The Talent Tank

EP 28 Rob Usnick

June 01, 2020 Rob Usnick Episode 40
The Talent Tank
EP 28 Rob Usnick
Chapters
The Talent Tank
EP 28 Rob Usnick
Jun 01, 2020 Episode 40
Rob Usnick

A play on the triumph and losses in performance and life.  The Talent Tank podcast will navigate the inner workings of lifestyle, lives, family, teams, careers, programs, and technology in and around the offroad motorsports industry.  What breeds success with your Talent Tank on full, failures when its on empty.  From the journey to the Starting Line to take that Green Flag, on to exploring trials and tribulations on and off the track in pursuit of victorious achievement and the Checkered Flag.

I am guilty of overuse of the nomenclature "Bad Ass", but that's exactly what we have on this episode of The Talent Tank.  Recently retired Special Forces Master Sergeant/E-8 Rob Usnick, former ULTRA4 Racing 4400/UTV/Moto racer, and current pirate of the high seas.  Well fishing guide in the United States Virgin Island.  From his thousands of race miles to his thousands of miles on the open ocean.  How mental preparation gets you in the race, but how mental perseverance gets you to the finish line.  Always finding new ways to challenge himself and his friends, from Afghanistan, to Baja, to Best in The Desert, Johnson Valley to Rausch Creek, being a published author and "Survivor" the TV show hopeful.  If you find yourself in the USVI call Ocean Surfari, and ask for Cpt. Rob.

After the Checkered Flag-
Chasing Bubbles is a documentary about the journey and spirit of Alex Rust, a farm boy turned day trader from Indiana who, at 25, abandoned his life in Chicago, bought a modest sailboat (called Bubbles) and set out to sail around the world.

Alex began his sailing adventure in the BVI from Nanny Cay BVI where he bought Bubbles a 39-foot sailboat. It took him three years to sail around the world and return back to Nanny Cay – where his adventure first began. The day Alex and his boat Bubbles returned to Nanny Cay was momentous. Alex and his crew arrived back to a massive welcoming party at the round-the-world finish line in Nanny Cay.  The party went on for days and Alex and his friends celebrated across the BVI – Nanny Cay, Willy T, Cane Garden Bay and Jost Van Dyke. The documentary Chasing Bubbles on Youtube.  https://youtu.be/ibP5IQxId34

Brought to you by:
Custom Splice www.customsplice.com for all of your recovery equipment needs, they are your one stop shop.
Branik Motorsports Custom Machine www.branikmotorsports.com is a full-service machine shop with one off and production capabilities that prides themselves on quality, service and value.
Magnitude Performance www.magnitudeperformance.com a Mast Motorsports Company www.mastmotorsports.com.  Magnitude is a Made in the USA manufacturer of premium chrome silicon coil-over suspension springs.

Please like & subscribe.
https://thetalenttank.com/
https://www.instagram.com/thetalenttank/
https://www.facebook.com/thetalenttank/
Insiders Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheTalentTankInsiders/

Show Notes Transcript

A play on the triumph and losses in performance and life.  The Talent Tank podcast will navigate the inner workings of lifestyle, lives, family, teams, careers, programs, and technology in and around the offroad motorsports industry.  What breeds success with your Talent Tank on full, failures when its on empty.  From the journey to the Starting Line to take that Green Flag, on to exploring trials and tribulations on and off the track in pursuit of victorious achievement and the Checkered Flag.

I am guilty of overuse of the nomenclature "Bad Ass", but that's exactly what we have on this episode of The Talent Tank.  Recently retired Special Forces Master Sergeant/E-8 Rob Usnick, former ULTRA4 Racing 4400/UTV/Moto racer, and current pirate of the high seas.  Well fishing guide in the United States Virgin Island.  From his thousands of race miles to his thousands of miles on the open ocean.  How mental preparation gets you in the race, but how mental perseverance gets you to the finish line.  Always finding new ways to challenge himself and his friends, from Afghanistan, to Baja, to Best in The Desert, Johnson Valley to Rausch Creek, being a published author and "Survivor" the TV show hopeful.  If you find yourself in the USVI call Ocean Surfari, and ask for Cpt. Rob.

After the Checkered Flag-
Chasing Bubbles is a documentary about the journey and spirit of Alex Rust, a farm boy turned day trader from Indiana who, at 25, abandoned his life in Chicago, bought a modest sailboat (called Bubbles) and set out to sail around the world.

Alex began his sailing adventure in the BVI from Nanny Cay BVI where he bought Bubbles a 39-foot sailboat. It took him three years to sail around the world and return back to Nanny Cay – where his adventure first began. The day Alex and his boat Bubbles returned to Nanny Cay was momentous. Alex and his crew arrived back to a massive welcoming party at the round-the-world finish line in Nanny Cay.  The party went on for days and Alex and his friends celebrated across the BVI – Nanny Cay, Willy T, Cane Garden Bay and Jost Van Dyke. The documentary Chasing Bubbles on Youtube.  https://youtu.be/ibP5IQxId34

Brought to you by:
Custom Splice www.customsplice.com for all of your recovery equipment needs, they are your one stop shop.
Branik Motorsports Custom Machine www.branikmotorsports.com is a full-service machine shop with one off and production capabilities that prides themselves on quality, service and value.
Magnitude Performance www.magnitudeperformance.com a Mast Motorsports Company www.mastmotorsports.com.  Magnitude is a Made in the USA manufacturer of premium chrome silicon coil-over suspension springs.

Please like & subscribe.
https://thetalenttank.com/
https://www.instagram.com/thetalenttank/
https://www.facebook.com/thetalenttank/
Insiders Group
https://www.facebook.com/groups/TheTalentTankInsiders/

Intro/Outro :

Let's drop the green flag on this episode of the talent tank podcast with your host Wyatt Pemberton bringing you the best, fastest, most knowledgeable personalities and ultra before and off road racing.

Wyatt Pemberton :

This episode of the talent tank brought to you by three amazing partners custom splice offered recovery equipment, briny motor sports custom machine, and magnitude performance a mass motor sports company. Enjoy All right, all right. All right. All right, here we go. The talent tank back in session right here this episode. We've got two more left this before we hit summer. I know that seems like the spring is just blown right by but it hasn't. We've been stuck in our houses most of us, some of us none of us. Some of us have been working on the phone, on the Skype The reason why you guys dialed in today we've got none other than the number two top epic moments and ultra for history. A guy by the name of rob you snake guy call my friend. Rob, how are you?

Rob Usnick :

Why, good. Thank you so much for having me on the show, man. And I'm excited. I'm excited. I'm a huge fan of the show. I'm a huge fan of you. And I think we've been doing group texts between you, between me, you and the Kansas boys since what I don't know, eight or nine years now. It's been a long time.

Wyatt Pemberton :

It's been a very long time. And I'm gonna have to let you let you down on this. You are you're in the US Virgin Islands right now, right here in St. Thomas.

Rob Usnick :

Yep, St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands.

Wyatt Pemberton :

You do not hold the record for the longest interview distance from Houston Texas. That's a Chris bowler still has that. But he was in Poland when we did his interview.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, and I'm pretty sure he's wearing a jacket too. And we don't wear jackets down here and let's arrange jackets.

Wyatt Pemberton :

And you also don't Wear full hats. You only have a half a hat.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, half a hat and half a shoes because only wears flip flops.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Oh yeah, man. How long have we known each other? Oh, wait, oh seven. Oh, no, no.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah. back early days. And you know with Kelly and Matt. Matt was I think I've been first because he came out the Fayetteville you know, we're all we're all part of the early day, pirate four by four crew. And Kelly was buying some, I don't know, like a big tug or something from Fayetteville. He bought an airport tug or an Air Force tug, and we're talking about Kelly Kaiser and you know, he's a paler Kansas guy, same hometown as miles Oscars.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Yeah. Black Sheep tin from pirate way back in the day.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, like that was like 2005 you know, so it's been a minute and then you know, through you know, we all had our internet friends on pirate and then we started racing and then we all you know, just linked up And I really kind of go on back to some of your first episodes and I've heard you talk about it quite a bit was, you know, King of the hammers and Vegas arena was what really brought all of us together in those early days.

Wyatt Pemberton :

And exactly for Jonathan terrain, those were inflection points for so many people in rock sport, and going fast.

Rob Usnick :

Oh, yeah, definitely. Definitely.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Will Kili met you? Kelly Kaiser. He drives up to it was Fort Bragg. Right. North Carolina, where you're stationed at the time you were in the military. He drove out there he met you sit. And you guys, you guys were online boyfriends. Right. I mean, pirate four by four. I think he put out a post like anyone live in this area. And you've signed up and said, Yeah, I do. And so he finds out with you. And then when we go out to Kingdom hammers, you guys reconnected, we get introduced to you. And then now, like I said, I think 12 years I we have a date. We have a tech stream that you and I are on almost every day.

Rob Usnick :

Oh, yeah, I mean, and I was deployed in that game. Then on through 14 and 15 and we were still texting the same group is it's insane Actually, it's like the boat from like, you know,

Wyatt Pemberton :

from hell. And just recently you just did your we're gonna talk about that is one of the one of the best, craziest most recent stories is you just drove your your boat from Panama City Beach down to St. Thomas. How many days on the water? 1614 1818

Rob Usnick :

it's funny. It's funny because my roommate from Panama City Beach, who, interestingly enough is my girlfriend's ex husband's friend. He's a roofing contractor, and I'd like Clark. We could run it hard. Do it in four days. We'll take it easy. It'll take eight. Well, it took a team. That's crazy. But now's a good job. We had it. We had a good time. And we'll we'll dive into that here in a bit.

Wyatt Pemberton :

So here we are. today. You're in St. Thomas Virgin Islands. Tell us what you do down there.

Rob Usnick :

You know, I'm gonna tell you the whole story. You know the army nowadays. And The military as a whole, because I think the army probably has takes the biggest brunt of it with like homeless veterans. And you know, if you see a homeless vet test, the army is a largest branch. Most people just default that it's a soldier from the army. So when I got out of the Air Force and 97, it was pretty much like, Alright, there's a door, you know, see you later. Well, nowadays, there's like a process to get out. If you do four years and get out or you do you know, 50 years and get out, they make you go through all these classes. And for the guys like me who did 26 years, they're not that worried about it. There's a couple of mandatory classes. But if you're a 24 year old kid, and you get out on your first investment, they make you go through all those classes. And some of those classes are like, here's your resume, come in and assume now you're gonna do a, you know, you're gonna do a fake interview, and go to the interview process, you know, because they, they care, they, they want to make sure that you're ready. And for us, it was like, all right. You guys good you know, thumbs up thumbs down? well as in one of these classes and the lady said, and remember why By this time, I already had already been running my own charter boat and Panama City Beach actually ran in Key West, Destin Fort Walton Beach and settled at Panama City Beach. So I already ran the whole year, you know, with my own boat, my own business, my own customers, you know, yada yada, yada. And this lady, new teaching this class as our guys, hey, we got like 20 minutes left, just go on this website and was like, indeed, like indie.com and look at what you're going to do when you get out and compare the salary to other parts of the country. You know, police officer in Houston, Texas, versus, you know, a police officer and pail a Kansas, you know, just to see the same job, different salary. So I was like, Alright, I'll play your game. So I typed up in charter boat captain. Now what do you know, ocean Safari pops up. So I'm semi you know, Must be able to run 37 foot center console, be great with customers and be able to catch fish. And I was like, Alright, well, I can do all that stuff. I've been doing it. So I attached my resume and sent it. And within 30 minutes, the owner Mark Blackburn sent me a text or an email. He's like, hey, Rob, this is Mark. Safari. I got your resume was plan on talking this afternoon. And I was like, replied back again, no problem after five Eastern times. Great. So he called me in the meantime, he had gone through phishing booker.com with my Facebook page. You know, what Jessica shoals fishing charters, looked at review looked at pictures, he stopped

Wyatt Pemberton :

you.

Rob Usnick :

Right, he stopped. He did and you know, and I had a conversation with Kyle about this same thing tonight about Make sure your social media is cleaned up. And you know, and we're talking about Kyle, your son, who we're gonna talk about, too. I love your son. He's got some amazing stories already at such a young age. But yeah, he's, yeah, talk to him for like 40 minutes tonight. I was facetiming him from the rain and he was saying it. But anyway, so this job says, you know Missing these skills and I had them and you know, then he looked and kind of vetted me. And he says, at the end of the conversation, this is like December 16 you know why it's like six months ago? And he says, Rob, you got the job. If you don't want it, fine, tell me So, but if you do want it, do not accept it until you come out here. And check it out. Make sure that St. Thomas is good for you make sure that the area the housing the food, you know, make sure the fishery the boats make sure things good. So I was like, you know, fair enough. So Linda and I, my girlfriend, we booked tickets and, and flew over here and in January, and I will say this, within 15 minutes to get into the hotel. They already had a car for us, and we went into Red Hook and Amex was flying like, No kidding. Linda and I were wined and dined for four days. They would not let us buy anything. There was surf and turf. It was wine. It was, you know, cocktails. They admitted, you know, introduces everybody in the store. I went fishing with Chris rap check for two days, you know, to see how they do it. And you know that we had a great time we visited the whole I only spent four days out here, you know, in January, where it's still relatively cold in the States. And it was beautiful out here is 80 degrees. Yeah, it's 83 and 73. Like almost every day of the year.

Wyatt Pemberton :

No, I mean, I remember in December when you after that call, like you came out of that call, and you text our group and you said, Guys, I think I just got a job in St. Thomas. Virgin Islands. I think I'm out of here. Like, what? No way. And remember at the time, we were all booking travel to come fish with you in April, in Panama City Beach. And you're like, Oh, hold off.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, y'all are all coming down in April.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Yeah, yeah. And then didn't happen. But now I mean, now we have an excuse to come to the Virgin Islands. Well, actually, anyone that's listening to this now has an excuse to come to the Virgin Islands. It's an easy flight efficient

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, no, it is it's easy flight and it's cheap. And it's great out here and you guys will love it. And you know, interestingly enough though, like I always told him my thing with running boats and it's really all I want to do is if I had my, you know, if I had it my way I would run boats out of Key West. Well, the problem with running boats out of Key West is, you know, it's kind of like farming. You don't just wake up one day and become a farmer. You either marry into farming, or grandpa dies and we'll do the farm. You know, like you just don't buy a bunch of land much implements and go farm and like it's a process well down there. You don't get a boat slip unless you marry a captain's daughter or granddad the captain wills you that slip and they don't want anybody down there that's not part of that crew. So keywest was out. So anyways, you know, fishery wise it's great down here. So it's like my, it's like my dream job times. work and you know, between talking to you guys, you know on the group text, and then My buddies at work. They're like, Rob, what is stopping you? And I'm like, dude, I had to sell everything I own and move to the Caribbean. And they're just like, duh, like, why would you not? And, and, you know, the thing was like, You know what, sell a bunch of stuff you don't need, you know, sell it go out there doesn't work out, come back and buy a bunch of stuff you don't need, right? It's easy to do. And when I put it like that, it made a lot of sense. And you know, and it's funny because when I was in recruiting, I was a special forces recruiter for a couple years. And I tell these kids, it's like, you don't want front porch stories when you're 75 years old, sitting on the front porch, drinking your sweet tea, you know, saying I would have should have could have, you know, go do it. If it fails, you know, dust yourself off and something else. So I told Linda, you know, long story short, it took me like a week or two before after I got back before I called mark that ocean Safari and said I'll take the job because it was a big decision.

