On this episode of the Riton Podcast, host Brady Speth speaks with life-long shooter and experienced martial arts instructor, Brent Yamamoto. Brent is one of the staff instructors for Suarez International.
On this episode of the Riton Podcast, host Brady Speth takes it to the road visiting with OPEX Fitness founder James Fitzgerald. Listen to James discuss the importance of not over-complicating fitness.
On this episode of the Riton Podcast, host Brady Speth joins country music star and avid outdoorsman, Mark Wills! Listen the the incredible stories Mark has about shooting 3 gun events and supporting our military with the Dallas Cowboys.
Join us for the 20th episode of The Riton Podcast! This special episode features not only Host Brady Speth but Riton’s very own Director of Operations, Dave Franklin! The best part is, we have the Godfather of Guiding in Southern Arizona, Duwane Adams with his son in law Nick DeBaca.
Listen to the insane stories Duwane and Nick have while guiding here in Southern Arizona.
On this episode of the Riton Podcast, Riton CEO and host Brady Speth catches up with IFBB Pro bodybuilder Cody Montgomery. Don’t miss out on this awesome glimpse into the life of a pro bodybuilder!
Be The Riton Revolution
Brady Speth 0:00
Hi everybody, welcome to another episode of the Riton podcast. Super cool guest today we like to kind of diversify the guest experience on the podcast. So this one I’m excited about. I’d like to introduce IFBB pro Cody Montgomery. Welcome to the show, bud.
Cody Montgomery 0:23
What’s up? What’s up, I appreciate you having me on.
Brady Speth 0:26
We’ll kind of dig into the the IFBB side of this here in a little bit, but I was looking at your Instagram profile. I love the very first thing you put on there, dad, proud American, and then IFBB bodybuilder so I think that’s super cool, man. I got two little ones at home and, and life kind of revolves around here and there. So
Cody Montgomery 0:47
absolutely. I got two little ones now two is my myself so I can definitely relate.
Brady Speth 0:53
Yeah, the time kind of goes out the window. I’m even more impressed that you are in the shape that you’re in and you’re dealing with kids and everything else do we have the time? Love it. So let’s dig in right there. Man, I kind of obviously have a little bit of your bio. Born in Anchorage kind of sounds like you’ve been into competition, competing bodybuilding from a pretty young age. So dig into your background a little bit and kind of tell everybody a little bit about you.
Cody Montgomery 1:21
Yes, so I got into bodybuilding extremely young. I was like Middle School transitioning in high school is basically when I started to really get serious and bodybuilding, I did my first competition, just after I turned 16 I was basically prepping all year when I was 15 getting ready for it. So I’ve been bodybuilding now, over 10 years, and kind of my, you know, my, my thing was a teenage nationals growing up when I was 17, 18, 19, I was the first person to win and back to back and then to win it three years in a row. So that was kind of, you know, started started things off very quickly. And I’ve been, you know, dived in nose deep to bodybuilding ever since, basically, you know, I won the first teenage nationals in 2012. And then I turning pro, I won the Mr. USA competition in Vegas, in 2015, when I was 20, and, and then that’s, that’s when I obtained my IFBB pro card. And, you know, the rest has been kind of crazy since then. But, you know, it was a, you know, such a awesome write up, you know, kind of being so involved in bodybuilding. And, you know, we’ll get into obviously, guns and bodybuilding kind of how they mesh, you know, the last few years, I definitely have, have, you know, especially now that I have two kids have really preached balance. So I’m trying to, you know, have more balance in my life and enjoy a little bit more. So, you know, that’s a little bit of, you know, why I’ve been, you know, getting more involved in guns, I’m just, you know, a fan in general and a big 2A, you know, supporter of our, you know, Second Amendment.
Brady Speth 2:57
Nice. You know, what I would love to hear this one from you give me a day in the life of like, kind of training and just normal training, not like event prep, but just like a day in the life of what it actually takes, I think, I don’t think people have a true appreciation for your sport, and the actual dedication and then the time demand. So give me a little bit of kind of a rundown on what that looks like.
Cody Montgomery 3:21
To me. I mean, I’ve been doing this for now. 10 plus years. So I guess like, you know, for the common person looking at I’m sure it looks a lot different to me, you know, other normal day. But I think the the biggest thing for me is just being consistent, you know what I mean? It’s not necessarily that one day is super hard, you know, I’ll walk you through My typical day, but I think it’s more so piling, you know, days on days, months, on months, you know, on top of each other, that’s the really hard part and the mental aspect of everything. But, you know, a typical day for me isn’t anything crazy. Now that I have two kids, it’s a little bit, you know, crazier. You know, my, my life really devoted, was devoted purely around bodybuilding, you know, when I was, you know, 20, 21 22 so a lot different now. You know, I train a lot of people online, so, you know, I have a lot more of the business aspect going on rather than just, you know, let me eat and go train.
Brady Speth 4:11
Cody Montgomery 4:12
Gotta make money from a family. So, yeah, there’s a lot more aspects to it. So I do feel like I’m busier, but the actual bodybuilding you just have to be dedicated, you know, you have to, you know, really prepare ahead of time and just really tried to like, like the saying says, if you if you fail to prepare, you’re going to you know, you’re going to fail so basically, you know, if you prepare each day, you know, it’s not anything overwhelming, you know, I typically wake up you know, I have one to two meals, go to the gym, you know, before noon, and then you usually train, come home, have you know, another three, four meals I’m eating. The main thing is eating a lot of food and just being getting that into your schedule. And obviously cooking is like half my life or, you know.
Brady Speth 4:59
meal prep. Yeah.
Cody Montgomery 5:00
yeah, you got a meal prep, you just, it’s all about being ahead of the game, you know. And so, to me, it’s not like a overwhelming day, it’s just more so the mental aspect of piling days on days on days, I’m sure, you know, with your with, you know, with any diet. One day is easy, right? doing one month in a row consistently.
Brady Speth 5:20
That’s why the gyms are busy from, you know, January 1 to January 20.
Cody Montgomery 5:24
that’s another thing and be the rest of the year. Well, I kind of preached the whole balance thing is because, you know, if you take a more balanced approach to it, like my day is not crazy, because I’ve been doing it for the last 10 years. Yeah, you know, it’s not anything that’s gonna be overwhelming to the point of, you know, I’m like, beating my skull into the wall, or anything like that, you know, what I mean? You want to enjoy the day, but be proficient, you know, and that’s what I’ve been, you know, most focused on the last couple years is how can I be more efficient with my time and not have bodybuilding take up, you know, 24/7 , and allow it to kind of fit more within my life, obviously, no, two kids and stuff, which is a lot harder than, you know, said,
Brady Speth 6:04
Yeah, finding the time it’s funny when now that I have a business and been doing this for a while, and then kids and then you look in like I kind of look over here behind the camera, like the some of the friends and stuff you have that like don’t have any kids and like what do you do with all your free time, man, like, I was home for four minutes yesterday, before I had to leave again to go to baseball practice, you know, like, what do you do all day, you have the freedom that you have, must be amazing, you know, with no kids know anything. So yeah, that balance and it’s amazing as now, that more and more responsibility, you still find ways to just balance it and work through it, you know.
Cody Montgomery 6:38
And, and really, and truly like people that come up to me and don’t really have any clue about bodybuilding or, you know, maybe they have a negative outlook on it just from their outside perspective or whatever. I think it’s given me so much positives in my life just as far as, because if you can balance, you’re not even balanced. But if you can be successful in bodybuilding, I think you can apply it to so many other areas in your life, you know, because it really does take, like kind of going back to the day thing, it’s a 24 hour job. It’s not like I can clock out at five o’clock and then go eat some Pringles and do whatever
Brady Speth 7:07
Beer and wings.
Unknown Speaker 7:08
Gotta be on 24 hours a day, and especially when you’re, you know, those last little bit, you know, before a show or whatnot. You really, like, it’s such a it’s more of a mental game than anything, you know what I mean? Yeah. And, and really, that’s, you know, you take it one day at a time, that’s what I always tell everybody take it one day at a time, because you start thinking long term, you start mentally, you know, oh my gosh, like, I gotta lose 30 pounds, rather than, you know, if I lose half a pound, you know, every day for you know, not every day, but every few day
Brady Speth 7:34
Cody Montgomery 7:34
Yeah, you have these small goals within a bigger goal, you know, and that’s, that’s kind of where I think, kind of going back to, you know, the January 31 people that are dropping out, yeah, smaller goals, rather than just going for that, you know, that homerun, you can kind of, you know, give yourself some pats on the back along the way and you don’t get discouraged.
