Conversations with Big Rich

Jason Conover of the PNW is tending to unfinished business in Episode 71

August 12, 2021 Guest Jason Conover Season 2 Episode 71
Conversations with Big Rich
Jason Conover of the PNW is tending to unfinished business in Episode 71
Show Notes Transcript

A man who takes his hobbies seriously, from welder to fabricator to three-gun shooting to RC cars and back again.  Jason Conover, Snort Clown to those in the know, of the PNW is back on the block tending to unfinished business in Episode 71.

6:12 – I was not into any of the social networks

9:40 – there was nowhere to spend your money

12:19 – that’s when the four-wheeling bug kinda caught

17:25 – up here it’s more like tree dodging or moshing

21:45 – almost kind of like a gamertag, a little bit of a joke

25:54 – trying to come up with my own design

36:48 – moved away from the rockcrawling side and did the King of the Hammers

41:54 – it allowed me to daisy-chain with him and be a part of the racing

43:28 – I got into three gun shooting

46:54 – I bought a bomber – I probably would have been happier with a real one

50:29 – it was fun again

52:56 – it’s been the long game, waiting for the kids to come of age and want to be a part of it

54:57 – building a new chassis, the Bravo X, more hands-off


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

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[00:00:01.080] - Big Rich Klein

Welcome to the Big Rich show, this podcast will focus on conversations with friends and acquaintances within the four wheel drive industry. Many of the people that I will be interviewing, you may know the name, you may know some of the history, but let's get in depth with these people and find out what truly makes them a four wheel drive enthusiast. So now's the time to sit back, grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation.


[00:00:29.490] – Maxxis Advertisement

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[00:00:56.040] – 4Low Magazine Advertisement

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[00:01:20.460] - Big Rich Klein

On today's episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Jason Conover. Jason is one of the Pacific Northwest Washington Wheelers, early competitor in the ARCA series, along with a pirate bulletin board member going by the name of Snort Clown and one of the founders, if not the founder of S&N Fab.


[00:01:46.620] - Big Rich Klein

Any of the wheelers that have been around for a long time will remember S&N Fab. Absolutely. And Jason, thank you for coming on board this early morning and talking with us before you head off to work.


[00:01:58.760] - Jason Conover

Thanks, Rich,


[00:02:00.500] - Big Rich Klein

so it was great seeing you this weekend. You competed up here in Goldendale for our Western nationals, but before we get into talking about this weekend, let's go and talk about your early days. I understand that you grew up in the the Seattle basin area, but possibly on an island. Is that correct?


[00:02:21.440] - Jason Conover

Yeah. I was on most of my years were on Camino Island, OK, out of a Stanwood Washington. So it's about an hour, hour north of Seattle.


[00:02:31.820] - Big Rich Klein

OK, so what what was that like? Is it a small rural community? I've not been out that way.


[00:02:41.010] - Jason Conover

 it is Stanwood is the town that leads to the island, the island is almost more of a peninsula. It's more or less separated by a slough and and a small stream that that bisects it. So but it only has one one way on and one way off, you know, and there was probably about five to six thousand people on it at that time. And it's relatively small, it's 14 miles long and seven miles wide, so it's it's not a huge island, but it's its fair size, but by no means completely isolated from anything.


[00:03:22.920] - Jason Conover

If there's no there's no one on the island.


[00:03:25.590] - Big Rich Klein

So growing up then that you would lived in a in a wooded area. And I would imagine there was a lot of open space or even if it was privately owned, you probably had the opportunity to get out into the woods. Well, no, not necessarily.


[00:03:41.650] - Jason Conover

OK. No, I was originally we moved up here, I live in Colorado and I had. We move to Oregon for a couple of years and then and then come to Washington. And so from about third grade on is where I was on Camino Island. OK, Stanwood area.


[00:04:03.100] - Big Rich Klein

OK, so Colorado to Oregon, then to Washington.


[00:04:07.880] - Jason Conover

Yeah. OK, well originally born and born in Washington, but then moved to Colorado for a number of years. There was work and my dad was a Vietnam vet and once he got out, there wasn't a lot of work here in Washington. And so once the opportunity opened up, he came back to Washington to work on.


[00:04:28.930] - Big Rich Klein

Excellent. OK, so what was life like growing up on the on the island?


[00:04:36.080] - Jason Conover

Like I said, it's a small stand. It was a small community, I think my my graduating class was less than one hundred people. So, you know, everybody from Camino Island went to Stanwood schools know, which is the town that you go through that leads on to the island. So small community, you know, the island was big enough. There's a dairy farm there where I grew up working quite a bit. And there a cannery in town that I worked at as well as the younger kids.


[00:05:08.460] - Jason Conover

So but I'd lived in Stanwood for a couple of years, and then we lived on a farm out there on the island for a few years and then down to the top of the island, which was more in the wooded area. So.


[00:05:24.680] - Big Rich Klein

And when you were going to school, when you were going to school, were you studious or were you.


[00:05:35.810] - Jason Conover

I didn't really. I didn't dislike school, but I didn't it wasn't my favorite thing, like racing a lot of motocross and so for a large number of years, that was my my vice. So I spent most of my time just trying to get done with school so I could either, you know, when I got off school, I would either go and work for a while and then a lot of times I would practice and ride. So that was in so, you know, as far as like interactions with people at school and stuff like that, I was not.


[00:06:12.570] - Jason Conover

I was not into any of the social networks or anything like that, it was to get away from that and go racing.


[00:06:21.010] - Big Rich Klein

So you did your own thing?


[00:06:22.920] - Jason Conover

I absolutely.


[00:06:25.630] - Big Rich Klein

So was high school it or did you do any college time at all, community college or anything like that?


[00:06:32.320] - Jason Conover

I did direct directly out of high school and in high school for the classes that I had. I excelled really well in metal shop, of course, and in my drafting class. And both of those teachers wanted me to go into that field or into those specific fields, I should say. And eventually I ended up in both. So it worked out. I guess in my favor, but once I got done with that, I went to Valley College and I was going after a liberal arts degree initially and then.


