motorsports.
[00:49:27.500] - Emily Miller
You know, the one thing I want to say that has made a huge impact on me is that. I really think that the drivers, especially that come from rock sports and the Ultra4 racers. Are the best drivers I mean, when I look at the total package and when because the discipline that they have to be able to go.
As fast as they can go to, as slow as they can go in a short period of time, you know, right up against each other, and to have that discipline and self-control and focus to do exactly what they need to do at the exact moment in the widest extremes. And that is to me is pretty mind blowing. And I just have so much respect for all those drivers. And then the co drivers, you know, their capabilities out on the course, what they go through.
You know, nobody has a perfect race. No. You know, they're not winning because they had a perfect race. It's the other thing that I love is that the drivers are so tough. They build the car, they fix the car, they run down canyons, you know, carrying parts back to their cars. They're not being picked up and dropped off, you know, by their helicopter. Robby did once.
[00:50:59.460] - Big Rich Klein
Well, that's true.He left Lance out in the desert. Yes, that is true.
[00:51:04.110] - Emily Miller
But, you know, it's and, you know, hey, nothing wrong with that. You know, in those in those genres, you know, where that does happen.
But just so much respect for how hard. All those people work and, you know, people say, oh, well, do you race King of the Hammers and I say, no, are you kidding me?
I'm not tough enough or smart enough to race, to race that race.
It's just this just mad, mad respect for everyone.
[00:51:37.200] - Big Rich Klein
I'm I'm enjoying the fact now over the last couple of years of getting some of those top off road racers to come out and experience King of the Hammers when Dave was able to get them into cars, the spec cars, and now guys are starting to drive for others that have built the cars. And they're but they're taking it seriously. I think the first couple of years, they really they really just thought they could win it in the desert.
And the rocks were just, you know, whatever, you know, just going up against a bunch of rock donkeys. And they found that, you know, the rock donkeys, you know, you have to learn to drive in the rocks to win KOH, you know, desert the desert takes care of itself. But you you know, if you can learn to drive in the rocks, you can learn to drive in the desert, you know, and one of the things that Rod always professed was, you know, taking that stock vehicle and finishing a race. Well, taking any vehicle and being able to finish that race.
Now you have this little gem of an event that you're doing. I know that you have done before you got became the promoter or the or designed the Rebelle. You raced other rallies. Let's talk about those and how those led into the Rebelle.
[00:52:56.680] - Emily Miller
Yeah, you know, well, what I would say is the Rebelle is kind of a combination of everything I've done and the things that I like, the things that I kind of wanted to build, the rally that I would want to do. I think Chrissy feels the same way. You know, she feels like the Rebelle is the rally she would want to do. I mean, sure, we'd love to add speed to it, but we wouldn't be able to do that in the U.S..
You know, the the amount of money, risk, headache, liability, adding in, you know, all out speed for that long of a distance, you know, we couldn't do so. Yeah, I've had some pretty cool experiences. And one of them was in the rally in Morocco, you know, that I did for gosh, you know, I was over there for seven or eight years, you know, competing and then also taking and prepping, you know, American teams to go over really cool experience.
I you know, I love to travel.
And Rod always told me, you know, I'd always had those Rod stories, you know, about him doing all these different rallies in different locations. And that gave me that bug. And he said the best way to travel the world is to see it from the windshield. And you'll go to places and villages and see things that you wouldn't other normally otherwise see, you know? So I love Morocco. You know, I went to Australia, you know, I've been one to actually one of my favorite races was when the Vegas to Reno was the Nevada one thousand the three day race.
And they called it a rally. But it was it was three days. And I drove that one. I was the only driver on that race. So it was a really good endurance push. And Sam Cochran was my navigator. He was awesome. And, you know, we won that in that class and, you know, racing stock mini. But what I would say and then actually, I just went last. April and competed in the Carta rally in Africa.
That was a seven day endurance rally and it was, GPS though, and it was really fun. It was hard and challenging, super challenging.
That's the one you did with Lily. Yeah, I took Lily, who works with us on the Rebelle, really neat young woman who has a four year degree in high performance motor sports.
And she wants to get more international experience. And she's worked super hard for us. And so we trained and prepared and actually won our class over there.
So that was really cool. But I feel like the different experiences I've had has and even some of the difference events have produced, you know, not competed in, you know, have really impacted what I've done. Even, you know, I can even say, you know. Raid Amazon is a great inspiration to me.
It's a six day adventure race I did five years ago, but nothing motorized, you know, all, you know, and actually competed with as the teammate, with my friend that I have competed against and in driving. And she's great friends. And Syndylie Wade from Senegal, she's done the Dakar multiple times. And yeah, I would say that all those different experiences, I went OK, if I were going to do an event, how would I want, you know, what kind of team would I want to build if you know, what kind of base camps would I want, what kind of finish what, you know, all these different pieces and some of it's evolved since we started.
