Conversations with Big Rich

Dirt Every Day's Fred Williams in Episode 34

November 26, 2020 Guest Fred Williams Season 1 Episode 34
Conversations with Big Rich
Dirt Every Day's Fred Williams in Episode 34
Chapters
Conversations with Big Rich
Dirt Every Day's Fred Williams in Episode 34
Nov 26, 2020 Season 1 Episode 34
Guest Fred Williams

Media mogul, Fred Williams, having successfully migrated from Print to Video shares some insights on how to tell a story on Episode 34 of Conversations with Big Rich.  From the farm to four-wheel drives, Fred continues to “cross-pollinate”  the off-road industry as he explores more Dirt Every Day.

3:46 – What makes a Jeep most like a tractor?

8:03 – YouTube is the modern day service manual 

10:31 –I’m just a kid that likes 4x4’s

16:53 – first rockcrawl- bunch of guys just all trying to figure it out

22:38 – first job at Peterson’s

29:25 – commitment to the cars

41:58 – like a bumblebee, cross-pollinating the off-road industry

45:39 – trying to get the scoop

50:08 – The early days of Dirt Every Day

55:54 – full scuba gear – see the #1 episode   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icp2Pb5uoME

1:07:22 – you have to tell a story

Subscribe to the MotorTrend App to watch Dirt Every Day with Fred Williams.

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

www.maxxis.com

www.4lowmagazine.com 

Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/BigRich)

Show Notes Transcript

Media mogul, Fred Williams, having successfully migrated from Print to Video shares some insights on how to tell a story on Episode 34 of Conversations with Big Rich.  From the farm to four-wheel drives, Fred continues to “cross-pollinate”  the off-road industry as he explores more Dirt Every Day.

3:46 – What makes a Jeep most like a tractor?

8:03 – YouTube is the modern day service manual 

10:31 –I’m just a kid that likes 4x4’s

16:53 – first rockcrawl- bunch of guys just all trying to figure it out

22:38 – first job at Peterson’s

29:25 – commitment to the cars

41:58 – like a bumblebee, cross-pollinating the off-road industry

45:39 – trying to get the scoop

50:08 – The early days of Dirt Every Day

55:54 – full scuba gear – see the #1 episode   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=icp2Pb5uoME

1:07:22 – you have to tell a story

Subscribe to the MotorTrend App to watch Dirt Every Day with Fred Williams.

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

www.maxxis.com

www.4lowmagazine.com 

Be sure to listen on your favorite podcast app.

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/BigRich)

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: This episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we talk with Fred Williams. Fred has been on the magazine side of the off-road world, working with what became the MotorTrend group, which then morphed into the video and TV show Dirt Every Day. Fred was an enthusiast that chose to take his passion for trucks and Jeeps to the next level. On this episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Fred Williams, Fred, I'd like to thank you for coming on and discussing your life in off-road with our listeners. So, let's get started by saying hello. And where did you, where'd you grow up 

 

Fred Williams: Rich, It's great to talk to you. It's been a while since we've hung out. And I guess it's been a while since everybody's kind of hung out with this whole global pandemic thing. I grew up on a farm in South central Pennsylvania. My hometown's claim to fame is the home of Three Mile Island, which is the worst nuclear accident in US history for any viewers, listeners, I guess that, haven't heard of it. And it probably also explains a lot of things about why I'm the way I am. yeah, so I kind of grew up on a farm and at some point I just was really into four by fours and I kind of feel like the whole farm thing was the impetus behind that. Like my, my dad wasn't into off-roading. He never took me Jeepin', there were a few guys that kind of worked on the farm that were in to trucks and four by fours, they would, one guy had a Bronco and one guy had a Blazer and they kind of fixed it up. And I was always like, I am in to Jeeps. And I literally learned about all of that stuff as a kid, by reading like the Four Wheeler and Four Wheeler off-road magazines that I eventually would go on to work at when I grew up. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Sweet. So what kind of things were you interested in school Were they automotive based or what were your interests I don't really know. 

 

Fred Williams: It wasn't really automotive based in school. Like I kind of feel like the whole, I grew up driving tractors with big tires and no windshield, and I guess a Jeep just seemed like the most tractor, like vehicle out there. And I had like metal shop when I was in school, but I wasn't, I remember buying these magazines and my dad telling me one day, like if you would stop buying those magazines, you would have enough money to buy a Jeep, which didn't really stop me. I kept buying magazines, but I saved up my money and, I eventually bought a CJ five and it was a total pile. And in the state of Pennsylvania, there's like safety inspection, which ironically they don't have out West in some States like California, but I worked on that Jeep a long time to try and get it to pass the Pennsylvania state safety inspection. 

 

Fred Williams: And it would never pass. It was just such a rusty pile and I eventually sold it. And I think my dad was kind of excited that like, maybe I got it out of my system and I turned right back around and bought another Jeep. It was kind of like a never ending cycle where I was just, I always wanted a four by four and I bought the second Jeep and then I was getting ready to go to college. And my, I remember like my parents were like, well, you should probably sell that to help pay for school. And so I sold it and I went to college and when I graduated, I told my mom, I was like, I want to buy another Jeep. She was like, well, why didn't you keep that one you had before And I was like, well, you told me to sell it. And she was like, Oh, we would've figured something out. 

 

Fred Williams: Oh really And it's just kind of like, I didn't really study mechanics. I just kind of learned it from, from friends. And like, like I literally bought a Jeep and bought a manual and would read it. And I was like, well, why won't it start? And I would read all the troubleshooting things and then I would lay underneath the Jeep. And then my dad, like my dad's a farmer. He knows how to fix stuff, but he never really, he, he would be there. Like, he let me use his tools, but he wasn't there like showing me how to fix it. And he just was like, you'll figure it out if you want to figure it out. And I did, I like, I remember a high school girlfriend and I, like, I was dating this girl and we broke up and then like we decided, even though we broke up, we would go to the prom. 

 

Fred Williams: And I was like, the very next day, I was like, I don't want to go to the prom. And she was like, well, why not I said, well, I want to save all that money to fix my Jeep. And I did. I just like saved up and like worked on the Jeep and finally got it running. And, and it was, I, I probably would know a lot more or have maybe gone a different direction if I had learned like legit mechanics, but I was just reading the manual and figuring it out. And that's how I got the thing to run and drive. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Well, that's, that is the history with a lot of us. even though my dad was into drag racing and building motors and boats and everything else, my first car was a 54 Volkswagen bug, little oval window. And I was the second owner and this was in 1973. I think I bought it and I knew nothing. So I went out and got the, you know, idiot's guide to Volkswagens or whatever it was called and read that book, read that thing from front cover to back cover, and then just started to figure it out. Even though dad was, you know, really, really good mechanic and all that kind of stuff. I just, you know, it was for me to learn. 

 

Fred Williams: Yeah, I'm sure my dad was there if I needed the help. But he also was like, well, you're a stubborn teenager. You might as like, if you really want this, you'll figure it out yourself. So yeah, 

 

Big Rich Klein: I think that's good parenting. 