[00:07:15.110] - Jason Conover

Prerequisites for University of Oregon. I was after a commercial pilot's license and a degree in engineering, which I didn't pursue, but while I was in college, I did take welding courses. So and then just spent some time there doing some welding, which eventually led to me taking a summer. And going working for a ship in Alaska as a ship's welder.


[00:07:43.100] - Big Rich Klein

OK. And what size ships were you working on in Alaska with the fishing of the four 400 foot boat? Wow.


[00:07:53.230] - Big Rich Klein

It's a good sized boat.


[00:07:55.010] - Jason Conover



[00:07:56.410] - Big Rich Klein

So then what was what was the boat's purpose?


[00:08:02.010] - Jason Conover

It was a floating processor. Oh, cannery, yeah, so I had some work also in standard or previous working for what's called Point City Foods, where the peas and corn and some various other things. And so in there, you know, they have people that operate the machinery and and people that lead and things like that. And so since I had some experience in that and then on top of that, once they figured out I could weld, that was pretty easy to move into the engineering department on the boat to do that for a little while.


[00:08:38.610] - Jason Conover

So then the whole idea behind that was to save money, of course, for college. OK.


[00:08:44.850] - Big Rich Klein

And is that what you did?


[00:08:47.560] - Jason Conover

I saved money for college and then I came home and. Live like a king for a little while.


[00:08:56.660] - Big Rich Klein

I know a lot of people that went to Alaska, like when in my years in high school, right after during they were working on the pipeline and so many of those guys went up there and came back. With about as much money as they left with, even though they were making huge dollars up there, every time they would come back for, you know, a week or two, it'd be just total party time. And then they'd go back up there and they'd talk about, you know, having to buy a hamburger at McDonald's for six or seven dollars or something like that.


[00:09:29.470] - Big Rich Klein

And and then spending all their time in the bars and everything. And it was like, I don't think I ever want to do that man camp thing, but I guess on a ship, it might be a little different.


[00:09:40.900] - Jason Conover

Absolutely. Your room and board was paid for. The pay wasn't really high, I'm going to guess like six to ten dollars an hour. However, it was 12 on 12 off seven days a week. So and no where to spend your money, you know, so everything just went home. So there's really no bills. So for me it was it was great. You know, I didn't have any debt. I had a lot of money saved up, you know, and I put in a lot of extra hours.


[00:10:13.570] - Jason Conover

You could work more than 12 if you so chose. So a lot of times I did, because there's really not a lot to do on that boat, so at that time, you know, the the VHS tape was on TV and there was a very limited number of movie choices and it was nothing new. So, yeah, I spent a lot of time just working and, you know, biding my time until I till I came home. Yeah, but it worked.


[00:10:43.870] - Jason Conover

It worked out. It worked out good. But, you know, fortunately, once I got home. Even though I could have went to school an opportunity arose for me to work my way into an engineering company, and so that that turned into that and that's the direction I ended up in.


[00:11:01.330] - Big Rich Klein

Well, let's talk about that a little bit then. After you got back and you were working for the engineering company, were you still riding motorcycles?


[00:11:11.880] - Jason Conover

So I had stopped racing for a period of time. I did my final season and I was in intermediate, probably a mid pack, I would like to turn pro with a year or so. And I had had to get an ACL reconstruction. And so I did that. I tried to make a comeback, but I had lost the edge. A little bit of fear of getting hurt. And so I kind of took a break from riding know pretty heavily.


[00:11:47.430] - Jason Conover

So at that point, I didn't really have an outlet. And that's during the end of my racing career. I bought a. A Toyota pickup to 4wheel, like literally, you know, an eighty four Toyota pickup, almost like the truck from back to the future and the condition of a great deal on the guy never offered road to it. I don't even think he drove in the rain, but I. I took care of that for him.


[00:12:19.060] - Jason Conover

So, I mean, so that was my primary means of transportation. But that's when that's when the four wheeling bug kind of caught in and started started doing that. And that's that's what kind of took up some of that motocross vice, you know, in that just something that was fun and to do and challenging, you know, depending on where you where you want it and stuff like that.


[00:12:48.970] - Big Rich Klein

So what age were you with the when you got the Toyota?


[00:12:54.150] - Jason Conover

I want to say I was 19, I was 19, 19 or 20, and that was after the time on the boat.


[00:13:03.800] - Jason Conover

No prior knowledge prior to the vote.


[00:13:06.840] - Big Rich Klein

OK, and then when you came back from working in Alaska on the boat, you still had the Toyota.


[00:13:14.180] - Jason Conover

Absolutely. In fact, after that, that was all cut up for years that I Four-Wheel that I turned the buggy and or a buggy. And I that that thing had a lot of stories it could tell.


[00:13:29.930] - Big Rich Klein

So then you came back, you went to work for the engineering firm. And what were your duties there at the engineering firm?


[00:13:38.660] - Jason Conover

I started really at the bottom. It was an opportunity that was a foot in the door and it was either that or college and it was literally doing blueprints standing in front of a machine and feeding a, you know, regular drawing into a blueprint machine and then pulling, you know, the two separated out of the other side and stacking them and stapling them. And then in the after hours, because there was overtime available, I was allowed to do the CAD drafting side and learn that.


[00:14:17.570] - Jason Conover

And you don't start working that direction, and so that's what I would do, is any opportunity I had when I was, you know, after my eight hours of standing at that machine or delivering lines, I would work in AutoCAD. So and this is probably, what, maybe one, maybe two, OK. So quite a few years back, yeah, and that and that was being in Washington as well, correct?


[00:14:45.800] - Jason Conover

That was yes, I work in downtown Seattle, commuted there every day. So roughly about a 15 minute commute, you know, a large number of years. You.


[00:14:56.150] - Big Rich Klein

And then the from the engineering firm, or you were still at the engineering firm and then you. After in the after hours, you got to do the CAD drawings, did that, did that. Job progressed to where you got off of the machines doing the the blueprints absolutely got to the point to where I had worked my way to pretty much this, you know, one of the faster drafters and, you know, working with the engineers and understanding drawings a lot better to where I was just a full time, you know, as they called it there, than a draftsmen.