Some of it I've realized, you know, I like this. I don't like that we get worked to get a lot of feedback from those around us. I love the rally in Morocco, but I wanted but it was just shortest distance, which actually means if you want to win it, you literally drive straight over everything in your way.
And to me, that's not fun, that it's not even how I drive, especially if you want to be smooth.
If you want to be smooth, you want to be quicker, you want to take care of the environment, the vegetation, all those things, and you want to drive faster than a snail's pace. You know, and I also wanted you know, I wanted a rally that would build. Great experience in the navigator's to make them top navigators, and I wanted it to be fun to drive, and that's what I believe the Rebelle has become.
In fact, I just I got off the phone with Emme Hall, who drove the Rivian RT1 in the rally. She's done it every year. She's won it twice. And she said to me that she goes this year. It was so hard, she says, but the driving was so fun.
And I went, yes, I like that.
[00:57:48.090] - Big Rich Klein
I heard the hard thing from a lot of the girls. In fact, every one of the every one of the ladies that I talked to Friday or Saturday all said how hard it was. From my position being a course worker, I didn't I didn't get I didn't see the hardness in the driving, but I saw the hardness in watching the tracking to where the ladies had to drive to and as a course worker and then somebody to run sweep. I don't have to drive everything.
I just have to drive the cleanest line to get to the main checkpoints to make sure everybody makes it back to camp.
So it's I don't have to do all the work and finding the checkpoints, you know, I get to look, it's easy because I have GPS and I get to see where all the other ladies went and then figure out that's probably not the way to go. So, yeah, you know, I'm I like I think Shelly and I like the event because of the way the way it opens up individuals that have never have never competed. Maybe they've they've competed in their life and in other sports and other aspects.
But in a driving motorized event, it allows them to to do it on their own. There's been some instances during the event where I saw I saw real growth and pride come out in some of these women.
A day after where they were just crushed. You know, they they had got missed checkpoints and timing wise and all that kind of stuff, and they were crushed and that's one of the things that happens at those mandatory checkpoints, is that they don't get there in time. You know, you can see the crushing blow to them, but then you see them have a win the next day that just changes all that.
And it's it's exciting to watch, you know, I mean, especially right there.
I mean, you would never get that from from watching the tracking. You might get it from the stories that come out afterwards. But being involved with the event, you get to see that emotion and the emotion, emotional ranges in the competitors and in the staff.
Yeah, yeah. You know, is is quite phenomenal, you know, and our events, I don't we don't get that because it's not everybody's got support. Yeah.
You know, these these ladies are going out there with. You know, with background support, but there you know, this is an event where, you know, that support is in the background. You know, with the with the with the staff being there and making sure I mean, you know, you've got the medical there, you know, you have. Recovery when it's needed or anywhere on site where where it needs to happen and, you know, it's it's quite phenomenal what you put together, but instead of me talking about it, I want to hear it from you.
So tell me about the Rebelle for people that don't have any clue what we're talking about.
[01:00:59.180] - Emily Miller
Well, I think I'll start with just addressing what you were saying, talking about it being hard. First of all, you know, and not having support. We give them a lot of support, but they have to. Set up their tents, break down their tents, packed their car, break down their car, wrench on their car, change their tires, do everything, they don't have a team like like let's say you go out to a standard competition.
You have a whole team around you. Some people just have smaller teams than others. Some people, you know, some drivers don't do anything but drive. You know, they're bad. They don't worry about their bags. They don't worry about eating, you know, like they just drive. This is you do everything and it's exhausting. It's fatiguing. It is. I wake them up with a cowbell at five a.m. every morning, but usually there are already awake.
They go to bed, you know, they come across the finish line, you know, anywhere between six and eight o'clock at night, set up, sleep a little bit, get up and do it all over again day after day after day for eight days. And that's hard. And it is a challenge. And they get they go through the range of emotions for sure. And, you know, I always say ride the middle. You know, that's one thing I've learned in life.
You know, try to ride the middle. And I mean, I can get up and down, but I try to be as even keel as I possibly can. And usually I'll catch myself going and, you know, don't need to stress about that.
One thing I can say is that I think this year was it was really hard on the competitors because we made it harder, the challenge harder. We also decreased some of the radius because people before they could just drive, they are maps are so good they could just drive right into that bullseye, click their tracker because the radius was so big. They could do that and do that quickly. Now we squeeze down the radius and now they have to, you know, take some time, you know, to to make sure they're nailing those black check points.
You know, the checkpoints are rated green, blue and black, like a ski run. And, you know, it was really interesting. We also gave them X checkpoints. So they had to make a decision between a regular checkpoint and an X checkpoint, usually multiple times a day. And just adding in that decision making time, it may not be a race for speed, but you are competing against daylight and your closing times of your checkpoints. So your forced to make decisions quickly.
