Conversations with Big Rich

Brad Williams and his Hobby job at Maxxis on Episode 54

April 15, 2021 Guest Brad Williams Season 2 Episode 54
Conversations with Big Rich
Brad Williams and his Hobby job at Maxxis on Episode 54
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Conversations with Big Rich
Brad Williams and his Hobby job at Maxxis on Episode 54
Apr 15, 2021 Season 2 Episode 54
Guest Brad Williams

Making a big impact on the tire scene, Maxxis National Director of Sales, Brad Williams talks about his hobby job at Maxxis in Motorsports. Automotive and Light Truck Tires is what he really does, but thank goodness he had time in his schedule to attend a rock crawl.  It changed the path of history for many drivers and event series, including WE Rock.

3:42 – second generation tire guy  

10:18 – planning for my future

12:20 – I’ll hang around as long as they’ll let me

14:15 – they’ll let you know how bad you did after

18:26 – What are you doing next weekend?

25:35 – So, he picked two drivers – one a cheerleader, one a winner

28:49 – learned how tough the tires had to be

31:01 – I didn’t have an official job in motorsports, it’s just a hobby 

34:28 – we need a 17” tire and a softer compound – don’t embarrass yourself, Brad

37:12 – cleaning out the cage to outfit the team

44:31 – this is our identity

54:35 – Pistol Pete was going to get us attention

1:05:28 – Jesse is still with us and doing great things 

 

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

Making a big impact on the tire scene, Maxxis National Director of Sales, Brad Williams talks about his hobby job at Maxxis in Motorsports. Automotive and Light Truck Tires is what he really does, but thank goodness he had time in his schedule to attend a rock crawl.  It changed the path of history for many drivers and event series, including WE Rock.

3:42 – second generation tire guy  

10:18 – planning for my future

12:20 – I’ll hang around as long as they’ll let me

14:15 – they’ll let you know how bad you did after

18:26 – What are you doing next weekend?

25:35 – So, he picked two drivers – one a cheerleader, one a winner

28:49 – learned how tough the tires had to be

31:01 – I didn’t have an official job in motorsports, it’s just a hobby 

34:28 – we need a 17” tire and a softer compound – don’t embarrass yourself, Brad

37:12 – cleaning out the cage to outfit the team

44:31 – this is our identity

54:35 – Pistol Pete was going to get us attention

1:05:28 – Jesse is still with us and doing great things 

 

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)


[00:00:01.080] 

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. Whether you're crawling the Red Rocks of MOAB or hauling your toys to the trail Maxxis has the tires, you can trust for performance and durability.

 [00:00:37.950] 
Four wheels or two Maxxis tires are the choice of champions, because they know that whether for work or play, for fun or competition Maxxis tires delivers choose Maxxis tread victoriously. Why should you read 4Low magazine, because 4Low magazine is about your lifestyle, the Four-Wheel Drive adventure lifestyle that we all enjoy, rock crawling, trail riding, event coverage, vehicle builds and do it yourself tech all in a beautifully presented package. You won't find 4Low on a newsstand rack. So subscribe today and have it delivered to you.


[00:01:20.510] - Big Rich Klein
On today's conversations with Big Rich, we have Brad Williams. Anybody that's ever run Maxxis will know who Brad Williams is. Brad has been an integral part of the Off-Road community with sponsorship Maxxis sponsoring many drivers and many organizations. And today we're going to talk to Brad about his beginnings, where he got started, how he got involved with Maxxis and how the Maxxis programs have evolved over the years and some of the drivers that he's worked with.

[00:01:55.620] 
And we'll just get into all that kind of a history. So, Brad, I want to say thank you so much for being on board with us and spending the time today to to talk with with us and let the listeners know a little bit more about you and also about the Maxxis program.

[00:02:12.600] - Brad Williams
Thank you. Appreciate the nice introduction.

[00:02:15.840] - Big Rich Klein

Oh, no worries. So let's just jump in deep with both feet. And it's the question that I always ask everyone and everyone always skips kind of and I bring them back in. But let's talk about your early years, your influential years. You know, where did you grow up and where did you go to, you know, say, high school and that kind of stuff.

 00:02:39.210] 
So let's start early.

[00:02:41.370] - Brad Williams
OK. Yeah. I mean, as far as influences may be a little different than some of the, you know, your previous guests, especially ones that were, you know, involved in the motor sport side of our industry. I didn't really have, you know, as a as a younger guy have really a lot of experience in motor sports.

[00:03:04.720] 
I was more interested in basketball, football, baseball, you know, did those kind of things, things as a kid. I grew up in southern part of Louisiana, Lafayette, Louisiana. If you have ever seen the, you know, the Swamp People documentary, kind of, you know, where they're hunting alligators in the bayous.

[00:03:27.750] 

I grew up, you know, right around that area. Had a much thicker accent back then. I've lived in Georgia for 20 years and lost a little bit of it, went to high school there, also went to college there, Louisiana, Lafayette.

 [00:03:42.660] 
And during that time, I my I'm second generation, I guess, tire industry. So from when I was a little guy, I probably got four or five years old.

[00:03:56.640] 

My dad was started working in the tire industry and that was kind of I guess I guess in a nutshell, my my my background.

 


[00:04:10.140] - Big Rich Klein

So when you say he started in the tire industry or was in the tire industry, was that as like a tire shop or did he work for a distributor? What was his background?

 


[00:04:22.170] - Brad Williams

He did really all of the above. Worked for a, you know, a tier one manufacturer as a sales rep, ran some retail chain for a while, and then when I was a year, I graduated. He kind of went out and took the leap and borrowed some money and opened up his own tire shop.

 


[00:04:44.940] 

Didn't have much money back then. And after he opened it up, probably had even less money for a few years. But if anybody's ever open a business, probably does have some experience with that. And then yet so I kind of grew up early years, you know, my first year of college mounting tires at his at his shop and got got tired of going, you know, I'd go, you know, work a little while and then, you know, between classes and then head over to college and, you know, take a few classes there and got got tired of, you know, going to college and trying to meet girls with dirt and oil.

 


[00:05:24.030] 

And my fingernails finally convinced them to put me on the sales counter and, you know, did that through most of college and, you know, several years after until until I moved and started working at Maxxis.

 


[00:05:39.910] - Big Rich Klein

OK, the tire the tire background is working in sales. And mounting is a spot where a lot of us have done it. I know my son worked for a Goodyear dealership while we were in Placerville. When I first got CalRocs started, I used to work for Sears Automotive as a auto center manager, but before that I mounted tires. Everybody that starts in Sears Automotive, I think starts mounting tires and putting in batteries and you work your way up.

 


[00:06:10.980] 

And then I left the company, came back and became a salesman for them and then jumped into assistant manager, then a manager and all that kind of stuff. So it was my tire, my background's entire sales truly as well. So that's that's probably why we get along so well. And I got a lot of shared background there.

 


[00:06:32.100] - Brad Williams

Yeah, I didn't know that. That's that's interesting.

 


[00:06:36.060] 

So let's let's talk about college. What kind of courses did you take at Lafayette.

 


[00:06:42.480] - Brad Williams

Well, I graduated, got my degree in marketing and honestly that was just something, you know, wanted some kind of degree in business. And you look at how you know, how marketing is today. You know, back then and late 1990s, you know what we learned back then and, you know, applying at today's marketing, there's some things maybe I could use, but of course, there wasn't social media and everything we're engaged in today back then.

 


[00:07:15.330] 

So it's it's changed a bunch. We need people at our company that, you know, younger people that have come in to really, really help us with our marketing efforts.

 


[00:07:24.900] - Big Rich Klein

Well, I think that's that's true on the method of delivery. But I think the message still stays the same. You know, out of college, I worked in an ad agency as a commercial photographer and did all the in-house photography for the for the ad agency instead of hiring outside. And the because my back my background, my degree is in commercial photography. Product advertising. Huh. I think that while the computer age has and social media, especially his has changed the form of delivery, I still think the message is they're the same and it's just how how we deliver it to the people.

 


[00:08:08.550] 

You know, I, I know that, like, the people that are that are involved in our sport off road are more hands on then than maybe the Internet. You know, they want to meet people they want. That's one reason we're in the sport, is to get outside and be around people that are doing the like thing. Does that make sense?

