From heavy equipment in third-world countries to desert racing, Steve Sullivan has seen more than most. He’s a good guy to have in your corner on a bad day. Listen in on Episode 87 as Steve and Big share old stories of VORRA.
4:15 – it was a nickel a day for all you could drink lemonade
8:23 – everybody that was in Cycle News was at that birthday party
13:30 – you’ve seen the movie Blood Diamonds, we were the real guys
20:45 – “Well, it’s not the same!” she was kind of mad
26:22 – I couldn’t beat that guy in the desert fair, he was too fast for me
40:17 – dang, man, it’s race day!
46:18 – told me I’d be dead by Christmas
50:04 – the rockcrawling mentality is just a whole different thing
57:34 – I’m going to tell you one more time - if you have 18” of usable travel
1:02:22 – I catch up to the guy in the race, and it’s just a local going to get some tacos
We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.
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[00:00:01.030] - Speaker 1
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 is the time to sit back. Grab a cold one and enjoy our conversation.
[00:00:29.370] - Steve Sullivan
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[00:00:55.990] - Speaker 2
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 DOITYOURSELF tech, all in a beautifully presented package. You won't find 4Low on the newsstand rack. So subscribe today and have it delivered to you.
[00:01:20.110] - Big Rich Klein
On today's episode of Conversations with Big Rich. We have Steve Sullivan. While many of you that listen to this podcast right now do not know Steve. Some of you in Northern California will know him. I met Steve through Valley Offroad Racing Association, VORRA and found out after we started having four wheel drive guys come out the rock crawlers guys like Kevin Yoder, we found out that Steve actually knew some rock crawlers. So, Steve, thank you very much for coming on board and being part of conversations with Big Rich and discussing your history and how you got into offroad.
[00:02:06.910] - Steve Sullivan
It's nice to be right here, Rich. Sure. Pleasure to reconnect with you again.
[00:02:12.510] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, it absolutely is. You were a big influence in my life for at least four years, and I've considered you a friend from day one. So let's jump right in. And, Steve, where were you born and raised?
[00:02:30.670] - Steve Sullivan
I was born in Hacienda Heights, California. It's in Southern California between Whittier and La Puente. And down there, it seemed I was surrounded by a bunch of motorcycle racers. Okay, so I had the bug ever since I was just a kid. We were close enough to the beach. We could ride our bicycles about a couple of hours, and we're halfway between the mountains and the beach. So we had a really good location to grow up.
[00:03:01.030] - Big Rich Klein
And growing up in Southern California, near the beach and out there in Hacienda Heights. That was pretty rural back then, correct?
[00:03:12.790] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah, I was. It was actually City of Industry. It was a break off of City of Industry. So my dad built the freeways. And whatnot? So they built the 60 freeway was right in our front yard. And prior to that, it was avocado Orchard and Orange Groves.
[00:03:31.020] - Big Rich Klein
Okay, now I know where you got your influence. Into construction.
[00:03:38.090] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. Without a doubt, my dad was. He worked for the first Jerry Brown. And they were the guys who built California. Jerry Brown was a really quirky guy. But we met him several times, and he just had a vision for California. It was to make it the best Railways, the best highways, the best pipelines, best waterways, the best everything. He had really strange guy. But he had a vision like no other man ever had.
[00:04:08.930] - Big Rich Klein
And he passed down that strangeness part of it, at least to his son.
[00:04:15.170] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. I don't know. We would go and steal the tractors. Stealing. We borrowed me and my brother would get on tractors and ride around down the freeway, up the freeway, everywhere we could. And as a kid, I couldn't help to be involved in what was going on there, I'm kind of a nosey little guy. But I stole my sister's bicycle and my dad's water jug. And we had lemons and my mom's sugar and that kind of stuff. We made lemonade ride up and down the freeway selling lemonade. So it was a nickel a day for all you could drink to the guys working there for lemonade.
[00:04:53.720] - Steve Sullivan
So I could not help not being around all that stuff. It was just fun, right?
[00:05:02.270] - Big Rich Klein
How long did you live down there? Did you go through high school down in that area?
[00:05:07.490] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. I graduated. I went to Las Amitas school and then to Newton Junior High, and then Los Altos High School. I graduated from there in 1977, and my dad kind of gave me an ultimatum. He said, if you want to go to College I'll pay for that, and if not, you're going to work. And then. So I thought about it. And I went to Mount San Antonio College and checked it out. But it just seemed like just another screw around day. Nobody was serious about. I didn't see anybody being serious about going to College.
[00:05:37.610] - Steve Sullivan
And I always wanted to be in construction. So the day I graduated, I jumped on my Rd 350 and hauled ass to Clear Lake, California, and my dad was doing a pipeline up there. So I went there and the rest is history. I've worked in construction all my life.
[00:05:54.690] - Big Rich Klein
So you drove a 350. And that's a motorcycle from Southern California up to Clear Lake, California.
[00:06:04.610] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. It was great. And growing up, my brother in law, John Bolton, he was a road racer and that kind of stuff. And growing up, I grew up around a bunch of motorcycle guys and everything else. But we taken the 350 down to Darryl Basani shop and had pipes on it. It was really loud. It would do 120, 125 miles an hour. But heading up highway five, it just rang my brains out going up there. But we got up there and started working next day. So it was quite a ride to tell you that.
[00:06:44.570] - Big Rich Klein
So when you were in high school, did you do your own thing? Were you athletic or Scholastic, or were you, like, in the band or theater?
[00:06:56.790] - Steve Sullivan
No. I was a fat kid growing up. I was born at six months, and so I was always overweight, and it didn't matter. I mean, you've seen the movie, On Any Sunday, and we were the kids who were riding our bicycles and doing wheelies. I could do a wheelie all the way down from Whittier Boulevard. I could go all the way down highway 39 in several, several miles past Knott's Berry Farm. I could do wheelie all the way from highway 39 to the Coast Highway.
[00:07:24.800] - Steve Sullivan
So I was athletic, but I was just always a fat kid because I was born early and a thyroid didn't work. And at an early age, we had go carts we built. And I got a motorcycle from Jim Summers. I got his Harley Bottle 100 mowed lawns with him all summer. And then when I got into junior high, I met Bill Fuentes, and his dad was Lou Fuentes, which was the partner of Ben Ford. And they had an offroad shop down in Long Beach with Parnelli Jones and Walker Evans.
[00:08:02.340] - Steve Sullivan
And just everybody that became everything in the world of off road.
[00:08:08.460] - Big Rich Klein
Right. So you had a real heavy influence of motorcycles. But living in that Southern California, you got a total immersion into the offroad lifestyle, being around all those guys.
[00:08:23.190] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. It was amazing. My 18th birthday, my brother in law's birthday is on the 19th and February 18. And on my 18th birthday, I brought John home from the offroad shop one time because he had Bruce Baron was working there. And Brian Bennett was racing with Bill Fuentes. But we went to his house for his birthday. And there was Dick Man. There was Bruce Baron, Bruce McDougall. There was everybody, David Robkin. There was Marty Smith, everybody that was in cycle News at that particular time was at this birthday party.
[00:08:59.560] - Steve Sullivan
I mean, there was all the crew from Midco Bultaco. There was Larry Salzman, the Husky guy. There was Mitch Maze, AC Bacon, everybody that was on Cycle News. You could open up a cycle news. And there in the front yard, the backyard in the house surrounded the keg, whereas everybody was anybody.