 

Fred Williams: Oh yeah. It's amazing. Like I, like, I guess nowadays YouTube is, is like the modern day service manual, but there's still like so many, like I tell kids all the time, like you bought a Jeep and you don't know how to fix it, just grab a service manual and start reading it. It's a different game when you start modifying things. But if you're just trying to get something running and back on the road, Chilton'sand Haynes and all of those, like Napa auto parts store service books are perfectly good at fixin' stuff. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Absolutely. So, well, what did you study in college Then 

 

Fred Williams: I went to a liberal arts college and I didn't really know what I was going to study. And I just, I pretty much went to college because I have three older brothers and they all went to college. I kind of did a lot of things in my brothers did just because I didn't know any better. And I was like, I don't know. I guess that's what I do. I got to school and I had to take all these classes and I took an art class and I was like, well, this is fun. Cause I get to make stuff looking back. Like I just want to build stuff. I just want to make things with my hands. I want to work on stuffs. And I think my, my dad being a farmer had, like, it was not too excited that I was going to college and spending all this money just to get an art degree. 

 

Fred Williams: But like after college I worked in the art field for seven years. I worked at a bronze Foundry building sculptures. I worked at museums, installing art. I worked at art galleries, selling art artist's assistant. I just kind of did all this stuff. But somewhere in that, that realm I ran into Ned Bacon. Most probably, yeah. Everybody that listens to this podcast knows Ned Bacon or have heard of the name and Ned, I just kind of like tracked him down. This is pre internet, pre like email, just like found his phone number and called him one day and was like started talking trucks with them. And this was in North Carolina. Well, fast forward a few years. And I was, I was living, I was living in Colorado in Denver and I decided to just kind of go travel around the West. And I like called Ned and showed up on his doorstep. 

 

Fred Williams: And we just talked about trucks and Jeeps and stuff for hours. At some point in there I had asked him like, how did you get a job writing for the magazine? And he was like, Oh, you want to write for the magazine Just call Rick Pewe. And I was like, it's not that easy. Like I'm not, I'm not an off-road expert. I'm just a kid that likes four by fours and Jeeps and trucks and stuff. But I guess after I left, he called Rick and was like, you got to hire this kid. He's a sponge. He just wants to learn about Jeeps and trucks and four by four. And I started freelancing for Rick by then. I had lived in Oregon. I like ran out. I had been traveling around in my car and ran out of money and got a job in Oregon. And then I started freelance writing and that was kind of the start of it. 

 

Fred Williams: I was like, I remember freelance writing about, I would I've messaged Rick or emailed or called Rick or whatever. And he was like, well, send me some articles. And I started writing stuff. And back then it was like, everything was on slide, film. Like I would type these stories up and like just write them and rewrite them in like sort through photos. Like it would take me four or five days to do one story. And like, by the time I left the magazine, I was like writing a story and an afternoon, it was so different because it was all digital. And like, you would just like snap photos, write the article, write the captions and like be done. But back then, I was like, just trying to figure it out. 

 

Big Rich Klein: So what time period was that when you were in Oregon and got in touch with Rick 

 

Fred Williams: I probably started freelancing in 99 or 2000. And, I was, I was freelancing. I got a job interview like, and Rick called me one day and he was like, we have an opening at the magazine. Do you want to fly down and interview And I was like, sure. So I flew to LA and interviewed, and then I flew back to, and he called me and was like, Hey, we're going to offer you this job. Do you want it And I was like, Oh, it was weird because I was in Oregon and some buddies were starting a machine shop and they had, and I was part of the business and I was like, I had this on one hand, I could go like work for a magazine. On the other hand, I, I pictured myself like working in this fab shop and building four by fours and building rock crawlers and everything, which wasn't really what the machine shop was. 

 

Fred Williams: But that's kind of what I thought it would be. I eventually turned the job offer down. I, I was like, I want to stay here and try and start this business. And my friends in Oregon within six months, I was calling Rick back and was like, Hey, I can't like if there's ever a position open again, like this machine shop is not for me. It's not working out. And luckily there was, and the second time he called, I just packed up and moved to LA to go write for an off-road magazine, which will be the only reason I would ever move to LA. 

 

Big Rich Klein: I was going to say following those Hollywood lights. 

 

Fred Williams: Yeah. And it was, it was like, they didn't pay us anything. And to live in LA was like expensive. But I was like, I got to do all these things that I dreamt about doing. Like when I lived in Denver, I, I didn't have any friends. And I was like, just trying to figure it out. And one day I was driving around and I saw this guy pressure washing his Jeep at a carwash. And I pulled in to talk to him. Cause I was just like, here's a Jeep guy. I want to talk to somebody that's into these Jeeps that I'm into. And that was Mike Palmer. Oh really And he was, he just was like, Oh, you like Jeeps come on over. And he invites me over to his house and he's like, this is a four link. This is how you build this stuff. 

 

Fred Williams: And like, I was just like, this is so cool. And he feels like, Oh, I went to Moab and I went, wheeling with Shannon Campbell. And I know that Sonny Honegger and Ned Bacon and all these guys, and like kind of a rock crawl in these competitions. And it was so cool to like go from East coast where you just read about that stuff in the magazine to like Colorado, where now people are actually doing it. And then within four years I was like writing about it. And I literally was like, I want to go to these rock crawling competitions and see this stuff. Like when I was traveling around in my car and I got to Oregon, the goal was to like go to Las Cruces for one of the early, Goodyear rock crawling comps. And I just didn't have enough money just couldn't. 

 

Fred Williams: And I was like, I gotta get a job so that I can like save up money so that I can drive the New Mexico to go to this rock crawl. And I never did. I never made enough money to go, but I was like, Oh, I want to get to see all these different guys that are building rock crawlers and rock buggies. And like all of that stuff, I could not get enough of it back then. Like every time a magazine would come out, I had every single subscription at all five different magazines and I would just soak it up. And then like when the internet came around and there was pirate four by four and rock, crawler.com and all these sites where people were building stuff, I would just be on there all the time. Like, there's crazy. Like I would just constantly want to see what people are built and then learn about it and like learn about four links and coil overs and quarter elliptic suspension and all these wacky rock buggies and all this stuff that people were building all over America. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Well, that's, that's pretty awesome. So what was the first rock crawling event that you went to 

 

Fred Williams: Probably the first one I attended was one up in, I think it was in Washington state. I remember this guy that I kind of knew had a Jeep in Oregon and he was going to go and he was like, do you want to go along And I was like, Oh yeah. And so I went up, I didn't cover it for a magazine. I think I just went to watch. And I remember the guys from snort, remember snort?

 

Big Rich Klein: Oh yeah, Sweaty Nipples off road team Absolutely. 

 

Fred Williams: Yes. So I was in the parking lot. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Jason and Trevor. 

 

Fred Williams: And these, 

 

Fred Williams: Yeah, like these four or five guys in the tube out Toyota's with quarter elliptic Springs came rumbling into the parking lot and like the suspension had, 'em all jacked up and the things were all like they're practically toppling over just driving around a corner. And I remember they would all get out and they would grab the roll cage and like yank down on it to like level out their trucks again, because everybody was back then it was just building stuff. They were like, well, let's try this. Let's try that. Like, there were no rules. There was no like, Oh, you have to build it this way. They were just like, Oh, let's put leaf spring here and a link over there. And like, just try to see how flexy and wacky. And I remember going to that event and I was like, this is so cool. Like guys, we're just building all types of different rigs. There was, 

 

Big Rich Klein: Was, was that event in vantage along the river Or was that up in Goldendale 

 

Fred Williams: no, there was no trees, 

 

Big Rich Klein: No trees up on a bluff. Yeah, probably 2000 -1999, 2000. 