 


[00:08:33.990] - Brad Williams

Yeah, no, I agree. Like I said, there's there's still a lot of the same principles we used. It's just, you know, it's it's changed a lot.

 


[00:08:43.470] 

Of course, you know, I wish I wish there were you know, I could have taken classes back then that, you know, I could have, you know, applied a little bit more, especially on the, you know, social media engagement and that kind of thing.

 


[00:09:00.420] - Big Rich Klein

Right. And that stuff's changing so fast anyway. Yeah, crazy. Because just about the time you think you got ads figured out on any of the social media platforms, they change it so they get more money out of you.

 


[00:09:17.130] 

And I don't know if the return is really there.

 


[00:09:19.140] 

But anyway, you know, but we deal with the same. We're trying to get our our events out there and even for more people to listen to the podcast or to buy the magazine, so I get I get it. Sure.

 


[00:09:32.140] 

So with that being said, how did how did you end up at Maxxis when you got let's say, when you got out of college and you got your marketing degree, where did you land after that?

 


[00:09:46.060] - Brad Williams

Well, actually, again, still working, you know, family business. I, you know, at the time didn't really enjoy, you know, the retail side of it. And but what you know what I didn't mind, I guess, is the thought of, you know, having my own company one day and, you know, already had a head start with my father, you know, doing the legwork to at least have one location. And I think at the time, maybe he had purchased another one.

 


[00:10:18.220] 

So we probably had two locations at the time. So, you know, I had always planned that, hey, that's you know, that's going to be my future. I'm going to get involved in this business and grow it. But it was just something, you know, I wanted to I didn't necessarily want to be under know Dad's wing the whole time. And I wanted to do something on my own for a little while to get some experience, to maybe come back and, you know, help grow the business.

 


[00:10:48.880] 

So I was single at the time and, you know, was was looking for some, you know, places to go to to maybe work for a couple years to get those experiences. And I think at the time, you know, there were certain cities around the US that that seem to be growing and had, you know, a lot of opportunities. One of them was Atlanta, I think maybe Austin, Texas. I had on my  list Charlotte, North Carolina, you know, just random places.

 


[00:11:19.690] 

But we had a you know, when I told my dad he was going to do that for a little while and wanted to do at least for a couple of years, I we had a family friend that had or one of my parents family friends had a daughter that lived in Atlanta and was engaged to a guy that worked for a tire company. So, you know, they found out just through conversation that, hey, you know, Atlanta was a place that I may want to move to.

 


[00:11:51.130] 

And of course, that company he worked for was Maxxis. So they asked me to send in a resume. I, I sent it in. They flew me down a couple of times and I guess like me enough and then offered me a job. So I packed up my bags and headed to Atlanta. You know, we're in Suwanee, so a little bit north of Atlanta. And I was supposed to be, again, a two year, you know, I'd say two years to three years, you know, get some experience.

 


[00:12:20.650] 

And kind of just along the way, you know, a few promotions here and there, married a Georgia girl, had kids in Georgia, and now twenty one year that two year plan. Twenty one years later, I'm still still still at the same company. And like the you know, like the line out of the old David Allen Coe song. I'll hang around as long as they'll let me. That's awesome.

 


[00:12:46.300] - Big Rich Klein

So that's pretty cool. So when you when you first got hired. You said was that were you doing marketing or were what where were you at? Like, I know some of the guys that work for you now. What level were you compared to where those guys that I know now like Robbie or somebody.

 


[00:13:07.270] - Brad Williams

Yeah, as as entry level as you can get as a sales as a sales rep. Sales rep, OK. Yeah.

 


[00:13:14.470] 

They gave me a, you know, small territory, very, very little pay at the time. And it was funny with as part of my pay I had a prepaid bonus until I could start making a little bit of commission. But that bonus could be taken away any time. And if it was taken away, I wouldn't have been able to pay bills. It definitely motivated you to kind of get off your butt and start, you know, start picking up some business to, you know, again, to pay the bills.

 


[00:13:47.380] 

But I remember honestly my first a few months at the company, just the way it was set up. You know, they they put us you know, I went from, you know, retail sales and doing this was was so different, know, retail sales. You have someone coming in. You know, it's a consumer that might not know a whole lot about tires. And you can sell them one thing and you jump all the way to the manufacturer level and you're dealing with people that know the industry.

 


[00:14:15.040] 

You know, they're having to make a big commitment and it's a lot of cold calling. And back then we were, you know, positioned and little cubicles where everybody could hear every word you're saying. And there wasn't a whole lot of training or anything. And you got to remember being so nervous, picking up that phone or having a cold call. Of course, they had other guys that I became friends with that were, you know, listening the whole time and make sure they let you know how bad you did after.

 


[00:14:44.140] 

So it was it was pretty brutal. But honestly, my first year at the company, I really didn't like it. But I said, look, I got to stick it out. I'm not going to, you know, go home and say, hey, this didn't work out too early, but really didn't start really enjoying the job until accidentally, I guess, kind of got involved in and the motorsports side of things.

 


[00:15:08.770] - Big Rich Klein

And I know that we talked we discussed what your job position is now. And I want you to go ahead and tell our listeners what your position is and then we'll backtrack and talk about how you got there.

 


[00:15:23.940] - Brad Williams

OK, yeah, today, I'm the national director of sales for our Automotive and Light Truck Department , and that includes all, you know, everything that has to do with our replacement sales. So, you know, marketing, which includes motor sports and really in any tire, you know, in that category that that goes through, you know, our replacement sales.

 


[00:15:50.450] - Big Rich Klein

OK, now the question I have for you is those guys that were listening on you, making those cold calls and telling you everything that you were doing wrong, how many of those guys are above you in the company right now?

 


[00:16:05.610] - Brad Williams

There's none there. Most most of them have moved on pretty early. But now there's a guy there's probably there's there's there's a few that are still at the company, but most of them have had moved on by now.

 


[00:16:19.360] - Big Rich Klein

OK, that's just tells you about, you know, putting your head to the grindstone, you know, and and working your tail off and getting, you know, going after the opportunities when they arise. I'm sure one of the things I told my son always is he was growing up, as I said, you know, as you come into life and you you come across situations where you have a chance to interview for a promotion whether you feel you're qualified for it or not.

 


[00:16:49.170] 

Go in and and apply yourself and apply for that position, go through the process, because it's going to do is make you stronger the next time you go in to do that. And it worked for him. Did you try to do the same thing or was it just a slow growth to where you're at now?

 


[00:17:10.200] - Brad Williams

Yeah, I mean, you know, I think one I think some people just by nature, just have a little bit more patience. I think that's kind of lost today with a lot of the younger generation. You know, they're coming in and they're already want to know how long is it going to be before I get to this position or your position? It you know, as we know, life just doesn't work that way. You know, of course, you know, you want things to happen.

 


[00:17:34.790] 

And I remember, you know, I was really, I guess, more of a late bloomer with everything in life. You know, I graduated college a little bit later, kind of through the years, you know, like I mentioned, moving to Atlanta, I really didn't know exactly what I want to do at that point. But, um, you know, I remember a you know, one of my old old basketball coach, you know, that that I'd worked with told me one time, he said, you know, life is life is not a sprint.

 


[00:18:03.000] 

You know, you don't want to just sit in your butt and wait for things happen. But, you know, everything happens for people at different times. And sometimes you just have to be patient and let things, you know, happen the way they will.

 


[00:18:14.850] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, OK, good enough. So from that cold calling, what was the next the next step.

 


[00:18:26.620] - Brad Williams

Well, you know, again, this is still and probably a point where I probably wasn't enjoying my job as much we so my boss came to me one day, my boss at the time and said, you know, came over to my little cubicle and he said, hey, Brad, what are you doing next weekend? So I said, you know, I'm thinking, wow, man, you know, this might be getting better.

 


[00:18:53.020] 

He probably wants to get to know me a little bit better, you know, maybe play some golf or wants to invite me over to dinner. And I said I said nothing. I don't have any plans. And he said, well, I'll tell you what you're doing. You're going to Indiana, taking two Asian engineers from the factory to go see a rock crawling event

 


[00:19:15.160] 

OK, so, you know, come to find out, we were we were building a tire for you. In fact, I think you called it rock climbing.