[00:09:22.560] - Big Rich Klein
[00:09:22.930] - Steve Sullivan
So it was just amazing. It's just like I had my shirt. I got autographed by everybody and they thought I was stupid taking a nice, clean T shirt but felt pen on it because they didn't think they were anybody. They were just motocross racers and flat trackers and that kind of stuff. I was just in awe as a kid.
[00:09:45.550] - Big Rich Klein
That's totally cool. I grew up around drag racing and at a young age, but never at a level where the people that we were around ended up being damn famous. You might say so that's cool.
[00:10:07.510] - Steve Sullivan
In Southern California, that was a place that just made the world rotate down the street. There were drag racers and car builders in the just guys and there was, I don't know. There was that Eddie Munster was around the corner, and the kid from a little house on the Prairie. He lived around the corner. There were so many people that I could never get starstruck because my dad used to hang out with John Wayne, and my aunt used to hang out with Robert Mitchum and people like that, we never got starstruck with that stuff.
[00:10:51.050] - Steve Sullivan
They were just people. But Southern California sure made the world go round, that's for sure.
[00:10:56.370] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. Absolutely. So upon moving up to Clear Lake and working, you went to work for your dad or with your dad in the construction business up there. What was that like going from Southern California up to Clear? Because I know Clearlake at the time, even now is still sparsely populated, comparatively speaking, to Southern California.
[00:11:21.910] - Steve Sullivan
Up in Clear Lake and Redwood Valley, Ukiah, Williams, that kind of stuff. They just had jobs up there. So we were going from town to town. It was pretty awkward being an 18 year old kid. You really couldn't go to the bars and you couldn't go hang around in high school. So we had to find alternative stuff to do. So I bought a dirt bike back then when I saved up some money and then started racing, and I raced my Harley Ball 100 years before that, I took the Harley Ball 100, went to the Motocross track, which is pretty lame, but it was just something to do that playing at Motocross in Southern Cal.
[00:11:56.610] - Steve Sullivan
And then you could race about three or four days a week. But then up north, there was a couple of race tracks up in Northern California. They went to. And so that became my community again. And then after a couple of broken collar bones, Virginia City in different places like that, I just go, man, I got to work and I can't really do this stuff. So I quit doing motorcycles or racing for quite a while. And then it was years later where I re picked it up.
[00:12:24.430] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. And did you stay in that Northern California area?
[00:12:29.590] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. I eventually settled down in Auburn, California. It seemed like a community I kind of grew up in. It was a smaller type of community like Hacienda Heights was not the same geographic wise. But when I got there, there was, I think, 6000 people in the town and the rest of the surrounding area was pretty sparse. So rented a house there. And that's where I kind of base myself out of. And then I would travel the world, Africa, South America, all over the place in construction and gold and diamonds and blah, blah, blah.
[00:13:01.970] - Steve Sullivan
So I eventually stayed within 20 miles of that Auburn, California, for the rest of my life until I retired and moved down here to Mexico.
[00:13:12.070] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. So let's talk about some of those travels to other countries. I knew that you had gone to we had talked about this in the past, when we were hanging out about South America, what countries did you spend time down in?
[00:13:30.910] - Steve Sullivan
We went down to South America. I was in Tamuko, Chile, and we did rafting down there. And then while we're rafting just for goofing off wise, my brother in law, he is quite the explorer. And he did first descents around the world. So we did Panta River down there. And then in the meantime, we ran into some people. I went back and worked at a golf course just out of Santiago. And then I worked in Africa. If you ever seen the movie Blood Diamonds, we're the real guys, not Leonardo DiCaprio.
[00:14:04.630] - Steve Sullivan
We worked over there and the country went into coup. That's a story in itself I'll tell you that much.
[00:14:13.870] - Big Rich Klein
So you might have been running heavy equipment, but you were, let's say, making sure that you were well protected.
[00:14:26.630] - Steve Sullivan
To say the least. Over there was a whole different thing. I had a suspicion going in when we were taking apart. Welders on the fuel tanks and welders and welding and 15s and a bunch of ammunition and different types of guns and that kind of stuff. I figure we're up for an adventure. I wasn't really sure what we're getting into, but I knew it wasn't going to be just a standard construction job.
[00:14:51.650] - Big Rich Klein
Wow. So I don't want to dwell too much into specifics of that kind of stuff. When you were over there out of the country, whether it was South America or Africa or anywhere else that you may have gone. Did you continue riding motorcycles at that time, or was it just work?
[00:15:17.310] - Steve Sullivan
Well, when I was in Africa, we had these Toyota Land Cruiser type vehicles and that kind of stuff. And when we had a day off, we go out exploring and different. And then the countries we were in Sierra Lane, it was pretty small. So we would go to different countries, which weren't that very far away and see what was going on. But one day, the car was running when they ran it over there and it was running right through one of the villages. So we went out to the village, and there was one of the guys splattered himself on a motorcycle.
[00:15:52.360] - Steve Sullivan
So we helped him. We put him in our Jeep, and my Toyota Land Cruiser was like the ambulance version. It was a long wheel based one. And so we put him in a vehicle. And then Johann, one of the guys I was with, he was kind of enthusiast as well. So we got on this little trip together, and he drove the Jeep and we got him to a medic. And then I rode the motorcycle. And so then it kind of gave me the bug again. But it was a pretty poor country.
[00:16:25.000] - Steve Sullivan
So there wasn't a whole lot of anything there. And so it wasn't until they got back home that I reconnected them to start riding again.
[00:16:34.150] - Big Rich Klein
And approximately what year was that.
[00:16:41.930] - Steve Sullivan
When I got home. That would have been 81 because I bought it. I got through Yamaha. One of the old race bikes were Yamaha 465 from work bike. My brother, he test road for Yamaha way back in the day. He'd one day turning blah, blah, blah. And he still had connections with Don. Dudec, I got a work bike, and it was just fantastic nice.
[00:17:24.310] - Big Rich Klein
And then you stuck around in Northern California there, correct?
[00:17:30.070] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. At that point, I was living and still living in Auburn area, Auburn, Newcastle area before I moved over to just down to Granite Bay. But I went through the Yamaha great bike. And then I bought a Husky 430. And then I splattered myself pretty good a couple of times. And I decided, with age comes a cage. So I parked the motorcycles for a while. And then I ended up buying an old two seat race coat from Miami Campos, who had previously raced for with it.
[00:18:03.980] - Big Rich Klein
Okay. And that was the purple car, the V eight car.
[00:18:07.690] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. It was red to start with. It was a style race car, and it had a Volkswagen in it. And then Hemi had this bright idea, and he put a real heavy Chevy motor in it. And then I bought the car and we went out to Prairie City one day and it was all rainy and muddy and that kind of stuff. Me and a friend of mine, John Bias. We went out and we had a bump and got airborne. And it was pretty soon we got our sea legs and it was like riding a motorcycle again.
[00:18:36.170] - Steve Sullivan
So now we're riding around and this thing going crazy. And then on the way out, we got lost getting out of there. And we went by this place. And it said race next weekend. And so went back to John's. John Had offshore race boat shop. We tore the thing apart and put LS motor in it instead of being everything and went out there. And that's when I ran into you and everybody, Sambury and Dennis and the rest of the guys and decided to go racing.
[00:19:05.830] - Big Rich Klein
And that's when we met was the early years after I had bought Vora from Ed Robinson, who's now actually been inducted into the hall of Fame a couple of years ago. And off road motor Sports Hall of Fame. You helped me big time with building Prairie City into pretty much what it is. Now. I know that some of the track has been changed from what we created.