[00:15:38.700] - Big Rich Klein

It's a far cry from that. But the more you understood systems rather than just lines on paper, the the better you would excel because you could interpret what the what the engineer was trying to convey in their their their red lines or their markups. And sometimes you could anticipate some other changes that might need to happen. So as you did that, more and more, you would understand that. And eventually it just it moves you up. So to the point to where, you know, there is a point when at the end of my career there, which was eight or nine years, you know, I was the manager of the department.


[00:16:18.360] - Big Rich Klein

So, yeah, it you know, it eventually worked its way up.


[00:16:24.330] - Big Rich Klein

Excellent. So let's talk about, OK, you're there for eight or nine years. In that time, you take your Toyota and you start hacking on it.


[00:16:35.310] - Jason Conover

Yeah, absolutely. The Toyota started out during that time. You know, like I said, it was nice, but it had you know, I think the first thing I put on it was this long set of shackles in the back. And, you know, and it already had a lift when I got it and a thirty one inch tire. But, you know, it wasn't very long till I went to a thirty three inch tire. And then eventually I had, you know, put differential lockers in and I think it ran an air lock or in the front in the Detroit area and like five seventy one here, which is a horrible ratio.


[00:17:09.720] - Jason Conover

They tend to burn out but with those in it and the winch and then just, you know, four wheel wielded a lot, a lot of mud. There wasn't really a lot of rock up here. It's a little bit different. You know, in Washington, we don't have a lot of really rocky terrain, especially on the west side.


[00:17:25.950] - Jason Conover

Yeah, it's more like, you know, I always called it tree dodging or moshing. You know, you kind of just drive driving between trees and through trails in the woods. So, you know, and then eventually, you know, it just leads to a bigger tire than it's a thirty three. And then, you know, then comes the Berfield breakages that, you know, it's kind of a cycle that you go through with these with these vehicles, you know, you upgrade the things you can go and there's money permits and you know, I'm going to get this and I'm going to upgrade now.


[00:18:00.180] - Jason Conover

And that's kind of where it was at. And then it really started to take the downward spiral as. You know, those things as things progressed, you know, I want to say. Mid 90s, it started, you know, weight suspension. And rear and things like that, so, yeah, that that begin that vehicle and that was the hobby after hours at work. OK, so that's all that turned into.


[00:18:35.280] - Big Rich Klein

And that hobby turned into eventually S&N Fab. Is that correct?


[00:18:41.910] - Jason Conover

It did. There was an opportunity, so. Towards the end of my job at that engineering firm, I was spending a lot of time, you know, I was spent a lot of time thinking about different four wheel drive ideas and components. And, you know, by this time, my my truck had been cut apart and was anything but a truck. It was more of a team car and was spending a lot of tube and in just a lot of stuff and just starting to do chassis’.


[00:19:15.360] - Jason Conover

I think this would might have been maybe. Ninety nine probably by this time, and so and Trevor and I were working together, he was a few years younger than me, lived down the road from an ex fiancee and I but, you know, once we met, we got along really, really well. And so we spent a lot of time after hours working on stuff, you know, feeding tube and fabricating and just, you know, wrenching.


[00:19:42.910] - Jason Conover

And so that was kind of the beginning of that. And so spending a lot of time well, is at the end of that, I was managing and maintaining electronically all of the buildings in the world for Microsoft on the electrical side. So as they would that was when they were in their hiatus. They would. Make adjustments to offices and rewire them and reorganize them, which didn't require an engineer out so we could do a quick, easy layout on that and then they would rewire it and then we would keep those drawings up to date.


[00:20:21.790] - Jason Conover

And that was coming. That project was coming to an end because it was going to go underneath one roof. And so at that point, my company had brought in someone that kind of took over it, that ran one of the biggest engineering firms in the in the West Coast into the ground. And so I took that opportunity to basically choose I want to serve as 29. And I thought, well, right now is a point in my life where I don't have another job.


[00:20:57.250] - Jason Conover

And at that point, I'd move myself up to a position to where it was. It was harder to find another position that was open like that. And then 9/11 hit. And that's that's when it really made it hard for me to find another job. But at that point, that's when I started just doing a full time fabrication work and then assisting Trevor. Trevor had a flooring business and so I would help him before and during the days. And we would work on rigs in the evenings, so, OK, so.


[00:21:35.760] - Jason Conover

I need to know how the name S&N Fab came up and what that stands for, because it's Jason Conover and Trevor Johnston, but it's S&N Fab.


[00:21:45.760] - Jason Conover

Yeah, so it's almost kind of like a gamertag and, you know, a little bit of a joke and and maybe nicknames and stuff like that, and so that those were our aliases just online. You know, people didn't usually go by their full name on the Internet and on pirate or. And we had our own board, the smart board, which was our four wheel drive club. And so you you know, those were based. Off of that, you know, and so it was really just a joke and the first vintage, I think, competition.


[00:22:36.370] - Jason Conover

We had some stickers and just did them as and fab, you know, to represent some of the work we were doing. And later on, once the business kind of started up, we were going to change it. But that was everybody said, no, this is kind of already what you're known as. And so it just. It is just stuff we just left. It's so so the S is for snorkeler.


[00:23:07.730] - Jason Conover

And as for next year.


[00:23:09.400] - Big Rich Klein

OK, all right. That's that's what I thought. But I wanted to make sure mine's pretty self-explanatory. The next hour comes from it's kind of a joke, you know, because some people when someone hates their nickname, that's when it really sticks. And a funny story with this is Trevor. The this was during the Jerky Boys. And there is an ass neck and a silly neck. And I don't know if many people have ever listened to them, but they they say some pretty funny stuff.


[00:23:41.860] - Big Rich Klein

And so when we would call each other, it was always left is Haines neck and you know, and stuff like that. And then a friend had a hatchet, a baby duckling, and the first thing they saw was its neck. And so they he named it neck. And then so one day Trevor was referred to his neck and he was like, you know, I don't mind ass and I don't mind ass, neck or body because I really hate neck.