 


[00:19:24.850] 

I don't think you had you had it right. But we were building a tire that was going be purpose built for that kind of thing. And I believe at the time we were doing something similar for events and somewhere in Indonesia. And it probably wasn't exactly what we were doing here in the US, but it was big enough over there where they had you know, they wanted to build something, but they loved the marketing we were doing and sending back to them in the US.

 


[00:19:55.180] 

So I, you know, took took a couple of the engineers there.

 


[00:20:01.270] 

I believe it was an event in Indiana, if I'm not mistaken, the badlands, then the Badlands, that that's exactly what it was. It was the Badlands.

 


[00:20:11.200] 

So, you know, I take these guys. I know nothing about it, but and of course, the engineers come with with cameras and notes. And, you know, these guys are, you know, getting ready for their obstacles. And, you know, at the event and I got these two guys taking pictures underneath their rigs that their tires.

 


[00:20:30.670] 

And, you know, it was a little I don't want to say embarrassing, but, you know, they were kind of a little overzealous with some of that stuff. And people might not necessarily like, you know, that many cameras underneath their rigs and see what they're doing, but especially.

 


[00:20:47.080] 

Yeah, yeah. But we you know, of course, they didn't speak great English. They wanted me to go talk and kind of ask these guys questions. And again, these guys are there for a reason, but some of them will talk shop a little bit. And, you know, we kept hearing one name, you know, over the announcer and kept hearing about someone say, well, this guys must be one of the top guys. And we so I started asking him questions and he was, you know, very nice about it, you know, and not necessarily giving away trade secrets with the tire company he was with.

 


[00:21:21.850] 

But, you know, talking about the sport a little bit and I don't really know this guy well today and I don't think he knows me. But that person was Jeff Mello, really? OK, yeah. And, you know, very, very nice. Just kind of, you know, talking about the sport and that kind of thing. But and there was others that helped us that event. But we got some brought back some good information.

 


[00:21:46.900] 

And that was my first first rock crawling event I went to.

 


[00:21:52.150] - Big Rich Klein

That's interesting. You know, I did interview Mello earlier for conversations. So it's one that you're going to have to go back and find and listen to because he's a he's a great guy. And you're right, he would be more he's always open to discussion. Of course, he's with that other tire guys and always has been.

 


[00:22:13.390] - Brad Williams

Well, yeah. And like I said, he was you know, that's why I don't want to make that clear that, like, he was giving away any kind of trade secrets or anything. But just very nice talking about the sport and the guy you're talking. That's probably almost 20 years ago now. But, you know, I remember that event. And, you know, again, it was all all new to us at that point, but I don't know where it was going to go.

 


[00:22:39.280] 

But it was just, like I said, by accident. They just you know, it was someone that was available that my boss said, hey, go, check this out.

 


[00:22:47.860] - Big Rich Klein

Well, that's interesting because in that must have let in to your you know, they must have seen something there. Besides, you were just available. And I don't you know, I don't know if that was your ability to communicate or what, because I didn't know you then, but I would imagine that's it. You're a really a personable guy. But that's interesting because you're there doing the cold call sales and then they ask you, what are you doing next weekend?

 


[00:23:14.590] 

And then you go see your first rock crawling event. And now you're, you know, in the position you are. So from that point, that first event, how did things how did things escalate? How long did it take for them to develop a tire and then get you involved in that process?

 


[00:23:36.820] - Brad Williams

Well, so, you know, I get back from the event and that was pretty much the end of it, you know, I did my thing and I don't think there was any, you know, strategy behind sending me.

 


[00:23:50.860] 

I was just an available body, but we did what we were supposed to do. So, again, we were developing this tire. You know, it takes a little while to develop. And then the next year they wanted us to, you know, to at least get involved in an event there with some kind of event so we could we could get our name out there and it would help us when we launched the tire and kind of learn about the, you know, the who's who at these events and who do we need to go after in that kind of thing.

 


[00:24:23.350] 

So we had at this point, you know, this is I'm a sales guy, so this is marketing handling this. And they I believe, you know, kind of looking at the you know, the different series they chose UROC to work with I believe it was UROC at the time. Right. And and so our marketing guy had called them and said, hey, you know, we want to put a little bit of money in series and, you know, just to have some banners and be able to get there and and, you know, again, start to start to learn a little bit more about the you know, about the discipline.

 


[00:24:59.320] 

And in the promoter at the time said, well, I mean, you you sponsor anybody, your a tire company. And the guy's like, well, I don't think we really have a tire tires not ready yet. And then and that's when I kind of got involved. Our marketing guy could say, hey, is there anything we can use? And at the time it was. It was. And it's not around anymore. Didn't stay around very long, but it was the Maxxis Mudzilla and it was a directional pattern that looked a lot like another tire that was out there.

 


[00:25:31.900] 

But that was really never supposed to be a rock crawling tire.

 


[00:25:35.230] 

But we we had it available. So, again, didn't know anybody. So our you know, the promoter said, well, let me try to find, you know, a couple couple of drivers for you. So he picked found two and we, you know, sponsored them for for that year. And I think I started getting involved because, you know, they were asking technical questions. And, you know, this marketing guy was not really an industry guy.

 


[00:26:09.850] 

So he said, look, you know, I'm going to handle the that, you know, the the series side of it and the marketing side. You know, can you help me out with handling these drivers? Because, you know, there had questions I can't answer. And I remember going to you know, they sent me to an event again to kind of meet these guys. And I remember our guy telling us he goes, OK, we've two drivers out there.

 


[00:26:37.510] 

One of them is one of them's pretty good. The other one, I think is, you know, he's he's a good guy. So so I went to the event and not knowing much, again, I didn't grow up around the sport or know a whole lot about it, but I found out very quickly who who was the good guy and who was the good driver and then the other guy. But there was you know, the first guy was was Chris Hollie.

 


[00:27:11.350] 

And he was he was the good driver. And again, I didn't know how good the other guy was, but I knew enough from being at that one event when you saw, you know, you saw the rig on its hood or on side too much that, you know, he probably wasn't as good of a driver. But I noticed that other guy that between, you know, his his obstacles, you know, I guess the best way to describe it would be a mascot without a costume.

 


[00:27:41.350] 

So, you know, he's out there. I mean, throwing t shirts. I don't think it's just Maxxis t shirts. It was whatever you can get to build, you know, get people excited about the sport. He's got them doing the fans doing the wave on the rock and, you know, yelling Maxxis. And I was like, man, that guy is passionate. And of course, that guy was Creighton King

 


[00:28:02.770] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, I knew that. I didn't know who the the other driver, the other driver was at that point when you said it and the promoter was Craig Stumph.

 


[00:28:11.110] - Brad Williams

It was it was Craig Stumph. We kind of you know, when you looking at milestones maybe we can get into. But, you know, Craig really, really helped us elevate, you know, what we were doing in rock crawling at that time. Oh, absolutely.

 


[00:28:26.440] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, it sounds like it. So the you go to that first event. As the technical guy, you get to meet Creighton and Chris, Holly and. Besides. Those two, what did you learn about the sport?

 


[00:28:49.800] - Brad Williams

Oh, man, that's a that's a good question. I mean, I I guess I was kind of thinking more in terms of, you know, how how do we use this to sell tires? And, you know, one course I saw, like, how tough the tires had to be.

 


[00:29:08.520] 

And, you know, they were they were pushing them to the extreme, you know, as far as like airing them down and, you know, and that kind of thing. But I think one thing I noticed just, you know, knowing a little bit about other motor sports, when you saw NASCAR, you know, Indy car, those kind of things that everybody seeing, is that the sport really it seemed to be the fans, you know, whether just someone driving a Jeep or have a modified, you know, any kind of modifications on a a lifted vehicle or just does, you know, recreational trail riding, it just seemed like it could relate to it a lot more.

 


[00:29:44.100] 

You know, I noticed a lot of the the fans just looking at people's rigs, what they had under it, you know, in that kind of thing. But I think that was probably my my first impression.

 


[00:29:55.050] - Big Rich Klein

OK, yep. They were they were the fans were actual enthusiasts and motor sports people were like NASCAR. They may not know that, you know, they like to watch the action, but they're not necessarily technical. You're going to go home and build one themselves or, you know, drive, you know, drive something that looks like it, you know, except maybe they'll throw a Dale Earnhardt sticker on or something. Sure, sure.