[00:19:38.930] - Steve Sullivan
Well, your legacy is there. Yeah. Your legacy is still there. The Tower, we went to Prayer City, did the promoting and that kind of stuff. When you first got going, you're having a rough time. You had to pay every month. You had every race, you had to pay the extra motor head and that kind of stuff the deal you guys made. So it was difficult. And at that time, you were running the Rock calling and Perry City, and it was just rough. I mean, you're running ragged 24 hours a day.
[00:20:09.510] - Steve Sullivan
So we had equipment, Sambury. He had a little bit service, so he was able to bring the equipment. And we used some Contact United Rentals and water trucks and that kind of stuff. And it was kind of funny. The first year I went out there before I went and raised, I called Sam Berry on the phone. I looked up for and that kind of stuff. And so I tried to find somebody I could talk to and ask them about this racing thing. So when I called down there, Heidi is growing up on the time it answered the phone and she said, oh, you just think you're going to jump on a class one cargo racing.
[00:20:45.410] - Steve Sullivan
And I said, Well, I said, I never started out on a 125 or 80. When I was racing motorcycles, I raised open lights and she said, Well, it's not the same. She was kind of mad. And so I talked to Sam, and he said, Well, we don't run into each other out there. We're pretty good about watching other people's vehicles and that kind of stuff. The first race, I go out there and I get sandwiched between Dennis and Sam, and I get spanked like a step child.
[00:21:16.340] - Steve Sullivan
So I ended up the first year I got second and points the first year, then the next year, I won the overall Championship. But, yeah, those guys in their friendly racing with a crock of boo, tell you that much. It was a lot of fun.
[00:21:30.090] - Big Rich Klein
But Dang, I just remember after you being out there that everybody started putting screens on their buggies so that they wouldn't take any of the cobbles to the helmet.
[00:21:46.790] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah, I'm pretty positive. I was the first guy to put an LSC. Ls motor and old race car like that. And then because I had a menial on it and I broke a lot of stuff. But Sam Berry came into the after the race one time, and he came over and it was a huge race. Him and I used to charge that pretty hard. And I thought, Man, there's this little guy, he's going to come over and smack me or something. But Sam came over and he had a rock.
[00:22:22.100] - Steve Sullivan
The rock was stuck in his visor. It melted into his face shield halfway through, and that rock came off my tires. But he said that was some of the first race and ever did. He didn't realize that rock was. That thing was square between his eyes, and it was halfway through his face shield. Wow. Yeah. I'm down here in Mexico, and I've got a nice little shop down here. And whatnot I just got the facial. When I get a second, I'll have to take picture of it, but I still got the facial hang on my wall.
[00:22:56.550] - Big Rich Klein
Oh, wow. That's awesome.
[00:22:58.630] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. Sambury side facial.
[00:23:03.010] - Big Rich Klein
That's pretty cool. Sam is one of those guys from Vora that I still communicate with. I see them every once in a while, once or twice a year, somewhere at some kind of an off road event. And it's always good to see him. He's a great guy.
[00:23:23.410] - Steve Sullivan
You know what? He is a fantastic guy, and he does a lot for his community. He has senbury towing up the Hill, and then he has loaded heavy hall, but he just won the best of Desert, the Class 1500. He just won that again. And I'd be honest, I'd be surprised if he doesn't get nominated for the hall of Fame because that guy has been around 67 years old, 68. He's getting up there at age, but he's still giving the kids a run for their money.
[00:23:57.170] - Big Rich Klein
Oh, absolutely. He's so well prepared. One of the things that always amazed me was how he prepared for a desert race with our Vora races, because I would go out, like, three weeks in advance, and I'd lay out the track, and then I'd send out maps. And before I send out the maps, I'd have it marked, at least with the stakes. And like an arrow with a Sharpie which way it would go so people could go pre run, pay attention to the arrows on the stake. I wouldn't put the cardboard arrows up yet, because those would end up disappearing with the weather and everything that you get.
[00:24:36.140] - Big Rich Klein
But I'd find him out there walking the race course, and he would be out in the middle of nowhere, and he'd be tying the Carpenter's tape, that little plastic marking tape on bushes on either side, different colors to Mark where passing zones were at.
[00:25:03.410] - Steve Sullivan
He wrote an XR 600, and he would go out there. He right from the pit area. He would go out there, and then he'd walk maybe a mile or two, go back to his bike and get on it and then go again. He would use his little ribbon, his little green ribbon, and you had to know it was there to spot it. And then. So I started moving his ribbons for him. That's how I moved his ribbons, and it kind of screwed him up. Sam, he has a memory.
[00:25:41.670] - Steve Sullivan
It's just amazing because you can ask him about a trailer track or a road, and he'll know it. It's kind of like I am down here in Mexico, because when he came down here to race these roads or something, I travel every day. So I moved in ribbons for him, and it kind of got him off of his game. And that's the only time I ever beat him in a desert race. I mean, he was a hard one to beat, but you guys had a really huge race one time, and I won, but not without the help of a lot of people.
[00:26:14.920] - Steve Sullivan
But, yeah, I moved his rhythms and kind of threw off his game.
[00:26:19.750] - Big Rich Klein
[00:26:22.270] - Steve Sullivan
I couldn't beat that guy in the desert fair. I mean, he just was too fast for me.
[00:26:26.240] - Big Rich Klein
Well, what always surprised me is that he would go race best in the desert, and then that night would leave there after the race, come up and race the Vora race and do the same thing. And he's just amazing.
[00:26:50.330] - Steve Sullivan
You talk about a love of racing. I loved it. And we were actually pretty lucky that we live fairly close to the track. But I was always working somewhere. I was working. I was out in Texas, Arizona. I was up in Oregon. I mean, I was around the world working, and I had to get back there. Even though my house is only 20 minutes from the track, I sometimes have to travel thousands of miles to get there. But Sam would race the best desert stuff in one car, and then he'd bring out his short horse car and a ten car and race every race that he could out there.
[00:27:25.730] - Steve Sullivan
You're never going to find somebody who loves racing more than that guy.
[00:27:28.630] - Big Rich Klein
True. So let's talk about some of those times, especially at Prairie City, because those are the ones to me that were the most memorable because everybody was in a tight, enclosed Arca. One of the things I loved about the desert. Part of the racing was going out. I had somebody to run the flags. I had somebody to Marshal the event, or was the race steward at the start finish line. I could go out in the race course to an area and watch and then move and go to another area.
[00:28:03.100] - Big Rich Klein
And some of those loops that we put in. There were 80, 85 miles long. And so it was really fun for me to do that. But at the short course, everybody was altogether.
[00:28:15.650] - Steve Sullivan
The short course was fun. I struggled out in the desert with the car that I had to see these. And just the whole combination of stuff was pretty rough that the car should never made to do what we're trying to make it do. So the devil I struggled with. And so Prairie City, if I broke down, I mean, it was only 1000ft away to the park truck. So for me, it was a lot funny. I was better at short course, and I was in the desert by far.
[00:28:45.420] - Steve Sullivan
So it was super fun. And the way that you had the course set up was great. We got the contract from the government to build the track and the tower and that kind of stuff. So that was a great accomplishment on your part for helping get that done. Otherwise, there's still would have just been just a piece of dirt. And then we did the track. And in retrospect, with all those boulders sitting there, we should have saved those Boulder instead of burying those, because that became now the ultra four track.