And that's really tough.
You know, when two people are weighing in to make a decision, you know, and you've got to make that decision quickly, that makes it harder. So I think that that's really was what made it harder this year. And so people were bleeding time. And, you know, a wise person once told me, you only lose time, you don't make time and you don't get time back. You you only lose time. For those who aren't familiar with the Rebelle, it is a ten day event.
It is an eight day rally of seven days are scored. And then there's one day of prologue, which is basically like a great practice day.
The past five years we've started in Lake Tahoe and we finish near the Mexico border in Glamis, the Imperial Sand Dunes. The rally travels through California and Nevada and we go through just super iconic terrain. The course really changes up each year. Even though we can return to places, the course will either feel different, come, come in at a different angle or be, you know, a few valleys over, you know, sometimes sixty miles away. But it's all in that, you know, California, Nevada, you know, corridor.
We are looking, though, at adding in Arizona. And that's the first time I've actually said that publicly, don't I?
I can't tell you when it's going to be, but I can tell you that there's some incredible terrain in Arizona.
It is max limit of fifty teams. It is a team of a driver and navigator in a vehicle. It is designed for stock vehicles. And when I mean stock, you know, it would be if you looked at, you know, a stock class, there are only so many vehicle modifications you can make. You know, your suspension is limited. Your wheels, your tire size is limited to thirty five inch tire. It's designed for the vehicles we drive.
You know, it is designed for, you know, Jeep, Land Rovers, Toyotas, you know, RAM trucks, Nissan trucks and SUVs, you know, vehicles like that. There are two classes. I was very intentional. And actually this came from Rod. You know, Rod and I talked about this a lot. We wanted an event where stock manufacture vehicles could shine.
This is not a competition for race cars, and I think that's really important, too, because a lot of people want to have that feeling of racing or competing in a car, but they don't necessarily have the budget or the bandwidth to own. A race car or a race truck? It's just expensive, it's tough. It sounds great. But in when you actually break it down in line, item out the budget and everything and what it takes and the manpower in the man hours, it's not for everyone.
And I wanted something that would be attainable for everyone. And so the two classes are four by four and X Cross and four by four means. There is a two speed transfer case.
So you have low range gears and then the X cross class, which would be defined as two wheel drive, all wheel drive crossover type vehicles that would range everything from, you know, a Subaru to, you know, some of the examples. This year we had the Ford Bronco sport. We've had Nissan's even the actually excuse me, Honda's the Honda Ridgeline.
The Ridgeline is little pickup pickup truck, but it has lower ground clearances and it does not have a two speed transfer case. So drives a lot like a car.
Actually, we've had a Porsche, Porsche Cayenne, we've had Jaguar, Espace, we even had a Rolls Royce. And actually little did anybody know that the Rolls Royce Cullinan has Off-Road Mode and it has tank mode. Tank tank mode.
Yes. Look it up. It's pretty cool.
That's a really interesting class because it's a great way to prove that crossover type vehicle.
So yeah, it has two classes and then we have what we call designations. Designations are just a little bit of a bragging rights situation. We have forty thirty, which is of vintage vehicles that are older than 40 years old. We have the International Cup for competitors who are teams from out of the country because it's just harder and more expensive, you know, to to come to the U.S. and compete. And then we have the bone stock. And I love bone stock because Rod Hall, the first time he had me drive and pre run a race, it was Vegas to Reno and he had a an H3 that was borrowed from the G.M. proving grounds.
It was his bone stock and Hummer H3, as you could get. And that was what we were going to Pre-run in and he said, you have to return it without a scratch on it. It's pretty funny.
But he said the mark of a great driver is someone who can pilot a completely bone stock vehicle successfully to the limit of what that vehicle can do without hurting it. And that will always be my standard and the Rebelles standard as the mark of a great driver. And so bone stock means the only modifications you can do to that vehicle is wheel and wheels and tires. You know, you can't do other modifications. You can put a skid plate basically under the fuel tank for protection, but you can't have skid plates up front that are considered like more performance type, you know, skid plates.
So you can just go ahead and do stuff, you know, a little hot and not have consequences. We won't name any names.
No, I can think of quite a few right out of the gate. So that's just a badge of honor.
It's not a class. You know, you don't finish second and bone stock or third and bone stock. There's one winner of bone stock. And that's the highest scoring vehicle in the Rebelle Rally. That is bone stock. We have had bone stock vehicles when overall at the Rebelle Rally. That's good news to me. We had actually a bone stock Jeep willies when bone stock this year and they got third overall in the rally. That award goes to the driver of the vehicle and it also goes the manufacturer.
