STORYTIME: FIRST TIME IN A SxS, HANGING WITH THE GOAT, AND WORKING IN POWERSPORTS
Storytime today- This was a video that was fun to make, and reminds me that I've been fortunate to have a lot of great times over the years, which became the springboard for Chupacabra Offroad. This video is about my time working in powersports, for Fox Racing, from 2005-2013. Lots of great experiences, but none greater than getting to go to Ricky Carmichael's house, and ride dirt bikes at "The Ranch".
Hey what's happening everybody it's nick olson chupacabra offroad back and today we have a little bit different vibe I've been kind of wanting to do some story time type of videos if you will so we'll start off with this and we'll see how it goes you have to let me know below in the comments if you like this type of content but today's story time about the first time or a couple times I rode in a more modern side by side being a razer 900 and then also just a little bit of behind the scenes of kind of me as a person where I came from before it led to the beginning of chupacabra off-road and kind of my roots and passion and dirt where it all started and also working in the power sports industry so I worked in the power sports industry for quite a while before I started this brand I worked for two predominant brands first being fox racing who is a premium retailer of off-road protective gear as well as apparel and lifestyle and then after fox I transitioned to polaris so what am I ready to share with you today was one of my best experiences ever of working in power sports so again if you guys like the content let me know and maybe we'll do some some talking about the days of working for polaris I never had any event that was near as cool as what I'm about to tell you but either way there's still some some good times working for polaris as well so let's get into it so I grew up in las vegas Nevada which was a cool place to grow up in and back then when I was younger I started off playing in the dirt on a bmx bike like a lot of you probably watching at the time las vegas was always known for having a cool culture a big culture of bmx riding racing and then as I got a little bit older transition into mountain biking which I ended up getting really into and doing some racing for a couple years before I kind of moved on to dirt biking so it was fun growing up and kind of like I said always love playing and dirt always love the two wheel type of stuff here's a photo of me trying to look cool back racing this is mammoth mountain in 1999 I think it was a dual slalom race back when that discipline of mountain biking existed but good times with my buddies a typical mountain biker YOU KNOW a thousand dollar truck with a 5 000 bike in the back YOU KNOW eating pop-tarts for breakfast lunch and dinner going all over the west coast race in big bear mammoth park city all those having places and having a good old time with my buds so fast forward I finished college I end up moving to northern California because I got a job working for fox now you guys are really going to like this story if you're a motocross fan or you follow motocross or followed at all in the last 10 15 years because working for fox during this timeline was really just an amazing time to be a motocross fan and then also work for fox because we are the premier athletes with one being ricky carmichael aka the goat as well as the other being james stewart so I joined the company and here's a photo hanging out actually with ricky in 2005 not long after I started our sales meeting in cocoa beach Florida and here's a photo in front of james stewart's bike which at that time james was my favorite YOU KNOW like a lot of you guys that were motocross fans we all thought that james was you know really the most amazing I'd ever throw a leg over motorcycle and some of the things that he could do were just unbelievable so work for that company had a lot of amazing experiences went to a lot of races did a lot of riding here's a photo of my wife hanging out with the young eli tomac when he was on geico I think this might have been his rookie year this is paula 2010 2011 one of those years I'm not sure as well as blake warren so a lot of fun behind the scenes got to get up close and personal with a lot of the writers here's my wife again getting an autograph from ryan dungy because of course after the ricky and james kind of era if you will dungey kind of took the throne and ran why they didn't want a lot of titles and of course helped me make some more money selling a lot of fox here just because he was the man and winning a lot of championships so a lot of great experiences another photo of my wife hanging out this is fox irvine headquarters she's standing in front of ken roxen's I think his rookie year on when he came over from germany as ktm 250 which obviously if you guys follow moto ken is now one of the top two riders top three riders in the world so just a lot of cool events and cool experiences particularly if you're like me if you love the the fan aspect of the sport and riding just all that type of stuff and fox was a company that was pretty big but not so big that we were so removed from this type of thing where I got to even though I was a sales guy really got to interact with some marketing and like I said lucky enough to kind of rub elbows with a lot of the the cool people