 

Fred Williams: Yeah. I was just, I was just looking at pictures from it the other day, because there was a samurai pickup truck there. Like these Canadians came down and I love this truck and we just built a very similar truck on dirt every day. So it kind of was like this thing that I had seen years ago. And now we finally got to, but I guess, that was my thing. When I came to the magazine, I was all about like rock crawling, rock buggies, like rear steer portal axles, like all this stuff that was just starting. I just couldn't get enough of it. And I remember I came to the magazine and like, nobody else at the magazine wanted to go to these things. Like Rick Pewe, who was my boss. He, he was into old Jeeps and David Kennedy and Jared Jones were kind of into like fullsize trucks. And so I was like, well, I'm, I love these rock buggies. I'm just going to go to every rock crawling event I can find. And for the first few years it was like, I was just traveling anytime there was a rock crawl, if I could get Rick to okay. And I would go, yeah, I just couldn't get enough of it. And there were so many, I gave it such like the booming era that was like, when everybody was like, rock crawling is going to be like NASCAR. We're going to just take over the world. 

 

Fred Williams: And we all thought it did. We all thought it was real Like, Oh yeah, totally. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Yeah. In our small little world, that's what we ended up. Boy. Were we wrong 

 

Fred Williams: Well, I dunno. I mean, it was awesome for everybody. 

 

Big Rich Klein: It was still NASCAR, like NASCAR in the fifties though, you know But that's what, yeah. 

 

Big Rich Klein: I remember when people would like started having like team shirts, team outfits, like, you'd be like, Whoa, these guys are getting serious. Like there's like everybody on the team, like the people like the wives and the girlfriends, like the, everybody was just wearing a matching shirt, you know, like, Oh man, now there, now we're getting serious. This, this is real deal. Compared to earlier when it was like rock crawling with coolers full of beer in the Jeep while you're rock crawling is a whole different ball game. Yeah. 

 

Big Rich Klein: And everybody wearing flip-flops and shorts and cutoff t-shirts or wife beaters. Yep. 

 

Fred Williams: Totally. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Do you remember when we first met 

 

Fred Williams: I don't remember when we first met 

 

Big Rich Klein: The first time. I think I met you was one of the early Tinbender Jamborees. Might've been at Johnson Valley. Yeah. 

 

Fred Williams: Which I wish they would do more. They would start up again. Cause I would love to go out to Johnson Valley for other things and work. Right. 

 

Big Rich Klein: is BLM is, is really hard to work with out there. And I would like to thank KOH for that. They think everybody that puts on an event out there has deep pockets 

 

Fred Williams: And 

 

Big Rich Klein: I think they overcharge or want to, you know, it's, it's hard. I would love to go back to Cougar, Buttes that area to put on a rock crawl, but I would just fear the cost recovery. 

 

Fred Williams: Yeah. I used to love the Tinbender Jambos. Those are like, when I lived in LA I was three hours from it and I would get off of work and like hop in whatever truck or project vehicle I had and just bomb out there and sleep in my truck and hitch a ride with somebody and ride around on the trails all day, taking pictures. 

 

Big Rich Klein: When did you move What time period was that That you moved to LA again, did you 

 

Fred Williams: I started at Peterson's four wheel and off-road in late 2002. So probably September end of September, early October, I went out there and one of the first jobs article projects that I got was that carnivore the rock crawling buggy that BF Goodrich gave away. Johnny G was the rock crawler. And he had a car and it was built by avalanche engineering and they built a clone of it that they were giving away. And BFG was kind of footing the bill and four wheel on off road. Like my job was to write these articles about the buildup so that people were like excited about, I don't even remember how they would apply to win. So I would fly out to Bayfield, Colorado to avalanche engineering, which was like, to me, that was awesome because they were one of the first shops that I knew that were building rock buggies back then and building rock crawlers. And so when I started the magazine and this job, this like project came up, I like Rick just threw me into it. And I was like, all right, you're going to fly back and forth to Colorado and take pictures and write articles about how this rock buggy is built. And then BFG is going to give it away. And I gave it away at super crawl. I think a couple of years later, 

 

Big Rich Klein: That was a pretty awesome assignment to get, to go hang out at avalanche with Steve Remore and watch those guys work their magic. 

 

Fred Williams: Yep. I think he's in New Zealand now. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Really I, I hadn't heard, I just knew that he wasn't in Colorado anymore. And he was one of the guys that I do want to interview on this podcast. So I'm going to have to do a little research and find out where he's at. 

 

Fred Williams: I hang out with Eric Filar every now and then. Right. And Eric Filar used to work there and was also friends he's and is still good friends with drew barber who worked there and drew told me, he told me some crazy story where like, he was like, Steve moved to either Australia or New Zealand and like left. I dunno. Let's just say it's a 10 millimeter socket. He left this socket and drew had it. And drew like found out where Steve was. He and his wife were over there for vacation, found out where Steve lived, showed up at his door and was just like, Hey, you left this in my tool box and handed him the socket, like something totally, totally. Andrew. And Steve was just like, Oh yeah, thanks. I was looking for that. Like I know he's somewhere like talk to Eric Filar or drew Barber. They'll probably know, know how to get ahold of Steve if you're looking for a way. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Yeah. That's awesome. That's great. But 

 

Fred Williams: Those guys, when I left, when I left Denver, like it was my goal to go to that shop and see what those guys were building. Cause they were like, I remember they had like eight or 10 pages stapled together of a catalog. And it had like a quarter elliptic kit and a tube chassis kit and like weird stuff that back in 97, 98 was like groundbreaking. And I went there and I really liked Durango, but I was like, well, I got to keep, I got to keep traveling. I maybe, if I decide, this is where I want to live, I'll come back here. And I never went back to live, but I had been back there many other times for work. And like, it was funny, like reliving the same story just a week or so ago with Eric Filar. So it's, those guys were kind of some of the first who were building, this has kind of evolved into what rock crawling is. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Let's talk about the, your time in the early days there at the magazine and some of the cool things listeners want to hear, you know, not only the history, but the stories behind the history. So more stories like that. I'm sure you have tons of them being that, you know, that was your job to go write stories. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Oh yeah. I remember meeting Dave Schlossberg and Drew Burroughs around a campfire in Johnson Valley and meeting Eric'Camo' Linker out there, like at Tinbender Jambos. And like guys that have, have grown into the businesses of Poly Performance and Synergy and Goat Built and Camo who became part of pirate and then they sold it. And now he is literally a pirate out on the seven seas sailing people's boats around. like I remember going to rock crawling events and hanging out with, Larry and John Bundurant and all the guys from South Dakota. And like the number of times I saw Tracy Jordan, like getting furious on a rock crawling event was just like at the, guy's like an amazing driver, but had the shortest fuse ever. And you were probably at the other end of that, like getting yelled at for something or other, like all of it was just like mayhem back then. 

 

Fred Williams: And like Dustin Webster shows up sponsored by red bull. The guy, I don't think I ever saw him like finish, obstacle, but he would roll over and have more people like watching him and taking his picture, which he was like a total stunt man, like circus act. It was awesome. Like all of that stuff. And then like Walker Evans, like coming in to rock crawling and like showing up with the big guns, Shannon Campbell and his brother, like building a new car. If like, if the car didn't work, go home and build a new one and be back at the next event with a beautiful powder-coated rock crawler that like they wanted to come up with something that would work. And then John Nelson, that guy who just kind of like came in out of left field and blew people away when they brought the tiny buggy that nobody was like, Oh yeah, that's not going to work on Volkswagen, whatever. And now it's been a totally revolutionized the whole sport. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Oh, it sure did. 