[00:24:06.610] - Big Rich Klein

And it's like, OK, they are neck and so and then it just turned into next year and that's and it stuck. So, you know, and then once you start using it online, that's what you're kind of nowadays.


[00:24:19.120] - Big Rich Klein

Right. Awesome. So what I remember. You guys put together a pretty unique chassis design, and I don't think that it it changed all that much over the years, at least the. The visual of it. Is that correct?


[00:24:43.600] - Jason Conover

That is correct. So, yeah, that was a Bravo series. So, you know, it's been a long road to get there, you know, figuring out what and how. You want to lay out a car and not look like everybody else's car. There wasn't as many builders as there are now. So you have a little bit more freedom without, you know, feeling like you're maybe copying someone or stealing an idea. And that was that was part of the fun back then as you could innovate, you know.


[00:25:23.480] - Jason Conover

And you had some. You really had to make stuff out of junk in a lot of cases, but the Chassy design, I, I spent a lot of time looking at a lot of different types of desert cars and looked at other people's choices. And I watched, you know, how Toobs bent and how things reacted. And, you know, there's a lot of inspiration that I that I got from people back in the day, hour by hour.


[00:25:54.100] - Jason Conover

I think you work for Avalanche. And I think you was a help with a sniper and things that I saw that he had done in the day and in some of the two work he did and really liked the design and the uniqueness. And, you know, and of course, you know, Shannon Campbell or twisted costumes or any of those guys and and really like what they were doing and, you know, try to come up with my own own design.


[00:26:21.490] - Jason Conover

But I approached it differently just because I felt, you know, I looked at the car more as kind of like a bridge to hold the suspension up and just save the occupants. So I looked at like where things would be impacted and how it would transfer energy and and where it would push. So, like, if I hit it here, what's going to happen and where is that energy going to go? And it SolidWorks, you know, and I just sketched it out on on a pad and then I.


[00:26:53.300] - Jason Conover

I get a skid plate in the middle that's always made out of quarter inch plate, which is a little bit different than everybody else does. It's not really a design that anybody else uses. But my idea with that was, you know, you're really probably not going to tear suspension lengths out of quarter inch plate. So and what that did was I gave a foundation of where all your Push-Pull points were. Now, keep in mind, this is at a time where, you know, some of the suspension theories and ideas were being tested.


[00:27:24.830] - Jason Conover

And there was some there are some pluses and or some minuses and there were some quirks, but kind of understanding some of that from making a lot of mistakes. And you always make mistakes. It's a give and take frame design that you came up with, a foundation, a plan that we had done the complete charities for the people that they early specific design that. I ended up building for myself, you know, the first brothel that was never intended to be a.


[00:28:01.410] - Jason Conover

A mass produced thing I built I built the car for me, I got what I wanted for myself, one hundred percent, and it really by accident turned into, you know, probably. 70 or 80 jazzes, I would guess, somewhere in there, probably.


[00:28:24.820] - Big Rich Klein

And when was when did you first? When did you first compete and was it in that Bravo chassis?


[00:28:32.470] - Jason Conover

It wasn't so the year prior. Well, I mean, I'd been competing in, like the Northwest rock throwing championships, and I did that in the old Toyota buggy as it was cut up the first year I did it. And it still had a windshield and it was, you know, kind of a lot of to work in a bed. And then I decided that if I rolled, I didn't want a face full of glass. So the next year I didn't have a front clip on it anymore.


[00:29:01.900] - Jason Conover

So that just kept getting cut up more and more. And then, like I said, we did a couple of chalices, one for my ex, and he had a layout he wanted to do. And so we built that which was a gecko. And then we did want the Khafaji Standish, OK? And we had some specifics and. That he was after, but left the design open and so that car had features of like. A Campbell Chassy, some inspiration maybe from Mike Schafer, and that's when you build in that car, I came up with more along the lines of what I wanted to do for myself.


[00:29:48.140] - Jason Conover

And that was a Toyota based buggy, too, is was so I knew I wanted to use my opinion sixty's. I wanted to use a four, three, six and, you know, Turbo four hundred to my atlas. And that was, you know, those were my dry components that I was specifically after. So OK.


[00:30:10.430] - Big Rich Klein

And then you jumped into the ARCA series, is that correct.


[00:30:14.180] - Jason Conover

I did, yeah, I spotted four well, I'd gone to the Lake Amador with you guys and Kallara, right? And then after that, we started getting a little bit more into the building and then, yeah, after that, Jay Standish, the Arcus series and. Partway through that season, he'd asked if his spotter couldn't make it, and so I filled in for him and I think I ended up I ended up spotting for him at the Donner Ski Ranch, also one of your other events.


[00:30:52.940] - Jason Conover

Right. And then after that, the next year, I I spotted for him the whole season Pooraka. And then and then a year after that was the season I competed in AKA. OK, and then I did that for a season and right after that's when, you know, the Yurok and AKAs, those kind of died down. And that's when, you know, the the the WE Rock series kicked up, you know, and started. And I think it was a boulevard brawl.


[00:31:27.160] - Big Rich Klein

I'm not sure I don't remember which one was the first the first actual WE Rock, but yeah, but it was when your season was. Because of what was going on with Iraq and and aka right. There was too much what ifs going on with that, and I think yours was the only one that was solidified so and that season, yeah, that's the one where Trevor and I was waiting on the track axles and parts for them and I wasn't able to get my car done in time.


[00:32:04.760] - Big Rich Klein

So we took drivers down and that's why we had two cars. We had him drive. So yes, OK, Boulevard, that was that was kind of a crazy event. The know it was only used the one time the. That that was right there, the property was on the border with Mexico and we had a lot of south of the border spectators come through, at least at the food booth. I don't know if they stayed around and watched the competition much, but you could tell who they were because they were all carrying, like, old gallon milk jugs full of water and standing in the food line to get hamburgers and hot dogs and apple and border patrols going crazy.