 


[00:30:25.030] 

OK, so then as you progressed, how did it all come about? The whole Maxxis team from two people to oh, I don't know what was there seven nine or something like that.

 


[00:30:40.750] - Brad Williams

Well, yeah. So so the next year, you know, going into year, again, I don't know, maybe been, you know, one event and I would talk to the two guys, you know, not very often, you know, they weren't it was kind of low maintenance because it was a two person team and they knew what they were do. And, you know, they would call me to order tires for them or whatever.

 


[00:31:01.260] 

So now let's keep in mind, this whole time, no one's really, you know, officially given me any kind of job in motorsports.

 


[00:31:10.840] 

So I always called it a hobby. And to this day, I don't think I've been paid one penny for it. I was always against sales background. But but so, you know, again, going back to, you know, when we were, you know, going back and the next contract with the series, we you know, they just you know, again, this is the marketing guy who's at his lowest level as I am, you know, making these decisions.

 


[00:31:38.600] 

Why don't you, you know, take this and help me? Because, again, you know, I think it'd be better for you to deal with the driver. So now we have our our  Rock crawling tire out, which was the creepy crawler, which is still around today. Right. And but, you know, so now, you know, in really the factory, all they were interested in is doing something to to send us marketing assets.

 


[00:32:06.430] 

So, you know, they were fine with two teams or, you know, as long as we can take some good video and pictures and that kind of thing. But, you know, I kind of enjoyed it. And everybody likes to build things. So, you know, let's let's see what we can do and, you know, make this thing better. So, of course, the the promoter, Craig Stumph, I think during that time had and I don't remember what his involvement was that at UROC, I don't know if he was part owner or, you know, had something involved, but, you know, he had left and was going to start competing.

 


[00:32:40.960] 

So again, at this point, I didn't really know Craig because, you know, our marketing guy had, you know, had dealt with them. And I remember, you know, I'm thinking I don't know anybody. And we got a two person team. And, you know, that may be fine because it's going to be tough for me to recruit. I just I don't know enough people. And, you know, we have a new tire out that's, you know, that's unproven.

 


[00:33:04.930] 

So I get, you know, again, that same marketing guy says, hey, Brad, I got someone that wants to talk to you, set up a phone call with you. And he's, you know, he's the godfather of rock crawling.

 


[00:33:18.790] 

So I said, well, I don't know what to this day. I don't know if he gave himself that or someone else did. But here I am. The guy still doesn't know much about the sport. I'm trying to build the thing. And, you know, I'm going to I got The Godfather that wants to talk to me. I think to myself, I've got to carve out some time to talk to The Godfather. So, uh, so I did.

 


[00:33:42.580] 

And end up being a pretty productive phone call because I think what he was doing at the time is he was putting together a big team and kind of the whole deal was he wanted them all be on the same tires, same wheel. You know, he was going to get all these sponsorships for them. And, you know, to his credit, he did. And I think it was actually I think it might have been a ten person team.

 


[00:34:06.700] 

So I believe Chris and Creighton were still part of that. And then we had eight more drivers. And it was you know, it was a mixture of of kind of your you know, maybe I don't want to say lower tier because they're all people that got attention, but we call them underdogs and up and comers.

 


[00:34:28.360] 

And then there was some mixed in there that, you know, we're we're good, good drivers that could win. But our big issue at the time is, you know, again, when they were building this creepy crawler, they were doing it, you know, putting it on vehicles overseas in these events. And we had a big issue. We didn't have it didn't come in a seventeen inch wheel size. So all of these, you know, as Craig's recruiting course, all these guys are running seventeen inch beadlocks.

 


[00:34:58.630] 

So he had to fight well, first do a lot of convincing, but, you know, find them a wheel sponsor so we could get everything over to run our tire. So I believe I'm not a hundred.

 


[00:35:12.980] 

Sure, but I'm almost positive it was Greg Mulkey at Allied that helped us out, right, and either built some 16 inch beadlocks or had some. And so, yeah, we put everything together. I think, again, next mile start doing that year when we were talking to Craig, he goes, hey, you know, you know, we need to be able to compete. Of course, we're going to need 17 inch tire at some point. But, you know, that may take a little while.

 


[00:35:41.930] 

But we need, you know, a softer compound. So I remember going to the engineers and talking to some of our ATV guys about it. They told me, you know, Brad, you're going to embarrass yourself. Don't go ask for that leave on the ATV. It's a mature program we've been in racing forever and we've been asking for a soft compound and they won't build it for us. He said, you know, they they have them available, but they're not going to you know, it's just expensive.

 


[00:36:11.870] 

You know, you get a lot of waste coming out of the molds and a lot of scrap and that kind of thing. But somehow our we got our engineer, who still our senior VP of engineering that runs our tech center here. He he got it done for us. And so we came out our first sticky tire was in that 16 inch creepy crawler. Wow. And so so anyway, we were, you know, again, going from, you know, I didn't really do much, but kind of look like a hero.

 


[00:36:45.650] 

Now, we went from two teams to ten teams. We got a sticky tire. But, you know, a funny story about that, I remember, you know, of course, I think we started maybe we had like a, I don't know, five thousand dollar budget or think year one. And we were going in with about the same budget. So we had to put our sales caps on to figure out how we were going to pay for this 10 person team and got that done but had nothing left over.

 


[00:37:12.740] 

And I remember Craig telling me, hey, you know, we we all kind of want to look the same. So, you know, we need some money to get, you know, get some uniforms. And I'm like, man, you know, I don't have anything, but let me see what we might have available. And so I go we have this area at the Maxxis warehouse that we call the cage. And it's it's just where they kind of have leftover jerseys of teams and that kind of thing.

 


[00:37:40.490] 

So I open a box and find these downhill bicycle jerseys. So like, they're these, you know, long sleeve kind of mesh jerseys that that were just, I mean, orange. So kind of thing where, you know, if you're if you're riding a bike and, you know, the fog or whatever, these are the kind of jerseys you want. So we know these things were fitted a little bit differently. So we had so anyway, we said, hey, we have these things, we're going to give these to the guys.

 


[00:38:13.430] 

We have enough of them. We're counting them out. And there was a lot of, I think, complaints with within the team because, you know, it didn't look, you know, didn't look like someone something a rock crawler would be wearing. And, you know, to this day, we still call, we're doing sponsorships. We call them our sponsorship athletes. And problem with some of these rock crawlers, they didn't necessarily have the athlete physique.

 


[00:38:37.880] 

So so they were good sports and squeeze themselves in em.

 


[00:38:43.190] 

And and I remember going to that first event, you know, we didn't have a whole lot of money to give the series. And we show up there, you know, with our new team. And I go to this event. And of course, you had one of the tire manufacturers, the title sponsor, had spent big money on it. Another one of our competitors was winning everything. But, you know, we had, you know, these ten spotter's ten, you know, ten drivers, you know, and other family members.

 


[00:39:13.310] 

We gave it out that had these orange jerseys on. And then we also, you know, in that cage again, how much budget we had, this box that we would or, you know, it was always like there was a lot of stuff stored back there that, you know, they they had, I think at the time, like a bunch of t shirts that hundreds of them that they printed. And the logo was kind of crooked.

 


[00:39:35.930] 

And, you know, it would put that kind of stuff back there that we couldn't sell on our E store. And I mean, some of them, I think you take them out and it had a, you know, a forklift track on it or something that somebody ran over.

 


[00:39:49.160] 

So we take those jerseys, we take all those t shirts and, you know, again, all the money the title sponsor spent and the other company winning everything. But then when you looked at it, at the end of the day, you know, we were there with just our little ten by ten tent and all you saw was just orange everywhere. And course you got Creighton cheerleading thrown out, you know, fifty. T-shirts and, you know, given out swag everywhere, and I listen to Creighton's podcast, but that was the same event, I believe, where he had mentioned that one of the guys on the podium got up there and said, you know, I know there's a lot of, B, want to be tire companies out there running around in orange or something like or something like that.

 


[00:40:32.130] 

But but we definitely we didn't win anything that day, but we definitely got noticed.

 


[00:40:38.220] - Big Rich Klein

That's marketing. That's you know, if there's a one of the guys that that always looked up to as a competitor and had some really good ideas, came over from a different sport and brought had Red Bull with him was Dustin Webster, you know? Yes. He was really good at marketing and understanding what needed to be done and stuff. And what he said is, you know, if I can't win the show, I'm going to be the show.