 

Fred Williams: I, I think it was neat back in the day because there were certain teams that would have a car and they would just, they would just learn that car in and out. Like all the guys from twisted customs, they, they to have like, this is the shop up in South Dakota where it was Jason Paule and Brian array, Joachim, Travis Waitson and Tracy Jordan seemed to drive one of their cars a lot. And let me think, who else Mark Berger had one, a lot of those guys, they would just like, they would get that car and they would just learn it the same way that like John and Larry learned tiny. And then there were other teams that you would see that would just seem to be like, if they weren't winning, they were, they would blame the car. They would like, all right, well, this car is obviously not working, so I need a different car. And so those, there were other teams that seemed to like switch through cars a lot where the winning team seemed to have kind of the same design or style car. They would just tweak it. They would do little changes and just keep plugging away at it until they could make that car, do the tricks that they wanted it to do. 

 

Big Rich Klein: I wholeheartedly agree with everything you just said nowadays, I even, I see guys jump into a car and maybe not have the success that they feel they should have and then, or they go out and buy a whole new car or somebody else's car, drive it once and then, you know, start modifying it where the car was built to do a certain thing. And then they completely changed what it's, what it's doing most of the time. Not for the best, I think. But you know, that's a, I'm not a fabricator, just an event promoter that watches a lot of vehicles, so completely different. 

 

Fred Williams: And, and that's also interesting cause there's, there's fabricators and there's drivers and there's like, there's athletes and there's kind of like every now and then you get somebody that can do both like Jason Paule, amazing fabricator, really good driver, Tracy Jordan, like amazing driver. That guy doesn't build his cars. Like he, he has somebody, usually Jason build the cars like Jesse Hayne, amazing fabricator and amazing driver. And like the little changes that he makes. They're just like, you can't even catch half of the stuff that he's doing. Correct. And then like, there's so many new guys in the sport that like, I, I don't even know anymore. It's like, it's so fun to like watch how the whole have a series has kind of like changed over the years. And like, I love watching and seeing what people are building and how, how different they are, but also how things have kind of like people are, they used to be trying everything. And now there seems to be like a pretty serious recipe that, that a lot of guys seem to be sticking to them. I'm kind of stoked on like the whole portals and rear steer revolution, which was the thing that I was totally into when I first started the magazine. And there were a handful of guys that tried it, but it didn't really seem to catch on. And so Jesse Haines embraced it. And I wonder if he, if he embraced it after he went to Australia. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Yeah, I believe so. I believe it. 

 

Fred Williams: That seems like, yeah, that seems like where they were doing a lot of it. And I think, I can't remember if he had a car like that before he went there or not until after he got back 

 

Big Rich Klein: After he got back, I believe the portals, the big change was the strength, the original portals that were using. They never worked because guys would stuff him into an undercut or bind them up and they would just blow up now with the ones that Jessie's building. At least, I don't know. I think, I think I seen one or two portals that have been broken. Yeah. Typically, you know, and I, and some of it it's like, how in the hell did you do that But it's amazing. You know, when you're, when you're talking about the evolution and making small changes in and putting something together and really thinking it out, I think Jesse has done a phenomenal job with that. Probably probably more so than, than most builders. I think there's Kevin up in Idaho is, is doing some really cool things with lightweight, but he seems to start building a car just before he finishes it. He sells it. And hopefully now this car that he just finished with the Suzuki axles, the housings he'll be able to hang onto and compete with. you've got James Tracy who has a pretty solid proven design kind of on the same, same realm there that Jason Paule doing it. 

 

Fred Williams: A funny story. When I, when I lived in Oregon, I met this crazy land Rover guy and he took like, we went wheel and out in a Tillamook forest. And while we were out there, we met this kid, James Tracy, and like James and I have stayed in touch ever since then. And like, he's like if I was, if I was going to get a buggy built today, I would call James Tracy. And even though his buggies are kind of spinoffs of Jason Paules like, I know like I love Jason Paule, but the guy that takes forever to get a good car done. And I think James would have it done quicker, but he even told me just the other day, he was like, I've I I'm turning away customers because I can only build so many cars a year. And that's just like side, it's a side gig, but James builds really cool cars. And isn't afraid to like try portals and try smaller engines and try different stuff and is also a phenomenal driver, right 

 

Big Rich Klein: There's a guy out of Colorado, Kallif Redden, have you heard of him He's, he's building, building some cars and as fast as he can build them, he selling them and getting orders. He competes with us in the unlimited class and then the other one East coast guy that that's building. And he's the, the anti what he calls high heels cars with. You know, the portals is Alan Woodson know he's building, he stick into an old, tried and true formula with the rear mounted Volkswagen motors, rear steer and more of a chassis like what the scrappers were, but not quite the same. Hopefully we get an inner, you know, a national battle going here between him and Jesse Haines, proving, you know, which cars really, you know, do the best. It'll be interesting 

 

Fred Williams: Since I left, I mean, I left the magazine side of my company and now I just do video. Like I don't get to nearly as many events as I used to. And that's one of the things that I really miss is like going to rock crawls and going to races and going to trail rides and just seeing what people are building all over America. And I was just thinking the other day, I was like, like kind of when we started talking about doing this podcast, I was like, I need to get, like, I watch the Instagram, the Facebook and all the social media on the competitions, but it doesn't always explain it as well as like actually going to the events and seeing what people are building and what type of cars are pushing the limits these days. And I feel like that's something that I, I need to get back to more of. I don't know if I can get to it with work, like bring dirt every day to a rock crawl, but I would like to at least go more or go to some and kind of see, see some of these new guys and see what they're building and check out the new kind of recipes that are coming together and in the rock crawling world. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Well, you'd always be welcome at the we rock events. That's for sure. Where are you 

 

Fred Williams: I live in the central coast, California. So about halfway between LA and San Francisco and it's still California with some kind of fed up with, but it's probably, probably one of the nicer parts of the state because I live in a small town and it's kind of a cowboy town and it doesn't always feel like California when you're here. It's definitely not LA and San Francisco and Napa guys don't always wear their masks if you know what I mean. Right. But, but yeah, I think it's neat how, like the technology like the portals and rear steer was a recipe that was unusable. And then like John Reynolds, like had it in top truck and then he won the first King of the hammers with it. And now it's, it's funny. It's definitely not around a whole lot in King of the hammers, but you start seeing the portals are showing up on desert race trucks and independent vehicles. And so it's, it's kinda neat that people are still willing to try different technologies in every, every Avenue of off-road Motorsports. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Well, one of the things that I've always believed is the technology that, that came, you know, what drove technology and off-road to begin with was, was off-road racing, you know, two wheel drive cars and trucks, you know, score best in the desert, the old Vora series, that kind of thing. Then you had, when rock crawling got started, you had the four wheel drive guys, all of a sudden go, Oh, Hey, you know, Hey, I want to look like this guy. I want to, I want my Jeep to do what this guy can do. You know, we really pushed the production of aftermarket parts from what the guys were building or producing one-offs for their own vehicles to compete in. And I really, really think that we helped the sport helped the aftermarket. And then from rock crawling, spawned, K O H King, the hammers and ultra four, which then married, you know, those guys all started looking over when they, when they realized they needed bigger fuel cells and a smoother ride, they, they looked over to desert racing and said, okay, how can I go faster This is what these guys are doing. And of course there was very few examples out there, you know, except for, you know, the class class eights or class threes, they were like, okay, you know, what do we do And now I think the desert guys are starting to get a lot of the tech bring over the technology that the rock motor sports racing, rock, sports racing, like ultra four has brought to the game. 