Wyatt Pemberton :

So it happened though.

Rob Usnick :

Job and then came out here and I sold my charter boat in January the dude bought my chart about he bought all my tackle. I didn't have anything so on the sport fishing boat why not like I had to buy all new tackle all new rods, you know, I think like seven grand just in rods, reels tackle whatever. But you know I was lucky enough to sell it and I had a huge liquidation sale of all this stuff I you know don't need and the only thing I kept was I get three things my f 250 which is in Panama City Beach. I kept the k x 250 which is really kick 300 that Kyle one neuron in 2015 or 2016 and then I kept my toolbox everything else went man, like everything when I was at Craigslist and marketplace, you know, demon just fires.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Yeah, I know like cylinder stuff. There's a suck level to it right like you're like, you know, I been attached to it some sentimental stuff where you're just like, you know, you're over. But how was the process of actually dealing with other humans. trying to sell them crap. That's why I'm a hoarder in you know this about me. I'm a hoarder. I don't sell anything because I hate dealing with that other side of the transaction. How did you deal with it?

Rob Usnick :

You know, stuff I sold, I would set it on the front porch and say, Hey, do you want it leave the money under the doormat. And why it nobody ever chewed me down on price. And nobody ever did me wrong. They like Hey, man, I like it. So doormat, like, Okay, thanks a lot. And then I would delete the ad like that went on. I didn't. It was almost, it was like, this whole Gen, you know, January, February when I was selling all this stuff. Like it was so easy. And then you know, it's in, if you watch like American pickers or their shows, you know, it talks about breaking the ice. Once the ice was broken, like I would be looking for stuff to sell, oh, I don't need this. I don't need that. And I would listen and be gone. You know, but I had also just, you know, just yours is stuff, man. And then you know, everybody knows how it is. And it's this stuff that Just don't use anymore I don't have I got parts for cars I don't even I haven't owned in a decade, you know? So,

Wyatt Pemberton :

I'm so envious about that. I'm like, I'm looking at you. I mean, I'm living vicariously through you. Like, I don't know that I'm ever I need to come up with the, you know, the wherewithal to actually sit down and be like, Alright, I'm gonna create an ad I'm gonna just start selling crap. I mean, it's is what it is, but you've made it over that hurdle. And I know so many people that are listening to this actually probably 99.998% literally, the survival rate of COVID that's listening to this as having the same thoughts like I hate dealing with people and I've that's why I haven't sold stuff.

Rob Usnick :

And I'm telling you, I normally I don't say, hey, swing by and sit in the front porch if you like it, leave the money if you don't, you know, leave, but that's how probably 75% of that stuff was sold. Because, you know, I was still working. And when you and I had to go back to four I was living in Panama City Beach. But I had to go back that last couple months. It's been a lot of time at Fort Bragg to do the oil processing thing. So I would just I you know, I physically Wasn't there with the stuff and my roommate was set it out and they would come get it and he had an envelope full of money for me. Hmm,

Wyatt Pemberton :

very, very cool. We know where you're at. We know you've been fishing, we know we've got a big story coming up about how you drove a boat from Panama City Beach down to St. Thomas. We know you're in the military. At one point you did well, for 26 years that we're going to talk about, we know you're into racing. But let's go all the way back to Where's Rob from? I mean, who is this guy? What made him into who he became and all the stories we're going to walk through in this next, you know, short little snippet of your life that we're going to try and document some of it but you're from Missouri, or at least initially, at some point. You were born in Missouri, right?

Rob Usnick :

Actually, I was born in Kansas. My dad was a railroader. So he was living he you know, he was working out in Kansas City, Kansas. We actually live on the Missouri side, but Bethany medical centers right across the river. So I was born in you know, I'm, I'm a Kansas guy. But then you know, once I was dried off, I was brought back across the Missouri But I spent all my life growing up in Missouri. I graduated from Slater High School, which you know, which is Steve McQueen's childhood home. I don't think he liked it that much. And I read some quotes like, Hey, I'm leaving, I don't know who's glad or that I'm leaving me or them. But you know, they still have Steve McQueen days and his ex wife has showed up or as, you know, widowed wife, whatever has showed up, you know, so it's a big deal. It's 1300 people. I graduated from high school in 1991, from Slater High School, and, you know, 20 days later, or 25 days later, at 17. I was already enrolled in Wyoming tech and went to lambda, Wyoming. This was back when they only had like one campus like Wyoming tech was in Laramie, Wyoming, and did the automotive program there. And, you know, it was in the 90s. And then, you know, 91 I think I got other in February 92. And the first goal Ford just ended were kind of in a recession. Nobody was really doing anything, and my girlfriend at the time had moved to warrensburg Missouri to go to see MSU and I moved in there with her me and my buddy Dave, we're living in this little you know trashy trailer. I was gonna go apply it this alignment shop you know, you know the hunter see 111 D 111. Like that was all like the top dog stuff and he says hey no problem I felt the application I feel like a one page application and then on the back page I turn it over and put welding and oxidation cutting and you know, all that other stuff that most 18 year old kids can't do? Well on the farm, they can but you know, down Moore's burgers a city. He's like, Hey, I got your resume. I'm gonna have a car on the rack tomorrow. So come in and we're going to learn about birth and alignment. I was like no problem. Well, my girlfriend had a little s 15 truck and if you know anything about Chevy's and alignments and the cars and the trucks are just the same to the opposite. So if you know one, you know the other because there's the opposite. So I was studying up on alignments you know, road, you know, rode crown and camber and Catherine toe in and everything. So I get down there that after Five o'clock that afternoon for the next day. He had to have a car on the racks. He says, Hey, what do you drive? And I told him, so he's like, Hey, bring your girlfriend's at City truck on the rack, and we'll just do an alignment. Well, no problem as I've been studying it for two days. So I get on the rack and I compensate and Johnson suspension and you know, put all the heads on there and run him through a full alignment, whatever, dude, whatever, just and you know, whatever. And a guy's standing down. I'll never forget this. He standing there and his arms crossed. He's like, you know what, son? I'm impressed. He's like, but to be honest with you. We just don't have enough work to hire somebody else's standing around and watch everybody else stand around. And I was so shattered that I went to the Air Force recruiter like that afternoon like the next day. The next morning, I was there. Like I was signing up because none of these automotive jobs were panning out. Four months later, I shipped off in the Air Force, and I just been in the military every sense.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Were you the same thing as like Chris summers, you guys. We're both like munitions loaders or something like that in the airforce.

Rob Usnick :

We're both for six tubes and actually Change the ey Fs FSC, which is the Air Force specialty code from 462 to two w one and I was actually schoolhouse trained on B one bombers both with both conventional and nuclear weapons. And then in 94, the BRAC, the which is the Base Realignment and Closure that kind of realign everything. I got moved to f f 16. And I said to my last two years in the Air Force in Las Vegas, and you know, I was funny because I was stationed McConnell Air Force Base in which which is in Wichita, Kansas, five hours more I grew up. And the whole two years I was there, Wyatt, not one single person came and visited me five hours in the house. I wasn't in Las Vegas for probably three weeks. And I had visitors and the whole two years I was there. I had visitors every three weeks somebody was coming from somewhere to come visit. So was it me, or was it Las Vegas?

Wyatt Pemberton :

It wasn't you, I promise.

Rob Usnick :

Exactly. And it's funny because when people say oh my god, you know how can you live in Las Vegas? Well, when you live in those places like that, like you're not downtown burning up the roulette table and the craps like, you don't, you don't live like that when you're on when you live there versus vacation. So, you know, we were riding dirt bikes out to the desert, I had a part time job at Lee Canyon Ski Area running this ski lift. There's so much more to do once you get out, you know, away from downtown and the strip.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Was that kind of where you found your love for the desert.

Rob Usnick :

That was the first time I've ever been in the desert. And it totally blew me away. And you know, we talked about it all the time and it was when I lived in El Paso it would rain like that desert rain smell like you know, I'm talking about like when it rains I don't know if it's the muskie or what but it's just that smell. And like I will never forget that smell and my first time I ever you know was been around that was in Las Vegas in the desert out there. And you know what I liked about it the most being from Missouri and you can relate to this, you know, growing up in Kansas and even in Texas to like we don't have public land like that. Like there's just You can't just go not at all. You can't, you got to go through a gate, somebody owns it, you're trespassing. But out there in the West, like it just so open, it's vast, and it's accessible. And it's minutes away from your house. And we'd go out there and just ride you know, dirt bikes, you know, I had a blazer, my buddy had a Jeep, we would take the desert all the way from Vegas to Lake Mead, and then, you know, sort of fire and drink beer and hang out at night and sleep and then come back there was just so much to do. And like that was like my first real experience of like, just loving the desert.

Wyatt Pemberton :

So you're in the Air Force at this point. They never deployed you anywhere, though, right? You stayed stateside your entire time with the Air Force.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, you know, it was 92 to 96 or 93 to 97 or whatever it was. And then we deployed stateside for training, but nothing overseas and then at Nellis. That's what the weapons Academy is. So whenever you're watching the scale channel and you see these birds, you know, they hug these airplanes of wha, that's, you know, the weapons Academy and basically the weapons Academy is it's like the Navy's Top Gun school, but it's six months long, it's the you know, the pilots do three months of air to air, three months air to ground and then we get up to new a new batch. And, you know, these are the best of the best, you know, you're gonna have so many thousand hours of seat, you know, stick time some 1000 hours of instructor pilot time. So, you know, these are the best ones and it's six months long and they once they graduate, they wear that patch forever. You know, as a weapons Academy graduate, they're super stressed out and they overdo the aircraft all the time trying to get away, you know, the F 14 comp tomcats. They would, they would lock the radar on them at in the runway, like our jets already taken off with our students. And then the aggressors would be in the runway with these high speed radars. Not even taken off yet and already have them locked on 80 miles away. So the students are super stressed and you know, they come back with cases of beer because you know, once it Once you overdo the aircraft, all the panels got to come off, it's gotta be inspected. So, you know, it was a lot a long days out there on that ramp.

Wyatt Pemberton :

And so learning how literally honing your craft on spinning wrenches.

Rob Usnick :

Oh, yeah. And, you know, and, you know, we have this thing called CTK, and five, which, you know, it's your composite toolkit, all of our toolboxes. And anybody who listens, who's been in the Air Force knows or worked in aviation, you know, I can inventory 150, or 180, tools, whatever, and like, you know, 10 seconds, because everything's cut out and foam, you know, you don't leave any tools. If you break a little star bit, taking a panel off you, you'll get a new star bit, but you need to take all those little pieces back and they're going to put them all together to make sure that there's not one left in there. So it really taught you, you know, taking care of your equipment, like you couldn't have any rough neighbor tools. And then the funny thing is I get in the army, I work on tanks and we drop sockets in the turret and the boss be like, don't worry about it. But you know, the stakes are different, you know, an aircraft you drop a tool and it creates a malfunction, you know? The pilot has to eject and the aircraft's a loss and then the pilot loses life possibly. Whereas on a tank, if there's a malfunction, then you just got a crew out there eating Mr. Hayes for three days while you try to get to him and fix it. So the stakes are different. But you know, we definitely did a lot of mechanic gain.

Wyatt Pemberton :

So you get out of the Air Force, what made you or as you're getting to the point where you're up in the air force, what made you decide to re up in the army.

Rob Usnick :

So what happened was, you know, I had the point now we call it the first term airman blues, you know, you 2223 years old, you think you know it all and I just was like, you know, I'm out of here. So I had like, 80 days of leave saved up and I'll never forget this. I get back then I moved back to Missouri. And the Liberty which is just north of Kansas City, and I have all these days saved up and I was for like six days straight. I just watched MTV is like the top 500 videos of all time, and I just sat there drinking beer, just like, you know, totally just I had no responsibility and I had checks come in every two weeks it was on terminal leave. Well, the number one video was like Guns and Roses like November rain, and I just like oh my god, I just wasted five days of my life for nothing. So these checks kept coming. And so I was working at Larson storm doors at the distribution center. And you know, when you're used to a set amount of like, I had to work three jobs, I was catering. I was cutting meat At A Price Chopper, and I was working full time at Larsen storm doors in the warehouse. And after about seven months, you know, I was like, I'm going back in and I want I actually joined the army to fly helicopters and at a time they had already met their quota on Encino pilots coming in but they said hey, if you just come in go to your first duty assignment put in your packet it's complete it's right here and you will you know your your packets good but we just don't have any quota right now you know, from the non prior service side. So like Alright, so join the army back. You basically Training back to IIT, Maryland. And then my first Germany my first duty station was in Germany. But while I was at a IIT, I went to a special forces briefing. And I was like, well, that's what I want to do. And the minute I got to Germany, I put it on my request to go to your assessment selection course, and went to so I went, flew back to Fort Bragg went to saw selection and assessment. And out of 400 people, 90 of us made it through, and others 9060 of us got selected. So I did five more months in Germany, and then I, you know, was

Wyatt Pemberton :

PCs, which is, you know, moved back to Fort Bragg to start training. And then I've that's what I've done since 2000. And then we met you somewhere, you know, not too many years at that when I first met you, you you were special forces at that point, Army. And I think you're bouncing back and forth. So talk about some of the some of the detailed things that you you were doing like your training, because I know you were spinning time, like once a year, you would be in Key West doing that. Training boat operating?