in the sport so yeah it's a little bit of name dropping but these are just some amazing experiences and maybe some of you guys that work in power sports or if you're younger and you're thinking about getting into power sports I would consider this to be like the pinnacle of enjoyment and experiences that I had when I did work for these companies over about 11 or 12 year period so fast forward to a little bit later on YOU KNOW I mentioned my wife YOU KNOW we fall in love we're about ready to get married and anyway I decided to take her out to a glamis trip that fox was putting on at the time fox was doing it right on tour with the other brand that they owned and created shift so this was basically doing some off-road motorcycle free riding with guys like twitch and kerry hart and a few other guys jeff emmick being one of them so it was a cool event we got to kind of tag along and since I'm bringing my wife with me YOU KNOW I decided to rent a razor I had some interest in wanting to drive a razor you know I'm seeing the razor YOU KNOW go from the 800 to the 900 with trailing arms and thinking oh that's pretty you know pretty cool little little rig and YOU KNOW my wife rode as well at the time but YOU KNOW for her to go to the dunes and us to do rides and hang together it was kind of a perfect experience where we were going to go to glamis like let's just rent a razor and see what it's all about even though I was actually letting my boss ride my moto while I rode in the razor that weekend but it was a good time we found a couple razors that were able to rent from a local dealer and YOU KNOW kind of went up oldsmobile hill for the first time did my first actual dune ride we had a buddy who really knew glenn as well so I knew how to kind of get us through the dunes and kind of take us over to where YOU KNOW the flagpole is or kind of where the swing set is obviously this is long before the swings that even existed and just go have some fun and kind of see what the glamorous lifestyle was I hadn't been there in quite a while and then YOU KNOW obviously utvs are really starting to kind of sink their teeth into and the beginning of the takeover of of utvs taking over glamis so the 900 was really fun it was a pretty good a little bit better than I expected I do remember how bad I used to buck in the loops one of my buddies jumped in the car and we went from the glamorous flats we were camping over the olds and the the back end of the car was bucking so bad my buddy just burst into laughter as we're going through the loop because he has a little bit of off-road experience but it was a cool car we could go up all the the hills we had a safe trip YOU KNOW my wife and I were able to kind of have that experience together and I kind of thought it might be a prequel of what was to come YOU KNOW I was getting older YOU KNOW future of having kids that type of thing and then also being able to share a different type of off-road experience and and I think unless you're with a bunch of guys on glamazon bikes it's probably more fun to be in a utv I brought my bike out there a couple times like I said unless you have a bunch of guys and energy to feed off of find some jumps that type of thing it's not really that fun riding my two wheeler with a bunch of utvs and sand cars so fast forward YOU KNOW more amazing experiences working for fox I was lucky enough to get to go race wash shugle a few times in the amateur days before the national so that was amazing if you guys aren't familiar washul is a iconic motocross track up in Washington it's kind of just over the Washington Oregon border those are amazing experiences fox always had this killer spot to camp right next to the track and also from a fan perspective see a couple just amazing battles between ricky and james at that track at that time and even even see dungey really just kind of take it to villapoto on his hometown track back in his 250 days so it was cool it was awesome experiences and just YOU KNOW great time to just be in power sports and really kind of lead with my passion I've always been one of those people that kind of always realized that when I had passion for something I put in that extra energy and effort so by the time I'm in my early to mid 20s I just decided I was going to try to choose a career path and choose a path in life that was really kind of predicated on passion and then fill in the blanks from there so that worked really well for me at that time YOU KNOW being in my 20s and even early 30s fox is just an amazing company amazing culture I'm still good friends with a lot of buddies I work with and even my bosses I I definitely think that we'll all be friends for life and just had a great group of people who all really love the brand and love the culture and that's that's right now being a business owner trying to grow chupacabra and really be thoughtful now like how do we build and how do we make an amazing culture and I think it's a whole lot easier because I've actually lived through and been able to experience that so one other quick highlight here's a photo from a historic race motocross of nations buds creek Maryland 2007. here I am after the race after team America just won this was kind of ricky carmichael's last hurrah if you will is kind of we retired and raced out with ryan villopoto and team America really laid it down and at that time