[00:29:21.470] - Steve Sullivan
And I don't know, Hindsight's 70 30. I tell you, it was super fun building the track. And then everybody says, oh, if you didn't build a track, you wouldn't win. And it's like, Well, I remember being Tim Compton, Sam Berry. We started to race backwards and let everybody go.
[00:29:45.910] - Steve Sullivan
We let everybody go half a lap in front of us. And next thing, the race was on. But that was always fun. I forgot about Tim there for a bit, but Tim was fundraised, but it was scary as car was that little thing. And I was always afraid at the speed we were running to bang into them. But somehow or another, him and Sam and I, we just managed to stay out of each other's way.
[00:30:06.490] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, there was some open wheel bumping going on there. I remember one of the things that during the race is that I'd always take the hot pit reentry corner so I could control people coming onto the race course and the traffic on the race course. And we had that hair pin turn right after the jump. So if you took the big Stadium jump, which was pretty big jump and you could go straight into the hot pit or you'd turn right and keep turning right until you did a Horseshoe, a really tight hairpin.
[00:30:48.070] - Big Rich Klein
And man, guys would get into it, especially on the first lap, there'd always be like one person that would be out front and they'd have a clean corner and then everybody else. I kept telling everybody else, Just hold your line, even if you have to go wide around the corner, don't stack up in that first turn yet. What would happen? Almost every race.
[00:31:14.350] - Steve Sullivan
It was something I was lucky. The car that I had, nobody could beat the thing offline. I was pretty lucky, and I usually get to the term first, but Sam was right there. Tim was right there. Dennis was right there. Harley was right there. Everybody was right there. But there was kind of a Peck and order, but I could hear the banging and tires and that kind of stuff behind me. It was a definite sound where everybody was trying to get to the right turn, but it was neat on a haystack.
[00:31:52.880] - Steve Sullivan
Not all the cars would fit at once, but I was lucky to pretty much most time get a whole shot and avoid all that issue. But I remember one time the car, I hit the on switch and it died and everybody passed me and then down the Hill a couple of jumps later. I think it was Mike Lerner's car. Anyway, his car died when I was going over a jump, and I jumped over the top of my skid plate, went over, knocked his antenna off, and we went right over the top of them.
[00:32:27.100] - Steve Sullivan
But there was some really tight race in there. It was fun. And it became the class one show there when we had ten or twelve cars, was just something. There was nobody sitting in the pitch. Everybody was lined up against the fence to see what kind of BS we're going to throw out on that day. It was fun.
[00:32:44.900] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. Where most of the carnage happened on that turn, one would be the limited classes, like the nine cars and the seven trucks.
[00:32:57.830] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah, the seven trucks. Those guys, those guys were some hard Chargers. But back in the day, Patty Hoyles, she built her a good truck. And she was a great driver. And I think only one time I saw a day in a truck. But for the most part, the seven trucks going to that turn, they had a handful of them, which I guess they called Tea Group later. But those guys just had a heck of a time getting through there.
[00:33:25.500] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. There was always a lot of bumping going on there, and it was fun. So remember, one of my good memories out there is that I had asked Kurt LeDuke to come up and take a look at the race track. I had met him out in. Well, he went out to rock crawl at an event I put on or help put on in Pennsylvania, which he won. It was the only rock crawl event he competed in. He won it. And he said, okay, he was having a car built by Shannon Campbell.
[00:34:01.470] - Big Rich Klein
And at that point, he canceled the car being built and said, you know what? I'm one for one. I'm perfect in winds now in a rock crawl, so I can just keep racing. So we invited him out to take a look at the track. We were trying to attract some of those bigger name drivers to come out and race with us. And do you remember that day?
[00:34:25.310] - Steve Sullivan
Yes. Without a doubt. And I granted him down here in Mexico, one of the Baja. He had a Jeep Cherokee, and he was just invincible on that thing. But he's just a super nice guy. It's kind of funny about all these guys. From him to Bob Gordon, Ricky Johnson, even Robbie Gordon. Now I see him and his kid Max down here and we buried the hatchet after that off on thing. But they're all just normal people. And when he came up to remember, we all went and had some lunch at the Post Motel and that kind of stuff.
[00:35:03.200] - Steve Sullivan
And I never forget it. I wanted to have a cocktail and he was drinking iced tea, and it's like off ratios don't drink. What is wrong with this guy? But he came up and did some lapse at the track. And whatnot? And then the dude from Ames Oil or Royal Purple brought his core truck there and it broke. The track was just the dirt was too tough for that style of vehicle.
[00:35:34.010] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. Their tracks are a lot more groomed and whatnot but the vehicles, they just I don't know. I thought it was normal. I just thought it was normal, but apparently it wasn't. But, yeah, their trucks were a little bit different with the ruts. And I don't know, I thought the tracks were groomed great. But apparently not.
[00:36:02.540] - Big Rich Klein
Well, the track was groomed. The problem was that all that soil there in that area has got a lot of cobble, whether it's broken. And then when I say cobble, it's the river rock. And that area was just like, I don't know if they used that area to dump everything when they dredged out the Rivers to make them navigable or whatever. But there's a lot of cobblestone out there. And even though there was dirt over the top of it, every time we'd grade it and rip it.
[00:36:39.870] - Big Rich Klein
And you always did a good job with the tractor out there. We had to have people walk the track because they always pull up rock.
[00:36:50.690] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah, that area. I've done a bunch of homework and Tiger's and granite. And everybody's out there there was an old Goldfield. But from the American River right there. Right. That River Bank that's on the north side of the river there all the way to Slew house. There's another River Bank. And that apparently, at one time was a river. And then so look at the condensed version of what that 22 miles River Bank. River bank was now just down to what the American River is. But at one point, that was all river and all that Arca gold bearing Tiger.
[00:37:36.130] - Steve Sullivan
I worked for those guys forever. And when I was working in Africa and South American, that kind of stuff doing gold medal Haines, we set up a circular Jag for. And they're pulling gold out of everywhere down there all the way up. They have conveyor belts that go from right there off of basically downtown Sacramento all the way up to Lotus. So they got 30 miles of underground conveyor belt. Still gold mining, but all that area is pretty rich. But I did some homework about it when we were working out there.
[00:38:14.330] - Steve Sullivan
And apparently the geography of that was a River Bank right there at Berican River, and it went out to the house.
[00:38:21.330] - Big Rich Klein
Wow. Didn't realize that.
[00:38:22.920] - Steve Sullivan
[00:38:23.560] - Big Rich Klein
I figured it was all just carted out there or something and dropped. But, yeah, that makes total sense.
[00:38:32.670] - Steve Sullivan
Well, I forget the name of the guy's name. It was a Ranch earlier, McGills. It was McGill's Ranch earlier. And then he was letting people go out there and run around on the Ranch and ride motorcycles and that kind of stuff. And then somehow or another, the state got it. And then it became Prairie City. But it was McGills park. It was McGills before that. That's where Magoo and Katie McKenzie and a bunch of the Northern Grace started riding out there.
[00:39:08.730] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, well, City, the home was a big Hangtown, classic motorcycle motocross race.
[00:39:17.430] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. Dirt diggers, dirt diggers.
[00:39:19.710] - Big Rich Klein
That's right. And then we inherited the area. Robinson had been running out there for years. And then because of the ferry shrimp, the track area just got smaller and smaller and smaller until it was the size we were able to pull out, like, 2.1 mile track out of that place, which was incredible. I thought for the amount of space that we had.