 


[00:41:05.730] 

Yes. And you know, the guys that you picked for your team, there was a couple of them that were. Or that Craig picked for the team that were were good. There was one or two that that in their class were probably considered great. And then you guys, you know, you did you did the thing you needed to do, and that was to make an impression marketing, you know, even if it was cleaning out the cage.

 


[00:41:36.270] - Brad Williams

Yeah, yeah. Very, very good point. And we saw it the same way we knew we were going to get, you know, all the best drivers right away. And like I said, that was it was a it was kind of mixed. It was your up and comers. But we always like the people that could, you know, put on a show and get us attention.

 


[00:41:54.660] - Big Rich Klein

Right. One of the one of the other of those two tire manufacturers that you're talking about, when they came into the sport, they they just gave everybody free tires and they said, OK, well, we're going to do is we're going to give everybody the opportunity to run our tire. And then what they did is they started pulling the the free tires back and only giving them to the guys that were the top players. So as they would win on those tires, everybody thought, oh, man, I got to be on those tires, too.

 


[00:42:24.870] 

I can't get them for free anymore, but I got to buy them. Yeah. Yeah. They came in with a with a completely different marketing attitude. But one of the things that you guys have done as Maxxis is that it's that grassroots program that you have where you get the kids started on Maxxis really young with the bicycle programs.

 


[00:42:47.850] - Brad Williams

Yes. We and that's you know, that's just a company culture thing. You know, we got the Lowe family in in the 60s in Taiwan. I mean, that's how the company started, is, you know, building bicycle tubes and, you know, got in bicycle and moto and it was all the two wheel stuff, which is all, you know, enthusiast related. And then, of course, over time, you know, built it into a, you know, ninth biggest manufacturer in the world.

 


[00:43:18.240] 

And our volume all today, you know, I don't know the exact percentage, but it's probably, you know, upper 80 percentile is all comes from light truck and passenger. But all of the marketing and getting, you know, engaging in enthusiast, you know, still to this day, there are some people, you know, that's what they remember us as is the Moto Company or the ATV/UTV company, the bicycle company. But, you know, we were on one of our, you know, partners we deal with.

 


[00:43:50.280] 

It has a big online company know tire company, really put everything in perspective. One day we were talking to him, I think earlier last year. They market. You don't realize how many tire brands are out there, but they were marketing at the time on their site. Three hundred and fifty brands. Wow. So now a lot of those are, you know, made by the same manufacturer that might be private label. But, you know, when we were going through the pandemic and of course, everybody wants to cut marketing and motor sports were in jeopardy because, you know, again, we didn't know if they were going to have those events and, you know, OEMs were shutting down and, you know, we were able to ship them.

 


[00:44:31.230] 

And I mean, we really fought for it. And I think, you know, it's like, look, this is this is our identity. You know, when you're talking about those three hundred and fifty brands out there, you know, we have to have an identity. You know, we're not we're not a big OE supplier on, you know, you know, on our our, light truck and passenger tires. You know, we again, we're that we're that, you know, able to engage with a very, you know, someone at a very young age that goes, you know, in the bicycle and maybe moves up to or even know our trailer tires or will do a market.

 


[00:45:06.690] 

You know, that's a whole, you know, your toy haulers and things like that around. But, you know, we've always marketed that, you know, at some point, you know, younger generations are going to say, hey, you know, that other brand that's popular and spends, you know, hundreds of millions on marketing. You know, that's my dad's brand. That's my grandfather's brand. We want him to say that, hey, you know, Maxxis is the useful youthful brand.

 


[00:45:33.630] 

It's it's my brand. So we've always fought hard to keep our, you know, our motor sports active.

 


[00:45:42.240] - Big Rich Klein

That's good. I had a marketing guru from another company, not tire manufacturer, but he's he's jumped around in the in the industry quite a bit over the last couple of years. But he was he's been really influential in any place that he's been. And when we were talking to him about the brand he was representing at the time, he goes, well, you guys you guys have always done a really good job. Going to the companies that are that are grassroots and I said, well, that's because we are you know, our sport is grassroots, you know, it's not it's not NASCAR, it's not, you know, the really high dollar trophy truck guys, you know, it's, you know, rock crawling and rock crawling enthusiasts or are, you know, typically middle class, you know, maybe upper middle class, but still middle class.

 


[00:46:36.780] 

You know, we you know, we have some guys that dabble in it that are that are extremely wealthy, you know, business owners, that kind of thing. But, you know, we're still a grassroots sport. And he goes, that's what I'm talking about. Maxxis he goes, your guys relationship with Maxxis. If you look at Maxxis, you know, they start everybody young. They get that kid, you know, by and Maxxis on his motors, on his bicycle, and then he goes to his ATV or his motorcycle.

 


[00:47:04.650] 

And then all of a sudden he's he's racing, you know, in the desert. You know, he's going to go with the tire brands that he knows unless somebody comes in and buys him. Right. You know, and and that's what we've seen over the years. And you've done a really good you know, Maxxis has done a really good job at keeping those people because you guys have a very high quality tire product across the board. And, you know, the people that have used them know that, of course, there's some people that will always swear by the tire brand that they've always used as well.

 


[00:47:38.220] 

You know, that's that's just how tires are. But you guys have done a good job, at least in my opinion.

 


[00:47:45.570] - Brad Williams

Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. We always one thing that's just the way Maxxis is structured. You know, we have three separate sales division. There's a there's a bicycle, UTV/ATV and of course, the passenger light truck side. And one thing I think in the past we could have done a better job is, you know, everybody, you know, kind of having, you know, their strategies cross over and be on the same page because, you know, they always had separate budgets and kind of want to do their own thing.

 


[00:48:19.590] 

And, you know, we're starting to see that change, you know, as I have a little bit more control over it. And just, you know, of course, there's a lot of crossover now. You know what we're doing, desert racing, short course. You know, some of the you know, the rock racing you've done in the past and that kind of thing. There's obviously a lot of UTV classes involved. So we still need to do a better job of it.

 


[00:48:45.030] 

But that's something that's that's been a focus the last couple of years.

 


[00:48:49.170] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah. And I and that is I think very important is to get all those those those three different groups all working together for the end, you know, all having the same vision at the end. Yes. So yeah. So let's let's go back and talk about those rock crawling days and the team. Ten teams and of course you got the cheerleader. Yeah. Yeah. Let's talk about that transition for light truck and tire on the motorsports side on getting involved with the event series and how how that all played out.

 


[00:49:28.020] 

I know that you guys I mean, you're still a salesman at that point. So how did the transition come about and how long did that maybe take?

 


[00:49:38.640] - Brad Williams

Yeah, again, still, sales person, you know, nobody told me we were I was supposed to be spending my time doing this. That's why the whole thing I've called it a hobby, but now It got fun. You know, you're meeting some good people and, you know, you're seeing things build up. You know, we get out to events and people would know you a little bit. It was it was the fun part of the job.

 


[00:50:03.480] 

So I guess I guess somewhere along the line, you know, some of the upper management realized I was having too much fun and they didn't need to pay me for it. But, you know, the sales side, everything was everything was still good. So, yes, somewhere along the line, I think, you know, again, we were still going to events in, you know, our support was a ten by ten, you know, and you probably remember us both days with a couple display tires out there.

 


[00:50:30.120] 

So at some point as we grew and wanted to get into other types of racing, you know, we knew we needed the right support at races. Now, of course, you know, again, putting on our sales cap, that's a tough sell. Go again from just a few years ago, having a five thousand dollar budget and how you talk about, you know, getting support rigs involved. So we you know, we had Jay Gobal and Mike Farmer, who had support rigs, you know, the ATV UTB Moto Power, our sports side of the business that was already mature and sponsorship.

 


[00:51:07.950] 

And they actually had an East Coast truck west coast truck. And I remember being around those guys and just, man, they I mean, everything was just kept there. Their trucks were, you know, is pristine, always clean. They always brought a professional, you know, appearance there. And but the other thing I noticed about them was just because really Maxxis was the only company they were contracted to, they just lived and died Maxxis. I mean, they were just passionate.