Brady Speth 7:52
Yeah. No, and honestly, that’s, you kind of said it. That’s not bodybuilding. That’s life, right. I mean, it’s owning a business and running a business never shuts off being a parent, never shuts off. It’s just managing it. Like I always say, my wife always looks at me, she’s like, it’ll pass. Like, every, every phase will pass, you know, so
Cody Montgomery 8:10
I’m sure we’ve learned to manage your time so much, so much better.
Brady Speth 8:15
Cody Montgomery 8:16
I’m sure then when you were younger, you know, I’m like, What did I do when I was younger? I was overwhelmed.
Brady Speth 8:22
Slept in till 10. I love that. Some of I was kind of wondering, I want to talk to you a little bit about obviously, as your schedule kind of been screwed up this last year, where the competitions that you were gonna compete in what was this last year or so been like.
Cody Montgomery 8:40
I’m sure just like, you know, your industry and everybody else’s industry, you know, like SHOT Show and things, you know, that’s a big part of what I do is going to expos and going to fitness things and especially competitions, if you can think about it, you know, back in the day, like, you know, sporting events when they didn’t really have as much on TV and stuff. Like that’s, you know, bodybuilding revolves a lot around in person audiences. So, you know, a lot was up in the air last year, I didn’t even know if there’s gonna be any shows going on, I was gonna do show wasn’t gonna do a show, it’s, it’s really hard to commit. Because, you know, for a show, like, We’re going back to this whole, you know, don’t get overwhelmed with a lot. But most time we we pick shows, you know, three, four or five months out or longer, and then prepare for it. So we can schedule everything and be right with our, you know, body fat and kind of dial everything in and not, you know, be too early, and then, you know, will whittle away the last few weeks and all that kind of stuff. So, you really try to plan for last year’s obviously, you know, kind of a slap in the face for planning just because, you know, you you start trying to plan for a show and then, you know, week out, you know, gets cancelled or pushed off or goes to a different venue. And there’s always that what if thing and I’m very, what if kind of person I always think, you know, like, worst case scenario, right?
Brady Speth 9:55
Cody Montgomery 9:55
So I just, you know, halfway through the year, I actually also had my Second Son Ledger, like right before, he was just actually his birthday was yesterday, his first birthday. So as you can imagine, this happened right before everything got serious. So I was just blessed to not be in the hot like, not not be able to witness my son being born because there are a lot of people yeah, they weren’t even allowed in the room. So I was just Alright, I’m just gonna focus on my family this year. And make sure because obviously with newborn, you don’t want to be traveling and stuff unless you really have to. So, you know, I was kind of took a step back and just kind of focus on my family. And, you know, unfortunately, I was really wanting to compete and it was kind of kind of tough mentally because what ended up happening is a bunch of shows came to Florida, which is where I live, because we have, you know, a an awesome governor. Right, right. That’s keeping stuff up open and keeping businesses rolling down here. And, and basically everything came down here. I mean, everything so I mean, I had clients doing, you know, teenage nationals that was right up in Orlando when the shows usually in Pittsburgh. So, you know, I drove up there. And you know, I helped my client, you know, that weekend, but it was like, just such an ordeal. Not ordeal but a weird circumstance, because who would have known that they’re all coming to my backyard?
Brady Speth 11:08
Cody Montgomery 11:08
Otherwise, I probably would have, you know, competed and done it. Because it’s mean, you don’t have to get on a plane, don’t have to fly, you don’t have to do all that stuff. It’s not quite there. And you know, and then, of course, not as many international people are coming and stuff. So the competition’s weren’t, you know, as crazy because everyone had the same circumstances, right? I mean, even here in Florida, in our state, I don’t know how it is where you guys were, but our gyms down here, you know, they still closed for a little while. He’s freaking out, and they didn’t really know what to do. So they were still, you know, a week or two. And not only that, but it was, I mean, people are fighting for toilet paper. And no beef and chicken down here. Like, and I would they were like limiting the amount you could get. So like somebody like me,I’m having to like, go to 2 to 3 times a day you know, just to fulfill 111 day’s food, you know, so it’s like, it was a big ordeal. So I was just kind of having a better time that I needed to be. But, you know, it was a you know, I’m sure like everybody it was it’s been a sour, sour 2020 you know, and I’m open 2021 brings a lot more positivity. And I am I’m looking to get on stage this summer, for sure.
Brady Speth 12:16
And that was actually gonna be my next question. Because to me, it’s, we prep, we prep, we prep and you you look forward to those events, you look forward to a chance to compete I mean, in your in your line of work, like, that’s the payoff, right to get paid to go do that. So to train and stay dedicated, and keep going back every day knowing that, like, there’s really no competition on the horizon. That’s tough, man. I think that’d be rough. Yeah.
Cody Montgomery 12:39
Yeah. There’s definitely like, mentally just like, what is going to happen? You know, and not only that, but it’s like, even if they’re going to put on shows without a bunch of crowd, you know, how is it going to, you know, how’s it gonna be a winning situation for anyone, and so it’s just a, just crazy, and I just hope that, you know, with, you know, everything going on this year that, you know, stuff starts to chill out, and we get back into venues and back. I mean, it really does. I mean, it affects somebody like me, because even not only just competing, but, you know, when I go to these events, you know, I meet people, I meet potential people that I train online, or, you know, actually have my own my own clothing line that I you know, sell at the booth and stuff or BlackStone Labs, my, my parents sponsor, you know, we we sell product at the booth. So it’s hurts everyone’s bottom line, you know, and it’s, it’s really unfortunate, because, you know, I’m sure, just like you, as a business owner, you had big aspirations for 2020, you know, and it’s kind of like, it’s not even like, it’s, it’s in your control of not succeeding to those goals, because I’m sure you’re such a goal driven person. And it’s just frustrating when you had to sit back and be like, man, those goals aren’t gonna come to Yeah,
Brady Speth 13:43
Now, it’s hard for us because kind of you hit the nail on the head right there. For us. It’s, we’re very big people, people, people, I guess, to say it that way. Like we we prosper when we can get in front of people, how do I show you how good my scope is, or the type of person I am? Or anything when it’s like, see, Hey, take a look at this zoom call, like, no, I need you to hold it and touch it, see it, like, you know, we need to interact, you need to come hang out and have a beer with us at our booth, you need to you know, that’s how that’s how we interact with our customers. It’s so it’s definitely been a struggle on from especially from a marketing perspective of just how do you present your brand? How do you continue to stay in front of people, when you don’t get to physically be in front of people, you know, and then when you do, like, some of the stuff that was coming on some of these shows were like, well, you can have a booth, you can have one person in the booth, they can’t touch your product.
Cody Montgomery 14:33
I was gonna say right like with, with the scope wiping off now
Brady Speth 14:36
had like, you know what, people can’t pick it up look through it. And so it just kind of, um, it was a blessing that they canceled a lot of them because a lot of the rules and stuff that they were gonna have wouldn’t have work for us. But on the flip side of that, having all those canceled changes your entire plan for the year of how we released new products, and when,
Cody Montgomery 14:55
I’m sure you guys already have stuff in mind like hey, yeah, you guys already have next year’s plan. What is that? You know, that’s how, you know, companies work.
Brady Speth 15:02
And so to try to, you know, how do we release that out when we’re not in person or not an event. And you know, we’ve had to rethink our entire marketing plan. So if anything gets, it’s given like us as a company and our marketing team and our sales teams, a way to rethink like, how do we do business? And, you know, let’s start exploring different avenues. It’s definitely opened up a lot of new channels opened up a lot of things because we’ve had to be creative, you know, so, a blessing in disguise, I guess. But definitely a weird situation from the norm of what we’re all used to.
Cody Montgomery 15:33
crazy year for sure. I mean, even even looking at it positively. I’m sure when things go back to normal, you’re going to have all those other things that you didn’t have before and that you now know that hopefully will make you guys stronger going forward.
Brady Speth 15:44
Well, yeah, that’s perfect. Cuz we do we open up a lot of other channels that we probably wouldn’t have ever gone down if it weren’t for this, you know, circumstances. So it’s definitely a blessing. But
Cody Montgomery 15:56
You’re right. Or tonight marks a year? Yeah. This whole year, man. Yeah. First happened. It was like a month, maybe a month?