[00:39:48.270] - Steve Sullivan
I tell you what there was people were riding out there forever. And then when Ed was running the races, I was riding out of the city one time when I saw the buggies, and it didn't dawn me to go over there and take a look. I was kind of caught up in my own little world. But when we first got out there, when I got out there, when I was playing around with my buddy and whatnot we went out and rode around to, there is a muddy and mess and whatnot and not groomed or graded or anything else.
[00:40:17.650] - Steve Sullivan
But, I mean, there was just roads and trails and stuff going everywhere on that property. And then finally, when you got there, you brought out your banners and that kind of stuff. He said, okay, here's what I want. And I'll tell you what from just out there pleasure riding and goofing off to race day with the banner you had over the start finish line with all the used car banner tape that you had out there, it made you feel special. It was like, hang down. It made you feel like, Dang, man, it's race day.
[00:40:51.750] - Steve Sullivan
I mean, it was really festival out there. It was the best time in my life.
[00:40:56.190] - Big Rich Klein
I'm glad to hear that. Like I said, I always liked it out there because everybody was hanging out together. The pit area was more condensed than at our desert races. So everybody got to. It was that camaraderie being built with the people that wanted it. I mean, of course, there's always going to be people that won't hang out with anybody else or only hang out with three of their favorite people. That kind of thing. But it was some good times out there.
[00:41:28.830] - Steve Sullivan
Well, the best part about it was open pitch, if you think about it. I mean, the Cardano way. Those guys were something to reckon with. I mean, Dave and Dennis were both. I mean, show Stoppers. Those guys, they put on a show like, there's no tomorrow. And then there's Sambury. Mike Lerners. What's his name from Harrows. John Harrow would come race. He had a bunch of guys from Southern California. They'd come up and race, but nobody was above anything. But the best part was an open pitch where you can walk around from Grace card to race, car from team to team.
[00:42:07.560] - Steve Sullivan
And that's why I ran into Miguel and Renee soil. We had going into one of your Halloween races, but we were making carnitas, and we always had food for whoever wanted it. We'd make carnitas. We did roasted pigs out there. We did all kinds of stuff, but we had an open pitch. So one day, these Mexican guys come running through and they had the whole family. And the mom looked familiar. But I didn't recognize the boys, her name and Miguel. Anyway, the next day, the mom brings a Polar, and it turns out in 1019 and 72, I met these guys down here in Steroid Beach, actually, Corona Beach.
[00:42:43.260] - Steve Sullivan
But right across from Asteroid Beach in Mexico. And they eventually moved to Sacramento. And they heard there was off road races, like, very good Mexican off road races were going. And those guys came down and their mom recognized me. They didn't. But their mom told them who it was. I was the kid that had my Harley Ball 100 that we were right up down the beach on back in 72.
[00:43:07.060] - Big Rich Klein
[00:43:07.490] - Steve Sullivan
So we reconnected. In fact, they have my class one race car that was started by Cordonaway. They have it down here, and they're second in the points right now for the record series down here. So the race car is still living nice.
[00:43:20.810] - Big Rich Klein
[00:43:21.580] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah, it amazes me, but, yeah, to have an open pit area where the fans could walk through freely and go and check out the race cars and see the drivers and get T shirts and that kind of stuff. Even after the first season, I would be at a grocery store, Granite Bay and dad jeans. That's him. That's him. And it's like, Are you still? Can I get the autograph? And it's like, what autograph for what autograph? For what he goes. We watch two race, but it was something.
[00:43:58.950] - Steve Sullivan
It was a lot of fun out there, that's for sure.
[00:44:01.530] - Big Rich Klein
So you're down in Baja now, and you went down there for health reasons, but you've retired. You're not doing the heavy equipment anymore, I assume. And you're getting your feet back into road racing down there, aren't you?
[00:44:23.610] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. What happened was I worked in a pipeline of demolition all my life. And then one day up north, my breathing not bad. So I went down to the doctors and there's a just percentage of air you have to breathe. Otherwise, we're not letting you out of the hospital. You have to get a 90%. And I was below that. So I was in the hospital for a few days, and I got better. And then I went back to work and I did a demolition job down at Navy Base hospital thing down in Oakland.
[00:44:57.410] - Steve Sullivan
My breathing got worse and worse and worse. And I went back to the hospital and they fix you up and just send you a revolving door. You pay your health care and they fix you up, and then they send you out and you come back sicker. Anyway, it got really bad. And then I wasn't going to get out of the hospital. I was in there for a couple of weeks, and so I just said, okay, that's it. I'm pulling a plug. I'm just not going to keep doing this revolving door thing, right?
[00:45:23.930] - Steve Sullivan
So I always wanted to come down to Mexico. We have a lot of friends down here and just the lifestyle and everything about it. I have my motorcycles. I can go do my dual sport thing. I have my little dog. I throw him in my bag and we take off on my BMW. I got the car rally bike, and we take off and run to Cabo or San Canteen or wherever San Francisco, wherever we want to go. We just go and I got a little boat and go fishing.
[00:45:49.530] - Steve Sullivan
But then I got down here and about a year later, all of a sudden, my breathing was super bad, and it's like, this is crazy. I was sat down and I couldn't get up and it's like, shit. So I went down with the doctors and my doctor here. She told me to get to California now. So I went to California and put me in the hospital for 14 days at the La Voya at a script center there. Then I got out. And about an hour later, the little breathing machine they gave me wasn't keeping up.
[00:46:18.760] - Steve Sullivan
So I went back to hospital for another 15 days. And so they told me it's a year ago. Right now, they told me that I was in there at Halloween day. They came in and they said, yeah, we suspect you're going to be on Hospice by Thanksgiving and dead by Christmas. You have terminal fibrosis. So down here, there's a doctor, Rothall been to him and Roger Norman and a bunch of people that hurt some pretty good success stuff. So I went to that guy and got his stem cell stuff.
[00:46:49.500] - Steve Sullivan
And so his stem cells work. And I don't have to have the oxygen or anything else like that. So now I get to have a life. But it's amazing where the United States, they threw their hand and said, You're going to die. And down here, you can get treatment. So I have a lot of gratitude for what Mexico has been able to afford me.
[00:47:09.850] - Big Rich Klein
[00:47:11.590] - Steve Sullivan
[00:47:12.470] - Big Rich Klein
So before we go any more about Baja, I want to touch on the guys that you met that were rock crawling in Northern California. I mentioned Yoda and that group, Gomez, Raul and his brother talk about how you met those guys or what kind of experiences got you there.
[00:47:34.890] - Steve Sullivan
Well, Kevin, Yoda, there was Tony. There was Tony. And let me think in the whole Holland group, remember, SD Holland and that whole group, those guys would come out and go camping and whatnot. And they bought the sister car, the single feeder to the style car that I had. So anyway, all those guys out there, they felt like they had a connection to the car. So they come out there and be camping and carrying on Raul Gomez. I didn't know him, but I knew who his construction company was, but I didn't know him personally until he came out and was kind of checking it out.
[00:48:14.390] - Steve Sullivan
But Kevin Yoder, he was a wild man, and it was Joel Swanson, Kevin Yoder, and all those guys are rock calling guys. I thought those guys were completely insane. I've never seen people go and Hillbilly glue some big motor and a one time four wheel drive crap together and put a seat and go bastard heads against the wall. You guys are ridiculous. But the connection that Kevin Yoda and I had, we were both having transmission problems because mine was LS motor with a turbo 449 inch stacked, and it was all in reverse because I had a mid engine car.