This year it was Jeep, I think a Jeep won it this year. Lexus won it last year. Jeep won the year before. And we've had Ram. Ram has also won bone stock.
[01:10:44.970] - Big Rich Klein
Excellent. Oh, and we have electrified, yes, electrified, can't forget that, no, every time Emme came into my checkpoint, I'd rev my Raptor up. I'd turn it even if I didn't have it on, I'd turned it on and rev it up. That one. Right then she wanted to drag race.
[01:11:06.810] - Emily Miller
You don't want to drag race that car. No, I know. And then I said in the whoops and she goes, OK, well, we got to drag race on the flat.
That what that car can do if you just put your foot to the floor is
[01:11:21.520] - Big Rich Klein
jaw dropping. That's what I understand. I did not get a chance to ride in it, but I hope to eventually ride in once I get a chance to experience it.
So with the rebelle. Where do you besides Arizona, where do you where do you foresee it going? Is there anything different that you might want to do? I don't know. I don't know what it would be. I mean. Every year that we do this, we we try to give you some recommendations from our point of view, but we did we did that with with King of the Hammers and we do it with everybody that we we work with even did it with a flight, with a STOL event we were in or helped with and the short takeoff and landing events for airplanes just because, you know, we are event promoters and we've been doing it a lot of different things.
But I don't know I don't know how you do anything differently. Do you have something else that you're going to throw in there to to wrench with the girls? Yes, you talk about oh, yeah, OK, cool, I can't talk about it, you can't talk about it.
[01:12:32.030] - Emily Miller
Oh no, but it's killing me but it's big, awesome and it's exciting. I might be able to tell you and Shelley, not on the air, all right. I would love to. You know, these it's tough, though. You know, we've been very methodical. We have not we have tried to stay true to our core values.
We've been our number one core values that we provide a fair, transparent competition and we have opportunities and a system in place from our inquiries to protests, etc. We we to make it transparent. I've been a competitor. I have felt it when things have not been transparent. Other competitions Chrissy has. Jimmy Lewis has. Chris Woo has. That is our number one. Most important thing is the integrity of the competition. You know, I don't think people even have any idea how much we labor over that and lose sleep over that and program.
And we have, you know, our from our scoring systems to the automation of our scoring systems to, you know, which are elaborate and extensive, shockingly extensive. It's about protecting the brand of Rebelle and about protecting the integrity of it. And so we move slowly and we haven't we believe in there's something, you know, in in business and in work and endurance called the 20 mile march that you march along 20 miles a day every day. You don't go 50 miles when it's good weather.
You know, you don't stop when it's raining. You march along 20 miles a day. You know, if fire bullets, you know, before you fire cannonballs. And those are some like lessons that, you know, are pretty well documented in and in data and in history and success.
And that's what we do, you know, a lot.
And we also controlled and managed managed growth. Yeah, it really is. And I've felt strongly about that. And I believe it has served us well. The one thing I can say and, you know, for any of the staff who's listening right now, we have a fantastic rally this year with covid. It was extremely hard, extremely hard, and especially since we're such a long, multiday event, we go into so many counties and so many jurisdictions and land management jurisdictions to get approvals from everyone at a time where people didn't know, you know, what was happening.
[01:15:23.280] - Big Rich Klein
So this year was about survival?
[01:15:26.340] - Emily Miller
Yes, it really was in. And, you know, it was hard. I'm sure some people thought we were being completely over the top. Ridiculous, like with some of the things that we are trying to implement. But what I found, I think what we found on site is it really wasn't that hard to implement on site.
But just turn I have my voice today because I actually wear a face mask in the dust. I realise how beat up I am when I come back from being sunburned, breathing the dust, being in the dirt. I feel great. You know, I feel like some of the things that we made changes in protocols like with, you know, our base camps, the sizes of our base camps, all those things. I think they worked really well.
You know, we had more handwashing stations and, you know, it's cleaner. You know, I don't think anybody minded any of that. No, it was really good. And everybody was really compliant and and it was nice to come in having been tested, you know, like we knew we'd been tested. People were being careful. You know, there's always that outside chance. But I think that was really good. So this year was about surviving and we had done a lot of pre preparation that I think helped with staff.
And I can say that while it was hard for the competitors, I think our staff had the best rally that we have had in five years.
[01:16:44.940] - Big Rich Klein
I think I think it was I think the rally itself was really good. I think that that the way you your protocols for covid were completely understandable. In the situation. That's that's as far as I'll go with that, I'm never going to do anything to to jeopardize somebody else's event, whether I like something or not, you know, I can't say that I'm all gung ho about wearing a mask all the time, but I did what I had to do.