[00:32:55.780] - Jason Conover

Yes. Yes. Was that was a good of it was it was a lot of fun and really great to do.


[00:33:04.270] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, it was. It was I wished we could have used that that area again, but it just wasn't going to work out with the property owner and and the demands that he wanted to to make that work. But that's life. You know, that happens a lot, you know. So how long did you guys run Essendon Fab? Is it in together and is it still a thing?


[00:33:31.260] - Jason Conover

So we ran assonance of. So. Pretty much the end of 2009 and the. There was just a point to where, you know, we never really had in debt, we didn't find any vehicles, you know, we just kind of made a living with it. And we were, you know, 14 hours a day, seven days a week. We worked very hard, you know, found that we couldn't get away a lot. And, you know, and that's what you had to do to just make it work and keep the doors open.


[00:34:14.450] - Jason Conover

And it had run its course with me at that time. I was dealing with some health issues. I wasn't feeling really well. And we flat out couldn't afford health insurance. And I was like, I'm done. I need to get a job, you know? And I always had to fall back of the engineering side. And all during that time, I'd been called several times, asked to come back to the engineering side from different firms and where a lot of people had migrated to the previous place I was at, it closed down asking me to come back or to come back into that field.


[00:34:54.990] - Jason Conover

And so it was nice to always have a secondary fallback. And, you know, working for yourself is is a is a hard living and all you can. You can certainly attest to that it's you are you are dedicated to that and. I wanted a little bit more. I missed some of my other hobbies and then, like I said, not feeling well and not being able to figure out what was wrong, I felt, well, it was a good choice for me.


[00:35:27.980] - Jason Conover

And, you know, by that time, Trevor and I each had significant others. I had the family. I needed to make sure that that was taken care of, number one. And like I said, when the opportunity arose, I gave them the thumbs up that I would come back and I'll talk to Trevor about it. And he was pretty good with it because I think he was tired of the rain as well. So we we decided to let everybody know that we were going to close our doors and a few months and then we had a really crazy run on Chaske just because everybody wanted one.


[00:36:01.160] - Jason Conover

Yeah, well, they'd always say, yeah, I'm going to get a chassy eventually and then I'll put it together later. And and, you know, I was I was pretty burned out. I mean, I lived four wheel drive. I mean, that's you know, I always had my cell phone on. And a lot of times it's such as these the people we used to have a lot of pictures on on the web of how we can assemble.


[00:36:23.210] - Jason Conover

So people when they put the cars together, they could figure out how to how how do they do the brake pedals? How did they do they set the engine in there, you know, because it was pretty they were pretty open inside the cars. I mean, the suspension was the key layout, but we give them approximate where they want the harmonic balancer, where they want change. I mean, how did you get transmission? And you could see a lot of that online and so on.


[00:36:48.260] - Jason Conover

But I was always available and would talk to people till late at night that Laurie would threaten to put a timer on my phone and a credit card, you know, before people would call so they would charge them. So because I spent so much time on the phone. And so by that time, I was just, like I said, very, very burned out. And so, yeah, we decided, you know, it wasn't too long after 09 and we kind of moved away from the rock crawling side and did the did the King of the Hammers thing and sound that I like that.


[00:37:28.640] - Jason Conover

Like I said, yeah, it was time to move on to to get some health insurance. So.


[00:37:32.880] - Big Rich Klein

So you went back into engineering?


[00:37:35.060] - Jason Conover

I did, yeah. Yeah. And by that time, all three decided really blossomed. And at the end of my old previous career, I was one of the few that was doing stuff, you know, in the early in her 90s and early 2000s. So it wasn't really that well known. And so it was easier, really easier for me to plug and play, come back into it later.


[00:38:04.340] - Big Rich Klein

So excellent. Yeah. And is that what you're still doing today?


[00:38:09.020] - Jason Conover

It is, yeah. Yeah. I ended up well, I'm not really with an engineering firm. I moved to the other side of the fence, which I like a lot better. I stayed I, I generally don't like to move jobs. I try to stay for a minimum of five years, OK, to give them an opportunity to recoup money for their investment at me. So I never really thought it looks good on a resume to move around a lot.


[00:38:37.370] - Jason Conover

But I started a company called Wood Harvinder for about six years and then an opportunity opened up to move to a general contractor that was looking for what's called a bin manager. So the stuff I doing is like they refer to it as being, but it's building information modeling and it's it's it's running the 3D side. But I was more on the technical side and knowing the software and able to manipulate files. And, you know, as you draw a building in 3D, you have all the systems and all the plumbing, the piping and and all of these things.


[00:39:14.930] - Jason Conover

And I had been boots on the ground in that. And on top of that, I I knew how to run the clash side and to do other things so it you know, and just being able to draw some really odd stuff as needed. So for a general contractor, that brought a lot of value because I could come in there and we could I could oversee the other trades and make sure that their their stuff is playing nice together, you know, that the duct work isn't blowing through or that we don't have fire protection blowing through all the duct work and the pipe spit and stuff, because a lot of stuff that goes into buildings these days is prefabricated outside and then has to go in and be installed.


[00:40:00.110] - Jason Conover

They don't just have a plumber going with a big stack of pipe and fittings and just, you know, start cutting and making it work, roughly following where the drawings are. So that worked really, really good. And it was it was a lot of fun. It was neat to see that side of a policing tower cranes and in doing haul routes and site logistics plans on figuring out how you're going to feed a project and things like that. So it was a different avenue.


[00:40:28.490] - Jason Conover

So definitely a change, but certainly a lot of fun.


[00:40:34.540] - Big Rich Klein

So then you're you're still wheeling, but you're working in the engineering field construction.


[00:40:44.200] - Jason Conover

And before that, I guess when I was at Harbinger, I raced. I raced with Dave Schneider, so Dave Schneider's car burned to the ground that we built in 09. Right. And so he was running first in the best in the Desert series. And of course, you know, when his car burned to the ground plane, of course, he was pretty upset. And I raced my car and just came to the hammers and I didn't have the means, especially with the new job and or the time to go and race a bunch of the series and doing a bunch of ultracor.