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, no, I know you're saying like, you know, and it goes back to the desert and we're going to come back to the desert too and it comes back. We know when we talked about co H and baja and everything else, but I went to die. Truth be told, I was selected in the airforce basic training to be a pair rescue and a PJ. And for some reason, they don't know why they pick me out of the group. So when I graduated basic training, I actually started pair rescue training. Remember, I'm 19 years old, all I want to do is go chase girls under age drank all the stuff that all this 19 year old kids want to do. I wasn't in the right mindset to be locked down and do these horrendous workouts and get drowned in the pool every day. So I didn't make it through. So fast forward when I'm in special forces that can the Qualification Course in Fort Bragg the opportunity to go to scuba school came and I thought the skeleton in the closet of this this training that I did I didn't complete so you know, they just train us up and we you know, our dive school is in Key West. So I went and I graduated no problem. I, you know, I couldn't do it at 19. But I could do it at 29. And that's, you know, physically not much different. But mentally, that's, you know, I already had two kids, I was married years, I was in different headspace at some

Wyatt Pemberton :

point, we went back as an instructor to that

Rob Usnick :

school, right, actually, that there's two things you don't just go to scuba school, you have to like go through a pre training, we call it pre scuba or pre CD QC, the course is called the combat dive Qualification Course. So what we did at Fort Bragg was we we would take 30 students who wanted to be divers at run them through the mill, and then send you know, seven or eight to Key West to be divers. So we did all the pre training. Okay,

Wyatt Pemberton :

is that where you would send you know, videos of you just taking the water hose to a kid's head?

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, you know, you're not gonna drown in the pool deck and they're doing flutter kicks. Their mask is full of water and All this, you know, they're called stress activities first wide, okay? They're called stress called stressors, because anybody can do anything in perfect situation. So now let's start taking away some of your comfort items like I don't know, the ability to breathe, the ability to not be able to open your eyes and see. So we had to introduce them all this stuff. That way, when they get the Key West, they're already used to it, they know how to handle their body, and, you know, they can handle the stressors. And actually, you know, let those guys that Key West taken to the next level. And so

Wyatt Pemberton :

that's this is something that absolutely fascinates me is how much of that that you know, use a friend of mine, how much of that that you've gone through, and then how much of that your your mind is mentally prepared for which is then you've been able to pull back on that knowledge from events in the desert where you've broken down or events in Nora where you've literally had to repair repair, triage repair, repair triage, to get to the finish line. Like it seems very goal oriented.

Rob Usnick :

Iraq and some people I've been asked about some of that stuff. I went the dive school at 29. Then I went to Ranger School at 39. So I did everything kind of backwards what people normally do. And I've been asked, like, does your military training help you do like this in this endurance Motorsports stuff? And I was like, honestly, quite the contrary. Because the stuff that we do in the desert, like it's harder, you know, like, when you're in the military, no matter what, there's risk assessments, and there's safety things set up, like, you know, I sent you those videos of those shenanigans that we were doing those students but we had medics right there, we had our battalion doc right there, like everything was controlled when you're in middle of Baja, or you're in the middle of Johnson Valley. And, you know, things go awry. It's you. So, I always say that. I, you know, I was fortunate enough and you know, I don't know hard headed enough to pass through some hard stuff the military, but it wasn't until desert racing came along. where, you know, I had to like My game. So then every other thing I did, the military was even easier. I mean, there's risks that we accept out there. But no matter what I don't, you know, in the army, you're gonna have somebody, there's gonna be a truck to pick you up as me helicopter to, you know, come get you if you're hurt well out there, you know, it's you and I credit A lot of you know, our successes and just being able to, you know, do the things we did in the desert or, you know, it started off being based on the military training, but as it progressed, the things I did in the military. I was crediting to being able to be out there in the desert and manage all that stuff. When it's just you when you don't have uncle sugar. And you know, all his assets coming to get you It's good. You know, it is it is just you out there.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Oh, yeah, a lot of times and you get that deafening silence when everyone's there's no one anywhere near you. Which Oh my God,

Rob Usnick :

I know exactly what you're talking about the deafening silence. Definitely silence

Intro/Outro :

Stay tuned. Your talent tank is in full yet.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Do you know what the entire 2020 Ultra for racing 4400 class king of the hammers podium had in common for any Motorsports custom machine, this small family owned machine shop in Fort Wayne, Indiana has been advancing offroad technology since 2003. By proud veteran owner Stan Haynes and his son Brandon and a talent heavy staff committed to pushing the Motorsports performance envelope if those names sound familiar, they should stay in Brandon had been offered racer since before kena hammers was a thing and both are pillars of team Indiana. I'm always talking here on the talent tank about supporting those that support you. I'm struggling to think of a sanctioning body that Brandon hasn't supported in rock sports ultra for we rock pro rock just off the top of my head and I support these guys myself. My current daily driven prerunner Chevy has numerous one off custom pieces on it from rear axle flanges to custom five eighths inch lug nuts, I sent the current branding ideas and they made them a reality between the branding lines of forge 40 340 axle shafts all the way to their custom billet 300 m shafts Brandon cashew covered with pretty much any custom axle shaft any spline with no size or length restrictions need a rear oddball shaft for your unit mug they have those as well sway bars a large inventory of rod ends big and small. They're amazing specialized lightweight racing brakes and unit bearings and numerous bolt patterns onto their line of custom carrier bearings and u joints in 1480 and 1550 flavors and I've out Miss mentioning their amazing milled out aluminum suspension components 7075 billet aluminum links and trailing arms if you haven't seen these you're missing out on some very aesthetically pleasing pieces of hardware. Branding prides themselves on quality service and value probably making parts that were the made in the USA moniker No matter if it's for your daily driven Jeep Toyota Chevy prerunner or something more serious like your rock bouncer ultra for or trophy truck you're covered with a call to Indiana did I mentioned I'm metal and speed racing team that runs a brand new axles at over 300 miles an hour. Yeah to ensure you eliminate your downtime. All recreational wheeling this weekend, reduce your time to shop turning wrenches on repairs or looking to put your racecar on the podium call Stan and Brandon Brandon to 604678 to eight or on the web at Brandon motorsports.com. Brandon is a full service machine shop that can handle everything from one off to production runs. If they don't have it, they can make it.

Intro/Outro :

Now back to the show.

Wyatt Pemberton :

So you've done a lot of training in Fort Bragg. You've done a lot of training in a bunch of places they've sent you. They bounced around the world. And then they deploy you you got deployed in 2014. I remember this when when this all went down. You were a regular racer, up until this point, and then the Uncle Sam sent you to Afghanistan.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, I had a couple good job like we deployed like Robert, I got out of the queue Corps, and you know, was an actual SF guy. I, within one week, I was in Afghanistan in 2003. And then we came back for six, six months and then we're gone for eight and then we You know, back for six months and then gone for eight again? Well, you gotta remember the whole time. I've always been into full drive trucks. I think my pirate membership number is like 3000 I think they're over 100 and some thousand now. So, you know, I was a member since 2000 2001. And I've always, you know, worked on stuff and built trucks. And in the meantime, when we were coming back on our breaks, you know, I would take my bug or, you know, my little zouk and do something to it. And then that morphed into the buggy, and 2007 2008 I had a job with the dive locker where we weren't deploying anymore, we would be gone training for, you know, three or four or five weeks, but we weren't, we were done with a deployment for a while, at least I was. And that's when we started and, you know, King of the hammers happened. And it was kind of low key the first year and then the next year, it was a big deal. And I remember going to a training event in 2008. And you know, reading crawl magazine, and looking at the coverage of it, and then that is when it popped up on pirate Anybody who wants to do it could apply to do it

Wyatt Pemberton :

we're jumping away I don't I don't want to get into king of hammers yet. I do but I don't I know where you're going like you want to go chronologically and man there's so much your your depth and breadth of knowledge and adventure is it doesn't do chronologically. I think we need to pack it in in certain ways. So sorry sorry I'm gonna pull you back I'm gonna pull the reins back out a king of the hammers. So you did you've deployed multiple times but then the the time that I recall him was at least friends with us when they you went to Afghanistan, but you were gone for what 18 months. It was quite a while.

Rob Usnick :

And it was I think we did at that time that last time and 1415

Wyatt Pemberton :

really only eight months got it fixed seemed like you were gone forever. I remember my wife and I putting together like care packages for you guys for Christmas or

Rob Usnick :

somehow my dinner and so much awesome stuff. And you know, I will tell you even even today if if a church group Or you want to send a care package to like, you know, any soldier wherever. I'm telling you people that we get them all the time, and there's nothing better than so if you never get a thank you note or whatever for a care package, rest assured that they are getting distributed and they're awesome. Like, you send me all those t shirts. I got triple nickel stickers sticking all over the place. So

Wyatt Pemberton :

Oh, no, yeah, that was so that was I know that reminds me Yeah, you you wouldn't regularly send pictures back of you know, I don't know a mini gun attached to an Apache and it have a triple nickel sticker. You know, when my race sticker stuff inside of it?

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, I was, you know, so appreciated to get that stuff of T i want to like put it in a you know, place that you normally wouldn't put it, you know, you'll put it on the back of somebody's trailer, or you'll put it outside of a I don't know electrical box where everybody else's stickers are, you know, taking contingency somewhere, but I mean, would you stick it on a mini gun? I don't know. Maybe not.

Wyatt Pemberton :

And then somebody you know. Two years after that another person I think he I think we I'm not even sure who it was at this point. I feel like it was somebody that I met through you. They sent via Facebook sent me a picture of something in at Bagram Air Force Base. The triple nickel stickers stuck on something there was like, when were you on bathroom? I was like, I wasn't.

Rob Usnick :

Exactly Yeah, no, because we would go we would go there to get resupplied and stuff. And these are the logical boxes of this, whatever it was sit down at the coffee shop and everybody put their stickers on it. And you know, you'd see sports stickers, you know, or you know, team stickers, unit stickers. So I always made sure I had a 1999 and a triple nickel sticker. I just put them both up there in vans, they bust this off these air, air these uh, these Air Force bases from the plane, you know, to the hotel or whatever. And you get on these, you know, Bluebird buses, and they're stickers all over them and I put triple Nicholas stickers up there and just everywhere I could

Wyatt Pemberton :

and speaking of the state So in 2010 I'm headed out to Bonneville and we're going out to land speed racing. We're heading out to salt flats. And we took a different route and it wasn't a route i'd ran before and it was a route like up through Moab from Houston you know going, going kind of through the four corners area through Moab and and then from Moab to get to Salt Lake City. It's a little interesting and there's not a ton of gas stations. And I know at one point we crest you know, some amount of mountain and realize you know, I'm on fumes in the diesel. And so I'm just hoping that this downhill that at the bottom of this downhill like 40 miles downhill that there's hopefully a gas station down there somewhere. We get down there and we find a gas station. I don't remember the name of town but it was like I won't say it was like, like before Salina, Utah somewhere in that area. I wish I remember the name of it. We roll into this place I pump diesel. I'm walking into PE and it's the back door of the gas dish right and you got to open it right where you grab the handle. Uh, use Nick Motorsports 4406 sticker. I started laughing

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, we did the the tour like the tour like it. I like an old Motley Crue t shirt on the back forehead, like all the venues for that year. And we're in the middle of nowhere going to Vegas Reno in August of 2009. And I we were sticking those stickers all over the place.

Wyatt Pemberton :

It just it made me laugh. I mean, we were in the middle of nowhere. I mean, it was the absolute middle of nowhere and to see something to know somebody that I knew had been there. I do feel I think it was Salina, Utah. It seems like it was close to there. Yeah.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah. Because you're running out of gas. Because when we were pulling in there down that hill, like we were on fumes, like it like not sure, you know, not sure we're gonna make it.

Wyatt Pemberton :

And then now today, at some point, you've I'm gonna mess this up. But at some point after Afghanistan, they stationed you in El Paso or maybe you were in El Paso before you got deployed somewhere right in there. You ended up in Texas. What was the story around that? Because I know when you move from when they transfer you back to Fort Bragg, you end up staying with us here in Houston. And that hadn't been that many years ago.

Rob Usnick :

Now that was 2014. And what the early part of it was a 14. So what happened is, I was hit I was at 20 years, and I was trying to retire out west. You know, we had a top three dirt bikes, and I wanted to retire out west. And the only way I could do that was I took the Special Forces recruiting job at Fort Bliss in El Paso. And I was gonna do my three years, you know, retire out and then try to find work somewhere out there in southwest. Well, wouldn't you know it on the way out, I was moving. And you know how West Texas is out there on 10. You go through down 100 miles or so we're just our cell phone signals just as crap. There's nothing and I get closer to El Paso and also my phone starts blowing up and it's like, congratulations. Congrats, congrats. And I'm like for what they're like, well, you made the eight list, you know, Master Sergeant list. And you know, I was going to El Paso to be a in a seven, you know, slot. So I didn't know what was gonna happen. And my commander in recruiting who was actually stationed in Washington State said, Hey, do not unload anything. Well remember why I have a f 250 and a, you know, a 48 foot gooseneck trailer with all my stuff in it. And u haul with, you know, my wife at the time Kristen's Sequoia on it. So I had to make two trips back and forth. And I was like, What do you mean? No, unpack my stuff. He's like, Well, you know, the Department of the Army may turn you back and go back to Fort Bragg. And I'm like, What? So anyways, we made some phone calls and they let me stay there. But bottom line is, I was not going to do 20 years I was going to do more. And so I did three years there as a master saw In an E seven, you know, Sergeant First Class spot, which actually worked out pretty good, because, you know, he has a lot more, you know, clout walking into talk to these kids leadership than a seven because I was talking right to their first sergeant, which was you know, first sergeant and I mentioned sergeant, the same rank is still EAA. So it's working out pretty good as far as recruiting ago, but that's how I ended up in El Paso.

Wyatt Pemberton :

And that's how we all met balls it Mitch. Yeah, that's how you introduced him to all of us. What a name

Rob Usnick :

the infamous balls it's Mitch was a regular army recruiter that job in Special Forces recruiting Can I as a career broadening assignment, and he had me in my, you know, my station Commander,

Wyatt Pemberton :

and I end up meeting him the first time I met Mitch was out of keying the hammers him and you mentioned earlier, but we actually didn't mention him in full name, Matt, Jeb nasty Phoenix. They were deciding to wrestle in one of the pit tents and the story is complete. The inappropriate to tell on the show but basically, basically one of them screams out. If I'm going to wrestle or I only wrestle naked, and they just stripped right there in the middle of the pit in the middle of pit tent with 30 people standing around and carhart's drinking beer.

Rob Usnick :

And it's 20 degrees outside and the most insane ever. That the funny thing about that year. Well, you know it, Mitch, his last name is hawkinson. And when I met him, he walks up. You know, I'd been there for a couple months already. No, actually, I got back from Ranger School. And he was a new center commander, he walks up, he's like, he couldn't, you know, he's like five foot nothing. And he says he's gonna be mad when he hears this, but he's got a walk through like, Hey, you know, my name talk. And I'm like, Oh, cool. We're getting ourselves, you know, nicknames. I'm nitros. Nice to meet you, Hawk. And I was like, your name's balls. It's Mitch. And he looked at me all funny. When we went back out there in 2011 2012. It was with a UTV race. I could Put balls. It's Mitch on these my co driver. So I put be a WLZ. It's Mitch. And then on my side I had Rob use Nick an American flag and on his side, I put a gay pride flag and put balls.