And I'm sure there was a lot of others that that felt the same way, especially on the staff side. The thing that I felt this year that that that was missing for staff is that we always try to sit at a different table every night at dinner so that we can get to know teams that we haven't met. Hmm. I felt that I didn't get a chance to meet new teams. Oh, yeah. Like I would have otherwise. And that was that was the only diminishing point in the whole event process for me.
Yeah. Yeah. Was that lack of and even with some of the staff, you know, because there was it was you know, there was that expected, you know, social distancing and with the masks on and it just it created a different a lot different atmosphere. So I'm hoping that going forward that things lighten up a bit. To where medically we can that it's acceptable to, you know, to ditch the masks and, you know, whatever has to happen happens.
But that's the only thing that I personally. You know, and it's not something that that could have been dealt with any other way. So, you know, it was just the end result. Mm hmm.
[01:18:33.570] - Emily Miller
So, you know, it's interesting that you said that because I actually had staff that felt like they were tighter as a staff than we've ever been. I had a lot of that feedback. Tighter. Yeah, closer. Yeah. A lot of staff said that they you know, everybody worked together better. I think everybody who was there wanted to be there. We didn't have anybody who didn't want to be there.
And nobody got sick with colds. You know, we didn't get cultlike because a lot of times we're up in each other's face so much.
We didn't get colds. We didn't have anybody. We had somebody got sick. But, you know, something that was completely unrelated to anything respiratory, you know. You know, everybody worked together super well. You know, we were still going in RV's and sitting down, you know, and having to go through stuff. so pods. There were pretty, you know, tight with, you know, but to know that BLM and national parks came out and said thank you, because the the event the week before you jeopardized you even being here, every single base camp, they came and took pictures and reported back to the state every single every single base camp every single day.
And then we got a report sent. So the fact that people were complying but still having fun, you know, like I had I had fun and and I felt that that was a small price to pay to exist.
[01:19:55.320] - Big Rich Klein
Oh, I agree. I agree. And that's in this time, it was it was it was absolutely necessary. Mm hmm. And I don't want to go on a political tangent on where it's going or what's going to happen, because we don't really know. But the. To me, there was just a feeling, a little separation and not so much, I guess, in the staff, except there were some new people that were that I didn't get a chance to sit and talk to that maybe I would have if.
You know, base operations is always so, so busy anyway that, you know, there was like I said, there were some new people or even people that I hadn't that I had connected with in prior years that I didn't connect with so much this year. Oh, yes. And I don't know if it was just because they were busy or or I felt like I needed the distance while they were, you know, I don't know. It was just it was funny.
[01:20:52.070] - Emily Miller
I didn't feel like I had to distance at all. All I did was take a step back. All I would do is like when I'd get around people, I would do is just take take one step back. And that was kind of my barometer. I'd like to be like, OK, you know, I'm like standing right next to the person. I'm just going to take one step back, but I'm still going to hang out, talk to them and everything.
But I think everybody is just trying to braille their way through it.
[01:21:11.330] - Big Rich Klein
You know, I was more cautious, especially around the teams. Oh yeah. Because especially the new ones, the that the teams that I already knew. Yeah. If they wanted to come up and talk and, and, you know, Converse and that kind of stuff, then I was open but I wasn't, we didn't reach out like we, we did in other years where we'd sit down and say, hey, tell us your story. Where are you from, what do you know?
Yeah. And I miss that.
Yeah, totally. Unfortunately, I'm a I guess I'm a social butterfly or a moth. You know, I'm not a butterfly, so that's not true.
You're a butterfly, though. Nobody would believe that anyway.
[01:21:49.460] - Emily Miller
But I know what you mean. Yeah, but I'm just so like the great thing is, is to know that even when times are tough, we can have a rally. Yes. You know, and still have a great a great rally.
[01:22:01.130] - Big Rich Klein
And when all this started off. And everybody was canceling events and stuff, I you know, I knew that that everybody told you you couldn't do this to begin with five years ago or six years ago when it when it came up or even seven years ago when you got that this harebrained idea of doing this, that, you know, you heard a lot of it, people saying you weren't going to be able to do it because you're going to have to work with all these jurisdictions, you know, on road, off road, all these different counties, all these different personalities and everything you had to deal with.
And then now you throw in covid, which has everybody freaked out because nobody knows anything. Even the experts don't seem to know anything because they all change their mind every week. And now, you know, you pulled it off. So kudos. Thank you.
Really a lot of sleepless nights, I would imagine, because in March, April, when we were locked down in Texas for seemed like six months. Wasn't, but it seemed like it it was, you know, we were wondering, you know, I guess well, we knew SEMA would eventually cancel. We knew off road Expo we knew all that stuff was going to happen. And we we thought, you know, I don't know if she'll be able to get the permits.
Yeah. You know, and I know it came down to the wire down and with Imperial County. Yeah. And just. Wholeheartedly, absolutely amazed that that you pulled it off again. Well, thank you.