 

Fred Williams: Oh yeah. Yeah. The trophy chart guys will never admit it, but because heaven forbid they learned something from the rock donkeys, but, I totally agree. That was the whole thing with John Nelson. He didn't show up with a preconceived recipe of what a rock crawler should be. And I think if you are the type of person that can go to a drag race or a drift competition or a rally race, and you can come back and have some trick that you can now apply to your rock crawler, like that's how innovation happens. Like there's a lot of people that are like, Oh, a trophy truck can only be this. And it's like, well, maybe, but maybe not like check out these other avenues, these other innovations. And that's what really is like, that was always the best thing for me as a journalist in the off-road world. 

 

Fred Williams: Cause I could like, for example, I would go into one shop and I would see guys doing something like they're putting a lift kit on. And like, I don't know what it is. They have like some sort of Homebrew tool that they make. Oh, I, I can tell you exactly what it is. It takes two U bolts and they weld them together in an S like old U bolts that they're not using anymore. They welded together in an S and they hook it over the frame. And when they're like, they're doing a gear job, they pull the brake calipers off and they hook it onto this S part. And I saw this in one shop and I went to another shop and the guys are like trying to hold these calipers up and they keep falling and stretching the brake hoses. And I like grabbed two U bolts and was like, weld these together and hang it over the frame and you can hang the, the Cal. 

 

Fred Williams: And they were just like, wow, this is great. And to me, that was the best part. Cause I would like, I was like this bumblebee, that was cross-pollinating the whole off-road industry. Cause I would see one guy working on, on X and another guy working on Y and I'd be like, Hey, you should really call him. Like, I can't tell you what he's doing, but you should call him. And maybe the two of you can figure something out. And the number of times that I was like, Oh, this, this guy needs to know that guy. Or just little things that would cross over. That was always the best part. Cause I could, like, I felt like I learned so much by just going to different shops and working with different like mechanics and fabricators on projects. And then like applying that to another project down the road or another shop down the road. That was probably the single best part of the job for me in addition to like just getting to see everybody building really cool stuff. 

 

Big Rich Klein: That that's a great analogy though. The bumblebee Crosspollinating off-road, that's a love it. Tell me what it was like being in the, in the magazine industry and having all the personalities that were around. I I'm, I'm sure that the different magazines you guys didn't get a chance to, to cross-pollinate all that much. Now that you've used that term, but what was that like Was it, was it like what people would think of like rock bands being at a concert would be like, you know, everybody hanging out, having a good time or was it just work, work, work well, it's funny because 

 

Fred Williams: Like when I went in to work for four-wheel on off road, like I just went there because I was into trucks and four by fours and Jeeps. I never claimed to be an expert. I just was like, but in this job, I'll get to meet all the experts. I realized that my job there was translating information from mechanics and engineers and manufacturers into a language that like that every man could read. Like I figured if I could write an article about tires or suspension and my mom could read it and understand it, then I did my job. So I'm working in this building with all these other magazine editors from all the other off-road magazines, as well as like hot rod and car craft and motor trends. And we were kind of like played third fiddle. Like MotorTrend was always the biggest fish. They always had the biggest budget and they just kind of wrote about like new cars and then hot rod was next. 

 

Fred Williams: They were writing about hot rods. And even though like originally all this was started by Bob Peterson and he started hot rod and then started motor trend. And then like my magazine was Peterson's four wheel and off road, which was named after Robert Peterson of the whole Peterson public publishing, which then went through a whole bunch of different owners and all of the different off-road magazines kind of conglomerated together. There was four Wheeler, four wheel and off road, four wheel drive in sport, utility off-road JP. And so I knew a lot of those guys, we would kind of, we didn't really collaborate. It was funny. It was like, there was a bit of competition just in the same building and everybody thought, well, you're all the same company. Well, not really. Like, we're kind of like fighting to get a story before our own like cousin magazine is getting the same story. 

 

Fred Williams: Like you're always constantly trying to like one up the guys down the hallway, even though you're all in the same house, even though the sales guys are trying to sell ads in all five magazines at once. Like we're even though like, we're all going to lunch together. Like I'm eating lunch with John Kappa and Christian Hazel and, and Robin Stover, but everybody's like trying to like sneakily work on a project or an article or find out about a new product that the other guys don't, which is kind of funny now looking back at it. And I think, I think it was like, I know David Fryberger pretty well because I worked for Rick Pewe and Rick Pewe was friends with David and worked for David for a while. And like I'm still friends with him to this day. Like we, like, we message about projects or stuff. 

 

Fred Williams: Freiberger actually really wishes. He was off-roading more than he is doing burnouts and muscle, but, and the whole, the whole magazine thing, I think that like I was working there through, through all those years and I lived in LA and after about eight years, I moved out of LA and just kept working for the magazine. And then at some point Freiberger started roadkill, which was the TV show and it was all through the motor trend YouTube channel. And I was involved in like their third episode. Their third episode was filming a cheap truck challenge, which is an event that I started at foil. And off-road as a spinoff, kind of an anti top truck challenge, like top truck with all these big, crazy trucks, we were going to try and do it a challenge with trucks on a budget. So roadkill filmed that. And then I was like, they need to do a truck show. 

 

Fred Williams: Like if this is, this is going to be a automotive channel, like a YouTube channel, they need to have trucks and off-road show. And I told them that I'd like, I approached Angus McKenzie who was like probably the biggest fish on the totem pole at the time. And, and they, nobody said anything, nobody replied. And I was just like, well, all right. I made my peace. I told them they should do this. And about three or three or six months later, they called me in and were like, all right, we want you to do this off-road show. And I was like, no, I don't need to do the show. Like, I just think you guys should do it. Like off-roading is, has more dimensions like cars or forward and back side to side where trucks are like up and down. Like we have, we climb over things. 

 

Fred Williams: We go under things. We'd like have dirt and sand and dust flying everywhere. To me, it was like more exciting, which has always been like, I've never really been a car guy. I'm like, like drifting, neat drag racing, boring, like NASCAR, not interested, but like rock crawling and like climbing over stuff and like trophy trucks and all that. Like just way more exciting to me because it has more dimensions and they finally, and they were just like, well, you're going to do this show whether you want to do it or not. And that's when that's when they hit, like, and they were like, and you need to come up with a name for it. And I was like, okay, well, what do you guys want me to do And they were like, wait, you're just going to figure it out. And I'd literally, like, I stole the name dirt everyday from Pewe and Freibergers, like little off-road trips that they would do. 

 

Fred Williams: And then they gave me a camera guy and he, and I would just start filming stuff. And like the first couple of seasons are just me and one guy and he would film it and take it back and edit it. And I would just call him up and be like, all right, we're going to do this. And half the time I would be like, I don't even know what we're going to do it. Just show up and we'll do something. And I would drive him crazy because I didn't have a plan, but nobody really had a plan. They just kind of thought they needed an off-road show and thought I would do it. And I would, and I was doing it like I was doing double time. I was like filming dirt every day and also working for an off-road magazine, trying to pump out articles. 

 

Fred Williams: And, and that's just where it started. We just started writing, like building stuff. And over the years it kind of grew and grew. And there was times where I was frustrated with dirt every day. And there was times I was frustrated with the magazine and then eventually the magazine was like, you need to just go do that video thing and not do the magazine. Even though it's all the same company. I just, I was no longer on the print side. I was just doing videos. And I stayed in touch with all of my buddies from all the different print magazines. But like I was kind of, I had this whole other gig that I had to like do every month originally it was like two videos a month. So every other week, but the videos were pretty short. They were like seven minutes. And now they're like 22 or 30 minute long episodes. 