Brady Speth 16:05
Yeah, we won’t get too political about this one. Yeah. So you said you have some competitions? What? What do you have on the horizon for for 2021 then.
so I’m definitely going to try to take advantage of stuff that’s in my backyard. Since it seems like there’s going to be a lot of stuff down here. So, you know, I’m looking at maybe doing like the Tampa Pro. Now that I’ve lived here in Florida for a few years, I kind of feel like it, it’s my duty to do the show anyways. You know, really well put on show from Tim Gardner, and even last year through COVID, it was put on so I’m very confident that we’ll go through no matter what, which kind of gives, you know, goes back to the whole you can actually plan ahead, type thing. So I’m hoping like to you know, do that show and then see what is you know, what else is coming in the future weeks, months, and I want to try to get qualified for the Olympia which is I think they said in October this year, so be relatively close, you know, if I do the show, because Tampa’s in August, so it would be just a couple months, rather than, you know, last year, the the Olympia was in December. So, you know, it’s, you know, a lot longer around. So I would probably do, Tampa, and then depending on how I do pretty much try to go to whatever shows I can depending on travel circumstance. But, you know, whatever other shows I can, if I got to try to get in on points, but obviously, it would be a dream just to qualify, because obviously for the Olympia for all your followers that don’t know, you have to either win a show, or you have to be in the top three on points for qualifying. Right. Like last year, I had some points, but I had only done Japan Pro, which was like from November of 2018, which feels like forever ago. Yeah, but a call or you know, I had put some points for you know, if I had competed some last year even, you know, done, you know, two three shows and gotten like third or fourth, you know, you can maybe second or third whatever, depending on the point. You know, that’s the other possibility or possible way to get into Libya. Obviously. I would like to when to get in because I think you have to earn your place. But yeah, I’m really looking forward to it obviously now with two kids and everything it’s a lot you know, I gotta adapt and change because I can’t just be like, Alright, shut off life for four months and you’re ready for a show.
yeah, good luck do that
Cody Montgomery 18:30
do that you miss out gets changed fast. I don’t even want to miss out on that. You know,
Brady Speth 18:34
Especially at this age man.
Cody Montgomery 18:35
it’s been four months go by so I’m going to try to enjoy you know, everything that I can while I’m you know, getting ready at the same time. Like it goes back to the whole balance thing. Yeah.
Brady Speth 18:45
I love it. We’ll we’ll definitely follow your progress on that. I’d love to get out to you that’d be cool to come out and see what the show so
Cody Montgomery 18:52
I get some good weather right Yeah, right.
Brady Speth 18:54
Um, so let’s go on to the other side of your life a little bit so born in Anchorage kind of give rundown and kind of childhood and stuff. You said you got into bodybuilding pretty young, but obviously ended outdoors you’re into shooting kind of talk
Cody Montgomery 19:08
I was born in Anchorage, Alaska. My both my parents are engineers. They worked on you know, slopes in Alaska on the oil rigs. And my dad ended up getting a job in Dallas, Texas when I was like two. So we moved down to Alaska, or from Alaska to Texas, went on to and basically started my life in Texas, so I don’t even really remember much of Alaska. It’s just kind of a cool, you know, Oh, wow. Yeah. I don’t really remember anything. There’s some pictures and I was like, Wow, that’s a lot of snow. But ya know, so we moved to Texas, and I grew up in McKinney, Texas, just outside of Dallas, like an hour north.
Brady Speth 19:49
Cody Montgomery 19:49
And you know, I was a crazy kid as far as I just tried everything, sportswise, you know, I did. I was really big into golf. You know, I played basketball. I played Football I played, you name it, I did it, tried it, at least at some point hockey was, you know, I was big into that at some point. So a little bit of everything growing up, you know, my parents were really raised me as, you know, conservatives, you know, as far as you know, I was in kind of a wealthy neighborhood and I was brought up not as far as, like everyone else, not everyone else, but a lot of people, you know, have very nice things around me. And, you know, my parents brought me up, that, you know, you need to work and you need to earn the things that you have, and yeah, don’t do it. So I was always, you know, raking leaves and doing stuff in people’s backyards. And, you know, from very young age that I learned, you know, the hardwork can get you anything that you want, you know, I wanted that same bike, but that dude had, so I’m, you know, gonna go work on. And I was like, eight or nine, you know, maybe a little older. But yeah, you know, so I look in the back, I’m very thankful for that, you know, how my parents raised me, and, you know, city like that. Now, especially with two kids, you know, I know how, you know, tough it is to hold back at times, you know, and, but I’m very thankful for it. Because I think I was brought up, you know, very humbly, and it made me want to work hard. And, you know, I got into college, and it wasn’t really my thing. You know, obviously, bodybuilding, kind of just, I guess, I guess I should rewind, how I got into bodybuilding, right. So I have an older brother and an older sister, and my brother is three years older than me. And we started working out together when he was going to start going for football. In Texas, it’s like seventh grade. So he was going to try out, I don’t remember how old I was, but we started, you know, kind of working around around the house and stuff. And then eventually, it was time for me to start getting ready for seventh grade football. And I actually started going to the gym at that point. And kind of fell in love with the gym later on and find out more than football. But I played football for my first three years. I saw two years in middle school. And then, you know, of course freshman year in high school. And basically my freshman year high school is when I won that teenage nationals. And I decided at that point, you know, I started actually I got my first sponsor, I had two sponsors, actually, and started to actually make a little bit of money from bodybuilding to where I was like, I’m not gonna risk injury from football. So at that point, you know, I’m such a, you know, dedicated person that I was all or nothing. So I kind of turned everything off at that point, you know, I was playing a little bit of golf at that point as well. I actually tried out for the high school team, I tried out for tennis, like it was just doing a bunch of stuff. This is what I, you know, this is what I’m gonna pursue, but kind of how the bodybuilding ended up working out is I was just at the gym with my older brother. And we were going to Lifetime Fitness in Allen, Texas, which is actually the same gentleman Kyler Kyle Murray, quarterback, I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Heisman Trophy, he trained there, which is pretty cool. Because, you know, bodybuilding such a small thing. It’s like, you know, you can be a great bodybuilder nobody knows your name. But he got, right. Yeah. So I trained there for, I guess, two years. And then about two years in, or about a year and a half, and I put on more weight than my brother, and I’m starting to get bigger than my brother was, like, three years older than me. And I started really just kind of like getting into, like, how can I get bigger and just, you know, the whole fitness thing. And then and then this guy walked up to me that owned supplement shop across the street. And he was like, man, I’ve, I’ve been watching you. And I think you have a lot of potential. You know, you put on a lot of muscle in the last few months. There’s like a Dallas Europa bodybuilding show, which I you know, at the time, no idea, right? Later on, it’s actually a pretty big, pretty big show amateur sides, you know, decently big, but it’s a pro show as well. So that was an experience, but the basically he told me that the shop would, you know, help me, you know, with some of the fees and stuff if I, you know, would post or anything back then on social media, I think it was just, like, wear a T shirt at the gym?
Brady Speth 23:56
Cody Montgomery 23:57
I get some products or something. And at that time, I was young, and my parents weren’t giving me money. And I was working, like a normal job. I was, you know, busy with school and doing stuff. So I just work, you know, odds and ends, you know, selling Christmas trees or selling fireworks, you know, fireworks stands and stuff like that from a, you know, buddy’s parents would run, you know, businesses and stuff, and I would help him out. Because it was, you know, like I said it was a town that had a lot of opportunity. So, you know, I did whatever I could, but you know, obviously as soon as I get some free supplements, I was like, oh, I’ll try it. Whatever. You know, I was 15. Like I said, so ended up doing the show, and I kind of fell in love. I mean, I absolutely fell in love with it. You know, at that point, like I said, I was playing football and doing a bunch of other stuff. And once I got on stage at Dallas Europa when I was like, 16 it was just, it was eye opening just because I felt like, you know, before I was just kind of doing stuff to do it. And for the first time I’ve ever felt like I was at home. You know, like, I didn’t feel like I was forcing stuff. You know, I was like, wow, I just worked so hard and this feels right, you know, and I was like, that feeling of getting on stage and anybody that is listening this that has gotten on stage, it’s just such a feeling of accomplishment because, you know, there’s so many obstacles and so many things that you know, people don’t even know about behind the scenes that you go through I mean, as even as just a normal person, but you know, let alone in three or four months of trying to diet and eat less food than your body actually physically needs and doing more cardio than what has ever used to and you know, drilling it away you know it you learn a lot about yourself, you know, and when I got on stage I just absolutely fell in love with its I turned everything off and I said that I wanted to go on and do nationals because that was like a big deal back then. You know, I remember Cody Lewis was like the teenage champion at the time Nick Medici had won it like the year before and all these guys you know, once you went out and get sponsors, yeah. You they used to fight on where you go to Venice Beach, California to the Gold’s Gym. I’m sure you’ve heard of it. You get to train with a pro. And you get in flex magazine. So it was just like, you know, as a teenager, like, wow, this is it, you know, so I started prepping and getting ready for that. I did another show. Before I did a teenage nationals. I did the Ronnie Coleman classic in 2016. So I did two shows. And then basically, at that point, I was like, I’m gonna get ready for teenage nationals and 17 I went out for teenage nationals, and I won the light heavyweights and then I won the overall and it was still probably, to this day other than US, biggest deal of my life just because it changed my life forever for sure. You know, I late or, you know, just after that I signed my first supplement sponsor, and back then there’s magazine. So I signed signed my, actually, I think it was it was after my second year that I signed my magazine deal. But anyways, I started to actually, like, get some fruits of my labor. Okay. And really, like I said, You know, I never had anything steady as far as, you know, a job, you know, I worked like, the jobs I worked for just random. I would work Sundays at the gym, MetroPlex Plano for a little while. And like I said, some Christmas tree just do a bunch of weird stuff. So right. When I was like, wow, I can start making money from something I really enjoy. I was like, I’m all about this, you know, so it really, I think turned me on even more, because I already felt like I was at home. And then all of a sudden I, you know, felt like I actually had some kind of purpose and some kind of you know, there was some kind of future and you’re not I mean, so I was alright, I kept going at it. And my parents were just like, Oh my gosh, you need to go to college, you need to eat what are you doing?