proved that we're still number one in the world for motocross and this is an amazing experience just to kind of go and and be part of that whole thing be part of team America YOU KNOW drink some moonshine with the guys after the race all right so let's get into the story of the best experience I've ever had in power sports and I mentioned ricky carmichael for those of you that aren't familiar with him he is known as the goat the greatest of all time the greatest motocross rider that's ever lived America european whatever so ricky's basically the man and even though he had retired back in 07 he did a lot of things stay relevant to the motocross community like he still does today did a lot of type of stuff with fox and just being around the sport that he loves so much so fast forward to 2012 working for fox fox decides to release a new premium helmet called the v4 now what they decided to do for all the sales people was do a contest and the top performing reps in each region of the country would win a trip to go ride at ricky carmichael so once I knew that that was on the line I definitely had a plan basically when we launched this new helmet the goal was to get as many employees at all these dealerships trained on a training video and content so that YOU KNOW of course they'd be better versed to help sell the helmets and YOU KNOW they know more about it they're going to talk more about it they're going to sell more of them you know this is breaking into like a very expensive niche category I think at the time was 450 or 500 which is a hard segment to break into with helmets because people are really passionate they're really emotional about the helmets that they really like and you've got some big competitors awry shoei and a few others it's kind of right before 60 and a lot of this other next level helmet technology really started to take off so we launched the v4 and of course I I put it to I have a plan and I figure out how to win this contest I beat everybody on the west coast and I get selected as one of the three sales people along with my managers to go out to rc's which was near tallahassee Florida and go ride and hang out for a couple days so there's always these type of cool contests and people would win them and YOU KNOW win cool stuff a memorabilia YOU KNOW and at the time looking back I probably didn't even realize how cool or special an experience it was it was just like a really good carrot and I really made sure that I worked hard to to to get the win so I could have this experience so either way check this photo out this is from ricky's private test facility which is where he did all of his training laughs where he earned all of his championships I think he won 10 championships in a row and his mom and dad helped him of course and groomed him to be the greatest of all time so this is at the ranch they call it and this is walking right inside of ricky's shop and they were able to reach out to suzuki and get us all a bunch of brand new bikes to go ride at the ranch for a couple days so amazing to roll up of course my managers show up with a couple brand new sets of gear and boots and helmets and I mean we were just treated from vip like the second that we showed up and really my first time actually riding on the east coast and probably my only time ever riding on the east coast so super excited to ride in Florida dirt YOU KNOW I came from vegas which has probably the worst dirt in the country to YOU KNOW doing road trips to south southern California to go right tracks and just thinking that California dirt was the best and it's funny how a lot of the top elite motorcycle athletes or motocross athletes will say that California is like hard pack and blue groove and not near as good as the east coast so it was amazing just to get to go ride in a different environment let alone on a brand new bike these this is a 2013 suzuki rmz 250 which was a really awesome bike so and this is a really rad photo of me getting all geared up and ricky's helping me set the sag so you know imagine this guy's like in whatever sport you're into you're into basketball and you get to have YOU KNOW one-on-one training session with lebron james or YOU KNOW insert the athlete valentino rossi if you're a sport bike enthusiast whoever like it's such a rare rare occurrence that you get to have this type of up close and personal time with someone who is literally the top of what they do from anybody like I said in the world so again I probably really realize how cool it was as I reflect and check out all these cool photos I haven't seen in a bit so here's a photo of the water truck ricky's dad was still out there prepping the track for us YOU KNOW here's a photo of ricky getting down and this is ricky's track and he has an outdoor track he has super cross tracks and he's got it out here on a lot of property and it was it was unbelievable YOU KNOW we roll out and we get all geared up with our bikes and YOU KNOW we had a pretty good sized group of people we had a few managers like I said a few of us sales people here's a group of us all smiling together having a good time and I giggle because not long after this photo was taken people start crashing people start getting hurt and people started heading to the hospital not long after this so it was kind of funny looking back but basically I think YOU KNOW this is like