Wyatt Pemberton :

And

Rob Usnick :

he didn't even know it until he got into the car to do the pre run. He's like, you got me good.

Wyatt Pemberton :

He's a good day, man. I like him. And you've you've brought out lots of lots of guys that a servicemen that have introduced him to motor sports and introduced them to the lifestyle and introduced them to the family. And yeah, you've got a lot of great friends and friends that I've used stay in touch with today, because uh, you

Rob Usnick :

know, yeah, I was just getting texts with fat belly. We'll talk about fat belly in a few minutes.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Oh, no. Oh, man. Wow. Yes, he's a he is a an absolute piece of work. So when you were in El Paso, you had the opportunity to get out dirt bikes and all that stuff, right?

Rob Usnick :

Well, yeah, I mean, you know, West Texas is that it's on the cusp of What's the southwest and there's not much private property like there is, you know, like what I was used to, you know, growing up in, you know, Missouri and then even North Carolina, I think we had like two, they close teleco down. So then they had Ura, which I think has a total of 16 miles of trails. So I get to El Paso, and Kyle and I could literally, within 20 minutes, load dirt bikes up and be down the street in the desert and repin. And on a Saturday morning, we could rip all the way to Las Cruces, I'd have a beer, he'd have a coke, and we could rip back and everything on the trailer back of the house washed cleaned up by noon on a Saturday morning. Like it was just, you know, there was so much great writing and you know, I don't want to say public land, per se, but are just, it's open. It's open out there. And it's you know, we see the Border Patrol and we let them know that where we're going, you know, and again, no problem. But you know, just give them a little heads up and we would ride dirt bikes and side by sides, like, you know, everywhere just all the time.

Wyatt Pemberton :

We're gonna take a little bit of a slight tangent here actually back to something I would normally covered way earlier but we got sidetracked talking about some amazing, some cool stuff. Your family though. You're married for a long time you. You went through divorce you have two amazing kids from your first wife you currently have your girlfriend that you've lived with for three years. Your kids Kyle. And then I forget I always forget your daughter's name. Yeah, Sara in she starts this fall at Penn.

Rob Usnick :

Kristin kind of threw me a little bit of a you get a kick out of the story. Kristin kind of like threw me a curveball. She's like, hey, Kyle is going to fab school. And because Kyle is wanting to go to fab school since he was 10 years old ripping around camp co h on his 50 cc dirt bike hanging out with the dudes at the tracks as you know RC car tent all day long. While we were doing what we do. So Kristen says, say what you pay for Kyle stab school and I'll pay for Sarah's college because you know Kristen, who's still in the army. military science professor at Shippensburg state in Pennsylvania. And she was under the impression that Sarah was going to go to Shippensburg state. And if that was the case, it would be tuition free since we know she was a faculty member. Well, out of the blue, Sarah's friend, but her friends Big Sister goes to Penn State invited the girls up to a football game. And you know, you know, those college football stadiums are wide. They're 100,000 people, like they're insane. And it blew Sara's mind. So she comes back home that weekend and applies to Penn State main campus and gets accepted. Well, you know, we're talking like $120,000 in total tuition. So Kristin called me back and says, Hey, can we renegotiate the kids college because a Sarah just got accepted into Penn State. So I was like, yeah, we can. So now we're splitting them both.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Oh, congratulations, though, to find out your daughter gets accepted to Penn State. I mean, Penn State's a very prestigious school, outside of the Jo pa the Indian store. With the, you know, penn state football pin football, right, it's still a very prestigious school. Very good program. That's congratulations.

Rob Usnick :

added for. And, you know, we were talking before the show about all of our sound equipment, which, you know, you know, guys like me and you like this, like there's a lot more to this than just plugging and playing, you know, but she's actually going to be a sound engineer, so she'll be used to, like, you know, meters and meters of knobs and dials and cords and cables to, you know, to produce music and, and all that stuff.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Yeah, that's, uh, I mean, it takes some love like, right, it takes some hard knocks, like I have more power to her. Like, I'm, I'm not an audio engineer. I mean, I've kind of developed into something of one like a, like, I'm better than a hack, but certainly not super qualified. Somehow we managed to get through and then you're the same way, which, if you guys listen, Rob has his own podcast like this whole conversation that happened last summer. Well, you know, last spring leading last summer where I was thinking about doing this whole show the talent tank Rob and I are bouncing ideas off of each other on this and, and you've got one called the fish box. Initially it was for all around all the fishing around Panama City. And now you have a you put it on hiatus, moving it to St. Thomas, and it's starting to come out.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, you know, we talked about last summer and you know, we've always been friends and and I thought the idea was great. And if you really want to like if you really want to learn more about the drivers, the personalities, the industry, the racing, and all that stuff, like you know, podcasts are where it's at right now. So I love the idea of doing it. And then I got to thinking about my own little industry like there's no podcast for like fishing in Panama City Beach. There's a couple down in South Florida and all that but there was nothing so I wanted to do a podcast where we did kind of on you know same ideas yours we drop a fishing podcast on Monday, and then we would do you know an influencer or Maybe you know somebody else on a Wednesday or something, but it was to get, you know, because believe it or not, you know, farmers travel agents, people still use travel agents like I have a friend from Missouri, who's a travel agent. Why? Because when farmer bill wants to go on vacation, they don't sit down and Expedia and shop around, they tell the travel agent. This is how much time I have. This is how many people are going to so much money to spend. And this is where we want to go. And these are some of the things we want to do. And the travel agent plans the whole trip. Well, I thought travel agents were like a thing of the past. No. So what these people do, I found out in the same thing with DUI, and you know, because I read on talent tank, we're driving to work. It's an hour and a half. That's a talent tank episode. They're an attractor for you know, 10 hours a day. They're listening to podcasts, you know, Steve Harvey's gone. There is no more 61 country. WTF out of Kansas City where you can listen to talk radio. His podcasts are where it's at, especially nowadays with everybody having a smartphone in their hands. So, your podcast to learn are, you know, the things that we've learned about all these personalities? which most of them I've not, I know. But some of the other guys I had no, I had no idea about, you know, Casey Gilbert would have a fantastic story that wasn't a great podcast that was

Wyatt Pemberton :

he's a damn right. We need to go back. You know, I think Casey Casey's podcast was good in the sense that he'd never heard what the towel tank was he bought in on because he was Episode Three. He hadn't heard of any of this and, and Lauren Lauren Haley's Same way, I'll get back to vism But yeah, fish box, you got to check it out. It's available all the same places that you guys find the talent tank and Rob's got some pretty crazy stories on there.

Rob Usnick :

He's in one has a I haven't dropped it yet. And I have a couple great guys here and for anybody who's into fishing, or and even if you know anybody wants to go on vacation to St. Thomas, there's a lot of great things to do here. That's not fishing. And you know, it'd be it'd be one of those great free vacation. You know, listening to to get going feel for the area, especially if you've never been out here before

Wyatt Pemberton :

you do a really good job of covering a lot of information for your area. And I'm excited to start listening to about what goes on around St. Thomas. And, you know, the US Virgin Islands I've, you know, sailed around the British Virgin Islands, but I know very little about the usv eyes and now that you live there, and then I have a fraternity brother runs a restaurant, St. Croix that would need to come down and visit but between those two places, and then how much my wife I love, I love Puerto Rico. I mean, I absolutely love it there. So the part of the world that you're living in is something that is an area that I really enjoy spending life and aspire to one day be able to have sit on a porch and tell those front porch stories in that area. That's a great place. Yeah, I was surprised to not even circle back but we started talking about Kyle. Kyle, I remember him you on the lake bed. He's you know, kind of like a Cody Knoll, you know, you know, growing up you've seen those guys that when they were kids running around the lake bed drinking the hammers. Kyle was one of those people And then he did he aspired to go to fab school. So he started fab school this semester, right first of the

Rob Usnick :

year, supposed to start in August and then it got moved to September. And then they didn't have something happening. It started in November. So started in November, and you know, he's ate up with it. Like that's, I mean, you know how it is being a kid, you know, you bought dad build stuff and you know, I'm kind of like a hack I'm really wasn't schoolhouse trained on you know, metal fabrication is kind of bought a JD squared, read vendors been, you know, bending to one on one on pirate back in 2000, whatever three or four then is, you know, kinked a lot of tubing had a lot of scrap, but you know, we built roll cages and we built the buggy, so Kyle's always been around it, and he's always wanted to go so like there was never there was never any wavering with him. Like that's what he wanted to do. Being around trophy trucks and all the ultra for cars and that's that's what's that's, you know, that's what he wants to do. So he went, and then with the COVID thing, he actually they, you know, California was really locked on lockdown. Actually, they still are. And they're on the middle of March, he wasn't doing anything. So his mom flowing back to Pennsylvania. And, you know, he got a great job, you know, as a little as a welder, you know, 19 year old kid, he's making good money. And I told Kyle's, like, you've got to go back, because I was kind of thinking that he wouldn't, you know, you're 19 all sudden, you get a lot of money coming in, you know, you can change your plans, but like, at least go out there and finish. So fab school called around the middle of May, and said, Hey, we're resuming classes in the first week of June. He's like, Yeah, no problem be out there. So I think he's gonna graduate around the middle of July right now. So he's excited and you know, he loves he wants to be in the industry and to be honest with ya, he really wants to get down there in your neck of the woods and that South Texas, Houston area, and you know, I told him I was like, Kyle, listen, you're young response. abilities are, you know, you don't have many. And if you get with one of these fab shops, who are, you know, their customers are racers, then they're going to go out there and race with them, you know, like you tribe 16 like, you know Adam and those guys build those cars and then they'll go out to LA for three weeks or longer or whatever long it is like that three need to be, don't get wrapped up in production welding just yet. There's production, welding, not going anywhere. You can make that your nine to five when you get older, but go out there and live this stuff that you've been doing for the last 10 years. And, you know, embrace it.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Well, I'll tell you what, the conversations that you know David Hartman and Nick Nelson and myself have had around the mini jet boats. And then that came out on last week's you know, talented podcast with us talking about that. That's turns out there is a lot of interest in the ultra fork community for those. It I think Kyle can be booked up through the you know, through the end of 21 just welding and fabricating and putting together just assembly assembly and making these things turnkey. You know, mini jet boats. I think he you know, the North Texas guys myself, Nick, I think there's an ability for this, you know, if he were to get into it, I think he'd have a line out the door people going, Hey, I want one. Here's all the stuff to make it happen and we'll pay you.

Rob Usnick :

Exactly. And you know, there's people out there like that, and I just didn't want him to get caught up. And, you know, there's nothing wrong with production welding, but not for 20 year old kid, you know, like, he needs to go do this stuff.

Wyatt Pemberton :

He needs to experience all the different experiences and learn all the different little things, you know, if he only learns how to weld, a TJ bumper, in weld 16 in 16 of them a day or whatever that is that he would do sitting in a basically a cube farm for welders. That's not that's not for him.

Rob Usnick :

No, it's not and you know, maybe him at 25 or 20 or 30 or 35 when he has a couple kids and need some more stability. Yeah, of course. I mean, those jobs mean production buildings not going anywhere. anytime soon, but you know, I've seen his work and you know, he was already a good welder because he, you know, messed around on my machines. But you know, he's really taken to the next level out there and he stays late after class and, and you know, he struggled a little bit with stainless steel but you know he figured it out he's a smart kid

Wyatt Pemberton :

and this kid at 15 is a North thousand champ.

Rob Usnick :

So you know he is and you know, he wanted to stroke only class on a k x 250 that I bought are built. You know, that's the only drawback I have left. I sold the Husky sold my KTM sold everything else, but I kept that one. And, you know, he went down there with us in 2015 and kind of chased on a little four stroke dirt bike, when we took just the Husky and we went down there and when we went back, Nora in 2016, we raised you know, a k x or a KTM 500. In the overall you know, the big boy class, we raced a husky and a super vintage and then Kyle fat Billy, and it's Another friend of ours Darren, you know, raised the k x 200 or k x 302 50 to 300 kid and you know they wanted to stroke on the class and I added up the miles you know, and Kyle raised like 150 those miles and you know, he's 15 years old, get the bike he crashes the bike you know cuz we all crash. I mean, we crash the bikes it happens and he pulled it out of the ditch. He gets the el arco. He runs out of gas. The Husky comes by and gives him gas because he had already dumped his spare gas and the Husky gives him gas. Then we have, you know, little one ounce bottles of oil in there that you can mix with gas that you buy, there's 2000 pesos and a set phone and all that stuff in the bag. You know, typical stuff we carry. Finally, he's trying to find gas. And you know he's 15 years old and el arco walking around trying to buy gas and then the mag seven guys say hey, the pits down the road. Well, that's another thing. We had it all scheduled out and the pitch was supposed to be 50 to 60% of that day. That legs miles, and they weren't even close. And I knew Kyle's in trouble. Because it was 150 150 miles stage or whatever. And I knew and I went Pat. No, it was 130 miles stage. When I went when I got past 90 miles, I still didn't see him. I was like, well, Kyle screwed, like I met, you know, and we're running third overall behind Ricky Johnson. So I was like, well, Kyle screwed, nothing I can do about it. He'll figure it out. And then, uh, you know, he got the gas, you know, he said they feed him sandwiches while they you know, they kind of like massage the steering back and do like where he could ride it from the crash. And he finished his days finished the day to prep the bike and left the next morning and that went on and on. And you know, my mom or my step mom and my dad had flown down to Cabo and we're waiting for us. And you know, we got third overall my buddy Chris Hart, and I did and and Husky came through our dough then Kyle came through, but we're watching on the tracker, and I kid you not why you Get a you know, clear gas tank on it. If that race would have been two miles longer, he would have been pushing that bike because he literally had about five ounces of fuel on that, you know, for three and a half gallon gas can on that, or gas tank on that dirt bike. So, you know, we had kind of Captain Ron while we're there. How do you know they had just enough gas to make it more out of gas?