Brady Speth 27:37
typical parents. Yeah, no, like
Cody Montgomery 27:38
what money is like, you actually have to have that to live. You can’t just like do as you want every day. I’m like, No, I’m gonna lift weights. I’m, like fund my life from it, you know, and I remember telling my mom that when I was flying everyone to Nationals, and she laughed at me, you know, now look at me and 10 years later, I’ve relied on bodybuilding, pretty much, almost 100% for the last 10 years. It’s been it’s been a ride. But um, but yeah, so you know, I started doing teen nationals of didn teen nationals through high school each each summer basically. And I did three I won three teenage nationals. And I won the collegiate nationals the last year out when I was 19. And then the next year I that was basically I went to college and got even more serious because I was like, wow, like I have a lot more time than just sitting in class all day, I only have to sit in class for two or three hours, I can go to the gym for longer, I can do cardio, I can get more routine. And I was like, Man, I’m gonna go try to turn pro next the next year. And you know, I was not overly cocky about it, but I was just like, this is I’m going to win. You know, like that was that was that was my goal that was you know, what I the charisma that I put off and, you know, people thought I was crazy. But my coach and I, Chris Aceto, Love, love that guy. He didn’t think I was crazy. And he was like, watch because I you know, there’s there’s people back back when they were like, Oh, you know, he be you know, he’d be lucky to crack top six or you know, you know, whatever, because he’s young kid, you know, muscle. And, you know, just kind of didn’t listen to anybody and just like, followed my gut and follow my coach’s gut and, you know, ended up becoming the youngest, I think pro at that time. And youngest person to win the Mr. USA, like overall title, which changed my life forever. And, you know, looking back like, like, you know, you just look at stuff and you’re like, what was I thinking? Like I kind of, you know, was delusional there for a little while, but you kind of have to be delusional for a little while to meet some of your goals.
Brady Speth 28:03
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah.
Cody Montgomery 28:57
People aren’t delusional, when they’re meeting their goals. They’re not pushing themselves far enough. You know,
Brady Speth 29:49
when people give you weird looks, or they, they kind of chuckle whenever you tell them your goals or what you’re going after you’re doing the right thing. If people accept it like oh, yeah, then You probably didn’t set your goal high enough. So yeah, that’s absolutely. If people are looking at you like you’re crazy. It’s probably a good place to set your goals. I’ve always lived my life. So I’m with you on that one. Yeah. The Yeah, you left out a few of these. So Europa Dallas, so the literally the very first competition you ran you got first place.
Cody Montgomery 30:20
I don’t want to like boast and stuff, but I won it as a ameture
Brady Speth 30:25
So you literally Yeah, I’m sitting here looking at your highlights over here on my IPad, like every one listed first place, first place, like so. Man, for people to say that you were crazy at that point of wanting to go pro or like, you got a pretty decent resume backing this up, you know, it wasn’t want to go pro
Cody Montgomery 30:43
USA is is you know, I mean, it’s it is it’s, you know, the best of the best. And to be honest with you, bodybuilding so funny, because it’s like, you can look great on one stage, but then you, you realize that there’s a lot of people out there that look great on one stage, you know, and then when you get all those people together, it’s like, you know, people, people can look great, you know, in a picture or online, and then all of a sudden, you get to a show and be honest, I was I was like pooping my pants backstage? You guys are like 30 or 40 years old. You know, I’m like the youngest by like, a little while. Yeah. And they’re huge. I mean, even now, I mean, I still one of the younger pros, and I competed. You know, the year after I turned pro, I actually competed at the Arnold Classic. And I went to Australia. So I was competing with some of the biggest guys. Every time I’m backstage, I’m like, wow, these guys are so big, you know, USA, you know, what the amateurs it’s just, you know, to me, bodybuilding is not bigger is better, and nothing to take away from the bigger guys. It’s just, you know, when you’re on stage is optical illusion, you know, and that’s simply, you know, USA is I wasn’t the biggest guy backstage, you know, but when you get on stage, and, you know, you have that detail, and you have that fine line of conditioning, and, you know, muscle fullness, you know, size isn’t everything if you’re, you know, in better shape than you know someone else. So that’s kind of been my, I guess you would say go to thing my whole career is relied on, on conditioning 100% because I’m not one of the bigger guys, you know, I compete in what’s called the open class and just kind of like run things down. Because obviously, I don’t know how many people on your podcast are IFBB, like, you know, fanatics.
Brady Speth 32:25
Now go into some detail. A couple more questions on that. So yeah,
Cody Montgomery 32:29
basically, like, when I turned pro, there was only certain classes, they’ve added classes as they gone. So like, now they have like, classic physique is a big deal. And that’s kind of like, you think of like a 70s physique, you know, a 70s, or 80s physique. That’s kind of like the era they’re going for. So it’s not as big of guys. Like the open class, which is like, there’s no limits, you can be however tall you want, you can be as big as you want. You can be, you know, whatever they don’t, they don’t really, they weigh some people in, but there’s no cut off, you know, okay. And then you have like, what they had when I first first got into bodybuilding was 202, but it’s now the 212 class, and that’s 212 pounds and under, basically, so it’s not a height thing or anything like that. But obviously, the shorter you are, the better it is because you look bigger on stage. Not always, but you know, yeah. Because you can only be got away in the 212 on the on the day of the show. So open is like the freak show, right? And they are the big guys, you know, and, you know, that’s hard to compete against, you know, when I’m not a big guy, you know, not not a not a, you know, I don’t want to be 300 pounds, you know, I always wanted to be like, you know, like grown up, like John Cena was like one of the people that I was like, man, he looks good, you know, I want to look good while I’m doing it, you know, I don’t want to be like, especially now with kids. I mean, I just, I don’t know, I’m pretty sure you can relate. But I just got done two weeks ago coaching my son’s soccer team. And, you know, that was what I was doing every Saturday. And I’m like running around chasing three year olds and four year olds, you know, all around the field. Like, man, like, I’m glad I can do this, you know, running around , you know, it’s like, so, you know, I’m, I’m like one of those people, I have a happy medium to everything, and I don’t think they’ll function more is better. You know, I think less is more with my approach to bodybuilding. And, you know, and actually, I have competed in the 212 class, I did two shows in the 212. And just to put it in perspective, for your followers, I’m like, five, seven and a half. I have to say like that because I’m kind of short. Maybe five, eight, but I barely like I had to suck down to make weight very, very hard. And three days, it was miserable. Like it was you think like, you know don’t eat for three days. I literally didn’t eat for three days. Yeah, to make the weight. So it was pretty brutal. But at that, it’s like, you know, there’s guys that are 5’3″, 5’4″ that look great. To make weight. So I my body. You know, it’s kind of it’s kind of hard. I’m like an in between or you know what I mean? You know, I, in the long run, I’m gonna be an open guy, obviously. But you know, in the short term, that year, at least, this is 2017 that I did the Toronto pro against I got second there. And then I did Europa Dallas going back to going back to my roots, I was so pumped and got destroyed. Because basically, like the water manipulation, and just having to make weight, you know, sitting in a sauna and sweating out, you know, pounds, I mean, for for Toronto, I was. Just to put it in perspective I lost. Let me think about this for a second. So don’t mess this up. I want to say I lost 20 pounds in a week for Toronto or the Europa. And then for Dallas, I had to lose like another like 14
Brady Speth 35:42
Cody Montgomery 35:42