[00:48:57.430] - Steve Sullivan
But we had problems with our transmissions, and we tried ADP and a bunch of different guys around town until we found this guy, Steve, that was out there by Camp Far West. Well, our transmissions, we had similar Motors, about 600 HP Motors, 6700 motor, stuff like that. But our transmission, we were able to go to this guy and figure out what was going on. And then we kept in really close contact because it eventually got to the point where he ran a whole season without ever taking a transition out.
[00:49:32.260] - Steve Sullivan
And then I finally got mine to do the same thing. So that was kind of our connection. Besides Joel Swanson and Tony and all the rest of those guys. But the rock crawlers with, well, Gomez, those guys stepped up again when Shannon Campbell and everybody else, when rock calling really got to be a recognized sport. And that's where you are pushing that forever and ever and ever running around the country doing that. You're like the pioneer for rock collars back in the day putting on your events.
[00:50:04.440] - Steve Sullivan
So now it's become just a huge event. I see Rock collars down here all the time. They just had the ball 1000. I see the four to 400 cars head north and that kind of stuff, and some look like they're brand new and some look like they had a yard sale. So the rock crawling mentality is just a whole different thing. Those guys, man, they built the toughest of the toughest vehicles, and they do some of the craziest things. I went to your reinvent up at Donna, and I watched those guys do stuff, and I go, how is that physically possible?
[00:50:37.890] - Steve Sullivan
How can you make a car do that? I don't know. I just a lot of respect for those guys. I mean, for their knowledge, what they build. And most of those guys are all hands on guys. They're not like the bunch of offroad guys when they go and buy a million dollar vehicle, those guys are in the garage working on their stuff, so they know every piece and nook and cranny of their cars. So when it breaks, they can go out there and repair it. Exactly.
[00:51:06.570] - Steve Sullivan
The laws of gravity don't apply to those guys. And half the time when you're looking to watch a video and you go, somebody photoshopped that. But if I wasn't out there at some of your events to go and see what the heck was going on, I wouldn't believe what those guys could do. The Gomez brothers, they've got a two truck, and it's a spectrum, like a trophy truck. And those guys have had some hard luck. But those guys have brought a lot of clasp of the sport.
[00:51:35.190] - Steve Sullivan
They know how to do it right. They have the money and the budget, and they have the dedication to it. But rock call and stuff, they've all done really well. All the brothers and the kids have done really well with that kind of stuff. And they're side by side accomplishments as well. But I still don't know how the rock crawling guys can make a car do that. I look at that and I go, that's not even possible. It blows my mind.
[00:51:59.210] - Big Rich Klein
Well, the rock crawling, it's completely the opposite, I guess you would say of what you do to set up a car to go fast. The way the set up is for the anti squad and all that kind of stuff, the unsprung weight you get into, that all that type of the design. And it's pretty much opposite where the four wheel drive guys, I think, have really made an impact in offroad racing was the fact that with four wheel drive, it was the factory stuff, the Broncos, the straight axle Chevy, that kind of thing.
[00:52:45.890] - Big Rich Klein
The trucks, eight trucks and threes. And then the four wheel drive. The only thing that ever worked somewhat well was the LandShark, and they just really never pushed that thing hard. And nobody wanted to spend the time trying to develop it. So the off road guys would say, four wheel drive will never hold, will never hold up. Well, then we got into, especially with the independent suspension, not ifs, but just independent itself. So the guys that started early with that, say, like Shannon Campbell or Rick Durmo, they worked really hard to come up with something that would survive with four wheel drive to be able to do King of the Hammers.
[00:53:42.070] - Big Rich Klein
And now the top trophy trucks, one and two this year in Baja were four wheel drive trophy trucks.
[00:53:54.430] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. Years ago, people were doing four wheel drive stuff, and they just had a hard time making it live. A lot of the stuff. Believe it or not, a lot of the stuff that people have learned about off road racing, a lot of the things, the ideas of technology and fasteners and way of cooling down things came from offshore boats. So out of Long Beach, California, I worked for Strap Off Road and for Benford and that kind of stuff. And those guys were always down the road.
[00:54:28.850] - Steve Sullivan
There was a machine shop down there that did stuff they call Matchbox boats back in the day. But anyway, offshore racing pinhalls were offshore guys. And whatnot so the horsepower, the cooling system fasteners and things like that got adapted into offroad the four wheel drive thing was just rough until the rock collar guys came around. You had the core series that had two and four wheel drive stuff. And you got 1000 HP truck. The two wheel drives now are basically uncontrollable. So it takes the four wheel drive stuff.
[00:55:05.810] - Steve Sullivan
But it's taken all these years, probably 45 years of being around off road and this kind of stuff to make a four wheel drive 1000 more car truck live.
[00:55:19.990] - Big Rich Klein
[00:55:20.780] - Steve Sullivan
So it's pretty amazing. The two wheel drive trucks are fast and fun. But the four wheel drive trucks now those guys are the two wheel drive trophy truck is going to be a thing of the past if you want to be contender. That's for sure.
[00:55:35.860] - Big Rich Klein
I agree completely.
[00:55:38.530] - Steve Sullivan
The rock crawling guys have had a whole lot to do with that. When those guys first got going, you remember Rubicon and that kind of stuff, Roger. And that type thing back in the day when the Rubicon was a Rubicon. Now you can take. But back in the day, things got bigger. It's like all of sudden, a you had horsepower, then you break a drive line. She put in a bigger drive line. And so it's always the car chasing the horse. But with the rock crawler, those guys just said, okay, here's what breaks here's what the horsepower is.
[00:56:16.350] - Steve Sullivan
And here's what we're going to do. And those guys have had fantastic influence in all of off road, even with the Ford Rafter being built now the Toyotas, and with their trucks and Nissan down here in Mexico, they got Nissans. They will basically look like a core truck. You can't get them in the United States, but they're here. But the rock crawlers without those guys, the influence would still be probably 20 years behind.
[00:56:52.630] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah, I'd like to think so, especially in that trophy truck class. With that unlimited truck class, you might say being able to go to the independent front suspension, four wheel drive hold, the horsepower and the abuse that those trucks take. You can't go as fast as you need to go unless you've got 30 plus inches of travel. And it's amazing what those guys are doing, especially in the desert racing part of it because you can go wider because you don't have to stuff it into rock crevices like you do at King of the Hammers.
[00:57:34.370] - Steve Sullivan
Well, I'll tell you what's really amazing is those trucks currently, Duke. One time when I was working when I was going to build the newer car Kurla Duke, and I asked him what's the real deal with suspension and that kind of stuff. And he said, if he got 18 inches of usable travel, he said, That's all you need. I said, in the desert, and he says, I'm going to tell you this one last time. If you have 18 inches of usable travel, then you're going to be okay.
[00:58:02.080] - Steve Sullivan
And I thought about that when I built my new car, we use LS motor, because those things are just bulletproof, the automatic transmission. And we had 26 inches of full wheel travel. But the truth about it was with the droop and everything else. It turned out we had 18 inches of travel. That's the car that I wanted to do your series with. But you can't watch a video with these trucks and then just go, that's pretty cool. And you see them going over the bumps until you're standing out in Zoo Road, you're down in San Kentuckin and you're in a wash, and you're standing in a wash where the loops are six foot deep.
[00:58:47.090] - Steve Sullivan
And then you see a trophy truck, 1004 wheel drive truck going through there at 100 miles an hour. And you just wonder, how can that happen. It's something it really is something to watch.