 


[00:51:37.760] 

Know we always remember Mike Farmer saying he just I bleed orange. So, you know, we knew we needed that, you know, that that support truck. So I think, you know, the natural thing to do would have been, you know, talk to those guys. But I think there might have been some hesitancy. They really wanted the gig. But, you know, and expand that, I think, to the manager at that time, you know, said, hey, that might be a little too much.

 


[00:52:02.040] 

So it's like, well, man, you know, we could just contract out to another company. But, you know, we really want that kind of, you know, that kind of support person in there that just lives and breathes Maxxis. So I got to we got to find that guy and put a proposal together. And again, it went back to seeing that, you know, we can call him a cheerleader, Brand Ambassador whatever you want to call it.

 


[00:52:27.650] 

I don't think it was another person out there that had as much passion is like that's like a Creighton King. So, you know, crazy idea. It's like, hey, let's, you know, let's see if we can work this out and think.

 


[00:52:40.520] 

He was an accountant at the time and took a little while to put together, but finally made it happen. And then when we got the support rig, you know, it allowed us to, you know, to go out and look at other motorsports, but really have some of the sponsorship stuff happen is once we were out there and people saw us giving sponsors, you know, we first started out, there was no one come and talk to us at SEMA.

 


[00:53:06.320] 

You know, nobody want to run the tires. And you know what? Maxxis was at that point or at least they didn't know that we had, light truck tires. But, you know, now that people saw that, then we go see them and there's desert racing teams come coming here. There was a short course teams come in. But we I think outside rock crawling, the first team we we saw was a desert team, desert racing team, a class seven.

 


[00:53:30.200] 

And they had, I guess were partnered or knew someone that was, in short, course racing. And that was that's kind of how we got into that. And that guy was Randy Eller. The he was a pro light driver. And that's how we kind of got introduced into, you know, all those other things. And again, I think it was just a matter of people, you know, we had Creighton helping us recruit, of course, you know, very involved in that and was a big part of what we did.

 


[00:54:01.280] 

We had other Maxxis drivers that, again, were just buying into the culture and introducing us to their friends. And it just kind of, you know, kind of blew up. You know, as I'm telling the stories, I kind of realize after how much, you know, little I personally had to do with it. It was just the people around us were making it happen.

 


[00:54:23.720] - Big Rich Klein

That's awesome. How did Pistol Pete? Get involved with Maxxis, oh, you have much relationship with Pete. No, I didn't.

 


[00:54:35.360] - Brad Williams

And God, I don't remember how we first met. But, you know, Pete was always kind of that guy. He was like the, you know, of course, meeting him after and getting to know him. He was kind of that real man's trophy truck guy. You know, he of course, you know, you run a trophy cup. It's usually these guys you have, you know, enough money to do anything they want. And, you know, Pete was on a budget, but he'd always put something together that on any given Baja, you know, he could, you know, or any big race, he could win.

 


[00:55:09.080] 

Yes. Yeah.

 


[00:55:10.220] 

And it goes back to again what you were saying.

 


[00:55:13.220] 

The you know, the person type of driver that was going to get you know, we were at that point going to sign like a you know, I don't know, a Herbst Team or something like that. But but he just seemed to be the right, you know, the right fit. You know, he was going to get us attention. I know he would post stuff on the off road boards, you know, good or bad. It was kind of get attention.

 


[00:55:36.530] 

But again, he really bought into the the Maxxis culture. And we became friends over the years. We got to remember him coming. We had a an event at SEMA and it was supposed to be, you know, for our customers. But we invited all the off road, you know, our sponsorship, you know, and magazines and that kind of thing. And it probably was a ratio of like ninety ten where was all sponsorship. And our president kind of put an end to that.

 


[00:56:10.020] 

But but I remember Pete being there and him just coming in with the with the mullet and the sunglasses and he had like a silk, black shirt. I mean it was, it was a presence there. I mean, he he looked like the rock star and I think, you know, made himself believe he was in a lot of cases, you know, he was. But it's got it. I remember I hadn't talked to Creighton just in a while, you know, just you were both kind of doing our own things.

 


[00:56:37.700] 

And I got to remember where I was. I was down in my basement doing something. And, you know, he called and I didn't answer right away. Then he texted and told me about the news. And it's just it just you kinda remember where you were and it just just really hits you. And he you know, before that, he had finally got, you know, he was going to be know was a TV personality. And he had you know, they were filming somewhere in Georgia and maybe like a year earlier, you know, he made sure he said, hey, I got some time off.

 


[00:57:07.200] 

He drove, I don't know, a few hours just to come have lunch with us and and tell us about it. But, yeah, we we miss him. He was, you know, a big part of, you know, long time Maxxis guy. And it's weird you mention it, because just yesterday his and it was forward to me from Creighton, but his younger younger daughter is going to be competing in a desert event and she's had asked us if we wanted to support her.

 


[00:57:39.080] 

So just kind of a coincidence. But of course, we're going to do whatever we can to make sure the Sohren legacy lives on.

 


[00:57:49.370] - Big Rich Klein

That's awesome. He was a he was a special guy, that's for sure. You know, you talk about him walking into that meeting with the black silk and shirt and the glass sunglasses and the mullet and everything. He he had a presence, whether you loved him or hated him. And it depended it if you were competing against him, especially, you know, some of the guys just you know, he just told it like he felt it was.

 


[00:58:16.160] 

And he never would hesitate to tell you his opinion.

 


[00:58:21.700] - Brad Williams

Oh, yeah. Yeah. And I mean, it's, you know, going through contract season with them, you know, of course, he knew how to get more money and ask, but it was you know, we just developed a relationship over the years. It was just, you know, you kind of do what you were going to get. But, you know, again, it was just you don't realize how much you're going to miss somebody until they're gone.

 


[00:58:44.660] 

But I remember a story with with Pete, you know, because he's always again, he you know, he didn't have the money as some of these other trophy truck type teams. So we had to get any kind of sponsors you get. And we saw something, you know, we're a tire company and, you know, we're advertising of tough tires and that kind of thing. And he signs a deal with the with slime, which is, you know, prevents tire punctures and that kind of thing.

 


[00:59:09.950] 

And I remember someone showed me the picture and it had one side had Maxxis and the other side had Slime. You know, the spots that I remember seeing him at an event and, you know, talking to him, hey Brad how you do whatever. And as I'm leaving, I pull out another 32 inch stick or whatever. It's like, you know, hey, we got more of these if you need one for the other side, Pete. And he just didn't know what to say, didn't really say anything, just kind of chuckled and shook his head.

 


[00:59:35.670] 

And I think the next event, of course, it had two Maxxis stickers on there. But but yeah, he was just he was I mean, that's that's a lot of personality for sure. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

 


[00:59:49.460] 

Pete had a tendency sometimes to do things and just apologize later. But, you know, again, a lot of times we knew what we were getting and, you know, we just there was definitely more more good than bad because he he definitely you know, like we talked about Creighton, we definitely he got us a lot of attention.

 


[01:00:09.110] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, true. Let's continue talking about the development of of the Maxxis brand in rock crawling in rock sports. Right now, you have arguably the best rock crawler. In the nation that's competing nowadays on your tire brand, and of course, I'd be Jesse Haines. Yep, yep, of course there's some guys out there that think they're better. There's probably one guy that we, you know, that's on another tire brand. But he's retired that I would consider the all time greatest rock crawler.

 


[01:00:43.380] 

Yeah, and that's Tracy Jordan.

 


[01:00:44.890] 

But again, I say Tracy Jordan.

 


[01:00:46.630] 

And he you know, of course, he was on that other that other brand. But they you know, Jesse would hang with him. I mean, always did. Yeah. So I think it's a good comparison. But, you know, getting Jesse on the team, I don't know when that happened. I don't think it was there at the beginning with the first ten, but somewhere along the line because he was probably even at that possibly even at that event at the Badlands, because he was he worked at the Badlands back then.

 


[01:01:18.310] 

Yeah. So how did how did things come about with Jesse, do you remember God? I yeah, I mean, I think Jesse was was East Coast back then, wasn't he? Yes. Yeah. OK, so we were again, we had our, you know, our West Coast guys. And then we you know, we're trying to, you know, build a team to, you know, for the the the East Coast, we call it East Coast.

 


[01:01:48.060] 

But and it was again, it was people realizing that, you know, we were out there providing sponsorships. So you had a couple teams that nobody else was looking at and couldn't get a sponsor, so to sponsor. So they would come to us. And with that, you know, there was always someone that said, well, you know, you could sponsor us. But we also have this guy that, you know, he's good. He's you know, he's the guy.