it was already like me trying to not put on a bunch of weight after the show, because they were about 10 days apart. Oh, yeah. So you’re already very, very close. And for Dallas, I just looked wiped out. And that was like, wow, like my physique. Just, you know, it was the first time that I hadn’t tried to make weight, you know, other than when I turned pro at USA, and I didn’t really you know, you just think you’re, you know, your mind stronger than your body at some point. You know, and you really like, times I get, you know, a big factor, right. So when you’re pulling water, and you’re pushing water and doing all that stuff. So I decided like, you know, I’m never going to do this. Again, this is brutal. I literally feel like because the whole reason I did 212 was to try to like be healthier and not have to put on as much muscle and kind of be like a more like, classic, I would have to weigh like 180-190lbs. And I could you know, I’d have to lose a lot of muscle, but to 12 I was like, okay, that’s a little bit more realistic. I mean, lean right. And yeah, it was, it was brutal. So opens, opens, you know, what my focus is, I competed at the 2018 Japan Pro open class, which was my last show, which was a big confidence booster, because I just come off surgery. And I basically came from 210 pounds to compete with some monsters at that show. And got fourth place. So
Brady Speth 36:59
yeah, you saw some of the pictures and stuff of that one. So
Cody Montgomery 37:02
thank you. Yeah, I mean, it was it was just one of those years where I had my back against the wall, and I had to, you know, how to get my stuff together. because like you said, you know, these body the stage everything for us, you know, our sponsors need it. And, you know, we need it. And, you know, it was just hard, you know, I had kids, man, so it’s like, Holy moly, you know, I got a lot of life changes, but I was like, I got to do this, you know, I got to do for my kids, if anything else. So, you know, I’m kind of in that spot again. Now just because corona’s kind of thrown throwing me off my game. I’m sure everyone off their game. So you know, I’m really looking forward to getting back on stage this summer, just kind of making the statement that like, I’m not retired, like,
Brady Speth 37:39
What’s your ideal weight then in the open? So obviously, 212’s a stretch? What do you like to be at? What’s
Cody Montgomery 37:44
I mean? Like, I mean, what I like to be at, I probably need to be more like 240s you know, on stage, I’ve been more like 220s on stage in the past maybe 230 like the Arnold Classic. And 2016 was probably my biggest onstage weight and probably Australia’s a little bit heavier. So, 230s heaviest I have ever been so if I could be like 245 or maybe 248 or something like that? It’s getting heavier, but you know, that you know, like, but realistically, I need to be 260 offseason. Yeah, you know, and I’m like, I my body likes to sit right around like 230 to 240 it’s really hard for me to get over 240 I just eat like, I’m like a mofo and I gotta, like, you know, sleep. And I, you know, that’s the other thing with kids now, it’s like, you know, I, you know, I definitely can still sleep compared to some of the stories I hear. But, you know, it is, you know, it’s, it’s that definitely a factor, you know, especially when, when I was prepping for essays, and my job was basically, other than I was in a little bit of summer school at the time, when I was in college. I, I slept so long. I mean, it was like, kinda like, I mean, you tell a normal person, they think you’re a bum, you know, but yeah, it’d be like, I go to the gym, do my cardio in the morning and I come home and I’m like, so tired. I pass out for two hours, wake up, eat again, go to the gym, you know? Which, going back to like the goal, like your whole schedule thing is really bad and offseason because putting on muscle is the easy part. It’s the stripping away muscle
Brady Speth 39:20
and start cutting weight. Yep.
Cody Montgomery 39:22
Yeah. So then it’s like you talk about a day then and you’re like, Okay, wow, yeah. Because I mean, realistically, a lot of times I’m having to travel You know, when, obviously not last year, but normal time travel, and do my cardio of all reading and do my meals. That’s when it gets really stressful. That’s when it’s really like, I try not to travel too close to the show because I just get so this
Brady Speth 39:49
unravels everything Oh,
Cody Montgomery 39:50
yeah, cuz you put months into it. You don’t want to, you know, have one that week and mess it up, you know?
Brady Speth 39:56
Go I’m curious a little bit. I know a little bit. So I’m gonna let you speak on this one. But go a little bit into judging. I think that kind of interests me. And I think people would understand because, like you said, it’s not just the being the biggest being the, you know, it’s about symmetry, it’s about definition, it’s about kind of,
Cody Montgomery 40:12
it’s definitely, um, you know, they have a, they have a panel of judges. So, I mean, the thing about bodybuilding is very subjective. So, of course, like, its opinion, so, you know, you got apples and oranges, and you got pears and you got, you know, bananas, what do you like, you know, what I mean? So, it’s kind of like that, and it depends on, obviously, you know, who’s, you know, organization, etc, you know, some certain, you know, judges like certain things, but for the, for the most part, you know, it’s a well balanced approach the scoring system, they have, you know, they use symmetry they use. Yeah, they actually use posing rounds now, for some of them. So, like, depending on, you know, like, how well that you pose in your, your free, free posing routine. And, you know, so size is obviously one of those factors, but it’s not everything. And to me, I mean, I have a very trained eye now. So me looking at a stage I can pick, pick stuff apart. But to me, I always think, like, you know, if you saw three guys, which one would you want to look like the most? And sometimes that’s not always true, because you’re like, man, I wouldn’t want to have glutes that are that striated. But if you think of it from a bodybuilders perspective, yeah, you know, I mean, that’s a weird, it’s for a common person. That’s weird. Flex Lewis, like one of my favorite bodybuilders ever growing up, and you mentioned Jay Cutler before that, yeah, he’s another one of mine. But flexible. This is one of my huge inspirations. And I just remember, like, I was a kid, and I was like, envious of his glutes, man. I mean, that’s like, because that was one of his trademarks. Because, yeah, conditioning. And when he turned around, nobody else had that. So it’s like, it’s gonna win that shot. You know, and it’s gonna, it’s gonna stand them out in the line, you know, and that’s kind of that’s kind of like the thing. It’s like, you want to stand out, you know, you want to be the first person hit your shot, you want to be the last person out of it, you want to look like you’re having fun, you want to look like you have a smile on your face. Whether you’re, you know, feeling miserable, which most of the time you are, because you’re, you know, having a drink in a day. And the sad part, not sad part, but the cliche part about bodybuilding is the better you look the worse you feel, right. That’s kind of the same that goes around, you know, if you’re like, Oh, I’m a week out. I feel like hell, they’re like, you’re gonna win.
Brady Speth 42:27
a horrible way to go about it.
Cody Montgomery 42:28
You know what I mean? Yeah, and you see a guy walk into like, to weigh ins like barely walking, you’re like, Okay, that guy’s about.
Brady Speth 42:36
Cody Montgomery 42:36
Yeah. 24 hours to eat before he gets on stage. Once he weighs in, he’s gonna be huge, because, you know, he just sacrificed and suffered so much.
Brady Speth 42:43
right, barely moving. Yeah. Yeah. The yeah, I think that the hard part to like you said is the subjective side of that, because you can feel like you’re crushing it. And then, you know, it’s, it’s subjective.
Cody Montgomery 42:57
And to be completely honest, and fair. You know, there’s a lot of divisions, obviously, there’s bikini, there’s figure, there’s, yeah, there’s Men’s Physique. There’s classic physique, there’s 212, there’s open, there’s women’s body would be so many different categories. I think some of those categories would be so dang hard to judge, you know, so I gave a lot of props to the judges, because they have a hard job. And in case there is, like I said, you know, a very validated, you know, system that they go through and a way of, you know, all the all the numbers kind of meshing together. So it’s like, you know, a bunch of people’s opinion, not just one person.
Brady Speth 43:29
Cody Montgomery 43:30
Cuz I mean, you know, a viewer might think, oh, there’s like one person, you know, sitting there that’s like, that person wins. It’s like, it’s not like a panel, Board of people, and especially at some of the bigger shows, they’ll have even more, you know, of a board of people and stuff like that, so.