Wyatt Pemberton :

There you go. And this wasn't like, you know, you just strapped Kyle on a bike and threw him into a race he you guys had written a lot he'd written a lot I recall. I think you guys did like a Parker, Arizona to Vegas ride at one point where you guys you know, you got out Google Maps and you plot of course and you and Kyle just vanished into the desert for four or five days or something. I thought that was pretty damn cool.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, we did like a five day vacation all through Lake Havasu, Las Vegas, all down through the other little town on the river there in Nevada Laughlin. And, you know, Kristen and Sarah would drop us off and we would just ride and we spent like, you know, we wrote Three days straight, just off to the desert. You know, and Kyle, you've been on dirt bikes since he was four years old. So, you know, he's definitely no slouch in the dirt bike only thing. He's not that great at his motocross. And you know those kids, you know, and anybody who does motocross, you know, Chris Ridgeway and all those guys that were familiar with, you know, that mentality of grip it and rip it like, you have to grip it and rip it because God forbid you come up short. And so Kyle really wasn't too. We did motocross that earlier age, but the desert is where he just started shining, like that's when he would, you know, he would rip out you know, the whoop sections and in El Paso and those roads. They're just miles and miles and miles of whoops and college like you know, rank rank rank, rank rank and not even waver like just hit them. So the desert giant?

Wyatt Pemberton :

Yeah, he got really good at reading terrain.

Rob Usnick :

Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. And you know, that the only bad crash he had. We were in El Paso and he had a little k x 125. And I had the 250 I would say in 250, that ended up building for him to race Nora. And we had this little lab we did like seven mile lap this round, and I was putting the bike back on the trailer. And he's like, Hey, I'm gonna take a lap real fast. I was like, Yeah, go ahead. So he takes off, and he's coming back around. And this is like a big, not a parking lot area, but it's a big open area. And these three little Mexican chicks got out of this car, they're all about his age, you know, 1415 with their dad or whoever, and he comes out of this little wash and jumps, but the wind caught the bike cuz he's trying to show off. The wind kind of blew the bike over a little bit and he wanted that thing up and I had to like, pour him back into the truck and his knees are messed up. So we go to go to the hospital and I'll pass it on. I'm gonna call Kristen. You know, the make the phone call the mom, never fun. Then Kyle ends up getting like 40 stitches in his knee like it was it was bad. It was. It was bad. And I'd walked out to go move the trucks. I dropped him off in the ER and when I came back up there, Crystal They're they'd already gave him the no morphine. As I kind of how you doing, man? He's like, Dad, I'm doing just fine. But yeah, they did. They did 47 stitches in his name. It was pretty bad.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Now Didn't he have a dog like bitumen Mexico like while he was riding?

Rob Usnick :

Oh, now that's when we were coming back from. We were coming back in 2015 you know, the Steve McQueen fan. All I wanted to do is ride wheelies on the beach like Steve McQueen, that dog on the beach, they wanted to play with him like they wanted to play. They would chase you. And then once once the bike stopped, like if you just stopped, then they would surround you their tails wagging, you know, but then you take off they would go back into attack mode. So okay, yeah, so Kyle wrote down the beat dog chasing he was scared. He ran to the hotel, where we were staying at and the dogs kind of had him like, he pulled into a park line. He couldn't get out and the dogs can like sit up a little bear barricade. Finally me and Billy went over there and got the dogs out of the way. And Kyle rip down in front of that hotel and went right down the beach 10 feet from the outdoor seating area and just dust that everybody out there eating and within, you know, 10 seconds to dues walking down to the suit saying hey guys, no more no more the dirt bikes because he just dusted out everybody out there enjoying lunch. Oh,

Wyatt Pemberton :

that's a I mean, that's completely believable. Right? That's, that's exactly what you do when you're 15

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, of course. Actually. That was it was 14 then.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Oh, he's 14. He's 14 years old. 2015.

Intro/Outro :

Stay tuned. Your talent tank is in full yet.

Wyatt Pemberton :

For the past 10 years, there's been a group of individuals working hard pushing the limits of what's possible with suspension spring technology. today that group has opened some exciting new doors stepping out with the release of their own line of premium high performance coil over springs magnitude performance suspension is now up and running their new complex Flex deep in the heart of Texas manufacturing their new line of premium chrome silicon springs right here in the USA. While the name and location is new, the current magnitude is anything but with extensive multi genre racing application experience, including 10 plus years specifically testing tuning, listening to working with an answering the needs of ultra for and off road racers alike. I'm ecstatic to have magnitude onboard as a partner of the talent tank and I stand behind their products as I'm a customer of this team myself. When I was building my last race car I reached out to now president of magnitude Jason yoed. About his sway bar design. He built a sway bar to the specs he calculated for my application and it was 100% dialed in right out of the box. That almost doesn't sound real but it happened proof this team of magnitude no suspensions, springs, sway bars, what works, what doesn't, and I haven't even mentioned their line of valvetrain Springs. They do those as well. ls lt diesel's drag racing duals and triples. They've got them all. No more waiting around for springs to be made. backordered all the while you could be testing in tuning your vehicle and practicing your best podium pose magnitude has over 10,000 springs in stock that's over 225 different links and rates. These guys have embraced technology with real time inventory status on their website so enthusiast and competitors can order with confidence that magnitude has the parts you need when you need them. I know I mentioned that they are in Texas that makes me proud But that also means they are centrally located for quick shipping to your door no more right coasts waiting on California left coast waiting on North Carolina give the team a magnitude a call at 866-674-1516 or hit up their website magnitude performance comm mentioned you're a fan of the talent tank or use online code tt 10 and get a special 10% discount.

Intro/Outro :

Now back to the show.

Wyatt Pemberton :

So let's jump back to you in motor sports and like I know you when you weren't at Bragg, you were into off road. I mean obviously you've been on pirate since 2000 2000 One, you end up we learned a little bit with some guys who I thought Nick Nelson had been involved with. He'd been involved with the other guys the Dixie crawlers, but the mud devils like Travis Watford and company and then somewhere in there, you decided to build your Samurai buggy. And that's the buggy that we knew know you from competing and we rocked. And then you forking the hammers.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah. So you know, I had a little zoop that I bought off eBay. And I never was a Jeep guy. And I've just recently bought my first Jeep and 46 years old, and I mean, you live on an island, you buy an island Jeep, they're just easy, but I wasn't really in the jeep thing. You know, I don't know why I was or wasn't but, you know, the samurai is what I always like, I thought they were roomy, they're small, they're cheap. They're fun. There's like most of us, the more you start beating on it, the more you start moving stuff. And finally when I decided like in 2007 we're just going to build a buggy. So I built a buggy based off, you know, the zip code, all zip drive tank, I think I had 12 axles and then we competed in We rock southeast regionals and the zouk was like you know, hundred horsepower 42 inch sticky Iraq's you know of 6.5 to one transfer case at 529 and a Arby's It was a rock crawling machine. And you know we ended up winning that little series but Travis was coming down there you know Greg Stone you know the mud devil guys and then in the meantime the mud devil guys were actually hosting races they were doing these little races up there like club members and you know, $25 pot winner take all or whatever it was. And the summer before I built the buggy. I was in my little snow camouflage zouk and Kristen and I did this did this race with the mud devils. And well that night we had a military ball. So in the trailer was our my, you know, my dress uniform and her ball gown. You know we're doing this race got five point harnesses on and it's kind of like a little rock crawling section. Well, the harness had rubbed her neck on both sides like you know, get Like these picky marks, well we finished the race and a couple beers and then we took off for Fayetteville for the ball. Well Kristin Kosta put her gown on and her neck is just read as it can be from those five point harnesses you know rubbing on her neck but but yeah we did a lot of wheeling with the mud devils from the early days and you know I saw you know, you know Jim building those buggies saw some of the first ones he built and then we were racing with the mud devil guys. I bet you are when they had the like the You are a fast or whatever it was when Greg Stone flipped this buggy over upside down in that pond. You know some scary time.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Oh, that's right. I do remember that. I Oh, yeah, it was the downhill with a right hander at the bottom of it. And all you saw was the Max's like to Max's sticking out of the water.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah. Back, Wyatt. I mean, this is like 2007 and you know, an LS, you know, even 400 horsepower and Ella, you know, in a buggy was a lot, you know Not like it is today. But you know, that was a big deal when we're all used to like you know, six cylinder jeeps and you know maybe a maybe a little TBI Chevy, but when the LS s came along like that buggy was fast and and it was just loose and it was the Off Camber and it just, you know, we're racing and you know how we all lose our mind when the window nets go up and the helmet comes on. And it gets got away from Greg and I will always say this. What saved Greg was one we were all there fast but to in those x RR days, or the X ray days, you guys had to do a blindfolded full seatbelt helmet window net get out of your car like you had to be. Then they test you. firefighter Yeah, firefighter fire. So that's what saved Greg because he was racing with a you know, X ray guy, you know, with you guys. And when he was upside down and that water, he went back to his training and you know, got out.

Wyatt Pemberton :

I remember just seeing The picture of that buggy man I wonder what he's up to these days. I haven't heard that name and yet

Rob Usnick :

he is a monster on a dirt bike. He does a lot of dirt bike riding now.

Wyatt Pemberton :

No, that's a that's awesome that we bring that back up. And then in 2009 Dave foot Well, I mean it's fall 2008 at this point, Dave, Dave and Jeff Knoll they put out the you know, the beacon or whatever about this race right? We kind of seen it and we knew about it for most 712 then we see you know how many got how many guys raised it in LA I think I should know this but feels like 4242 43 somewhere in there. And then in oh nine was there 90 was that the numbers kept at 90 but then I think like 100 raised?

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, it was something like that. And when that issue of crawl magazine came out that summer 2008 like that's when like I pored over those pictures and like I was I will have my buggy halfway done, we're getting ready to do another URL race. I know it needed some more to go fast. So that's on pirate that fall, they put in the, you know, apply now. So I filled out the little application and then the crawl magazine had this king of the hammers logo. And I took that to my steel cutting guy. And he cut this thing out. It was big, it was bigger than a, it was bigger than a photo book because I sent when I sent my application I sent in a photo book with all pictures of me building cars, the you know, kids, my little resume, and then you know, double sided sticky tape. I had this big, huge cut out of aluminum logo, and I put it all in a box and send it off. And I'll be damned if I didn't get in and the it gets even crazier a little bit. You know, Jody Everdeen Bob rogi we're all racing in Mexico. That following fall, back in 2008. In the for the 1000 God was dead. They're and they were doing they were doing the very original king of the hammers video where they, you know, Eric Anderson, I think was there they were just talking about the race from the 2008 race. And God told me like, dude, I was there when they got your package. And when they opened it up, they said, I don't know who he is, but he's in mine. But God was like, Yeah, I was there and they got that box and they were like, dude, he's

Wyatt Pemberton :

in what a great story and then 2009 Vegas to Reno. I don't remember. I mean, I remember Believe me, I remember very well how I met this guy, Maddie Nix. And from the ultra for racing world. He was the guy who whenever you see any UTV racing, he is the one with the hat. He has the rooster bolted to the top of his roll cage. It's he raced multiple years with it on the top of his roll cage, let a couple years. What year was a year he almost won and then he had a flat like three miles from the finish and Mitch Guthrie ends up getting another when 11

Rob Usnick :

Well, maybe 13 it was Right in there somewhere right in that window.

Wyatt Pemberton :

But yeah, I remember I met Matt in Oklahoma Disney Oklahoma for like a candy hammer style. It was called the Disney challenge dc, dc, three or something like that. And Matt was there. And because of that relationship with him, which he's crazy, by the way, and you know, this absolutely knows he's a he's a he's a nutball. We love him, but that's why we love Him is because how crazy is actually I had a 35 minute conversation with him on the phone today about just BS. But he reached out to me He's like, Hey, man, you guys are going out to Vegas to Reno. I'd like to go, I'd like to go. I'd like to go do that. And I was like, man, we don't I mean, I wasn't controlling. We're on that that whole team unite deal going. He goes, man, you know, I was like, You know what? Rob, you sneak is going. I certainly wouldn't turn down some pit help, you know. And so I paired you two together and I'm sorry about that, like apologize now. I mean, what the last 12 years of You being friends with that guy. Amazing, right? But he shows up in Vegas you meet him for the first time. Next thing you know you guys are welding on your car on the loading dock at the Paris was that

Rob Usnick :

was that how it went down? He was pulling in town right as we were and we were going to come in on the north side, you know, because remember, we drove North Carolina. So been driving for two days straight. We get out the north side. And I wanted to go run the car real fast in a desert just because I never have and I knew some places out there north of the Nellis Air Force Base where we could do it. And Matt was like, Hey, I'll be I'm, I'm coming. I'll be there. Then. I never met this kid before. So we get out there. We unload the buggy. And we rip around for a few minutes. And Matt shows up and you know he's got us with a Duramax crew cab with the big Miller welding.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Oh, yeah, it was full on Texas redneck diesel dually welder is a total welding rig.

Rob Usnick :

So we get back, you know, we meet and people just back to I think we're staying at Bally's or Paris. One of those To write, they're up the strip. And something happened where we were trying to like, the rear end was something messed up. Well, it's August in Las Vegas. And we noticed that all these the big straight trucks and delivery trucks are driving up the ramp and going inside. So we went over there and asked those guys like, Hey, you know, we could do some work on this car or get this drove North Carolina. We're racing Vegas Reno, you know, it's hot as hell out here. Can we can we come in we're in the car. And why they were like, of course you can like Yeah. And I was like, you know, we're gonna lay down tarps on stuff. So we took the rear end apart and you know, we actually use Matt quite a bit he welded on then we get the I think the AR B's something was messed up on that. So we had the whole rear end apart, got it fixed up. And you know, in the air conditioned loading dock of Paris or Bally's, whichever one was done, we took off for the race and we didn't make it 35 miles on day one and the rear end there. I just had the ring and pinion just installed. The ring gear bolted back out, not what we did we were welded on something else. I know I mean I don't have a new third member so we call the junkyard in Vegas and they had because I had fJ ad ackles on it. They had a third member with four tins. So Billy fat million dinette and Braylon hopped in their rental car and drove as fast as he could. 110 miles back to Vegas, the junkyard the guy waited for him to get there paid 400 bucks for it. They brought it back. Well, since the you know, the front was 529 in the back was 410s I was like well at least we got welded up to make a locker. So you know, Matt Well, the thing out well, the the spyders gears together, and but we didn't have any trouble with the rear and that's for sure. I mean, she was locked up. But, you know, he followed us up and you know, we were getting to the pits at night. And you show up to a desert race with a welding truck. You're everybody's friend and I've been on cars all night long. Every night we stopped.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Yeah, he did do a lot of He said he worked his ass off.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, but now Matt's a great dude man. And I'm, you know, indebted to you for linking me up with him. I'm indebted to him for, you know, making the drive and I told him, I like I will pay for everything you eat, and you know, your diesel all the way to, you know, Reno and back to Vegas and now after that, you know, on you, but now I covered all of his rooms and you know, I was glad to have him part of the team.