 


[01:02:14.490] 

And at that point, I think I think one of those guys, one of the first ones out east when you said Jesse, wasn't in the very beginning, I believe was was Danny Rohrer? Yeah. You remember Wombat. And he was real hesitant to come on because we didn't have the 17 inch. And then now we had this new tire coming out the Trepador and got I remember he was still kind of hesitant, said, hey, now we have these tires coming.

 


[01:02:46.860] 

We're you know, we want you to test them. We're going to airfreight them, you know, into the US, because I think Craig's team, you know, they already had their wheels and we're doing their thing. And I remember, you know, that was the part how we kind of broke in to, you know, to you know, the guys are started meeting some of the guys on the East Coast. But, you know, funny story there.

 


[01:03:07.980] 

I remember, you know, we were we were late in getting the tires into our office and we're promising this guy that these things are coming. So we had him airfreighted and then it was an event and Jellico. And so we had to get him to the hotel, just ship them directly to hotel. And if you remember kind of the hotels and jellico, so, you know, you recall the guy saying, hey, these tires are coming.

 


[01:03:34.050] 

You know, can you put them somewhere? And that, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. So again, I've never been a jellico, but, you know, show up at the hotel on my crapware that, you know, so, you know, we went and met little guy at the front and said, hey, you know, we got some tires. Oh yeah. These things are getting all kind of attention. You know, keep in mind, there's you know, there is eight of these things in the world.

 


[01:03:56.130] 

You know, these were hand cut tires that we shipped for testing a walk around the back. And you got, you know, you know, eight of these things just piled up in some weeds and back up there, you know, thing. And he said he goes, yeah, these things get a lot of attention. Everybody's taking pictures of em. You know, this is a new rock crawling tire and, you know, no one saw. But, yeah, shortly after and I think Rich, again, it's been a while and some of the stuff's blending together.

 


[01:04:22.860] 

But, you know, I remember meeting Jesse and getting him on, but I think back then we were everything was, you know, we built was for, you know, for modified guys. I don't know if we had and I think Jesse might have been super mod at the time. Would that be right?

 


[01:04:40.200] 

Or there was there was the at least with with our calling it, you know, you had like legends cars, which was. Yeah. Which was our pro modified. And I think Danny and I think Jesse might have been in that class at that point. And then you had the unlimited or super mod. Right. Which was like what Marty Hart ran in. Yeah, yeah. And Jesse eventually in there because in 2006 I want to say or twenty twenty six.

 


[01:05:14.610] 

Twenty seven. Jesse won our national championship in Columbus, Ohio. Yeah. I think at that point he was on Maxxis. Yeah.

 


[01:05:28.140] 

And that's what I think. Jesse might have been one of our first, one of our first at least I know our east, our first, you know, unlimited or super mod guy. Right. If I'm not mistaken. But of course that's that's fifteen years ago and he's still with us and, you know, doing some good things. I think that's probably one of the my biggest regret is I've you know, as my role expanded, I just don't get to engage with those guys as much anymore.

 


[01:06:00.900] 

And, you know, I miss that, but Jesse's certainly one of them. I think we're looking at some new possible products coming coming in the future that we're in development on. And I think we've already been in touch with them. He'll be a big part in helping us. That's awesome, cool. So you you pick up Danny Rohrer, you get him these new tires, you know, Danny always has a he had a an alter ego.

 


[01:06:33.060] 

The wombat, well, not even wombat, it was called, instead of Danny Rohrer, it was Randy Dor and Randy Dorr is the guy that would come out typically on a Friday or Saturday night, was known to to have a great time. Yeah.

 


[01:06:54.380] 

Hit the moonshine and whatever else was around. Yeah. Yeah. And he but he always he would you know, he was always if he wasn't on the podium, he was challenging for the podium up to the last obstacle. Yeah. Yeah. We miss him at the events. He was quite the character but he's raising a family now so yeah.

 


[01:07:16.370] 

I thought around that time they either had, you know, children or maybe even adopted. I don't remember. But I remember seeing, you know, back then very little ones, you know, at the event at that time. Yeah.

 


[01:07:30.350] 

So let's let's go ahead and talk about the other forms of of motorsports. I know that you talked about Eller, Randy Eller and the short course stuff, and we talked about Pistol Pete and we've talked about the rock crawling. Is there other. You know, I know that you guys got into drift and some other stuff, was that all part of your program as well?

 


[01:07:56.770] 

No, that actually, you know, the drift side of things. You know, when we started, you know, again, you know, son in a bunch a short course guys, you know, east and west. And, you know, we're running, I think at the time, the old MDR program. And, you know, in the desert, you had a lot of, you know, big grassroots programs. So it was starting to be a full time job.

 


[01:08:20.940] 

And so whenever, again, just a hobby at this point. And then when we you know, they developed the tire ferrigno's, it was you know, it was easy to get done because, you know, at that time, the whole, like, Tuner's scene was huge. And our factory overseas, you know, that was Drift was something you know, it was popular in Asia. So, you know, they got we had already set the ground.

 


[01:08:46.300] 

So they got Buche pretty early. But I think I passed I don't know if I was got it at a management position at that point, but we ended up you know, there was a guy that had came much later and, you know, kind of saw some of the things we were doing and wanted a piece of it. Again, he was a sales guy and and kind of took the drift program by the reins. Did I mean a very good job?

 


[01:09:12.000] 

I mean it at one point our last year in it, you know, we had Chris Forsberg won the championship and I think Ryan Turk maybe was runner up. So, you know, two guys on Maxxis finishing one and two. And, you know, Formula D was, I think, just one class. So, you know, very, very well. Then it just it got to the point where it got expensive and, you know, trying to use that to market, you know, those type of tires, which you you know, at that time you had to get down to a price point anyway.

 


[01:09:44.760] 

You know, it just stopped making sense. But but, yeah. Had some success on the pavement as well.

 


[01:09:52.260] 

Excellent. So what's the what's the future like? I know that you can't give away secrets. I know that. But you said there's there's something that some products coming up that you're going to, like, get Jesse's input on and stuff. So what can you. Can you talk about some of that at all? Yeah.

 


[01:10:16.170] 

I mean, you know, people that, you know, have been around our program and know about our products. You know, there's, of course, certain disciplines where, you know, we're used to having you know, we thought we had, you know, certainly one of the best, if not the best tire that we built, you know, purpose-built tire for short course. You know, we can't can't use them anymore, but but, you know, really never got there on the you know, the desert side as far as, you know, the the trophy truck or trick truck classes.

 


[01:10:55.980] 

And then, of course, you know, the ultra4 type racing, you know, we won a series championship that's probably going back at least probably four years with Levi Shirley. Right. Came close. I think the problem with the winning KOH one year. But, you know, we know areas where, you know, we probably, you know, we need to improve. And, you know, if you take too long, you start you know, you start losing people in those disciplines.

 


[01:11:29.130] 

And we have to be we have to be as motivated as we were, you know, in the beginning to to keep progressing. And that's something we've talked about and I think have the the factory on board. So, you know, we could have as many as a couple new, you know, well, we'll call them purpose-built or project type tires for, you know, for for multiple disciplines. But but yeah, we're actually in development now.

 


[01:11:58.030] 

Excellent.

 


[01:11:59.280] 

So one of the areas that and I don't know, this is something that that we can continue to talk about or I'll take it out depending on where you where you want to go with it. Is the some of the other tire manufacturers out there do a lot of social type events. And I know that at one point you guys were talking about getting involved with some people on the East Coast that were going to do some stuff. Are you guys still looking at doing some things like that?

 


[01:12:30.530] 

That. To get the enthusiast more involved than just racers.

 


[01:12:39.180] 

When you're talking social type events, I'm not sure I know exactly what you're talking about, like the runs that, you know, a trip to Alaska or oh, I get a kind of like an alternate adventure type things that.

 


[01:12:56.340] 

Yeah, I mean, we're we're looking at, you know, it all those things, you know, and that's where we we have to, you know, is our brand is starting to be noticed is more of you know, as we you know, we put brands in tiers, you know, as an upper tier product, especially, you know, on the on the off road side, we've had to become more modern. And, you know, we talk in fact, we had, you know, something big that we were planning like that to get customers involved, magazines and, you know, enthusiasts and that kind of thing.