[00:59:00.040] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. Right after I bought Vora, I didn't know much about off road racing. And so I asked the people that were around me, what do I need to know? Especially Sambury. He was a wealth of knowledge for me. So we talked, and he goes, you need to come down to a race. So I went down to Barstow and helped his crew do their thing. I just kind of more watched what was going on. I want to say I helped, but I really wasn't much help. And what amazed me is watching.
[00:59:38.410] - Big Rich Klein
There was the pit road where you could come off the race track, get to your pit and then go back on or the guys could stay on the race track. So standing there along the race track as close as I could and watching these trucks come down that road and you're talking about the holes that they were digging. I mean, what amazed me is that each one of those rear tires on those trucks were basically shoveling out a wheelbarrow load of dirt and displacing it every time it really touched the ground and the amount of wheel travel and the body on those things, you could see the guy's heads in there and they may be shaking a little bit, but not what you would expect.
[01:00:25.070] - Big Rich Klein
And the wheels are just going like that. Everything was just going to fly apart. They didn't. But the bodies were just so level and so smooth compared to the violence of the wheel travel. I was so impressed. So then after the race, I walked out there and where some of those holes were at and standing in them. And literally, they were three to 5ft deep. And I was blown away by how fast they were traveling with that wheel travel and through those holes at that point, then I knew what the difference was between rock crawling and desert racing.
[01:01:12.050] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah, they both are amazing in different ways. Like I said, the rock calling guys when I went to that event, Donner. And then I've been to several since. But I just watched those things and it's like they decide all gravity and anything you could have ever thought you learned as well as the offroad stuff. And then the trophy trucks are kind of cool. But the heroes, like Salazar and Dennis down here with the Class Eleven guys, those guys have got better than stock VDO, but it really amazes me.
[01:01:50.720] - Steve Sullivan
I've been in a race where I was limping at a ball of 500 and a guy broke his transmission. I ran out of gas. We traded tow strap to pull him to the next pitch and for the gas that he could give me. But up until that point, I just was having a bad day and flat tires and everything else. And here came a Class Eleven car, and I was behind this guy in his dust and didn't know what he was, had no idea what it was.
[01:02:22.660] - Steve Sullivan
And I finally caught up to and it was Volkswagen, and this was just a Mexican going to get some milk on a Sunday. He had nothing to do with the race. And the guy was on the mail. It's like here I have a class one car, and I'm stuck in behind a guy that's got his family in the car, just going to get some tacos on a Sunday. I just felt like a real fool, that was for sure. But yeah, all the vehicles, all the different classes.
[01:02:54.110] - Steve Sullivan
They got some stuff going on. My brother did really good with a 72 Bronco that we built. And then now he's got a 66 Ford. He's on every north race that he's been in with the thing. And he's making quite a name for himself, the El Centre Racing. But every one of the vehicles, if they're driven for their potential, they're pretty amazing what they can accomplish.
[01:03:18.290] - Speaker 1
[01:03:19.550] - Big Rich Klein
So let's talk about Baja and you're living down there. You're back around the offroad racing, you're meeting people, talk about some of the guys that you've run across.
[01:03:34.650] - Steve Sullivan
Right now. I've built kind of a little compound. It's basically one big garage, and I have my motorhome on one side, and it's got a bathroom and kitchen. And I got smokers and barbecues and all kinds of stuff. So when I go fishing that I can come back and smoke and I get pizza in and everything else. I just love to Cook. But right now, there's Kevin Johnson. He won a couple of bar races, and they have Ryeba Insurance Company and Ryeba. Com, and they do side by side trips and motorcycle trips.
[01:04:06.850] - Steve Sullivan
So we work with those guys. And then I've seen the McMillan's down here quite a bit. I have Robbie Gordon, Larry Rossler has always been a hero to me. When I was a kid, I was racing in Virginia City, and I splattered myself and broke my collarbone and got walked up pretty good but Larry and his wife at the time. Since I was a kid, he's not that much older me, but he's just always an accomplished guy. But I see him quite a bit. And now he's one of the most winning this guys in the bar.
[01:04:39.960] - Steve Sullivan
He just Iron Man, the 1000 that had transmission problems. And it was cool to see Robbie put him on the strap and sacrificed his standing to make sure that Larry was able to get to the finish line. But there's all kinds of guys down here. Dan McMillan, Mark McMillan at the Nora race, we sat dados in Bay of La. But everybody there's nobody too big for their bridges because you're going to be out there racing. These guys are going to be out in the dirt, and you don't want to have any enemies because you don't want to be sitting there for 24 hours waiting for your crew to get to you.
[01:05:21.140] - Steve Sullivan
You're going to have to rely on another racer to give you a hand, whether it's a Ujoint or Bolt or strapped to the next bit. But in town, there's a Cameron Steele comes through town quite a bit with his tours. It's no different than when I was a kid on my 18th birthday was cycle news. Now you can look at dusty times or any of the offroad sites. And these guys are here every day. So every day they're doing tours every day, they're doing trips and that kind of stuff.
[01:05:48.670] - Steve Sullivan
So a lot of different tours there's Justin Strong, a guy with a small tour company. He's out of Dakota area or Mexicali area. And then I go and Cook for these tours. There's Ryan, the Castle and kids going to school up in Chico. He does a lot of the photography and whatnot Mike Hard away. There's guys here every day, and I usually go out and Cook or smoke a lot. Traditional meet people down at Steroid Beach or San Counting or whatever it is. But there's just guys here every day.
[01:06:29.130] - Big Rich Klein
Awesome. Sounds like a great life. Next time I'm down there, we are going to stop by.
[01:06:36.150] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. Come on by the place that I built. I live in this place called Suppressive, the Second Flag, the military base. I'm just right up the street from there, but it's a dirt road, chickens running around dogs and cats and that kind of stuff. And I have fantastic neighbors. The next door guy, the guy next to me has a radio store, and he does surveillance cameras and that kind of stuff. And then all up and down the street, there's just fantastic people. So a lot of times I'll just be barbecuing for no reason to barbecue.
[01:07:09.690] - Steve Sullivan
But I just go knock on doors and start giving away smoked chickens and beef and stuff. So I got a fantastic life down here. I just love my neighbors, and I love it down here. In any given day, you can go down to the Boulevard, and you'll see chase trucks and race trucks and speed trucks and beef jerky just any given day. And because people don't do, they don't plan their tours around the weekend. They plan their tours around with the hotel reservations they can get and things like that.
[01:07:40.870] - Steve Sullivan
So it doesn't matter if it's a Monday or Thursday. I mean, there's activity down here all the time and the fishing stuff, too. So guys come down and they want to go do a side by side tour, and then they want to go fishing. So there's boats out of here. My buddy with Game Fisher. He's got a 50 foot boat. It's just badass. And he's a great captain. And then I got my little boat. It doesn't have all the luxuries of the big boat does, but we can go catch fish.
[01:08:08.530] - Steve Sullivan
So we drag her from here to Bay of La to San Canteen and that kind of stuff, and it's easy to get around. So it's just a good life and good people.
[01:08:18.010] - Big Rich Klein
That's awesome. You deserve it.
[01:08:21.040] - Steve Sullivan
Well, in fact, I was thinking about it. I want to buy one of those little mini trucks, right? Like Key truck. And I want to make it look like a Dakar rally truck. So I want to put a pizza oven and some barbecue stuff in the back. So I'll build a box to the back. So in 100 yards, I want it to look like a full the car rally truck. But when you get up close to you and I probably wouldn't sit in a thing together. We probably couldn't close the doors because the cab is so small.