Wyatt Pemberton :

So there's an epic story though that comes up right shortly thereafter, and it was epic enough that it even made ultra for released like this. This past year. This top Tim you know, best drivers top 10 most epic moments and as they did the countdown, I think it was Alan Johnson was putting them out there. I know. It's a big team of media guys over there over for racing, handling their social media, it's a team effort. But as they do the, the top 10 countdown you know on day 10, it's number 10. They just count down, we get to day two and it's you It's you at Ralph's Creek, the our CQ. And walk through that day and what happened at the end of that race? Because it is, well, it's epic. It really was its commodity at its finest.

Rob Usnick :

Now, it was why you're right. And, you know, before I tell that, you know, we'll genteel and what he did in the early days really put ultra for on the map, you know, the DVDs of the races, you know, DVDs of the qualifiers, like his what he did is what made I think was kind of like the catalyst that kind of put it where it is now. And would it be as big as it you know, as it was, as it is now, if it wasn't for him? I don't know. I don't think so. I think, you know, the DVDs and all that stuff's kind of like gone by the wayside with the way live coverages, but will genteel did a great job of really capturing that day, and, you know, it's so it's October, when was that race? 2009 or 2010?

Wyatt Pemberton :

Oh, no, it was like, was it 10? Or was it 11

Rob Usnick :

We just got back on like me. Anyways, we were trying to qualify to go back out there. You know, we when we raise kk 2009 our first time, you know, we were in over our heads, actually, we're always in over our heads every time we went out there, but I think we made it the aftershock and then broken axle and fixed it but timed out. So we were trying to get back out there. And the best way to do it was, you know, pick up the pieces, get the car back together, and then go to Pennsylvania in May and try to re qualify for town. 2010. And, you know, as we're driving this race, I mean, they the little Zoo buggy was always a great Rock Crawler. And trust me that thing, it was a crawler, but it wasn't fast. And the only way we could make it fast is you really had to drive it over the edge. And as we were doing this, we were losing parts like you know, the shocks are breaking off and like, you know, like the shocks themselves were breaking and we had ditched the spare tire. And I would you know I had one lap to go. I told Billy to get out you No, I love that bill. He's been with me in 10s of thousands of miles back and forth across the country. But I was like, Listen, Billy, I got one lap to go and, you know, I only got like 15 minutes to make it. So we came into the pits. It was like just splashed the gas and we're getting out of here. So by this point, in the race, everybody's you're broke, finished, or you know, called it, we were coming around and there wasn't a whole lot of lap traffic to deal with Actually, there wasn't any and the very last part on the manmade rock crawling course. Man, Billy hit it like, you know, I think it was like five or six laps, the previous labs not a problem. Just kind of at the nose come off. Once the front tire says give a little gas and pulls right out of it. Well, me being overzealous in the scene, the finish line right there knowing that time was ticking away, came off a little too fast. And it goes up on this thing here. And I would just remember staring right through the windshield or right through the you know, to the to the ground going like oh my God, please don't go over And then slow motion just went over, you know, then I was just like, well, now what? So the rules of the race are, you know, people can help you as long as they're racers, while everybody is at the finish line, right? They're waiting to do the wards. So they all ran up and helped me flip the car over. And then it wouldn't start I think I had a, I had GS xr 750 throttle bodies on it, and the throttle cable broke or something or whatever it was, and I couldn't get it to start. So finally it is Florida it you know, put the butterflies all the way open and tied it off and then just hit the kill switch I got at the start, but it was on the rev limiter. And then this was going backwards and backwards and backwards is hitting a on off switch. And if you watch the video, you can see the lights, you know, wired into the ignition coming on and off, because that's how I was trying to drive it. But uh, we swing the car around, we come across the finish line, and I was just like, do you make it? And then that's one day was like, No you didn't, but we came to get 10 racers And I think I was 11 point across but will my god will Carter bull Carter at one and he was already qualified from the previous year. So it was like we can get 10 drivers new the 10th driver and you know it was just a big deal and you know and i think will genteel did a great job of of capturing that because he was there and you know, that's what made it so epic and you know, I'll never forget it. It was a great it was a great day. It really was in the video on that's really good. I have no idea where it is by no as soon as will hears this we will have that catalog. His mind works that way. He has a mental catalog of exactly where every file is saved and how he hasn't done and I'm sure he'll pop it up well queueing will queuing will DVD was I think was Rouse creek road to the throne or whatever, like chant, like chapter 10, or 11 is called like the use Nick finish and, and I don't know, I just think that it captured, you know, the spirit of the racers the spirit of the race. I think it just captured everything. And it was early days, I think that was really important for what the sport is and how it's kind of developed where it is now.

Wyatt Pemberton :

No, fully and Absolutely. And I think there was some standards set by some guys, you know, like, like the Campbell family and what what Shannon did to set some standards, and we've all kind of abided by him. And that's one of them. You know, it's the commodity first.

Rob Usnick :

Oh, without a doubt, without a doubt.

Wyatt Pemberton :

And then after that, I mean, yes, you had some stuff in the zoo. Eventually, you finally sold it, you know, all 100 horsepower of it. You know, all three journals. Were just happy to be retired. It was an amazing day.

Rob Usnick :

Well, you know, I will say this, why before I sold that thing. We had raised that little car from coast to coast, and like nine different states from Pennsylvania, all the way to California. I think at one time, it might have been the most like there had never been there was never an ultra for car that had race in like nine or 10 states, whatever it was, because we were just dragging that thing. We were hitting all these little races locally. They will be racing South Carolina, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, like we were racing it, you know, and we were always out gone. But you know,

Wyatt Pemberton :

now you're out having fun though. I mean, that was the thing like you knew you there wasn't like a win out there for you. But you you were there for everything else just just to say you did it to overcome the adversity, and you continue to do that like with Rick with reckless abandon, continue to set up adversity in front of yourself just to see if you can climb over it. Yeah. I think you do it on purpose, or it's completely by accident.

Rob Usnick :

Now I say I don't know if it's ignorance or what it is that I don't know.

Wyatt Pemberton :

You graduated the other direction, right. You went from like the 44. I guess you went you graduated down to UTV you start racing utvs for a while.

Rob Usnick :

Well, yeah. My Side by side. I bought her from this kid out in Corona, California. And you know for the day this is kind of before the razors really took off. You know, if you if you want to go fast and UTV You You took a rhino and you modified it. And this thing already had long arms and a nice cage and a built engine. And I didn't buy it to race. We just happened to buy it and had fun in it, and then all sudden UTV race started. And we started racing it and then of course, then it's a $10,000 engine and then it's, you know, this and that and that's King shocks and bypasses. But that was a fun car too. And, you know, we ended up finishing co h in 2012. I think we won back when they had like, classes, I think we won the production 750 class or something like that. And then the next year we went, we took it to Nora, and yeah, I mean, I and again, overhead with that, too. But, you know, I had a guy come out Eric and in he co drove with us and I had one man pit crew balls which Mitch and that's when we had the big fire that got all out of control on Facebook. And you know, people were calling me like what happened? People were on fire and people died like what? No, Eric burned his hands. He's fine. I actually wasn't fine. But you know, it wasn't as bad as what the, you know, grapevine and made it sound like time I got back. So we ended up finishing that race after we fixed the car back up. But you know, we raced it all over to erase it in Texas the BRT races, erase it in New Mexico with the you know, with a new mexico off road series that they're racing up there. That was fun. And you know, the problem with the rhino was when I put that rotax in an engine in it, you know, that's when you start finding the other weak spots and the weak spots is always the front diff and I just couldn't keep we rip the spider gears out of them. It was just too much power. You know, and I never forget Jeff grass. We voted that buggy out of the trailer and pulled the engine out and Jeff grass put that he built that engine in the trailer right before co h in 2012 or 13.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Jeff's an awesome dude Grass Valley, California. Mj Motorsports. You he works for somebody else now but at the time he was working for himself just stressed himself that Wow,

Rob Usnick :

yeah. Oh yeah, you know Yeah, he goes to those races and we don't we never helped him out in the low stress with

Wyatt Pemberton :

just added to it just more and more and more.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah. Can you build my engine before the race? in the trailer please Jeff,

Wyatt Pemberton :

man, thanks for man right him him and his dad mo love Moe. Oh my god the stories with with Jeff and Moe.

Rob Usnick :

And you know, those guys were cool as hell because when we raised the mint 402,013 or whatever 2012 like they came to Vegas, and like they, you know, they walked with us through, you know, tech and contingency and I had, you know, big MJ Motorsports thicker than a side we're all wearing our, you know, our shirts and they know I'll be forever grateful for you know, moe and Jeff for you know what they did for us in those days.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Great family. That's That's all I got a great family great friends. So we're talking about Rob, eustachian the Renaissance man that you are, this will come as a shock to many but you're also a published author. You wrote a book. I've read it.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah. So I always wanted to write a book. And I don't I don't know. So I just sat down one day and did it actually, I started when I was like 21 or 22. But I got through one page and I just, I don't I didn't have enough life experience to talk about anything, you know, without being like science fiction. So anyways, I wrote this little book. It's called the Lapis golden. Everybody who's read it, you know, always told me like, Rob, that'd be a great B movie. You should make a screenplay out of it. So I was like, Alright, so I've started writing a screenplay. And if you study screenplays, like every page is like a minute of cinema. So I was like, I can't do this. I know. And then I wrote the book in first person, you know, doesn't translate to a screenplay great unless you have a somebody narrating it called this kid in North Carolina, overwhelming Bloomington. And he was going to write a screenplay for it. And what he told me was, he's like, I'm gonna write the screenplay for it, and we're gonna submit it to Netflix, because Netflix is producing all these movies. And this is like 2017 2018 I ended up getting video other stuff and didn't go back to it and kind of, you know, out of sight out of mind, but now with Netflix, Netflix, like going off the chart right now. I really wish I would have submitted it to Netflix, you know, to have a make me a great B movie. And then one more thing about the book is, you know, life is God's fun. It's, you know, it's about smuggling drugs from United States into Mexico. And it's, you know, it's it's this fictional storytelling based on some characters in my life. But what I'm finishing up now, and I just got off the phone with Lisa before. Well, this morning as my editor in New York City, as I wrote 1000 miles a dust which documents all of our racing talks about king of the hammers talks about mint 400 and it was leading up to us racing, the Husky you know, the McQueen Kong McQueen calm

Wyatt Pemberton :

and we didn't you when we were talking about this earlier. Nor we didn't actually talk about McQueen Kong

Rob Usnick :

now and you know that that bike 1970 Husky 401 of 700 imported in 1970. It was the one that everybody wanted. I think Steve McQueen own two of them. That's what he's riding in that historic picture of him riding the wheel with the shirt off. And then we were racing against the other team that had a Honda. And they call that Han Zilla. Well, you know, Han Zilla, you know, the Ruby McQueen Kong, you know, kind of a little play on that. And you know, those guys were all injured vets and some had some amputees and stuff and but that bike was leaps and bounds. Like ahead of ours. They had upgraded forks and disc brakes and you know, meanwhile, this thing had nothing. We ended up losing we got second place to them. And then we went back the race it again in 2016. We took the other two bikes down and got second again. So the old McQueen Kong bike, got second two times Nora, but it was a great bike and This super history and and that book documents I know me and Kevin downing and we're building it and I'm shipping it to him and internet friends are delivering it from where I bought it that came out of a dude on pirate of all things. I put a post on there about it My God, older bull taco Husky whatever. And I bought it for 1300 bucks and Armando ruka delivered it to my buddy Kevin in Phoenix and Kevin built it while I was deployed. And then the first time I saw it was when we were in Phoenix picking it up to go take it to Mexico. I mean, just the book it it's a hardback book, it has like 240 full color pictures, because you know how it is why, when you're down there and all this craziness happens, nobody believes you.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Well, guess what we have not at all.

Rob Usnick :

Well, in 2015 2016, we all have iPhones, so we're all taking all these pictures. So we were telling these stories and guess what we had the pictures to back it up. So that thousand miles of dust is a full color hardback book, and it documents all of our racing and in the match That what you know, we all that we all know baja to be,

Wyatt Pemberton :

when does it come out?

Rob Usnick :

So she's finishing up editing here now I got a caption some of the pictures, but it'll be out soon.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Awesome. Well I don't want to, you know, wrap racing because I mean you've always continually kind of done that and showed up here and showed up there. But I want to get into this, this last chapter of of this interview what you just came off this whole we touched on the very beginning about your 18 day voyage from Panama City to to St. Thomas. But you actually I'm going to jump back even a little bit further, slightly before that. You text our group and said, Hey, you guys should look up on YouTube. This show this a documentary called chasing bubbles. It's going to change your life.

Rob Usnick :

Oh my god. I my girlfriend and Island bought our boat why not back in two years ago. 2008 It's 46 foot posts, sport Fisher with, you know, twin Detroit's tuna tower, blah, blah, blah. And we've had it in Panama City Beach for the whole time. I did do a couple charters on it only when a charter boat wasn't running kind of as a backup boat. But it really sat all last year. And you know, these boats are just like race cars and airplanes. The worst thing they can do is sit. When I got the job in St. Thomas, it really boiled down to what are we going to do with the boat? We can't just sit up there and the water can't sit up there. You know, and the boat yard. We need to sell it or we need to bring it to St. Thomas. Well, it's you know, it's 1800 miles. The way we went from Panama City Beach to here. And so I was studying, you know, why you and kammo You know, there's Shane chicks, like everybody's on these boats. Like there's a lot more people on boats.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Jackson, I mean, jack.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah. So I was researching, like, you know, on YouTube, just movies and I came across Chasing bubbles. You know, it has over a million views when I called you and talk to you about it that day, or text you it was I think it had 150,000 now it's over a million. It's in the last six weeks. But you know, yeah, I kid you not. And the thing that got me with him is he was gonna do it. He was gonna go around the world and nothing was gonna stop them. And even in the movie, they say it. You know, people will sit at the dock for month after month after month on their air quotes trip around the world. They can't go because this isn't fixed. They can't go because this isn't fixed. When I watched that movie, I told Linda like I'm thinking why not there? My called the boatyard. They're gonna put her back in the water on a Monday, and I have 14 days on April 27. I'm leaving that's my day unless something catastrophic you know, catastrophic Lee wrong, of course. But I just prepped it I probably like we do a desert car, you know, the engine, the generator, the steering the, you know, everything had to be prepped because it's just sitting. But long story short, no matter what I was leaving Just the way Alex Ross was doing. And so you know, we get to Clearwater, we got trouble with a staring. fix that but then we naturally decided that in the book The Danny bubbles and what was funny Yeah, you name it, you name the bubbles you send it out and then that's somewhere around that little window. We come to find out that this whole team Indiana with Nate Williams Nate Jesse the brainy crew, Brant, who else is in that crew. There's a bunch of notes Brandt's wife, hitchhiked across Africa with Alex rust chasing bubbles guy. Yeah, because we were in Clearwater and, and I'd already written bubbles on the front and Clark was coloring it in with Sharpies. And I did a nice little video updates as like, Hey, you know, we're gonna pay our respects to you know, you know, Captain Alex rust. And remember that little thread on Facebook went haywire with all these people like oh my god. And you know, it was great hearing those guys say like, you know what, man, it's good to see that. You know, Alex, who we knew I still had that, oh, you know, a positive effect on people's lives. And I tell everybody watch that movie. Or you're thinking about doing something, do it because there's no time like now.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Yeah, yeah, that's the small world of it is it's Brent Irwin. He is Nate Jesse the 4400 driver, Nate from talent tank. He's, he's a Nate's co driver, Brent Irwin, team, Indiana. He's a Purdue guy. He was one of those poor guys, which is Purdue offroad something other. It's his wife, Anna. And she had met Alex when Alex Russell when he was at Purdue. I want to say, Nate and a couple of those other guys, Jonathan, to whom been include, I think he was on their same floor, maybe in their dorm. Something like that. But yeah, Nate's co driver. It's his wife, his wife, hitchhiked across the continent of Africa with this guy.