 

Fred Williams: And how many are you putting out a month now We're just doing it. Well, the way we film now is we film. We film a whole season. So there's 13 episodes in a season and we li we send out six. So every week for six weeks we do a new episode. So we're kind of our filming about one a month, but there's a lot of kind of running around and organizing. So right now we are not airing new episodes. And then the first part of 2021 we'll air six episodes. And then later on in the year, we'll air the other seven. So it's a 13 episode season and we're at we're over a hundred episodes now, which is pretty cool. Since 2013, I think is when we started, we've done over a hundred episodes of, of dirt every day. And then somewhere around episode 50 something, they were like, you need a co-host because up until then I was just doing it myself. 

 

Fred Williams: And I was like, well, I want my buddy Dave Chappelle to be my cohost and Dave and I just have similar humor. We're not like as much as we liked racing and competition. Like, we don't really bring that into the show a whole lot because our goal I feel is to have a kid friendly show that gets people excited about going off-roading, but also is entertaining with like wacky silly builds here and there that people are like, Oh yeah, that's dumb. I want to see how that works out. So we build everything from Jeeps and trucks to samurais and rock crawlers. And just a little bit of everything 

 

Big Rich Klein: I will have to admit. I, I have not seen any of the dirt every day for, for quite a few years. We've been living on the road full time and with we rock and dirt riot, and then the magazine, the last three years 4low, and now the, the podcast and driving all the miles that I drive to and from events, I really don't have the time to watch anything. And it sucks. 

 

Fred Williams: No, I, I liked it. I completely get it. Like, I don't watch hardly any television. Like I watch my show and then I kind of don't watch a whole lot of other stuff. I feel like it's either social media or I'm just in the shop working on stuff. But it's funny because like my girlfriend's been watching the episodes with me recently and I haven't liked watched a lot of the early ones. And so she's getting me to watch the early ones and that's always fun. Cause she's like last night we watched one of the early ones and I was like, Oh wow. I was young and skinny back then. But, but you can, I I'll give, I'll give my plug right now. You can, you can subscribe to the motor trend app. And I think it's like, I don't know, two bucks a month or something. 

 

Fred Williams: So it's basically, it's kind of like subscribing to a magazine. You get like our new episodes. Plus we do, I do a thing called dirt everyday extras, which like five days a week, we have a brand new video where it's anything from me working on a project around the shop to reviewing a new UTV, to like showing you how I make coffee or whatever. Like, it's just kind of like, it's like content explosion of just random randomness. And then for that same motor trend app subscription, you get road killyou get lots of old top gears, hot rod garage, roadkill garage, like all of our shows are on this app and you can access it on your phone or on your computer. And then motor trend is now part of discovery and they renamed discovery, renamed their automotive channel, which used to be the velocity channel. 

 

Fred Williams: They renamed that motor trend channel. And so now it's like every couple weeks or every few Fridays, they air a dirt every day on a Friday. And it's, it's basically a way to kind of get people to try it out, to sign up for the app. So if you're traveling and you're in a hotel and it's a Friday night, like, and you can find the motor trend channel on the hotel TV, you can sometimes find a dirt everyday on there. And they're usually like last year's latest episodes are on, are now being broadcast on TV. So plus they still have some episodes on YouTube. I think the biggest episode I've ever did was when I drove my Jeep under water and that's on YouTube still. And I think it has like over 10 million views, which is kind of ridiculous that the biggest thing I ever did was drive a Jeep underwater, which most people don't want to do. 

 

Big Rich Klein: that's a substantial amount of views. And then how'd you breathe 

 

Fred Williams: I had full scuba. the Jeep had a little diesel Cummins diesel and it had a 12 foot snorkel. and we actually had to do it twice. The first time I was underwater for 45 minutes and was stuck in the mud. And then the second time we went to a different location and drove right through, 

 

Big Rich Klein: 45 minutes. Yeah, 

 

Fred Williams: It was ridiculous. It was just like, and I had no idea how long I'd been under there or if I was still moving and the whole time I was just sitting in one spot, just the tires, just chugging away. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Did you have to get scuba certified or did you just go for it 

 

Fred Williams: I did. I had to get scuba certified and I had to get like extra certified because I had a full face mask with a microphone in it so that they could like record me talking and like it was, yeah. I mean, it was a pretty serious stunt. It didn't work out. I mean, it worked out eventually. It's a pretty good episode. Like I'm pretty stoked that I can still drive that Jeep after all the things that I've done with it. But, it was kind of a boondoggle, like trying to make this thing happen. And it's funny. Cause if you go to, if you go to YouTube and you search underwater Jeep, there's the video of me doing that. And then right after that, there's a video from world war two era where they like testing and Jeep underwater. And that was the impetus for my stunt was like, I saw that like old footage of these, this guy in scuba gear, driving a Jeep under water. And I was like, I want to do that. Like, that looks crazy. People like that. And yeah, that's kind of what I do now is like, I'm like try to find things that people are like, Oh yeah, that looks like fun. Let's try that. So 

 

Big Rich Klein: That's cool. So I guess you're pretty happy that, that you moved over to the video side instead of sticking with the print. 

 

Fred Williams: I get asked that a lot and I can honestly tell you that, like I feel like the video side is definitely where the majority of people are going, but I also know that there are a lot of people that still want print. and I, I always kind of put it this way. It was like you and I and our generation. We grew up with comic books, the generations after us grew up with telephones smartphones and all that stuff. And I think that as long as our generation is still alive, there's still a market for print. It may be getting smaller, but it's not gone. And I feel like the younger generations, like, like they're not as into it, but that doesn't mean that it should be gone completely. Like I, I, I know my company shut down a lot of our off-road magazines. I mean, I get it. 

 

Fred Williams: It's a, there's a business case to be made on both sides, but I feel like, Hey, until our generation is dead, there's still going to be people that are going to want to buy a magazine. Like they want to feel it that's the way they grew up. But I also know that like the next generations are going to be less inclined to do that because that's not how they grew up taking in information. So I kind of looked at it and that's the way I, like, I think, Hey, like it's not gone forever. It's just a different customer. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Right. And I think that, what, what amazes me and I think it's really has to do with, of course, what people are interested in overall, when you look at the magazine industry, I think that the young guys that are into and young women that are into wheeling and off-road still like to have that magazine. I at least I see it, you know, the way we distribute our magazine, one of the things that helps us at four low and also probably crawl. And then some of the, the other magazines out there that cover off road, but say overlanding, is that being more niche and being more family based or small, you know, small company based magazines, we don't have all the overhead that killed the editorial. Because I think from my look at it, watching what was happening at the large magazines is that the editorial was, was disappearing that, you know, they were trying to, you know, they got overloaded with ads and they tried to cut costs by, I don't know whether it was cutting editorial or just cutting the quality of the magazine. I think that that, that was a disaster waiting to happen. But again, that's because of, you know, the, the companies that are the companies that would own the, you know, your, your guys's magazines and where it was going, the companies were so hot top heavy with bean counters and not editorials. 