[00:41:25.620] - Jason Conover

And so at that point, I told Dave, I said, why don't you take my car to my garage and use it for the time being until you figure out what you're going to do. And reluctantly, you know, he was cautious about it because he didn't have one car. And what happened if you burned down another one? But I wasn't worried about that. You know, I was like, it is what it is. You know, that's the inherent risk you take with this.


[00:41:54.060] - Jason Conover

And so he took that and was able to continue to race. And and so he did that for a couple of years. But it allowed me to daisy chain with him and be a part of that. So, you know, we were able to race Vegas to Reno and finish that, which is a bucket list item for me, of course. And it allowed me to team up with him and and drive and race. So it was a it was a great opportunity to do something like that and a lot of fun.


[00:42:23.910] - Jason Conover

And then that was 2010 in early 2010. I miss King of the Hammers because I was it figured out that my sickness and what I was dealing with because I had a dead gall bladder and it was dragging my system down. Oh, OK. That's all it was. And it was actually a relatively. Simple surgery and and they they took it out and, you know, I felt a thousand percent better, so it was certainly nice to get that out of the way.


[00:42:52.700] - Jason Conover

So it wasn't anything I was going to kill me. But, boy, I sure felt terrible in that. Yeah. And in 2011, we did The King of the Hammers. And then at that point I brought the car home for a summer. I didn't end up four wheeling it at all. Dave came and got it again and raced it up until twenty fourteen while we were developing the top shelf. And then at that point I'd been away from it for a couple of years and just really nobody calling or questions or anything like that.


[00:43:28.400] - Jason Conover

It was nice break. And I started enjoying things like, you know, I got into action, three gun shooting, you know, just a lot of hobbies that I had before building computers. It's just different things that I was into priorities and that I couldn't do back then, you know, RC cars, crap like that. So it was nice to have other hobbies than that. I told they just sell the thing off. And so that's where I went.


[00:43:58.580] - Jason Conover

Kahless for a few years.


[00:44:01.130] - Big Rich Klein

So you said something that piqued my interest. You said the three gun shooting and that's a pistol, rifle and shotgun.


[00:44:11.310] - Jason Conover

Yeah, well, it was just action pistol at first, and then I got a little bit into the three gun and that was a lot of fun. I didn't like to reload, so it made a little bit more expensive. But, yeah, that was a that was that was a lot of fun. It was at the end of the day, the cardboard doesn't shoot back, so it's still just a game. So, you know, there's there's not a lot of practicality other than shooting under duress that you that you learn with it.


[00:44:40.950] - Jason Conover

But it certainly it certainly was a lot of fun. Yeah. Did you know I got into building my own guns and stuff like that? I mean, you know, it's just kind of how I've always been. Everything that I do, I. And, you know, like to figure it out and build it myself and see if I can maybe, you know, maybe not building an art to improve on it, but knowing how it works and functions and how to tune it and make it work properly.


[00:45:07.590] - Jason Conover

So little food and ammo and things like that is a lot of fun. So yeah. Yeah, I did that for want to see two or three years. I got into that pretty heavily. I was a lot of fun.


[00:45:18.820] - Big Rich Klein

Cool, that's that's a different you don't hear people talk about that a lot, so that piqued my interest.


[00:45:25.900] - Jason Conover



[00:45:27.500] - Big Rich Klein

So then you go Kahless for a while, yeah, and then you have the buggy that you have now that you competed in.


[00:45:37.790] - Jason Conover

Yeah. So what happened is they took it took this long break. And then Nathan Osborn and Steve Reynolds, both of them were actually shooting with me, OK as well. Nate had maintained his car and eight lives two miles from me. Steve lived up in North Bend at the time, but he still had his old buggy. But, yeah, we spent a lot of time shooting. And then Nate and his wife, my wife and I, we started traveling with them to Hawaii and really enjoyed it there and that type of, you know, eat and barbecue and and sipping mai tais.


[00:46:18.600] - Jason Conover

It was really kind of fun, you know, different. Another hobby, one that we really liked doing that. And while we were there, you know, Nate was always playing and goofing off with our policies. And so I bought a bomber and he goes, man, the thing is so cool and. I you know, I he goes, you need to go and get one. And I was like, you know, race to build cars and I race against Randy Sloss and why am I going to buy his hours are in to that.


[00:46:54.110] - Jason Conover

And it's like, well, I understand. But came back and I, I bought a bomb and I probably would have been happier with a real one. But, you know, the sources are seems pretty legit. So we got those and then of course, you know, the mod start and then jump in or jump on them jumps that are big, big enough for bicycle crap like that. You know, it's just that downhill spiral. And then by chance, we decided to go through and, you know, I started modifying them a little bit and then I started to build my own and then we ended up going to another Secombe.


[00:47:27.810] - Jason Conover

And that's where the bug came back in. And then so I got into that and I called Lariat Trail ready and I had a piece of 70, 75 aluminum plate and I made a frame rails set that would fit within the class parameters and still fit fit the criteria, but was custom made and used a lot of the stuff that I used on my regular buggies, on our cities. And, you know, and maybe it didn't work as good as some of the other stuff, but it was it was the realism of it that drew me back.


[00:48:05.730] - Jason Conover

And then so, you know, I started making replicas of all my old cars and then and then I started collecting a few parts. It was only about getting a buggy back. It was like, yeah, maybe. And and so I had a few parts laying around and so. I talked to Dave Schneider in the car of his that had burned to the ground, had been sitting in two halves, or I think it was tacked back together playing into the backyard of one of those friends cars.


[00:48:32.410] - Jason Conover

And I built that car for him and. Late 2008, early 2009 that he raced in King in a Hamer's 09, but when he did the best in the Desert series, they actually cut the car at the atila and they cut the rear half off. So that part was still the original piece that I had built for him. He had done some modifications to the Skid Plate area. But the whole top of the car had sagged from the fire, so I, I told him, I said, well, let me get that back from you and I'll just restore it to its original form.