Rob Usnick :

Insane. Yeah, from Cape Town to the north, like, you know, like they did it north or south North like the last way,

Wyatt Pemberton :

just crazy. But then again, small world or I mean, this is the guy you know that you can reach out it was six, six or seven degrees of separation. We found it in literally two degrees of separation that we could we knew somebody that knew Alex rust, the chasing bubbles guy. So the just the story is Yeah, he decides he's gonna sell around the world, how many he spent three years sailing around there, he just didn't go go out and do the lap. He did it. He stopped places he enjoyed it. He part took he did it. And so you were fully inspired, like you're gonna do this with your boat, kind of

Rob Usnick :

right? You know, I got I get down here and my boss at Ocean Safar. He's, you know, he sailed from, you know, the Caribbean all the way through the Panama Canal down to Australia and spent an 18 or 20 days at sea or whatever. And I told Mark when I got here, I was like, Listen, I'm not taking anything away from sailors. But, you know, you have so many less systems to maintain. And there's a lot of systems on this boat and therefore 40 years old man and you know, God loved these Detroit's you know, they just kept on humming along. But it wasn't without problems and it wasn't without, you know this Corona virus that jam us up a little bit. But what I learned is, you know, maritime law says you can't deny anybody passage. So when it comes time to go through the Bahamas, we can't go to the Bahamas, we just can't stop anywhere. Whereas everybody seemed like no, you're like, there's a fence up and you can't get in. So I sent some emails got permission from the prime minister to go through. And we just went through and Dr. We get to, you know, dependent and Republic. And remember, we're fishing along the way because we're fishermen and we caught Marlin and, you know, slaying Barracuda tons of black fan tuna. And it was great. It was fun. It was an adventure and we get the Dr. And we put in the Lupron, we just came off like 160 mile passage. It was a brutal day. And you know, when you come through the old Bahama channel, it's like it's big water. The trade winds are blowing. It's you know, four or five foot and it's 10 foot seas. blackout dark. And I call him the Lupron the harbor like, Hey, we're coming in. And this guy's like, you know, why not? Do not come in here? We're close. You can't come in here. And then another guy says, Don't listen to him. Why not? Come on and you're good to go. So then they start bickering back and forth on the VHF. And then finally a woman gets on there and says, brake, brake brake. Why not? Come on in? I'll call the Armada which is the Navy now clear you in the morning. I was like, Hey, no problem because I was in 10 foot seas at night. I'm coming in you know, you're not gonna stop me.

Wyatt Pemberton :

come hell or high water, but you're not gonna deny a safe, safe harbor.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, I weighed 250 Clark weighs 270 Yeah, y'all want to fight fight. We got guns on board we're coming in.

Intro/Outro :

Stay tuned. Your talent tank is in full gear.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Since 2007, custom splice has been the go to supplier for tactical on an off road vehicle recovery equipment, custom splice owner Todd Stoffer saw a market where demands for absolutely the safest solutions to vehicle recovery were not being met. Since then custom splices taken on numerous safety and recovery projects. Solving deficiencies in recovery gear for individuals and companies worldwide was started with synthetic ropes has led to custom splices expansive inventory of not just ropes in countless colors and diameters, but an expensive product line of hooks barrier leads specialty thimbles chafe guards to name a few plus the fabrication and customs places newest addition, recovery rings not to be forgotten. Don't miss grabbing some custom supply soft shackles with your next order, which are also available in many sizes and colors. Even though custom splice is a small business in America's Heartland Kansas, you can find custom splice employees shipping their products globally on a daily basis. Let's support the small business that supports our community and the talent tank give Todd and his crew custom splice a call at 785-856-1844 or go the web at custom splice.com Before you get stuck without a custom supply solution

Intro/Outro :

now back to the show.

Rob Usnick :

So anyways, we get in there and then you know, the Armada comes on says, you know, I'll be out there after noon tomorrow, no problem. So we anchored up, and we get there and the guy and the harmonic comes out and visit us. And he says, uh, you got passports? Yeah, you got guns? Yeah, looked at all our guns, which is two shotguns and, you know, pistol, you know, pistol. You know, a lot of guys don't travel with them. I do. Because, you know, I spent 26 years in the Army. If I was out here with no gun, and something happened, I'd be the laughingstock of my community. Anyway, they didn't care he. So then he says, I need you guys to get COVID-19 tests and stay here for you know, for three days for the results. And I was like, No, man, we're not doing that. And he's like, Well, you know, I can make a phone call and kind of had his hand out asking for money. So Clark gives them $100. And he's like, yeah, I could probably get it down to one day. Then clerk hands of another hundred dollars. And he says, Alright guys, you're good to go. He hands us a dependent Ken Republic flag to hang up. He says, You're more than welcome here to stay as long as you want. What do you need? And I was like, yeah, we need 400 gallons of diesel, 50 gallons of water. 120 pounds is three cases of beer. He's like, no problem. He's on his phone. The guy comes out there delivers all this stuff. He tells us that we can take the dinghy off the boat and go visit the beach. Like it was just like the most surreal thing ever. Like they went from clothes, clothes, clothes to like, yeah, joy. What else do you guys need? They were just crazy. Like every every place was like that. You know, here's the one thing that I think's awesome.

Wyatt Pemberton :

The one thing that I think is awesome. And this goes to show you there's absolutely two types of people in the world. And I think you just hit on it. You just boiled it down to an example where there's two types of people are you have the ones who are. I believe even you told me that you had a there was a woman in Panama City Who told you you can't do this trip. You won't do this trip everything shut down. You can't do it. You can't do it. You can't do it. Just like pulling into the You know, Safe Harbor, they're in Dominican Republic, you can't come in, don't come in, you know, I'm coming in, you know, we're doing this, we're doing this. So there's the two types, right? There's the, you can't do it and you can do it. But then when you get with inside that you end up with people that push the limits or don't push it, you know, they play absolutely, by the strictest of the rules. By the strictest definition of the rules. There's no gray areas or bending or if it's not explicitly written out, then you can't do it versus you can do it. And having this conversation with my wife, as I'm showing her, you know, the she's reading your text about the Bing, and she goes, I would have to tell my corporate, you know, I sign an ethics policy every year I'd have to, I'd have to report that and I'm like, why would you have to report that she was because I bribed an official and in there, it says, like, have you bribed an official in the past year and I'm like, that's the point of the bribery. It's an agreement. That guy's not going to tell anyone that you bribe him. And you're not gonna tell anyone.

Rob Usnick :

I don't like calling it bribing. I call it we paid for the upgraded VIP service.

Unknown Speaker :

That's what I call it,

Rob Usnick :

but some don't. So he did. He did come back with another guy from the Armada and they gave his bow like they shook it down, right? Like he was crawling in the engine room and up in the front hatches. And then he ricardos like, do you have anything for my friend? And I was like, yeah, yeah. Like, I got hundred bucks for him. And then Clark turns around and says, Hey, is there anywhere else he wants to check? Does he want to spend the next hour checking the boat because you're not gonna give us the you're not gonna upgrade us? You know? You're gonna stop upgrading us. We're done. It's like no, no, no, this is it. This is it.

Wyatt Pemberton :

And then you guys get gassed up, fuel the beard up, I step and you guys roll out of there and your next stop is a well you get your asses kicked, right. I mean, totally kicked, headed towards Puerto Rico.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, you know, and these guys Through the Obama channel, which basically just runs like South Florida, you know, eastward all along Cuba, Haiti, Dr. Pr, whatever, like that, that sees are always big and they're always in your face. And we, you know, I told Clark, I was like, dude, I'm worried about from, you know, from great inagua which is the last little island in the Bahamas to St. Thomas like it's 600 miles and I'm dreading it. And he didn't know what I was talking about until we got out there and it was horrible. The boat was just,

Wyatt Pemberton :

well, you're pushing directly into the trade winds, right? I mean, down right along that in that area, the winds roll east west and strong. Yeah,

Rob Usnick :

and and Mark told me my boss, he's like, when you come, you may end up having to run Dr. At night because for something happens and you'll get like six or eight hours of just like dead seas. Well, he's true, but it's real close to shore. Well, the problem is with Dr. It's not lit up, like when we get to Puerto Rico. You know, there's lights on the shore all the way from East Coast to West Coast like you can run San Juan. Everything's lit up. Well Dr like a big black rock in the middle of a sea so you can't get too close because you don't know what's there and but you know, he was right it does come down at night. So then we when we get to dr because the west or the eastern side of Dr faces right into that, you know that trade room with that competency. There's no place to get in there to anchor so I told Clark is like, Hey man, I'm just gonna alter course and it's 80 miles to Puerto Rico. And he's like, Alright, sounds good to me. But you know you're going 10 miles an hour, you know, it's eight hours when we'd already been running eight hours. So he takes over this you know the wheel and I think you get a couple hours of sleep. And then the minute he goes downstairs, it starts raining so I sit up there in the flybridge for six hours with my North Face jacket on just sucking as the water and water just comes right into my lap. So finally, about three o'clock in the morning. The you know the moons raised in late, the clouds kind of part. I see Puerto Rico and You know, finally we can anchor so I've tried to get into an Anchorage. And this blacked out boat come speeding by, and I'm like, hey, Clark, man, I don't know who these people are. Then I hit the spotlight and it's the police. Yeah. They're saying, hey, What are y'all doing? Like? Well, we're anchoring. No, you can't anchor. I was like, Hey, man, you know, first of all, Good evening, sir. Good morning. How are you? We're US citizens, Puerto Rico's United States, we're anchoring. He's like, well, if you want to anchor you know, Puerto Rico's close, you can anchor where you're at. And I'm like, well, it's 600 feet of water. So that's not going to work. He says, Well, the next anchorage is 30 miles to the south. And I was like, sir, we're not doing that either. Like, that's ridiculous. And then he's like, you know, after about a 32nd break, he's like, all right, well go up next to shore where it's shallow anchor and then be out of here in the morning. like,

Wyatt Pemberton :

Alright, thank you. Thank you like that that hard. And then so we're getting to the point where we actually have some crazy action you guys traverse across the north, the North Shore of Puerto Rico. Cross the next day. And then you guys again have another late night pull in anchor up and then you guys got some insanity, some crazy action,

Rob Usnick :

right? So we make it all the way across, you know we fished all the way across, you know Puerto Rico I think as 100 and some miles or whatever. And there's one last little spot we're going to stop and pull in and it's by here, day surveys or something like that. Just little anchor little Harbor, Anchorage, you know, nobody's in there we pull in at night. And the police stop this out front. It's like, hey, What are y'all doing? I was like, Hey, man, we're on our way to St. Thomas. We're just anchoring. We'll be either first thing in the morning is like, Alright, go ahead. You know, again, thank you, sir. Thank you for that that hard. So anyways, we pull in there, we drop the anchor, and we're going asleep and the way the winds was I told Clark I was like, Hey, we don't need to get up at the crack of dawn in the morning. You know, there's going to be windy early, my 10 or 11 o'clock, it's gonna start getting better. So 1011 o'clock, we'll leave so you know, we a had a couple beers and and went to bed and I have navionics on my phone and I keep it where it's tracking us and I just set my alarm make sure we're not dragging the anchor. So early in the morning, I noticed that it was dragging a little bit but we're getting ready to kind of leave anyways. And Clark runs in and says Rob, we're on the ground. And I'm like what? So I run out the back and I looked over the side of the cockpit and there's reef all around us and I jump in the waters my mask on and I see both my props just like smashing, smashing these rocks. And so first thing first thing you do you always try to self recover. So you know my anchor is a big, huge heavy anchor and it's all chained. There's no rope. So I tried to like use the anchor like pull us off of it that didn't work, hop in the water try to carry the anchor to you know, like we would do a winch right you know to go winch and a pull power basically with the anchor to try to pull us every time I lift the anchor the wind would blow. We had two things going bad Going tide and the wind blowing from the southeast. And it kept pushing us right on it. So I get on the radio. I asked if anybody's in that harbor could help us. And then the Coast Guard San Juan gets on there and says, Why not? Are you in distress? And I'm like, Well, no, actually, no, not the second, but we're about ready to be in a lot of distress. So they call a little cutter comes out. The police call that they call them, they come back out, customs, immigration comes back out. So all these boats are sitting there. Well, while that before they were coming out, I told Clark, I was like, Hey, I think we can move the boat. So we both hop off the back. And we could both put our shoulder underneath the swim platform and just, you know, we're both big dudes lift the boat enough to unload it off the rocks and we can move it and believe it or not, it was working. The problem is when we lifted it up, then the wind would move it and I'm while I'm standing there and I could see where it drops off the eight feet and we just can't move that boat five feet over onto it. So what Little Heartbreaker, so the police show up. They don't have any lines of course. So I think I have 15 dock lines and this bow tie bow ones in the end, hook them all together. And by the grace of God, that little center console pulled us right off that reef right in the deep water. And so now the Coast Guard is behind us customs immigrations behind us. The police are still sitting there. I just jumped in with my math to check the bottom of the boat. The anchors you know, set good. There's not a ding on the props. There's not a ding on the rudder. I didn't even see a piece where the bottom paint was chipped. Like dodged the biggest bullet of my life ever. So I hop out back onto the boat and I'm standing on the rear of the cockpit. I'm like, Okay, I'm ready for question and answer. So everybody wants to know what we're doing there and blah blah blah. So they made you look stupid. Yeah, of course. Okay, yeah. Yeah, that no, I'm actually a pretty good boat driver anchor and I suck at so the Coast Guard the customs does every port The police do their report. The Coast Guard's that they want to do is they had to do a SAR report a search and rescue since they came out there and like air quotes rescued us which they didn't do anything. So then me, they're like, we go offshore for this for that inspection. And they end up giving me a boat inspection, like a safety inspection. And then because we're a fishing boat, they gave me a commercial fishing inspection. So I end up getting a morning ticket for not having trash and oil discharged placards posted, I like there. I got them right here. I just didn't put them on. He's like, well, they gotta be mounted. Here's your warning. So finally at 11 o'clock in the morning, you know, we're leaving for Puerto Rico for St. Thomas. And I told Clark like, Hey, buddy, remember this morning early when I said we don't have to be in a hurry. This is not what I meant by we didn't have to be in a hurry. But the good news is, you know, once we were going, I could look ahead and see St. Thomas and it was just an easy 50 mile ride in your world in 18 days later, five in the afternoon. Time for some beers. Yeah, Clark, dude. You know, that dude, man, for him to be able to take the time off. I told him, I was like, Hey, we could probably run hard and do it for days. We'll take it easy, have fun, it'll take eight. He's like I'm in. It took us 18 days. So I call the guys and I will say this Why? You know, all the everybody down here who is following us on Facebook and knew that we were getting close. I started getting texts from my boss, my boss's wife, my co workers and they're all sending me these text This is Hey, Rob, welcome home. Like I've never felt like so welcome back to any place I've ever been. And now I'm only lived here for like three or four months. So I called Spencer my other co captain. And he met it we pulled into Megan's Bay. If you guys Google Megan's Bay, it's amazing little anchors in north side of St. Thomas. He brought out lobster tails, he brought out prime rib we cooked the big dinner had ROM It was a great little homecoming.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Well, I think after you go through a journey like that, To get to a place where all these people are, I think at that point you've, you've exceeded the expectations that this is home right? This is the new place. This is Hey, except me. Look at the hell I went through to get here to be, you know, in your midst. You hazed yourself.