 

Fred Williams: Oh yeah, no. It's like, I remember, like I came into the magazine industry and I didn't, I had no journalism background. I had no magazine background. And I remember talking to somebody who from a different magazine, in a different arena completely. And they were like, wait, you guys, you guys run this, you do this whole magazine with like four people. I was like, yeah, there's four writers. And we're all the photographers. And we have an art director and they were like, that's crazy. Yeah. And it was, it was like, everybody kind of thought that we were like this huge conglomerate and it was, but it wasn't, it was kind of like, there are these little tiny teams of people that we're putting out that were passionate, enthusiastic putting out a magazine. And then there was like all of these other people that were trying to make a business out of it. 

 

Fred Williams: So I, I agree. Like, I feel like if you can keep it small and can keep it concise, then there's a chance to like make a business out of it. And when there's like a whole troop of salespeople that are trying to sell ads and a whole troop of, of like management trying to manage the whole ship, like it does, it does get top heavy, but that's also like business. That's the way businesses are. Like, you can have a great idea for a widget. You can start it in your garage. By the time it grows into Amazon, it's a, like a Freightliner that you're trying to run across the ocean. It's like much harder to do. And throughout the times, like everything has kind of come and gone. And I don't think that the magazine industry is going to go away forever. I think a lot of people do, but I also think that like, you become a different type of business. 

 

Fred Williams: Like you have to embrace video, you have to embrace social media, you have to embrace whatever the next, like way that people take in information is that's just part of the, like the world changing. And you have to be ready to like, have your business, follow that line and be like, Oh, okay. People want to learn about trucks on Tik TOK. I guess I need to come up with a tick talk truck thing or whatever that is. Oh my God. Honestly time, honestly, I don't even have a tick talk, but I know that that's like super popular. So I'm like, all right. If I was a media mogul, I'd be like, all right, how do we sell tires to lift kids to rock crawlers through this new thing Because that's obviously where some of the market is looking right now. So 

 

Big Rich Klein: Yeah, I know that we're looking, we're trying to do more video as we do our travels and adventure on our off season. Like we are right now from events. We do what we call our 4Low ambassador tour. And we're out driving trails, visiting shops and manufacturers, taking photos, doing some, some videos and interviews, that kind of thing, and putting them on, on Facebook and Instagram. But we know that we need to do more videos of the, you know, put those things out, video wise on YouTube and in other sources, you know, we're experimenting with it and trying to do it. It's interesting being an old dog and trying to learn new tricks. 

 

Fred Williams: Oh yeah. 

 

Big Rich Klein: To begin with is when photography went digital, I quit being a commercial photographer. I didn't want to read in this new stuff, you know, where you could take a picture and then you didn't have to even be good at taking pictures. All you had to do is go in and sit behind that computer and use Photoshop or whatever creatives, whatever creative studio was back then. And doctor up the photos to make them look good. It was like, well, that's a bunch of bullshit. You're no longer an artist, you know And so I walked away, you know, from photography and went a completely different direction. And now because of that background and then Shelly having a background in writing, you know, we've put together for 4Low magazine. And I think we've, we've done a good job to bring it to those that, that like that style of magazine it's been fun. And, you know, getting back into that kind of stuff, now it's video trying to do videos. 

 

Fred Williams: the thing that I, I heard about video is that if you have a good story, you don't need to be an amazing videographer. Right. I think there's a lot of, there's a lot of videos out there, especially kind of in the motor sports arena where it's all about videography. And it's not always so much about the story. Like there's a lot of these, there's like Ken block and his Gymkana whole thing where it's like, action, action, action. And it's all probably spinoffs of, I don't know, skateboard surf like videos from back in the day where it was just like, action, action, action. And it's like, some people really want, they want the story. They want the, like, if you've ever watched Endless summer where there's a story that follows these two guys looking for surf around the world, like that is, and it's not like the videography on that. It's not like, amazing, but you'd want to watch it, even if you're not a surfer. And I think that's the thing that I, I don't people that want to get into this. It's like the right, the story that people want to read or watch or listen to. And like, you'll learn the rest of it. The rest of it will show up eventually like the videography part of it. And it's great if you have both, but more people can kind of relate to that story than they can to just the action. Action. Action. 

 

Big Rich Klein: I agree. I agree. That's, that's a good way of, it's a good way of putting it because I'm more about the story. Although I liked the photography aspect or the cinematography, you know, that's told with the story it's important to me, but those, those early ones, like you were talking about endless summer, the Warren Miller ski movies, that kind of thing were just totally, they were just, they told a story and then showed just some phenomenal stuff that these people went through. So yeah, I like that. So that's what, that's what you're trying to do. Correct. Tell the story. 

 

Fred Williams: Oh yeah. I mean, we're always trying to, like, there has to be a reason why you're doing it. And sometimes the reason like you can totally make up the reasons. And, but like, like, it doesn't matter what the reason is. There just has to be a reason. You just have to say, I am going to do X because of Y like I'm going to drive up this mountain because I want to, I want to make coffee and show my dog, the view from the top of this mountain. And in order to get this mountain, I need to build this wacky, like six wheel drive, motor home, like, whatever it is, you just make it up. Like, but you, you write that story and then you can like, do all the other, you fill all the blanks in. And like, I can say, Hey, I wanna, like, I loved going to rock crawling events. 

 

Fred Williams: When I worked at the magazine, now I want to actually go and compete. So we're going to build a rock buggy, and we're going to go to this we rock event. Like, that's all it takes. You just have to have that thing. And yeah, I'm sure you do good. I do want to come there. I can do when I come and rock crawl. And, but I think that's the thing that you need to tell people is like, look, and a lot of times people just need that in their day-to-day life. They're like, why am I spending a half a million dollars to build a racetrack It's like, because you've always wanted to, like, you want to try to win. Like I want to go to Baja. This seems like fun. I want to go to King of the hammers. I've seen it on the videos. Like, it doesn't matter. You just have to have that. Why explain the why, and then go for it. So when does a WE Rock season start 

 

Big Rich Klein: It actually starts in 2021. It will start February 27th and 28th in Baghdad, Arizona Bagdad. Arizona is North of Wickenburg. and it's a mining town. Oh, it has seven, 800 residents that work at the mine and we'll bring it up. Another 2000 

 

Fred Williams: Spectators sounds like the middle of nowhere. It is, it is, 

 

Big Rich Klein: The terrain is awesome. The it's a paved road all the way there, except for the last half a mile from the parking lot in parking lot access, I would say in to the event site. And, it is a great place to do a rock crawl. And then the mine helps it's all mine property. You know, they, they had helped with, with building the road into the rocks and, you know, with equipment and everything else. So it's, they just wanted to bring entertainment to town and we just happened to be in agreement. So it's worked out really well for us. 

 

Fred Williams: Now, how many different classes do you have 

 

Big Rich Klein: Surely have eight classes. We have two classes of UTD. No, we have one class at UTV right now. One class, a UTV. We have two classes of kids buggies, with, but we've only had a couple of competitors in the one class and that's the five to eight year old. And then we have three sportsman classes that kind of mirror the pro classes. So we have a, what we call a sportsman C, which is 37 inch and under full body like suspension, like the manufacturer would have, you know, if it's a, YJ, you know, a spring and coil can, you know, type, set up, same thing for like XJS or, you know, a TJ, you can go link front and rear. And then there's a trail buggy class, which is 40 inch and smaller. If it's a single seat and no rear steer 42 inch, if it's two seat and no rear steer, and then you have the, what we call sportsmen a, which is the, basically it's the unlimited trail buggy class. 