[00:49:11.150] - Jason Conover

And play with it a little bit, and so I ended up with a similar shock package and I thought, oh, be fun to put it together and have something that's first of all, it can go fast and bounce around a little bit and, you know, no intent of racing. And it would never pass test because, you know, first of all, you should have Kuvin, right. You know, and they'd replace the top of that thing and think they did an inch and three quarter.


[00:49:34.550] - Jason Conover

That's why it had been cut apart. And so I put all that stuff back together and got a good deal on a motor, a motor with three hundred and twenty thousand mile less motor that smoked, but it ran, you know, and and then called it on a lot of my favors that I've never called in on before. You know, where she can work. You know, any of the companies that I've worked with, they could advance to have great you know, and you know and of course, already in Randy's written opinion and and stuff like that and was able to put together a car to go out and play with and then and then went out and played a few times, you know, and after I'd gone down, our local wheeling area had been shut down and they were reworking it and and turning it into an RV park.


[00:50:29.480] - Jason Conover

And when they did, they made it challenging for the cars. There wasn't a lot up here for the older vehicles. So, you know, it really had died down. And and that drew me back as well. And then after I made a trip down to San Paulo and went down and played on that stuff, you know, it was fun again. It's fun again, you know. Yeah, so excellent.


[00:50:54.940] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, and then you were you were instrumental in helping. Wyatt, get. Get to my feeling, is that correct?


[00:51:06.850] - Jason Conover

That's that's been a long game and I mean, we can't 100 percent take credit for that. But the car the car has always been sitting there in the garage and, you know, as a young kid. And so after canid passed, I want to say why I was probably five or six. I took him up and he wanted to go up in a walker and wanted me to drive him around up there. And so we did. And we had lunch and visited for a little bit.


[00:51:29.390] - Jason Conover

And then, you know, we went down and then we used seven or eight. I think he actually came down and Nate and I got into the RC cars. And so I called Erika and said, hey, I can kind of make him a replica of his dad's buggy and I'd be kind of cool. And so we did that. And then he came down here and they were playing and stuff. And then we we drove out that that that replica.


[00:51:54.100] - Jason Conover

And so, of course, you know, that's just the the catalyst for that. And then, you know, going to the other sitcoms and doing that. So it gets it starts that interest. Right. Right. And he primarily just went out in the field and would do donuts most of the time. From what you know, you get a lot of shit from Steve and I about it, filling the skin with grass, waiting for the thing to burn down because they're on like, I think five acres and they have a field out in front of their house and they go out there and just be Brody's butt.


[00:52:28.630] - Jason Conover

But at least he was he was driving it. And then, yeah, it started getting to the point to where, you know, Erica wanted him to be able to to reach the pedals and he had sprouted up like he has now. And so we put a seat slider in it so that he could drive it. And then I want to say it was two or three years, maybe three years ago. And this is prior to me, I think, building my car.


[00:52:56.170] - Jason Conover

He wanted to do the reader rock crawl and with it. And so I spotted for him. And so we did that, and that was the, you know, kind of the opening door to do to do that type of stuff. And so and, you know, it's like I said, it's been a long game waiting for the kids to come of age and not to say, hey, you need to get in the car and we're going to go do this with them, wanting to ask them to both ask and want to be a part of it, and then seeing them riding around in the car and enjoying it and and stuff like that and to carry on because they genuinely want to you know, I think some people feel forced into that.


[00:53:35.110] - Jason Conover

And of course. And can and that's certainly not the right route. So watching it all unfold, like I said, it's been it's been quite a few years waiting, you know, 15, probably 15 years, you know, waiting for it to get to this to this time and then seeing and going out and using the car the way that he has now and and watching them learn, you know, I mean, Shelley, it's it's it's drive by remote.


[00:54:03.160] - Jason Conover

You know, he's listening to the spotter and you're telling him where he needs to go and stuff. And now it's they're making the decisions, but asking where specific things are so that they can get themselves on line and just making sure they're not getting off line. So. Right. It's been great.


[00:54:19.450] - Big Rich Klein

That's excellent. Because those that don't know Caixin Kovac was a was a really good friend, Jason and Trevor's, and part of that extended family, I would call it. Yeah. And he passed away. And we're talking about why it covered his son. And so that's him getting back into the car and taking, you know, taking the reins over. So, you know. Well, excellent, and what's what are the plans for the future?


[00:54:57.170] - Jason Conover

Well, at this point, I mean, it's it's mostly been since I first built it and, you know, it's been three years now and, you know, I've converted it more to a crawler and got rid of all the go fast and just trying to make it better and better and better and, you know, still trying to do that. The specific job that I thought I've gotten a little bit into doing some repairs on some previous cars. And then I've had a chassis design that I did about three years ago that is similar to the car that I'm driving now, but has some of the features of the older Bravos, kind of like a more modern and it's it's called a Bravo X, and it has some.


[00:55:42.220] - Jason Conover

Some changes that give a give a more predictable suspension and a car that has a little more up travel has the room for portal's, if someone would want or if they don't want, would have inch and three quarter to so that there's any rules that they would have to follow. They could do things, things like that, just like I said, a more modern kind of design. And so I've gotten a few sort of flat tables and some parts and pieces and I'm building a jig that'll be just proprietary to that chassis.


[00:56:18.070] - Jason Conover

And the first one will be done for Jeremy Jones goes by Dockery's is Ultra for series and I'll start putting that car together here. I'll build the jig for it and build the cars and build in the JAG probably in the next month in my shop, which is a 12 by twenty four garage, I've made everything really modular so I can move stuff around and be able to operate in there. So it's pretty tight but and then once that's done I might get two or three cars and then after that.


[00:57:00.770] - Jason Conover

Be able to get it, see and see bent and laser cut, you know, so it's not so hands on and all the parts and components and the jig will allow all of them to be the same, more like kind of like what was done with the red dot type of cars where it's just kind of a almost a manufactured, you know, where you use the same interior panels and stuff like that, and it'll be made for very specific components and.