So I don't know.
[01:23:29.270] - Emily Miller
Never going to stop you except for, you know, the here. Interesting you say that. You know, I think what was really cool, though, is that I feel like we have a diverse staff and a group of people, which is really good. And, you know, one of the first things we said, you know, is like, let's all put away our cell phones, put away our political differences, put away our beliefs about covid.
And because we want to we we're doing this to get away from that. And everybody did. You know, and I thought it was really cool that, yeah, there are a lot of people that don't want to wear a face mask. I mean, let me tell you, I didn't love wearing a face mask, but I now realize, like, I would probably look 20 years younger if I started wearing a face mask a long time ago.
But what I and I do mean that. But I feel like everybody respected each other and the rallies so much.
[01:24:29.650] - Big Rich Klein
That they were willing to do it, and after a while, it wasn't really that big a deal like walk in pulled out, I'm just whatever I can tell you that up until the rally, even when I was visiting my parents the week two weeks before and we were in Northern California.
I'd put a mask on and it would cover my chin because they said a face covering, so I was wearing it but I wasn't wearing it since. You know, I've been out two days now, did some maintenance on the truck today, went to have an oil change done, went did some shopping, and I'm wearing the face mask still. So I guess I've gotten to the point where I know I can wear it, even though I'm kind of claustrophobic with it and I think I'm going to die because I'm wearing it.
I can't breathe. But, you know. Yes, and this, too, shall pass. I'm doing it, yeah, yeah, it will pass.
I know a bunch of my friends will be out there going, I can't believe you bought into that crap.
[01:25:28.570] - Emily Miller
Well, yeah. And this one, it's not even buying in. It's did you hear since the second sports expo gone.
Yeah. They they got they got shut down. Shut down because people weren't complying.
And so the sad thing is, is, you know, there are people and I have you know, I know people like this. I have friends like this, like, you know, we shouldn't buy into it, et cetera. But the fact is, is that person, that poor promoter, just lost because people just didn't feel like complying with something. That's pretty a pretty simple ask right now. Put it on. And if it's required and you don't want to go and do it, then just don't go and do it.
But don't do something that literally can is terrible for the industry, for the vendors who spent the money to get there. Yes. And for that promoter and like there are so many people that are so negatively impacted by people being selfish enough to not just say, hey, I'm going to go in here for two hours, wear a facemask, be respectful, see what news happening, and just look to the future that it's not always going to be this way.
But I feel I'm really sad for everybody who worked hard to get there.
Seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and the tunnel wasn't that hard to get through. Right.
[01:26:51.780] - Big Rich Klein
You know, I was amazed that we were able to pull off most of our season and that my son was able to do his event. And now they've just shut down three counties in Utah. And it was the one where trail hero was that it was the one where our nationals was at and then another another Garfield County. It's interesting that, you know, those those counties were wide open and they allowed all these big events to go on. And now and I don't think it was that we were.
You know, the cause of those those things, because the people that were that got sick were not involved with our event or, you know, came out to our event or were probably even anything to do with it or even knew we were there. But still, you know, those things happened. And now what it would have done to our business, to my sons, one time of year event, you know, there's all the same things happened.
This thing goes so much deeper than than just wearing a mask and just, you know, trying not to get people sick, but through the economy and all the businesses that have shut down, people that have committed suicide from having their businesses shut down and lost all. You lost everything. Yeah.
[01:28:04.030] - Emily Miller
The thing that I feel that is is a little encouraging is that, like, we now have an understanding enough that says try to be outdoors as much as you can, wear a mask, take a step back. We can do that. We can, you know, keep moving, you know, and people want to keep moving.
And it's critical that we keep moving. It was so hard to see what went on at the start. And I just hope that our leadership, you know, has learned from it. So we go through this again, because this is not the last respiratory infection that passes easily or, you know, a patient. This is not our it's our first pandemic and it's not our last pandemic. Correct.
And, you know, I, I just hope that they're you know, I feel like now, like, OK, well, we have a personal plan.
This is what's been recommended. This is how we can keep moving where we live in San Diego County. You know, things are moving along now. You know, we're fortunate that our numbers are down. You know, testing is up, numbers are down. But I can't imagine I you know, I can't imagine places that that are in cold climates. We're so fortunate because we have a warm climate here.
Yeah, it's harder to spread. Yeah. Yeah. But it's going to be I really am, you know, just sending a lot of you know, anybody listening. Just know that I'm really thinking about everybody because I know what it's like. And to be in those shoes of we had time on our side fortunately.
But there was when we went into the rally, I was thinking if we had been two weeks later, like the numbers started going up right as we were heading out on the rally thinking, wow, it's just opened up.
Nevada just opened up, going from 50 gatherings of 50 to, you know, to 250, which, you know, and then a thousand in big venues.