 

Big Rich Klein: And it can be single seaters, rear steer, all that kind of stuff. And then we have the mod stock, which is the pro pro version of the sportsman, C, the pro mod, which we've always had. and then the unlimited and since changing the rules to allowing rear steer without a penalty in the unlimited class, most everybody is migrating to the unlimited class. So it's pretty cool. at nationals this year in Cedar city, we had 59 cars competing. That was our highest car count in a long time, you know, since the recession, the days of the recession hit. So yeah, build a, build a buggy and come on out and have some fun. 

 

Fred Williams: All right. I mean, I actually still have bills would fit somewhere. I still have my buggy, my fun buggy that I built at foil on off road and it's portals and rear steer long before that was the trend, but I haven't had it out in quite a few years, but maybe that'll be a good option to drag it out. And it sounds like the sportsmen's class might be its opportunity. Yeah. 

 

Big Rich Klein: I think that would be, I think that would be a good class for, you know, where you to go into, I would say that the episode could be the prep of, you know, shaking and, making a few modifications or whatever you think need to be done and then, going out there and beating on it. 

 

Fred Williams: Yeah. That's for sure. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Is there anything else that we haven't touched upon that you would like to 

 

Fred Williams: Let's see, who's Big Rich's favorite rock crawler. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Oh, that's a tough one. I'm going to say right now, 

 

Fred Williams: Or maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe back up. Who do you think was the best rock crawler Maybe not your favorite, but the best, like most skilled, best guy you've ever seen. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Okay. I can answer both those questions. First of all, I'm going to say my, my favorite rock crawler is this seven year old kid that we have called his name is Landon Brown out of Oklahoma. And it's the Sub-Zero buggy. He is my favorite probably by far, because he always has a smile on his face. He listens to his dad, who's his spotter like, like it's a religion and he's just a really nice young kid. And when he gets to be a teenager, he is going to be whooping on everybody unless he loses interest. But right now it doesn't have to be that way. I would say because of the win-loss record, the person that I think is probably the greatest rock crawler, as far as wins and losses would have to be Tracy Jordan. Now that being said, Tracy, this to his face, you know, I really like him. You know, sometimes he can be a little difficult. 

 

Fred Williams: I'm sure he can. I'm sure 

 

Big Rich Klein: He would admit, but 

 

Fred Williams: Have you had him on the podcast yet No, I have not. Oh, you got to, Oh, I will. I will. That's going to be like one 

 

Big Rich Klein: Year anniversary show, I think. 

 

Fred Williams: Yeah, 

 

Big Rich Klein: He is the way he works a course. And when, I mean works the course, the terrain, the officials, the lines, the vehicle, everything about it, the strategies, there's probably nobody out there that, that has the game that, that Tracy has. I'll give you an example of why I say this. Cody Waggoner had Jessie Haines built him a buggy. That's called pretty penny. And once, once Cody got that buggy and got all the bugs worked out of it, he posted up and said, okay, Jessie Haines get ready to be beat. And Jessie's response was why is Tracy Jordan coming out of retirement 

 

Fred Williams: All right. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Because he comes out of retirement. He is really hard to beat, 

 

Fred Williams: You 

 

Big Rich Klein: Know And I heard, I heard some rumblings that he's actually, he's actually building, having a new car built. And, and it'll be interesting if it's to find out if it's going to be for fun or if he's going to build it to come out and show these guys that have been that, that at their top of their game recently, if, if, and why he's the best, because that's what he does about every three or four years, you know, he comes back out of retirement, whoops. On everybody for a season and then, you know, goes back into retirement. 

 

Fred Williams: Yeah, no, I agree. I think Tracy's hard. He's a hard guy to beat and he's like, I can still remember the first time I was at an off-road rock crawl. Tracy had his matrix buggy, which was, I don't know what year that was, but, and I was like, Hey, Tracy, I'd like to shoot a feature on this thing. Cause he was like, he got so excited. And I was like, really you're excited that I'm going to write a feature on this magazine. Like that was kind of cool to me. Cause I thought he was like, he would just be like, yeah, whatever. But no, he's like down to earth guy, but also like gets super worked up if he's not winning and a super skilled driver. And I also heard rumors, he was working on a new car and I haven't like pressed my friends too much to find out what the latest on that is. But I agree. I think Tracy and Jessie Haines are two of the top guys out there that I've ever been on the course. And it'd be pretty cool to see Tracy come back and do some more rock on as well as all my buddies, as well as all my buddies up in South Dakota. I keep harassing Brian and Jason and those guys to come out. But they all seem to have some excuse or another. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Yeah. last time I saw Jason, we were putting on a dirt riot race up there, during Sturgis, the bike rally and he was enjoying his life that he's living now. And I don't think the competitive side is as strong in him anymore. So a hard push to get him in. I think, 

 

Fred Williams: You know, who you need to interview is George. 

 

Big Rich Klein: You know, George, George just sent me, I sent him a happy birthday message on social media. And he came back and said, thank you. And that, you know, he loved it, the podcast and wanted to see, you know, he gave me a list of a couple of people and I said, George, I need you on here. And he goes, no, nobody wants to hear me. And I'm like, Oh yes they do. Because he's the guy that, all the stories. 

 

Fred Williams: Yeah. So a lot of people may not know this, but George Waitson was, I don't know a crew chief or he was the team manager for rock runner racing, which was Jason Paule and Travis and Brian Araya and Joachum and Tracy to some point. And, what was the other guy's name from Arizona That Trilla twisted car. They were all kind of like in that group and George would drive them all over the country in this Dodge dually with this giant car trailer behind it, all of these guys around to go rock crawling. And so he's definitely somebody you should have on there. He would have all types of fun stories. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Yeah. He's definitely on the list. Definitely on the list. Yep. Just got to, got to get him off the list and on the computer. Hey, I want to say thank you, Fred, for coming on, sharing your life history with, with the magazine and dirt every day, you know how you got to where you're at now, before we sign off here, what if you have anything besides dirt every day what's in the future 

 

Fred Williams: Oh goodness. I don't know. I like, I want to go four wheeling more and go on more adventures. And I keep doing dirt every day. I, I don't know what, what I'll do with misses when this is done or when the next thing comes around. I I've told people in the past, like I always just try to follow fun, which doesn't always make you a lot of money, but you seem to have better stories at the end of the day. So like, if you're, if you're a kid listening to this and you're like, well, I could go to business school and get a degree and start a business or it could follow fun, definitely get the business degree and start a good business. And then you can afford all the fun. Yeah. I don't know, 

 

Big Rich Klein: Father, my grandfather asked me one time. I was probably 11 years old and he said, you know, what is it you want to do when you grow up And I said, well, I think I want to be a forest ranger or a fish and game. Something like that. I was into scouting and backpacking and all that kind of stuff then. And he goes, well, that's really great, but I want you to always remember that no matter what you end up doing in life, try to do something that you enjoy and figure out a way to make a living doing it. And when I say living, I don't mean how much money you make, but how you get to live your life. Those were the words from my grandfather and at 42 is when I decided to do that. And that's when I quit working in corporate America, you would, I guess you would say and started Cal rocks and then which is morphed into we rock and everything else we do now. So we definitely, 

 

Fred Williams: Yeah, no, I think you follow the fun and the rest of it'll figure itself out. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Exactly. Well, cool. Fred, thank you so much for coming on and spending some, some time with us and I wish you the best of luck in everything that you ever do. 

 

Fred Williams: Thanks. Big rich. I will be in touch and hopefully we'll see you on the trail. 

 

Big Rich Klein: Sounds great. Thank you Fred. Good night. 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 book. You enjoyed it. We'll catch you next week with conversations with big rich. Thank you very much.