Brady Speth 43:46
Well, I appreciate it, man. We’ll, uh, we’ll let you go. I know, obviously, your your days crammed full. So I appreciate your time. I definitely will keep up with your schedule. I think it’d be cool to have you on again, maybe a show or maybe just have post show cuz I think Yeah,
Cody Montgomery 44:01
yeah. Like, like not, not to cut you off. But like, the big thing for me and like, coming on, even on here. I think there’s such a connection with fitness and firearms. And I’ve seen just in the last couple of years of, you know, me posting stuff that I like, people go Holy shit, you know that? Oh, yeah. You know, it’s awesome. You know? And, you know, it’s, it’s really awesome, just to see the community. You know, especially in times like these, you know, we all need to be together on stuff and just to spread awareness man, because I really think you know, there’s so many good people, man that I’ve met through, you know, like Joshua Coburn, and like, we were talking about Bartolo, and so many great people in this industry, man, and it’s been such a, such a breath of fresh air from what I do every day. So, you know, I’m, I’m, you know, a huge advocate for all of it. And, you know, I really appreciate you having me on here. Like I said, you know, because hopefully it’ll bring, you know, even posted to my, to my followers and bring some awareness to your brand and, you know, to more of the to 2A community That, which is, you know, what I’m all about, which is, you know, worked with Brownells. And, you know, some of the other companies and bringing, you know, fitness, you know, to firearms, because I do think that there’s such correlation. But
Brady Speth 45:11
yeah, and there’s a huge crossover with that. And that’s something that I don’t think a lot of people kind of put together. But a lot of people think that you’re, you know, not to dig too deep back into this, but a lot of people go go down the road of like, well, I’m prepared, I’m ready to protect myself, but they’re, you know, 150 200 pounds overweight, like, well, you got a gun, but you’re gonna last about three seconds in a fight before you wind out, you know, so
Cody Montgomery 45:34
you did the tactical games, too,
Brady Speth 45:36
Cody Montgomery 45:37
that was very cool. I was actually gonna do that at some point. I mean, I’d probably get my ass kicked to be completely honest. Because I mean, that is real world stuff. That’s to me, why I got so intrigued with all of it, because I was like, you know, I’m always lifting weights doing this, and that whatever left and right. But I was like, wow, this is like real world stuff. You know, and I went, I took, you know, real world tactical Tony’s when took one of his classes, and it just, you know, it was just, I just have so much respect for, you know, everybody in this field. And especially because, you know, I mean, it’s something that’s, you know, they’re, they are, you know, what they are, but it’s like, I feel like, you know, like, some of these companies are offering stuff that changes people’s life. So as far as, you know, life saving things, you know, like, just like, Shot Show it’s just, you know, such a vital area of America and not even America, but just to society. And in general, you know, yeah. weapons and defense, you know, so it’s very good. Well,
Brady Speth 46:33
Let me know, man, we’re, we’re trained up for the tactical games, and we’re gonna do it again. We got a there’s one actually here in Arizona later this year. It probably will conflict with your show schedule, but we’ll get together man, I’d love to.
Cody Montgomery 46:46
That’d be very cool.
Brady Speth 46:47
The Yeah, that’d be a ton of fun. Real quick, we like to do this little five question rapid fire thing here at the end. So I’m gonna put you on the spot real quick. And you gotta it’s just a fun thing we do kind of a little. See where people’s heads are at. So, first thing comes to mind. You got to shout these out for me. So if you had one superpower, what would it be?
Cody Montgomery 47:08
It would be to tell the future 100%
Brady Speth 47:11
the first one I like that.
The if you could sit down I was gonna say a beer. But we’ll go with that. You could sit down and have some salmon and chicken breast with one person. Who would it be past present or future? Anybody? You name it?
Cody Montgomery 47:34
I would say this is gonna piss off a lot of people but Donald Trump.
Brady Speth 47:41
Nice. Here’s a back to the food thing here. If you could eat one food or had the one food for the rest of your life, what’s it gonna be? It could be a genre food too. You don’t got to pick this one.
Cody Montgomery 47:56
It probably has to be something with red meat for sure. Something around the cow like a burger I could eat for the rest of my life.
Brady Speth 48:05
What would the title of your biography be?
Cody Montgomery 48:09
Oh, man, that’s that’s what I never thought about.
titled my biography. No, I don’t know. I was gonna say something silly, but I’ll throw it out there. Man that could have
Brady Speth 48:26
could have been. I think we’ve got one of those. I’ll give you a pass on that one. I’ll let you think about that one for next time. You got to spend it right now on something. If if I gave you a million dollars cash, what do you buy in?
Cody Montgomery 48:41
piece of land out here in Florida?
Brady Speth 48:43
Nice. I like it. Yeah, we had a guy the other day say he would buy what a barn. He’s like a barn. Random.
Cody Montgomery 48:51
Technically, you’re buying land?
Brady Speth 48:52
Yeah. And then he was like, What? I put a gym and I put on. Okay, it makes sense. He put a whole bunch of cool shit in it.
Cody Montgomery 48:59
But I mean, I definitely would have that on my land. Yeah, exactly.
Brady Speth 49:01
So yeah, that’s why I care to buy it. So. Well. I appreciate it, man. Thank you for jumping on here. Good luck this year. Hopefully you kind of get back into the swing of things. And then we’ll kind of keep us in the loop. And like I said, I’d love to have you on kind of pre post competition a little bit and kind of hear a little bit of your stories that kind of go through that.
Cody Montgomery 49:20
I appreciate you guys having me on.
Brady Speth 49:21
So thanks, man. We will we’ll talk to you later.
Riton Optics 49:33
Thank you for listening to the Riton podcast. Please like, subscribe and review. For more information on RIton Optics visit us at ritonoptics.com that’s r-i-t-o-noptics.com
HUNTING IN CO
Written by ExpertVoice Member, Travis Mansfield
I was sitting in my office in June of 2020 when I got a text message. Looking at my phone, I saw the text, “I drew”. This text was followed by a second text, “Me too”, and a third text, “I got a tag, too.” I hadn’t seen the email from Colorado Parks and Wildlife telling me I had drawn a tag; but I didn’t need to. The other three had drawn elk permits using a preference point each. I had two points; if they drew, I had to have drawn.
News spread quickly that we had four elk tags for Colorado in October. The numbers of those wanting to attend camp quickly started to grow. From the four of us that drew tags, the number quickly became seventeen. That day in June soon turned into mid-October, when the time for the trek to camp in beautiful Brown’s Park, Colorado came.
Trucks filled with campers, and pulling trailers packed to the gills with everything needed for a week of camping and hunting began the trek to Colorado from Louisiana, Texas, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, California and Arizona. I had packed my Howa 1500 HS-Precision rifle in 300 PRC, complete with my Riton RT-S Mod 5 Gen 2 6-24×50 scope. This was my elk rifle.
Little did we know what awaited us. Two consecutive nights of sub-zero temperatures, snow, wildfires, frozen food and water, and, most frustrating of all, no elk. Whiles this sounds like an unsuccessful hunt; in terms of putting meat in the freezer, it was. In terms of meeting new people and making life-long friends, it was anything but unsuccessful.
Campers worked in harmony to ensure that there was enough food prepared for all to eat, enough warm beds and tents for all to sleep, and opportunities for those that weren’t hunting to experience the beauty of the area. Veteran campers gave tours of nearby native American ruins to newcomers. My 14-year-old nephew, who loves to fish, was guided to a spot on the Green river where he caught his largest fish, and 18 inch brown trout. Two fellow campers came upon a hitchhiker in the middle of a blizzard and drove him to safety, probably saving his life.
As we were breaking camp and getting ready to leave, I found myself apologizing to some about the lousy, cold, we weather and the lack of elk. Every person to whom I found myself making these remarks told me what a great time they had, and how they couldn’t wait to come back next year. These are memories that will last me a lifetime. What an amazing week.
On this episode of the Riton Podcast, Riton CEO and host Brady Speth celebrates Cinco De Mayo with long time friend Matt Metzger. Take a listen to the crazy stories these two have had as well as great information on what 3 gun competitions look like.
Be The Riton Revolution
Brady Speth 0:08
Welcome to the Riton podcast as you can see by the decorations in the podcast booth today. It is our cinco de mayo episode. So we we decided to decorate it up. I tried to get some sombreros and stuff, but that was overruled. So get me in my Riton gear and the studio looking like Cinco de Mayo,
And some margaritas so we’re good to go. My guest today, Matt Metzger. The I was kind of thinking how I was gonna introduce Matt, because we’ve known each other for a long time, he holds the distinction actually, of being the first sponsored shooter for Riton Optics. So that’s something cool that we can kind of look back on. We’ve been kind of BS in a little bit here before we went live. So welcome to the show, Matt.
Matt Metzger 0:52
Thanks, man. It’s been, it’s been great hearing you guys, kind of, especially with 2021. And everything that you guys are releasing with the university, the podcast has been great to be able to follow you guys.
Brady Speth 1:05
Thanks, dude, I appreciate it. The It’s been a long growth, which is funny, because you’ve been kind of a part of it, just some of the stories we’re sitting here talking about. So he just brought up Alaska, and we did up there that I completely forgot about, there’s been a lot. So talk a little bit, I kinda want to talk about competition shooting, because that’s kind of that’s what brought us together a little bit. And that’s kind of what we’ve been sponsoring your side of the house. What are you in now? What is it you’re doing?