sensory overload for a lot of us YOU KNOW like ricky's house we're at the ranch you know big rick prepped the track like run these brand new bikes like YOU KNOW and and the hard part is like YOU KNOW a lot of us are pretty decent riders some better than others YOU KNOW but a lot of us hadn't ridden this type of dirt before these jumps are still big like it's just the track is ripped deep it's it's a little intimidating YOU KNOW and especially it gets more intimidating after riding 15 minutes and one of your managers YOU KNOW wads up and he's wiping himself off the ground he almost breaks his wrist like within the first 20 minutes of being there so this is pretty funny I have a couple of screenshots of some of the tweets that ricky was putting out and here you see YOU KNOW ricky's like oh we're hanging out with some fox people and it's not starting off really well so here's a video of my buddy dave who was my manager at the time and here he is with his ankles like swollen up like a grapefruit because there's a big double on ricky's track and dave's a really good rider and he had a 450 too and he went for the double he just didn't have enough pepper for it and completely cased it and I actually had a gopro on but I missed the clip I missed the crash and YOU KNOW he was tough but he was in a lot of pain and he thought he was going to ride the next day and there's no way it was happening it was pretty cool to see rc helped tape his ankle up and he was I think the second or third person that went down that day and this is after another one of my managers a case of small double but he ended up breaking his ankle and got hauled off to the hospital so this is like three of the managers I think we had a broken wrist we had a broken ankle we had a severely swollen ankle and then the other guy he just got weeded so kind of funny that the managers actually started going down before all of us sales people but you get more and more nervous YOU KNOW even though we're kind of breaking we're getting used to the track and all that that people start dropping like flies so we got to ride for two days here's the morning photo from day two I believe and you can see the crowd's a little bit smaller YOU KNOW and I think ricky at this point is like all right we don't want everybody to get hurt on this trip let's get into like some skills and drills and let me show you guys like how I earned all my titles and one of the tricks that ricky did where his mom taught him how to do or enforced was that they would set up cones and they would do different sections of the track so let's say it's a two turn combo and ricky would run some loops and he would get his best time let's call it YOU KNOW 10 let's call it 15 seconds well ricky had to go back and beat that time five times in a row before they work on the next section so YOU KNOW his mom didn't care if the track dried out if the berm got blown out if if YOU KNOW whatever is he got a flat tire ricky had to figure out how to beat that fast time five more times and beat himself and that was just kind of a tactic that he used so YOU KNOW in the spirit of keeping us all safe and having a couple of us walk out of there we kind of got into these little drills where YOU KNOW he's kind of giving us some pointers he'd hop on the bike and he followed me I remember he followed me through a section I saw the gopro clip and he passed me and gave me the thumbs up which was super sick and YOU KNOW of course we kind of avoided a lot of the big jumps at this point but we're just kind of trying to link sections of the track together and he really kind of showed us how he would break down a motocross track and what he would think about of course as the old adage goes in motocross YOU KNOW jump for show corner for doe so that was really fun and informative and a little bit safer and it was great to learn from the goat and really see him in his element so here's a photo that ricky posted to me on his Twitter and I was all geeked up I thought I was cool you know getting posted on rc's Twitter back at the time and I actually looked like I had pretty decent form in a couple of these photos which wasn't as hard just because the dirt was so good and that that suzuki handled and cornered so well so it was an amazing couple days of riding and I walked out of there safe and got to say I got to ride at rickies and hang out and get some lessons and learn some tricks that would help me when I went back home and kept on racing the worx race and other things I was doing at the time I was riding moto quite a bit so it worked out really well for me because I showed up and I kind of knew what I was doing because I've been living the sport and riding and racing and stuff so amazing also too that I was that into the lifestyle at that moment in time to get a lot out of the experience versus if I was one of those guys that didn't even ride YOU KNOW it would have been cool but not really and I would have like rode really poorly so I rode pretty good and I was happy with myself and speaking of riding YOU KNOW after each day of riding we're still at the ranch and YOU KNOW ricky has some guns and some of the guys are shooting skeet and he pulls out his razor force heater so this gets into the second time I ever got to ride in a utv and like I said it's a couple years after my glamis trip and it's in the razer 904 seater and here's