 


[01:13:32.580] 

But it was going to be the launch of our new RZR AT. And we you know, we had other events planned as well, kind of starting to, you know, going to start planning those type of things. But then, of course, you know, news a pandemic hit. And, you know, we had to put all of that on the back burner. But, you know, we've we have a program manager now that that kind of oversees a lot of the marketing.

 


[01:13:58.830] 

And, you know, a lot of those events are generated from, you know, customers on our programs that, you know, can can purchase enough and win trips and that kind of thing. But, you know, we always thought we would have the ability to be able to involve a lot of our, you know, sponsorship and, you know, teams and influencers and those, you know, those kind of activities. OK, perfect.

 


[01:14:29.160] 

So is there anything in the tire world or the Brad world that you would like to talk about that we haven't discussed?

 


[01:14:38.080] 

Well, currently, of course, it's you know, you've probably heard this. You know, it's been a been a strange year. You know, they of course, the pandemics changed a lot of things that we at least on our side of the industry, we believe, you know, almost forgot about that early on because, you know, our industry was faced with some, you know, some challenges with, you know, tariffs, new tariffs being announced.

 


[01:15:08.940] 

And then, you know, the supply chain issues that we you know, that the pandemics caused where, you know, it's very hard getting product today, you know, from the you know, from Asia or a lot of countries into the US and of course, port congestion. And, you know, all of those things we're dealing with right now. But it's been challenging. But we you know, we're getting through it. It's I think consumers are going to see in the industry, they're probably going to be a little bit of sticker shock on tires.

 


[01:15:46.200] 

Prices are increasing pretty quickly. There's certainly a shortage which, you know, affects what we can do on the on the sponsorship end and everything else. But it's a problem that everyone's dealing with. So it's it'll probably be goofy for a little a little while longer. But I think when the dust settles, Will, we'll all be in good shape.

 


[01:16:09.390] 

Great. So let's let's go into something. Is there a question? That you would like to know about from me? Do you have an answer? Do you have a question about what I do or what we've done or what we're doing that you would like to ask that maybe the listeners might have the same question?

 


[01:16:34.100] 

Oh, wow, man. He gave her a looped in there.

 


[01:16:38.140] 

Yeah, man, they switch in making me the interviewer.

 


[01:16:42.940] 

Well, you know, you know, cause doing what you guys do, you know, I was I think I probably told you I admired that. And, you know, a Shelley kind of coming in from a different background. You know, it's obvious. You know, I know you've going around and living in motorhomes at times. And, you know, you see, there's obviously just you know, I think everyone notices and appreciates the passion. But and this was probably discussed before, but I don't know how to.

 


[01:17:15.520] 

Ahadi, how did you turn your you know, I think you said you were a, you know, photographer or, you know, took marketing classes, you know, kind of on that. How did that turn into do what you did today and what kind of experiences, you know, allowed you to be able to run a successful series? Because being around raising a lot, you know, that there's you know, everybody has seen the series and, you know, with these promoters either, you know, have unfortunate, you know, things that happen.

 


[01:17:48.760] 

But, you know, a lot of them don't make it. And WE Rock, you know, I think back in the old CalRocs days and now WE Rock has been around a long time. So what's your secret?

 


[01:17:59.440] 

Well, 20 plus years now. It's 20 years of this season will be our 20th year of seasonal events. So, you know, more than one. And then we did one the first year. So we're we're 21 years into this. And the I would say what it is, longevity is the passion for the sport and for the people that are involved in the sport. And that that goes also from not just the drivers, but our marketing partners, the media, our property partners.

 


[01:18:37.060] 

You know, it's you got to be. You got to be a person that likes people. I don't know if I always liked people, I think I like people more now than when I was in corporate America working for somebody else special. On the retail side, I. I hated retail, you know, working at Sears, working for other companies. I just I just hated people. I didn't. But I didn't like myself either. And so I think that that that was a big change in me, was ended up liking myself and then liking trying to find something that I really wanted to do.

 


[01:19:17.320] 

I spent my years from the time I was, say, 16 to 18 all the way up to 42 when I started the age I was when I started, CalRocs was spent trying to find out what I wanted to do. When I grew up, I had a whole bunch of different jobs. I had a whole bunch of different careers. I own different businesses and different you know, I was a contractor. I had a firewood cutting business. I mean, I did a lot of different things.

 


[01:19:48.400] 

A photographer had my own studio, you know, all sorts of things. And I just never I never stuck with anything more than five years. You know, it didn't matter what it was that five at that five year period. If I was still there, I'd look at myself in the mirror and go, all right, I'm bored, move on. And I would just walk into companies, throw my keys on the desk and say, I'm out of here, you know, and people would look at me like, are you crazy?

 


[01:20:17.650] 

You know, you're making this amount of money. Why are you quitting? Because this is not about the money. It's about what I how I feel and what I want to do. And I think that when I found the sport of rock crawling, I loved wheeling and I loved going out in the outdoors and just doing something like that. And then and it probably could have led into anything. If I'd gotten into motorcycles earlier, I probably would have gone that way.

 


[01:20:45.610] 

But it was four wheel drive that that I got into it first. So that's where the passion went. And then going to those first early events with ARCA and what ended up becoming Pro Rock and then Craig Stumph getting started the same time I did with what UROC and me with with CalRocs. We because I knew Craig before all that because he was the club president and Delta Utah Four-Wheel Drive Club president. And I had become the four wheel drive club president in Cedar City.

 


[01:21:20.260] 

But it was you know, that when I finally moved back to California, I said, OK, you know, I'm going to start doing this because nobody's doing it out there. So that's what I did. And I've always been I think I've always been good enough listener to people to figure out what people wanted to do. And so listening to the drivers. At the early events and looking at what how the events were run and maybe not communicating with the drivers, that I looked at it and said, OK, you know, I'm going to find out how to put on the best competition and then worry about the event secondary.

 


[01:22:02.260] 

Because if you you know, I look at my at the drivers is our product. And so if the product is happy, we're going to get the drivers. And so that's that's always been kind of my basic formula, you might say, and then, of course, when I met Shelley and she came in and brought some organization, the accounting side, because I had no control over accounting, I did it, but I had no control over it.

 


[01:22:31.780] 

I, I didn't I had no clue what I was doing. So when it came to numbers and all that kind of stuff. And so she came in, got involved with that part of the business. And as a team, we've been able to to continue doing this since 2009 together. And, you know, 2009, you didn't know this but was going to be my last year. I was going to quit and I was going to call all my marketing partners and say, I'm done, I'm out of here.

 


[01:22:58.360] 

I'm going to go find something else to do. And, you know, she convinced me to to keep doing it. So, you know, 12 years later, we're we're starting our, you know, 2021 and and still loving it. So, you know, that's the that's the roundabout way of getting there.

 


[01:23:17.650] 

Yeah, that's impressive. So I want to say thank you, Brad, for coming on and spending some time with us today. It's been wow, look at that. An hour and 30 minutes.

 


[01:23:29.320] 

And so will I know. Time flies, doesn't it?

 


[01:23:35.060] 

Yeah. When I was four, I was getting on. I was telling my wife where I was going. I said, actually, Carrie, you know, they're going to. Yeah, I got to stay on, I think, for like an hour.

 


[01:23:44.320] 

What am I going to talk about for an hour? And she just kind of looked at you. I don't even have a problem.

 


[01:23:48.940] 

No, no. She knows me too well. And, you know, I want to say thank you for always being part of part of WE Rock for as long as you have been. And, you know, always being that guy. A little pick up the phone. There's you know, I know that you're really busy and you have a lot of irons in the fire at at Maxxis. But, you know, you always pick up the phone.

 


[01:24:17.350] 

You always call me back, you always answer my emails. And, you know, that's not always the case in our industry. But thank you for being that guy. No problem, we appreciate the the friendship and the partnership and, you know, everything that goes along with that.

 


[01:24:35.910] 

Excellent. So, again, thank you so much and I will be in touch with you and let you know when this is going to air. Awesome, thank you. All right, and thank you, Brad. OK, bye bye. 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.

 


[01:25:02.440] 

OK, you enjoyed it. We'll catch you next week with conversations with Big Rich. Thank you very much.