Matt Metzger 1:30
Kind of like what I mentioned, I’m a jack of all trades, master of none. So, actually, when we first met, was really when we started doing, I was working for an apparel company. And I was running the outdoor brand. And I was getting into three gun to use it as a marketing aspect, a marketing avenue. And that’s when I started competing. And I started out in three gun, which is usually what a lot of people work up to. You work up to the three guns because you kind of kind of have to work on all of them. I jumped right in to three gun and started going with that. Now I’m doing a lot more with shotgun, doing some skeet trap. sporting clays is a big, big one that I’m getting into now. Especially at my home club. They’ve got an amazing sporting clays facility. And it’s it’s great to go out there and shoot. And then just recently, I’ve been doing some of the prs 22 matches. So I’m getting started into that getting, I guess, once again, I’m diving in with both feet,
Brady Speth 2:35
like the deep end.
Matt Metzger 2:36
Yeah, I mean, if you’re gonna go for it, you might as well go for it. But I’ll marry that into the NRL 22. And then I’ll work my way up to the centerfire prs.
Brady Speth 2:46
Nice. So let’s talk about that real quick. So you have a background you were in the Marines, you have obviously not like brand new to rifles, but what’s it like showing up to that first three gun match, when you have never competed at that before?
Matt Metzger 2:59
So it’s kind of weird. So like everybody, they see me as like the gun guy, especially now. Like I walk into the office and, you know, walk in the office and everybody Oh, that’s, you know, you got a question about a gun, you got to go talk to Matt. Yeah. So it’s, it’s not something that’s always been there for me. I mean, I grew up when I was shooting the BB guns and stuff like that in the backyard. But I lived in town. So there really wasn’t a lot like the stuff that I was doing. When I was a kid I you’d never be able to get away with. I grew up in a small farm town. So it wasn’t really that big of a deal. But I mean, I didn’t own I was already in the Marines. And on the back end of my contract before I bought my first handgun, really. So I was basically on my way out before even really getting involved with that at all. And so it was really kind of like a slow step progression and being working for the apparel company. I immersed myself into the gun industry because it was a good avenue for business for me.
Brady Speth 3:58
Matt Metzger 3:58
So I really got to know like companies like yourself, and you know, a lot of them that are out there from the big guys to the small guys. So I really got entrenched really got interested in it started shooting more regularly. And I just got tired of the I’m gonna stay at the range and point and shoot. So I wanted something a little bit more dynamic, something that was involved with transitions, things like that. I was working with some training companies, and turns out that it was like a militia. And I was like, yeah, you know, this isn’t this isn’t my cup of tea right now. So, you know, so I, yeah, I was like, you know, I’m gonna go and challenge as always, you know, competition is always a big challenge for me, and I’m very competitive. So going to three gun route was was something that I was like, You know what, it’s a dynamic range day. And for a lot of the club matches, it’s like 30 bucks. So you know, somebody else’s design and all this stuff for me. I don’t have to go out set it up do all this now a match director. So I am the one that’s going out and setting all that stuff out. Right? Yeah, that’s that’s basically how I started. It was a marketing venture for the company I was working for, and use that to kind of propel myself into a competitor on my own. Okay, so I just kind of branched off from there.
Brady Speth 5:18
Nice. So what a couple things with three gun that comes to mind. One is obviously the transition between you know, rifle, pistol shotgun. What’s the hardest for you?
Matt Metzger 5:32
So when I started, I didn’t know my head for my tails with a shotgun. I had like a Remington 870. Yeah, like nothing special. But when I was getting into three gun, I said, You know what, I’m going to save up and I’m going to buy you know, the Rolls Royce. I’m going out with that. Benelli M2, three gun edition. Everything all worked up. I’m just going to dive right in. Yeah. And so I saved up for so when I got it. I was absolutely horrible quad loading. I couldn’t load it. I couldn’t do anything. But eventually I worked and I worked and I worked and that’s now I would probably say my favorite which is why I’m now branching into the shotgun stuff. More like the I wouldn’t say necessarily like tactical shotgun matches but there’s other like shotgun only matches that are more three gun style. So it’s but it’s not like Skeeter trap. Yeah, so it’s a little bit different. But I’m looking forward to doing some of those and obviously right now with the ammo situation and the shotgun ammo is a little bit more available, less pricey than your 9mm or 223. So yeah, so it’s something that I’m I’m having fun with right now to
Brady Speth 6:41
the like the the thought of trying to master all three of those is tough to just jump in. because like you said, a lot of people come from the pistol competition world or the rifle competition world and then they put it all together. So that learning curve is
Matt Metzger 6:53
you know, it really humbled myself because I was like, I was a marine. I know how to work a rifle, like this is gonna be a piece of cake. Yeah, pistol, it’s not that easy. It’s not that hard. You just point and shoot. And then when you get into a match, and that timer goes off, everything kind of goes right out the window. So it’s like training yourself under pressure under stress. It’s It was definitely a humbling experience thinking you’re gonna walk in there and do fine. And, like, timeout on every stage. Yeah.
Brady Speth 7:26
Get through all of it.
Matt Metzger 7:27
Yeah, I was I was a rough couple of goes but it’s it’s worked itself out a little bit.
Brady Speth 7:31
You know, what’s crazy is we did the tactical games, we had a group that went up and did him in Utah. Price six, eight months ago now. And I’ve shot geez, hundreds of 1000s of rounds through pistols, right through, you know, military side, and then law enforcement and law enforcement training through the federal side. And I’m a good shot. I’ve got marshman I got expert martial every time right? But it’s it was sitting or it’s kneeling or it’s barricade. Then all sudden, I threw that three gun or the competition with tactical games in there. And I was like, holy shit, like,
Matt Metzger 8:00
Yeah, and that’s another level of crazy there. That’s that’s an insane,
Brady Speth 8:07
But to your point that that competition side is like, it’s amazing how quickly you get stripped back to those fundamentals. And usually they’re either there or they’re not.
Matt Metzger 8:16
It definitely is, you know, you’ve got, um, there’s a lot of schools of thought and arguments online, and I’m not going to get into it with it, which is like, is the competition good for the tactical training side? Yeah, it’s definitely a benefit. It’s not a replacement, but it’s definitely a benefit, because you do have that added stress. Yeah. So like I said, it can ignite all kinds of internet threads on there. You just search long enough? You’ll find them by Yeah, it’s not. I’m not saying that it’s a replacement for it. But yeah, definitely adds that stress factor.
Brady Speth 8:47
I personally like the stress side of it, because it quickly gets rid of all the fluff. There’s a lot of fluff when it comes to training when it comes to shooting. And if you want to know if that works, put it under some pressure. Go put it in a competition. That’s easy way to do it. You can’t get in a gunfight. Yeah, right. So go put it in some competition. That’s the only way to actually get your adrenaline up. That’s the weirdest I did a podcast the other day talking about some training and he was he’s an expert in like hand to hand and pistol and stuff like that. And that was one of the things we talked about was how do you simulate in training? that adrenaline dump that oh shit you know, fight or flight type thing when you’re just standing at the range in a range bay, you know, so I personally liked the competition side of them. It sucks the tactical games kick my ass, but it was worth it. Because it was like, wow, I thought I was doing pretty good.
Matt Metzger 9:33
That’s definitely something when you walk into it for the first time and you know, it’s something that we invite a lot of those people out. We’ve got guys that, you know, first time shooters in my club, we’ve got guys that have basically touch their firearm for the first time and they want to come out and shoot. Yeah, well walk before they can run. But at the same time, it’s like, you know if these guys can do it, and we invite the tactical people, hey, come out and test the skills that you’re training other people or that you’ve experience in a class come out and put it under that stress. See how you do so.
Brady Speth 10:04
So talk to me a little bit about i i’ve never shot with a bunch of guys within Riton that have on the 22 side that is so precise. And like the measurements of these guys, I’ve kind of seen some of the outcomes of competitions, and they’re talking like, minute fractions for the results of some of these competitions. Yeah,
Matt Metzger 10:25
it is, um, it’s definitely that precision side and not having the centerfire work up and like working your way down. I’ve only shot really one match with it. So far, we’ve had a couple train up days where we’re kind of practicing and simulating what a match would be. But actually getting in there and trying it out. Yeah, some of these some of these plate racks they have the know your limit plate racks you’re shooting at, basically a target the diameter of the 22. So like a half inch target. Yeah, he may only be shooting it at 50 yards or whatever. Yeah, yeah. I was one of the I think the four the last match that we had, where I was able to hit the 325 yard plate, which was a 12 by 12 plate. Yeah. 325 yards with a little 22 Yeah, I never would have thought that’s a possibility. But you know, some of the stuff is is tiny you’re doing it once again under stress, running the bolt fixing your malfunctions and and making it work. So
Brady Speth 11:26
the I think it’s crazy to some of the the rigs that these guys show up with because I think everybody naturally thinks, oh, it’s a 22 it’s it’s cheaper, it’s less expensive. I can get into it. Yeah, yes, and no, you can get into it with your Ruger 22 and go have some fun with your 1022. But some of these guys are running three, four or $5,000 22 setups,
Matt Metzger 11:47
it you know, it’s really amazing. So I kind of thought the same thing like, Oh, just go pick up a cheap gun. Yeah, you know, throw an optic on it, and I’ll be ready to go. It’s not quite that simple. What I do really like is prs separates their classes by open production basically off the value of the gun and the optic.