a photo of it and YOU KNOW it might look a little old-school but this was a really awesome car at the time I mean he had a long travel kit he had done a little bit of motor work I think the classic 900 replace the air intake to get a little more juice as you can see a cool roll cage indoors with some real seats and he took us for a couple reps around his property you know it's it's Florida it's it's big flat terrain kind of rolling hills so YOU KNOW there's no whoops there's no YOU KNOW ruts and bumps and like we have here in southern and southwest but it was still really fun and ricky could drive really well and I rode here up front with him and he was just giggling he would throw the car sideways I thought he drove really aggressively YOU KNOW and we're like wow YOU KNOW you're a good driver and of course it's ricky's they're going to tell him that anyway right but he's like ah anybody can do this and at the time ricky was really trying to get into nascar or he was driving an ass truck at the time so not only is he the best motorcycle rider of all time but we had some real chops driving too and spawned us on some hot laps some foreground guys squeezed in the razer 900 and it was it was a blast and I remember like how good that car worked at the time for compared to the little 902 seat I wrote in glamis because of course it was longer it was wider it had a little bit more power not that we got to go up any dudes or anything but it was really fun I remember coming home thinking like wow this is kind of getting closer the utvs are finally starting to be like a little bit more of a real off-road vehicle you know you can see these are little tires probably 26 27 inches at the time all that thing wouldn't even pull but you know there are some leaps and bounds for the 900 and as most of you guys know if you've been in the industry for a while once the 1000 came which was right after I joined polaris in 2013 then the game got changed again in terms of performance and that's of course here we are today in 2021 where utvs of course have completely taken over so amazing overall experience YOU KNOW ricky took us to this fancy dinner at the governor's mansion we got to go to a Florida state football game YOU KNOW kind of just absorb and see like the college culture of a team that's really amazing and a team YOU KNOW group people are really behind it the fans were were off the hook they loved it and just kind of see what the culture was like of course ricky's like a celebrity everywhere we go down there YOU KNOW pretty much ran the show so cool to just kind of talk shop with them YOU KNOW brought us into his house has this amazing truck room as you can imagine he had a one helmet if you guys are motocross fans you might remember he raced this race millville in Minnesota and it was a big time mudder it was just a mud bog but ricky lapped everybody in the entire field so it was just one of the most amazing credentials another one on ricky's illustrious career and he had the helmet from that day with all the mud YOU KNOW in a helmet case as one of his many trophies as you can imagine so really cool to just to kind of see and listen to him talk and we're chatting about moto talking about YOU KNOW the guys of YOU KNOW that era 2012-13 versus his era YOU KNOW here's a photo of his factory suzuki which he was very instrumental in helping suzuki develop that bike and ricky won titles on that thing immediately so he obviously knows how to develop a bike and make a bike go faster because around that time he start was with suzuki during the two-stroke era but then when suzuki started making four strokes basically the entire industry had to convert over to four strokes to keep up yamaha had a head start honda was out and then suzuki and kawasaki quickly followed and have a bike that could run a championship pace for a championship caliber rider and win a championship was a big deal and ricky was able to achieve that right away which is another amazing feat in his career so it's pretty cool that bike kind of remained a lot of the same that that dungey even won the championships on from what he said so he knows how to develop a bike and it's pretty cool to be he was a part of that YOU KNOW big shift in terms of technology and growth in the motocross and supercross world and YOU KNOW just to get to see in the middle in his element and get to ride in a razor force here in a cool environment with a cool group of people so that's it that's my story it was an amazing time let me know if you guys like the content you're going to hear some stories of when I worked for polaris there were some cool events I got to attend and experiences I got to have also working for a company in powersports but nothing really came close to working for fox during that era being a motocross fan being a motocross rider an enthusiast part-time racer YOU KNOW just a fan of the sport and motocross is really YOU KNOW is about as badass as it gets in my opinion I think motocross athletes are top of the food chain in power sports YOU KNOW maybe even in all of action sports I think there's so much respect for for them and anybody who's into this whole world that we're into so I got some more stories this is probably the coolest one but I hope you guys like the content if you do go ahead like and subscribe and tune in we got a whole lot more coming your way.