And we classify it as a sporting event with no spectators. So it's a little different.
You know, we were just right in that sweet spot.
I don't control time, that is for sure. So but I do believe that the rally was a bright spot and a dark and a tough year.
You know, I've had a I read some notes today from some of the competitors who've sent in text messages and emails just saying thank you so much for pulling this off. It's it's what I needed right at the right moment because I needed my head to see clearly. You know, it's hard to know what's going on when you're told to stay home and watch the news.
Yeah, none of the news is that that's another story. That's another story.
But I just want to say thank you. I mean, you and Shelly have been like 100 percent committed since this started. And honestly, like, I know that even though the teams couldn't you know, it wasn't necessarily the same like sit down, have long chat. The fact that you were always there, you know, sweeping and being, like, happy, you know, group of people at a checkpoint made the difference in these.
And people are on edge. You know, they came into it. It's been an angsty, edgy year, you know, and just seeing these people that have their back and, you know, smiling and and in for us, it's having people who are capable, like our course official team is so good.
[01:31:44.780] - Big Rich Klein
You've surrounded yourself. The crew that you've put together are not just problem identifiers because anybody can be a problem identifier.
It's being able to be a problem solver and being able to pivot, do whatever you need to do that in that situation without really without looking for for insight from somebody else, just figuring out what has to be done that particular moment. There's a lot of that on the on the rally, at least from the course side. Yeah. And, you know, it hasn't always been that way. I mean, you know, we've gone through some. Some staff, all of them had strengths.
[01:32:27.570] - Emily Miller
You know, some of them just weren't maybe problem solvers. Yeah, and or weren't, you know, not everybody is meant to sleep in the dirt for 10 days and solve problems every few minutes. You know, like we always say, you know, on the rally, like I need great. Not good. And but I also need great and the right temperament for the rally, the right personality for the rally. And, you know, that's really important, as we all know.
You know, we had over 85 staff there this year, more than competitors.
Mm hmm. And that was the most we had an covid. You know, some of the covid things required us to have more people. Also, we just need more people because it's so hard and we need the right people. And it's really that staff is incredible. I think the other thing that I like, as I said it in the final awards, that I have a really, really good team and everybody is opinionated and stubborn and, you know, in a really good way.
And I'll preface that, that they're stubborn because they have a lot of experience and they have a lot of insight. And when things are not being efficient or things aren't right, they dig their heels in in a way that's important. So that I take notice, I fix you know, I fix it for them or I fix it for whether it's the lead or et cetera. And so I think it's been really an evolution of our staff. And that's what I really love this year in every single area.
And you guys are out on course all day. But I get to see, like base camp ops, media safety, scoring all all those pieces, you know, of course, in competition, all that come together and every single person like was so on point. And I think that that's been probably my favorite thing is everybody's really pushed me and I didn't want a whole bunch of yes people. And I believe, you know, that's a compliment.
I want to pay to Dave Cole too with King of the Hammers, I've always been treated with respect and that that I'm part of I can be part of a solution. And then I'm listened to which is really cool because he's got a really tough job out there. You know, that's a big group. The the Rebelles small, although we have a big we have a big staff.
But yeah, I believe that like yourself and Jimmy Lewis, Chrissy Beavis, Chris Woo, you know, Kirsten Teigen, all all these people hold me to task and it's made me a better leader. And it's made our event better because it's not just my vision.
It's combining the feedback and some of the vision and experiences that all these like powerhouse people who are on our staff have. Because if this were just me, like I'm one person with, you know, one small brain, maybe smaller than normal, sometimes I feel.
But I mean that seriously, like that has been probably my favorite. I was so excited to develop the rally and the competition and do this for the competitors. And we feel like the course is this gift to the competitors. It's really a cool course and it goes to amazing places and we really work hard on that. But my favorite thing is having a killer team. You know, that really all care about each other, and this year, more than ever, we had a team that cared immensely about every single person that was on that rally.
That's so cool. I agree. Well, sorry I'm taking a long time. Oh, no.
This is crazy. You said I edit this stuff out.
[01:36:35.150] - Big Rich Klein
Some of it will get edited out. A lot of it'll stay in its time. Doesn't matter. I've had these things go over two hours and I've had them run less than an hour.
We're at an hour and almost forty eight minutes right now.
I would like to say thank you so very much for not only being a friend being. Being who you are and who you've been and where you've taken your spot in, in this whole grandiose thing that we call off road, you know, it's it's more than racing. It's more than rock crawling. It's more than just an industry, you know, it's a lifestyle. And that's what what sold me on it years ago. Thank you.
[01:37:23.550] - Emily Miller
You know, I want to say that you have been a huge encourager to me, whether you know it or not. And Shelly has been a huge encourager to me. And, you know, even like I was really worried when covid hit because I was really worried about all your events. And, you know, I called you guys and you were also really encouraging to me. But you just saying yes to this.