[01:08:50.650] - Steve Sullivan
But I want to all wheel drive, one air conditioning. But I want to be able to pop the sides out in the back. But I want to have my pizza oven and another barbecue and stuff in there and little refrigerator and blah, blah, blah. But I want to go and do on site catering for the tour groups and everybody's up for it. I go and Cook anyway, but I just want that truck. It'd be cool as hell to have a truck like that. And then Portsmouth, Texas, and different places out by where you're at.
[01:09:17.000] - Steve Sullivan
They got those little trucks where? And I need a license plate and whatnot? So I'm thinking about coming out that way to look at a truck and probably drag one home.
[01:09:26.840] - Big Rich Klein
Well, if you do absolutely. Let me know ahead of time so that we can make sure that we're around.
[01:09:33.510] - Steve Sullivan
[01:09:34.710] - Big Rich Klein
Love to see you again. It's been way too long.
[01:09:38.610] - Steve Sullivan
You bet, buddy. It's good to hear your voice again. And I'll tell you, we had some good times back in the day. You kept Vor alive. It was just going to go by the wayside. And then now Vor is BJ has got it, and they're doing pretty good. They got a car count that I wish we would have had back in the day. But somehow the cycle of life thing, there was a lot of cars around it at the time, but people didn't have a disposable income, so it's just kind of luck of the draw.
[01:10:09.240] - Steve Sullivan
But BJ is doing good with it. And it's good that you kept it alive. Otherwise it would have been gone.
[01:10:13.960] - Big Rich Klein
Right. I see BJ at the Offroad Motor Sports Hall of Fame induction dinner every year. Now. His wife has competed at the Rebel Rally, which we staff as well. So we get to see them. And it's good to see those kids grow up and now are doing what they love. It's really good that that is still around and available to them.
[01:10:45.870] - Steve Sullivan
Back in the day. It was kind of clickish and that kind of stuff. And people either liked me or they hated me. But BJ and those guys, they were just pretty young kids back in the day. And I don't know, I kind of thought with their passion for what was going on there, that somehow or another that they would end up with it. And I actually have remember the pre order that BJ had the Toyota?
[01:11:17.890] - Steve Sullivan
It took my tongue. What was the other guy that got it? Shannon Carwell. Shannon had built this Toyota Pre runner, and then BJ got it. And then Laurel's, I believe, father, somebody passed away and they had a four wheel drive version of this. So I bought this pre runner from BJ before I came down here. And this thing is just been just fun as heck. I have a place in La Bona, and the road is kind of challenging getting there. But my brother in law and his friends come down with their Raptors and do trips and that kind of stuff.
[01:11:49.440] - Steve Sullivan
But that thing has 150,000 miles on it. And I would say 90,000 miles are on Mexican dirt roads.
[01:11:57.760] - Big Rich Klein
[01:11:59.350] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. Good talking to you. And I'm glad you're doing well. But one of these eight, maybe you'll be on the Offered Hall of Fame for your contributions to the whole thing.
[01:12:11.840] - Big Rich Klein
Well, I don't know about that, but my legacy, I think, is people connecting to other people doing the events like I've done, whether it's been the rock crawling, the desert racing, four wheel drive, off road racing, the short course racing, whatever. It's bringing people together that never would have met otherwise.
[01:12:39.910] - Steve Sullivan
Well, I got to tell you, you brought the rock calling guys out to Prairie City and had their own class. And those guys are pretty fun to watch on the short course. And then after that, John, goodbye. And those guys are still keeping everything alive with doing their rock crawling series and with the Vora series and whatnot? But yeah, you put the two sports together there. And without that, dusty times was not covering what they were doing. But since it was incorporated off road racing, then all of a sudden the sport just blew up and went crazy because after that, then they had King of Hammers and that kind of stuff.
[01:13:26.520] - Steve Sullivan
So without your influence, it probably wouldn't have the popularity that it does today.
[01:13:31.450] - Big Rich Klein
Well, that's nice of you to say, but like I said, I think the biggest thing in my opinion is bringing people together.
[01:13:43.220] - Steve Sullivan
There you go.
[01:13:45.550] - Big Rich Klein
I never would have known the people I know. And off road if it wasn't for taking over Vora and then meeting you and Sam Barry and traveling to Mexico with BFG and different races, like the Laughlin Race and Barstow and stuff with you and Sam Berry and then getting involved with Pistol Pete and doing the racing down there and Mike Schaefer. It's almost full circle in the offroad world. The only thing I haven't had a presence in or where I feel like I'm lacking knowledge is probably in the two wheel drive.
[01:14:34.480] - Big Rich Klein
But now that I'm friends with Jimmy Lewis and work with him every year for almost two weeks, I've got to learn about the two wheel drive section of it and then knowing Cameron Steel and stuff. So it's been a pleasure for me to be able to be around all these people and different walks of life, but all with the same interest and that's being offroad.
[01:15:07.470] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. It's an amazing community, that's for sure. So I'm pretty lucky meeting Sam and you and Mike Learners and Heidi. And even today, still, I do Facebook and when I stay connected people and that kind of whatnot. But Kurt and Patty Hoyles, Patty had a huge impact on my racing. She was just so inspirational. And Kurt was a quiet guy. He just go and make the trucks and do his thing and whatnot? But Patty was a real inspiration. I just really enjoyed the heck out of her.
[01:15:45.320] - Big Rich Klein
Yeah. They did everything they could to make sure they were at the races, whatever challenges life throws at you when you do everything you can to still be involved with your passion outside of how you make your money. That really shows character, I think.
[01:16:11.890] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah. Even with Billy Manafort, that guy, that was something for a guy being in a wheelchair. Just all the people you get to meet their day to day life is one thing. And then you get to the track and there it is. You're racing. It didn't matter. I mean, there were people that had a doughnut delivery service. They were able to go racing. And so I don't know how many Donuts it takes, but they apparently still love Donuts. They might have been close to a police station.
[01:16:47.120] - Steve Sullivan
I don't know. But it just. Yeah. But all of a sudden, you get out to the racetrack. And I don't know, just the passion for this stuff is just an addiction. You can't get rid of that's for sure.
[01:17:00.350] - Big Rich Klein
Well, Steve, I want to say thank you so much for coming on board here with conversations and having this talk. It's been a long time. We used to have talks like this when we'd be out at the track or having lunch or dinner someplace. Whether it was out in the desert or at Pray City, it was always great hanging out with you. And somehow we got to figure out how to do it more often.
[01:17:29.750] - Steve Sullivan
Yeah, it's just life takes its turns, and then I'll either get up that way. I have some friends over in Bandera that I try to get out to see. So I don't really have a schedule anymore. But like I said, I might get up there the Portsmouth area and look at those trucks and whatnot? But if you're coming this way, just give me a heads up and we'll find time.
[01:17:52.060] - Big Rich Klein
Sounds good. I appreciate it.
[01:17:54.030] - Steve Sullivan
Thank you, buddy. Have a good day. Stay away for me.
[01:17:57.390] - Big Rich Klein
All right. Will do.
[01:17:58.350] - Steve Sullivan
[01:17:58.610] - Big Rich Klein
[01:18:00.830] - Speaker 2
If you enjoy these podcasts, please give us a rating. Share some feedback with us via Facebook book or Instagram and share our link among your friends who might be like minded. Well, that brings this episode to an end. I hope you enjoyed it. We'll catch you next week with conversations with Big Rich.
[01:18:17.530] - Big Rich Klein
Thank you very much. Bye.