Rob Usnick :

I feel 1099 I'm assuming you're here for the long haul. Send your boats here. I was like, yeah, Mark. He's like, I'm gonna put you on w two now. So I guess I'm a full time employee at Ocean Safari. I think I they think they know that. I'm, I'm serious about staying out

Wyatt Pemberton :

here. So yeah, now today you guys are you're back to fishing somewhat. You've been taking tours out. I know you had a you had like a five o'clock. You know, dinner crew sunset cruise this evening before we were able to knock this interview out is everything kind of back to business as usual?

Rob Usnick :

Well, on Tuesday this week, which is the Tuesday after Memorial Day, all the bars and restaurants are open. You know, social distancing. All that stuff's still in effect, but the bars and restaurants are open. Come one June tourists are allowed back on the island. Now, we still been fishing some, you know, there's locals we take out there's permanent residents that, you know are people who live here, you know, part time that are here were taken out, you know, the fishing has been great. And you know, we had the two fishing boats that we charter and then we have our big 49 foot our snorkel on reef boat. Well so that's what we went out on tonight to do a little little pie trip there trying to do some new trips where we actually started on the I think next Friday, this is kind of a trial run or we go out there order pizza, you know, it's a sunset kind of fun cruise. But tonight was like the walkthrough before we actually go live and take customers out. So you know, we're open for business back down here and, you know, one June, Airbnb hotels are all opened, you know, people are welcome to come back, you know, with this whole COVID-19 thing. So, you know, the summertime isn't historically our busy season here because you know, when it's hot In South Texas, you don't usually go to where it's hot, like the, you know, Virgin Islands versus the wintertime. But, uh, we I mean, we're I'm watching the bookings every day and we're getting more and more for June and July. So I haven't I haven't ran a trip trip since March 24.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Well, I'll tell you, I think there's a little bit of a misnomer there, Rob. Because here again, South Texas or even South Florida, it gets to be high 90s 90% humidity, afternoon showers, which do your wrong afternoon showers are amazing. But then 15 minutes after that, the sun's back out and you get the extra humidity at that point. It's pretty sub optimal, you know, here in the in the subtropics of the Southern you know, the southern states. But you go down to the islands, there's constant wind, it's at 83 and the humidity is 7060. It's less I don't know what the percentages but it seems less humid in here. And maybe it's just the wind but the islands July are much more pleasant and bearable and fun to be in then Houston just saying, I mean, okay, you're true.

Rob Usnick :

I mean, the islands are great place to be compared to just about anywhere out anywhere, right? No, no, I'm out here like, we don't get the winds don't blow quite as hard. And the sea states a lot better. You know, as summer kind of progresses versus the winter, where, you know, the trade winds are constantly blowing now, they kind of ease up a little bit in summertime. But taking the boats out is great. I mean, they're great because, you know, the waters not as rough as it was, you know, when I was down here in January, when I looked over at Chris, the, you know, Captain Chris rap check. I was like, Is it always like this? And He kind of looks around and says, hmm, actually, today, he's not that bad. You know, and I'm used to the Gulf of Mexico, which is like a farm pond. That was kind of blown away a little bit, you know, I had to raise my, you know, flag of what's crazy. You know, I had to lower it down a little bit because like, well, I guess this is fine, because, you know, we know most boats in Panama City would cancel if it was like this, but out here. We're running

Wyatt Pemberton :

Cool. Well, I mean, there it is. I'm not a big, you know, offshore Fisher but I do like to come down and sail. So I know we'll see you down there. What is next? for Mr. Robert Easton you continue to challenge yourself with some insane stuff, you know, from racing king of the hammers to just going out and you're riding dirt bikes from Northern Arizona all the way to Southern Nevada. Nora, now sailing, you know, all the way to St. Thomas from Panama City. What's next?

Rob Usnick :

Honestly, why and you're gonna think I'm crazy. But Linda and I are looking at 42 to 46 foot catamarans and I've got a you know, sold on sale in the Caribbean. But I'm telling you that around the world trip is it has me so intrigued. And so just like, like I'm blown away by it. I'm blown away by the logistics of it, by the preparation, you know, the stamina, the adventure of it, like I think the next that's what that'll be what's next for me? Not anytime soon. But I think that's is what I want to do that that is what I want to do.

Wyatt Pemberton :

And if you didn't like Alex rusted it where people fly in and join you for different legs, I'm down.

Rob Usnick :

Oh, yeah, exactly. And, you know, I, I don't think anybody could do it with you the whole time. Just like Alex I think you'd have to be like, Hey Wyatt, you know, I'll pick you up in you know, wherever and you can ride for three or four weeks through you know, Fiji

Wyatt Pemberton :

Yeah, right or you know, pick you up in Fiji and drop you off in Bora Bora. Right. or Thailand or Phuket or something right. All right.

Rob Usnick :

Cool. That story of him like and then being on the sea. Like that's that's really where my mind's been lately and and honestly, compared to like a mano wholesale boat or like this, you know, the sport Fisher I'm on right now. You know, those cats are nice. And I and I think you have some experience with you know, sailing cats.

Wyatt Pemberton :

My only experience Well, I mean, I say my own experience. My testing out of my sailing was on a mana hole, which I was a disaster like I, I believe in love the stability of the big cats. But nonetheless, I was trying to bait you into alluding to something and you'd kind of never took it. So I'm just gonna come out and say it. Are you working on some TV work for maybe a very popular show? That you're something I'm a fan of. Is there something? I mean, I could read into some videos that I saw of you in the Dominica?

Rob Usnick :

Yeah. So when we were in Dominican Republic, we took the boat off to the shore. I did. I did a little video and I was talking about you know, I'm looking for idle. And you know, where's Jeff probes that and, you know, I'm a lifelong fan of survivor. And I have my audition video already made. And I just need to sit down and I need to do it this week, actually, cuz I think the deadlines coming up. I need to sit down, edit it all out and do the application. Try to be on survivor. I mean, I don't know I wish that outwit Outlast. outplay. I mean,

Wyatt Pemberton :

I don't know game. There's a lot of mental there and I think you're pretty strong on the mental side of I don't know if you're good at playing games, but you're definitely strong at surviving.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, well, I mean, there's a million parts easy, I think the social part and like kind of navigating that be the challenge, but I don't know. You know, I'm, it's exciting and, you know, as a super fan of the show, and I don't know,

Wyatt Pemberton :

I'll be cheering for you and watching you, you know, rise up to rise to the occasion.

Rob Usnick :

And actually, I applied before and I did get a call back. Once you don't get anything more than that, then you have to reapply all over again. So I got a better video. I'm putting together some better stuff. You know, maybe I can get on there that way.

Wyatt Pemberton :

I'm pulling for you. If there's some if there's a popularity vote, I think we could you know, with off road racers, I think I think we could, uh, you know, crowdsource vote you in if that were possible, right? Well, yeah. Well, hey man, Rob, thank you for coming on. Did we cover everything that you wanted to get off your chest? Everything that is who rob you think is?

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, why we covered a lot man. And And honestly, you know, I'm a huge fan of your show. It inspired me to start my own show. My show is inspired other people to do theirs. You know, it kind of goes back to Alex Ross. You know, like, what you did is like, you know, trickle down effect. When you come up with this. It was a great idea. I loved it. And I got people doing stuff, but no, thanks for being I really appreciate you having me on super fan of the show. super fan of ultra for racing. They've been around since the beginning of it. You know, I've raced I mean, I've been out there seven times. You know, three in the buggy three in the side by side I did king of the motos, you know, so, kind of got out of it. It's just, it's big time now and the guys who are doing it, hats off to them. Don't hats off to these builders. And I'll never forget why I'm leaving on this. And it's I think it's just as true now as it was in 2007 2008 when Kevin Yoder said it, these cars have got to be built to operate at 100% duty cycle. And it's the truth like you can't. That's why you don't see f toys or stuff out there when they're not fast, but you can't build them heavy enough, heavy duty enough to last and these builders are just cranking out these cars that are just blowing my mind. These drivers are Jason sharing those guys. How can it amazes me to watch them drive? They are insane. Eric Miller Campbell's. I mean, everybody's pushing the limits. And I'm really excited to see where that we know where it goes.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Yeah, the bar continues to get pushed to this echelons that we would have never found just two years ago, five years ago, and especially definitely not 10 years ago. Oh my god. Yeah, man. I do. I do value that the You know, I talked about this with so many people, because this totally does get into my head. And really, what I love is what inspires you. Where do you draw your inspiration from? How do you set the next bar? You know, I don't want to sit down and look at what my look at what Facebook shows me I did one year ago, you know, if they give you that every day, you get a memory, right? What you did one year ago, three years ago, five years ago, I absolutely push myself to try to win that open that up and reflect on the last year that I'm not sitting in the exact same spot. Does that make sense? It makes perfect sense. And that's a great policy to have with yourself. And don't get me wrong. We all have days where things suck. You know, I had a day this week that I came home, I felt like I got my teeth kicked in all day. It was just very suboptimal. But then you have to stay positive, keep your head up, keep your nose up, but well keep your head up in the air and keep your nose on the grindstone is really how how You've got to do it and you've got to keep pushing that ball moving that ball. And the key for me is drawing inspiration from other people. And I will tell you that absolutely this show. It is cool that it does inspire people, but it inspires me just having conversations with, you know, you and I know there's gonna be people that are gonna listen to this interview, and they're gonna listen back, Rob, you think, well, he's not even an ultra for anymore. He's not a racer anymore. I'm not sure why it's carrying this guy. I absolutely. And please, don't take that as a knock Rob, this is you led to so much and ultra for and you've inspired so many and ultra for and just because you're not racing it today doesn't mean your son won't race tomorrow. And guess what, it's also my show. I'm gonna cover I'm gonna cover who I do, but you've been a great friend of mine for well over a decade. And like I said, You've stayed stayed in my house when you've had a drive through Houston. And I really strongly think for your friendship all these years and the stuff that you've been able to do physically and mentally, and pull off, no, I mean, live vicariously through some of your antics and some of the stuff you pulled off. I mean, I guess I think at the end of the day, you know, when you've kind of celebrate life, it's like, Man, this guy had no regrets. I mean, look at all of the just bucket list, a bucket list of hard ass stuff that you've pulled off and it's inspiring it I mean, if anything, if it just pushes one person to go out and spend a couple more wrenches for one hour one night, on their on their junk, then I think that's something but I mean, I don't I don't know that much either.

Rob Usnick :

I know what you're saying man. And and again, I appreciate it. And our friendship is good, you know, like you said, been over a decade and and I'm looking forward to I'm looking forward to you and your family coming out and visiting

Wyatt Pemberton :

St. Thomas. It is and anyone else that wants to Go. I mean, you don't have to. You don't have to twist my arm. This is like your story about. Yeah, I was. You know, when I was stationed in Wichita no one came and visited me. Well, when you're in Fort Bragg, no one's gonna come visit you but now that you're in St. Thomas, they don't have to really push people too hard to be like, hey, come visit me in the US Virgin Islands. Okay,

Rob Usnick :

I know. Hey, your at&t cell phone still works. You don't need a passport flights are cheap. It's nice to take us dollars.

Wyatt Pemberton :

See? Yep, I'm right there. Rob, thank you so much. Congratulations on your, your transition from into retirement. Thank you so much for your 26 years of service to this country. I know we just came out of a memorial day and that's to celebrate those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms, but you served 26 years for us, giving everything making me sacrifices in that regard in your life for for our freedoms, I greatly in always will always respect Thank you for that. And thank you for that. And thank you for coming on the show. Thank you for coming on counting. Thank you for letting me bounce ideas off you on a regular basis. Thank you for the support.

Rob Usnick :

Yeah, why Thank you. And You're quite welcome. For all you know, everything and it's my pleasure. And it's really an honor to be on the show, and I can't thank you enough.

Wyatt Pemberton :

Well, there we go. All right, folks. I hope you guys enjoyed it. We're out. I hope you guys really liked this episode. It was a really fun one to make. As usual. I really have to thank my my three partners on this custom splice, those guys, if you do anything for offroad recovery or even on road recovery or any projects, please hit Todd and his crew up at a custom splice com give them a call. machining. Whoa My gosh, branding machine Stan and Brandon those guys over there in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They do it all if they can't make it. I don't know who can if if you need it made they will do it. Hit those guys up. They are a big supporter of the talent tank and I value they're involved. And then last but not least, magnitude performance Jason yoed and company their neck enosis, Texas and everything that they've done for for the talent tanking, getting behind and supporting this, this venture and this project and everything, give them give them a call for your suspension needs. These guys do magic with springs and then the parent company mass motor sports engines, and they have they have engines on lock handbill, lots of horsepower. There your guys. Thanks, guys. We'll catch you next week.

Intro/Outro :

Thank you for listening and taking a dive into the tail intake. Please like and subscribe on Instagram at detail intake or our website, the talent inc.com