I mean, you're big, Rich Klein, you know, I mean, I had people who on the rally for the first time this year, and it might have been one of the Rivian mechanics, maybe, you know, it was one of our safety guys said, oh, my gosh, Rich Klein is here. I've always wanted to meet him. I couldn't wait, you know, and and you've just been really the impact.
He was like, well, that was just. No way. Are you kidding me?
He was so stoked. And but it really is validating. And I've also asked you for words of advice and wisdom. And it's really, really meaningful because I. I don't take it lightly. Like, I really don't take it lightly, even if I sound like I take it lightly. Trust me, I don't know.
[01:38:41.400] - Big Rich Klein
I understand that. And that was one of the things I remember the first. The first Rebelle we were sitting there a lot, lakeside in Tahoe in this cabin, and it was the first staff meeting and everybody's really hard working on everything. And Shelly and I show up and it's like, OK, you know, we're just we're I'm not sure what we're going to be doing. We're not sure, you know, what our place is going to be.
And then you start introducing everybody and then you're talking about how things are going to unfold. And somebody asked a question and you looked at me and said, Rich, what would you do in this situation? And I looked at you and I said, Hey, Emily, it's your event. And you said, I want your advice. What would you do in this situation? I said, well, you know, here's three ways to approach that.
And this is probably the one that I would do. And then you looked at me and thought for a couple of seconds and I could see it all the wheels turning. And and then you go, yeah, that's that's the way we'll do it. And everybody else that was there, I mean, Woo may have known who I was and I knew Jimmy, but everybody else was like, you know, they didn't know who Shelly and I were.
And I could see the look on their face going, who is this old fat guy that's giving her recommendations? Because she's asking him, why is that?
You know, they didn't know that. You know, at that point, I had probably 300, 400 events under my belt and, you know, just a lot of life experience putting on events, that's all. Oh, yeah. Being able to pivot at the last second.
[01:40:15.580] - Emily Miller
You know, it was I'll tell a funny story about that first time because that was pre evacuation. Yes.
So on the first Rebelle, we were at Valhalla, which where we return to this year, and I've been trying for five years to do rally school in that vintage old boathouse on the lake, which we now with covid.
We couldn't do it this year, but but we got to stay outside. We did, which was really nice. But at four o'clock in the morning, I was woken up by one of our staff to let me know that there was a forest fire and it was right next to where we were staying. And we had to Valhalla called us up, told us how to break into the place to get all of our stuff out. And we had to evacuate immediately and they had closed down the roads.
And I remember immediately everyone of our core team jumped into action and you and Shelly went to the road closure. And then you go. The road closures turned everyone around. Jimmy Lewis bypassed the road closure on his motorcycle through the woods to help us come get out of that. It was so funny. But and then Chrissy Beavis went and found us an alternative location of rally school and the way everyone sprang into action on that first Rebelle. And but you just knew, like, right where to go.
Yeah. Rich and Shelley, we're going here. Here's what we're going to do.
Every single person on our core team, our team leads, you know, every person knew exactly what to do. And I just went, that's why we assembled this team.
You know, and because it starts now, the problems start solving starts now, and it was really cool to see that. And that's why you have to stay on this rally, because I need the I need the best people because it's a it's a beast.
Well, thank you. We will we will definitely be here as long as you'll have us.
So just know that and maybe we don't have to wear face masks next year. That would be awesome.
Anyway, thank you, Emily. Thank you. Let's hope for for this all this stuff to be behind us and in a great year next year.
Yeah, you know, I can say, though, that it was a great year this year. Yes. And it would not have been the same if you and Shelly weren't there. Well, so thank you, like, no joke. Well, we heard a lot from the girls, you know, they just say, oh, it's so nice to see your smiling face there. You know, most of the time it's actually smiling face because she's got a smile.
I don't smile much.
So anyway, and I'm really glad you're in the Raptor now, because I remember being in Dumont when we were in Dumont. I was thinking about when you were in the Jeep and the Jeep broke down in the jeep was great. We just always make sure that we just didn't figure out what that what that problem was.
And it was it was in the distributor. It was a pickup in the distributor that was starting to fail. And we finally got it, figured it out. But the Cherokee was much more capable and could go anywhere when it was running. But we nicknamed it this year, the woodstove, and we would not have been able to do the rally this year in it with the heat that we experienced. I mean, even the Tonopah area was warm compared to what it's ever been.
It was. And it would have been it would have been very difficult to do to manage the last four days of the Rebelle Without AC. That's all I can say.
I don't know how Kris Vockler did it. Yeah, me neither. I heard that it was crazy. Anyway, again, thank you. And they will definitely. Thank you.
Thank 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.