[00:57:31.810] - Jason Conover

And we'll see we'll see where that goes. Am I going to continue to build cars from that? I'm probably going to develop this and then I'll I'll step back from that because it's really hard to enjoy the sport and go out in four wheel. And build cars and have a full time job, and I'm certainly not going to step away from my career right now and build cars again, I already I already did that. It ran its course. It was fun.


[00:57:57.560] - Jason Conover

I don't I have no regrets about doing it, but I certainly don't want to go back and do that. But, you know, I feel like I had some unfinished business there, some some open doors that I need to need to close and some improvements that I could have made. And so I'd like to at least get that out of the way and unhandled and we'll see how it goes.


[00:58:20.290] - Big Rich Klein

That's excellent to hear. Are you going to continue to compete, at least maybe in Goldendale? I mean, we really enjoyed having you out there and it was great seeing you drive.


[00:58:32.710] - Jason Conover

Yeah, it was it was fun to get back in the car. And I usually have better luck. I think with him driving, he's a lot stronger. I better steer for about a year. He really knows how to land a car up to force traction. And he has an older brother and they're there are things about those cars that are that make them very sticky. The train, they do have their quirks, but they it it has some features that are a little better than the car that I have.


[00:59:02.410] - Jason Conover

And we learned a few things about my car this weekend that we had no anticipation of and didn't expect, you know, and that's how we ended up in a couple of the situations that we were in. So, you know, whether it's driver or a spotter, I get the same satisfaction from either spot. So it's the same excitement and the same fun and stuff like that. So I'll let him decide next year, you know, like I did this year, like you want to drive or you want me to drive.


[00:59:31.240] - Jason Conover

And, you know, last year I kind of turned into a country song blowin my knee out, hurt in my back and then have my truck blow up. So I figured we'd give me the year off and have me drive. And like I said, after a couple of quirks that my car had, we probably we probably would have a considerable better finish with him in the car, me spotting. But he's tired of hearing me grunt and groan outside in the headset.


[00:59:55.600] - Jason Conover

You know, we're not getting any younger, no pack and rocks around the movie and busted up for the next week. But luckily I could just sit in an office chair during the day. Now, I'll certainly every time Goldendale comes back in any events up here, I probably do for fun, you know, but as far as running a circuit or a series, you'd be pretty hard pressed for me, right?


[01:00:23.360] - Big Rich Klein

Completely understand, yeah. So anything you want to talk about, family wise or anything like that, how are things going?


[01:00:31.730] - Jason Conover

Uh, families, families, the kids are are growing, you know, twenty seven and twenty four. You know, they go with this the front office to Hawaii. I mean, we like to do that. I got them coming up here in October. Hopefully covid doesn't completely set that back down and a lot of games because we pushed it out a couple of times already. But now just enjoying stuff like that. And then I'll probably make a trip down to Stone Hollow and play next February.


[01:01:07.640] - Jason Conover

Certainly like it down there. And and then wait for the spring and summer and. I'm pretty local, I would like to go back east up and around some of the South Dakota, some corn fields. It's kind of a bucket list. I've never been back there. I've been to a lot of the other places, but never, never to South Dakota. So that's something that needs to propagate at some point.


[01:01:37.160] - Big Rich Klein

Yeah, I think that's a place you should go. I think you'll enjoy that.


[01:01:41.070] - Jason Conover

Definitely. And there are some sites that I'd like to see along the way, and I know it's there, but there's an appreciation. It's not about just getting your father or the WE Rock and stuff, but there's, you know, things like Devil's Tower and, you know, Mount Rushmore and just things that I'd like to see along the way and enjoy as well. And, you know, on the national parks in that area are phenomenal.


[01:02:07.490] - Jason Conover

They really are nuts. And those are those are really high on my list of things that I'd like to do as well while I'm there. And it's like you're already back there. Why not do that as well?


[01:02:16.820] - Big Rich Klein

Absolutely. You should. For years, it was all about getting to the location for us. Yeah. And now when it's just Shelley and I, it's so much easier just to say, oh, we're going to take a couple of days and we're going to go do this and we're going to go visit these people and we're going to go hit this this old fort. Or, you know, we we hit a lot of the national parks and monuments across the United States and Shelley does the junior ranger programs.


[01:02:46.820] - Big Rich Klein

And, you know, you just learn a lot about the history and why it is what it is. Yeah, that way. And it's just really enjoyable taking the time and and and seen America along the way. Yes. Except, you know, instead of just watching it go by the window.


[01:03:07.560] - Jason Conover

You don't see a lot from the freeways generally.


[01:03:09.850] - Big Rich Klein

No, no, they avoid all the good stuff.


[01:03:12.840] - Jason Conover

Yeah, yeah. You want to get off the beaten path and see those. See those things so well, those are certainly things that I'll appreciate more, you know, this day and age than I would have when I was younger. And just about the race is about the about the bill that was about the getting to the getting back, getting back to work, you know, and I'm I'm over that.


[01:03:36.270] - Big Rich Klein

So enjoy it while you can.


[01:03:40.230] - Jason Conover



[01:03:42.270] - Big Rich Klein

Well, I want to say thank you for coming on board and spending some time with us and talking about your life. And and you know that the progress that you made as a human and and getting to, you know, to build buggies and compete and helping others do the same thing. And it's been a pleasure. Really has.


[01:04:03.710] - Jason Conover

Thanks, Rich, and.


[01:04:06.600] - Big Rich Klein

You know, I I I've always appreciated your friendship and, you know, we never get really some time to hang out, but if you're ever down in South Texas in the off season, you know, when we're not doing, cops come by and see us. We're, you know, do a little boat time.


[01:04:25.990] - Jason Conover

Yeah, there you go. That does have some appeal to me that it has a lot of appeal to me as well. All right. Well, you have fun at work today and say hello to everybody and thank you for coming on board every day, Rick. OK, talk to you later. 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.


[01:04:55.540] - Jason Conover

Well, that brings this episode to an end. OK, you enjoyed it. We'll catch you next week with conversations with Big Rich. Thank you very much.