Brady Speth 12:05
Matt Metzger 12:06
So it’s, it’s something completely different in three gun, whereas three gun it’s more on how the the firearms operate. And optics, again, on, you know, pistol, and shot gun puts you in a different class, for instance, but with with the prs 22, it’s based on price. So you have like a $1500 limit, where you’re you’re maxed out and if you go over that, then it’s open class. Okay, so you do have those guys that are out there with their, you know, essentially like a budget build.
Brady Speth 12:33
Matt Metzger 12:33
And you go out there, and they’re competing in their own class, and I’m not really competing against those guys with those $5000
Brady Speth 12:40
Okay, that makes sense.
Matt Metzger 12:41
Yeah. I mean, you have those guys that are out there that they can put the rifle on a barricade, run the bolt and just lightly touch the trigger. And it’s it’s amazing to see the precision on some of this stuff, but from talking to a rimfire 22 you never would really expect it. But then again, you’re often not using your Remington Thunderbolt. Yes, it’s, it’s a little bit different. So yeah, I mean, my dad was surprised when I was telling him about this because I was like, come on, and get into it. Like, let’s see what you got it Oh, yeah. He’s like, well, how much do you pay? And I was like, well, this box cost me like 10 bucks. He’s like, for 22? And I was like, yeah, it’s it’s not like that. Yeah, so yes, definitely different different stuff that I’m taking my kids out shooting right then what I’m shooting with? Yeah.
Brady Speth 13:37
Talking about matches because you shoot in them but you run one as well. And we talked about that in a little bit. walk people through there’s a lot of people probably I’ve never competed in three gun. What’s a match look like? What are some of the actual shooting events look like what’s uh, obviously they vary from from competition competition, but just run through like a sort of stereotypical,
Matt Metzger 13:58
so it’s like, I guess it’s it, every match is different. You’re gonna have different styles based on geography based off of natural train, and based off of what the club has available. For instance, my club is typically just bay style matches 50 yard bays for eight of our stages, we typically have a 200 yard, jungle run area where we kind of mow out, we let the grass grow, we mow out a path. And we have that and then we have a 600 yard range. So then there’s a long range stage that we incorporate. But when you go into some of these other ones, like for instance, the Great Lakes match that I shoot every year, that is more of a natural terrain match, where you’re going through ravines and you go through the woods and you know, you’re gonna pass grandma’s house, but it’s shooting through trees, and it’s it’s a lot more of that dynamic of, well, this is what it would be like running through the jungle right now. So it’s different every match is different, you’re gonna have different flavors. But once you’ve been in it for a while, you’re going to realize, I like this match because it’s tailored this way. It’s more of a speed match where I’m shooting 32nd stages, you’ve got some of these endurance matches where the Blue Line match, for instance, it’s another charity match out there. It is more time on the clock in one stage, then you’ll be on the clock for an entire match.
Brady Speth 15:27
Matt Metzger 15:27
Oh, yeah. So you’ll be, you’ll be on on the clock. I think I haven’t shot the Blue Line. But I used to shoot Rock Hard. Bruce Davidson’s the match director was the match director for both of them. He’s still the match director forBlue Line. So he’s got that flair, but it’s extreme kind of endurance matches. They’re no joke. They’re tough. So but you’re on the clock, I don’t know if it’s part time, or two and a half minutes or five minutes. But in a normal three gun match a major match, If you’re on the clock for three minutes, you’re probably losing. We’re not gonna you’re not very quick. So one stage there is an entire match of shooting. Okay, so it’s, it’s a little bit different. Yeah.
Brady Speth 16:09
When so when you talk about the stages to just to kind of dive a little deeper into that, is it rifle only pistol only are a lot of the stages where you’re using all three of your guns in one stage.
Matt Metzger 16:20
A lot of them, I would say most of the stages that you’ll shoot in a three gun match will have three or you know, they’ll have multiple guns, I guess like once again, it’s kind of that flair of the match. A lot of them will have like, this is your pistol only stage for this match. This is your rifle. This is your shotgun only sometimes it’s just a rifle. Sometimes it’s rifle/shotgun. So it all depends on what they’ve got going for you. But most of time, you’re using at least two or more guns in a match or single stage.
Brady Speth 16:57
That’s fun. That makes it tricky. I know you grab a drink of water for a second before asking another question here. I know you run a an event. So why don’t you dig a little deeper into that. And it’s a charity event where I was a part of it. There’s a lot of good good groups that support that. So talk a little bit about what you run.
Unknown Speaker 17:14
Yeah, so I run the Mission 22, Multi Gun Championship, we hold it every year in September, we do it so all the proceeds go to Mission 22 is a nonprofit organization, the money raised for the organization, not just by us, but throughout the country. It’s a nationwide organization. They create programs for veterans, and then those programs are meant to find an avenue to prevent suicide. So it’s something you know, serving in the military, having lost friends to suicide, it’s something that’s really near and dear to my heart. Because you know, 22 Yeah, there’s just too many, right? So
Brady Speth 17:56
So and for those of you don’t know that 22, kind of 22 a day, which is kind of the average, unfortunately, the average rate of veteran suicide. So everything that goes into that, man, we’re always happy to help. So thank you for stepping up and being a part of that and running that. So that’s super cool.
Matt Metzger 18:11
Thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah, it’s something that we’ve been running for a couple years now we got, we got guys really all across the country that come out for it. It’s in Illinois, which the communist state of Illinois, but we run a different aspect to it too. So there’s obviously that match the match the single participant aspect of it, everybody wants to win their division. But we also hold a state match, so to speak. So we take top five competitors from each state. And they form a state team, per se, as we add up the points. And the top points is the top team for that year. So there’s special designation for the top team. And then just making the state team there’s a lot of people that are just trying to make the state team as a goal of theirs, because it’s it’s a great time. So I said something different that we always like to use as like bragging rights. Yeah, Missouri is going to be talking crap to Michigan, and I’m definitely there to fuel that fire.
Brady Speth 19:16
what you? come on? Yeah. So a glimpse into and I know, obviously, you have a life and kids and families and what’s it like to try to get to these events? How much time do you put in to training to get into the range? And then we you know, what would you like to be putting in to get to a level of you know, what, what does it actually take, I think is what I’m getting at,
Matt Metzger 19:38
what it actually takes is a lot more than what I can provide.
Brady Speth 19:41
Matt Metzger 19:42
You know, I’m a real estate agent. And my day job and a lot of that stuff takes place on nights and weekends and scheduling and I got a wife and two kids and just got my kids into jujitsu and stuff like that. So they’re they’re out there rolling around, and I really want to encourage that and encourage their growth and different social aspects and physical aspects to with COVID shut downs and things like that they haven’t gotten out of the house either.
Brady Speth 20:07
Matt Metzger 20:08
So taking time away from real estate activities that typically happen night and weekends is really kind of difficult. So, luckily, the brokerage that I work for, we really operate well as a team. So even today, when I was flying, and I had another agent that is in the same office with me covering a showing for me, okay, I know I’ve got some of that back up. And we all work together. I mean, she was in she was in Vegas, and I was covering showings for her so it’s a it’s a definitely a team mentality where work, which, which really helps, yeah, because I wouldn’t be able to do it all on my own and shoot as many matches a year as I do without help, you know, without things like that. Yeah. So juggling it all is difficult. I don’t get to go out as often as I’d like. like to say that I use my club matches as practice but yeah, it’s not really a good thing. Maybe the club matches that I put on because I really don’t don’t care where I score. Yeah, we got a lot of great guys. Yeah, it’s just practice and really proving a lot of the stages for how well did we do you know, so that’s that’s kind of like a satisfaction aspect there. But you know, I shoot the Indiana Multi Gun Series, that’s a great one. I like shooting that. It’s a whole point series too nice. And I filter it with some different club matches, and then the majors are where I go out, but I never get enough time to practice beforehand, with ammo cost me and the way it is, it’s probably gonna be even less a lot more dry fire time.
Brady Speth 21:38
Right. Trigger control. Working on that.
Matt Metzger 21:40
Brady Speth 21:41
The because that’s one of the hard things I think we all struggle with is take away the ammo prices, just this. It’s not one of those sports, like I picked up archery recently, right. So I’ve always hunted my entire life. We finally got like, I got into archery this year, I got my first archery hunt under my belt. But I can do that here. We have an archery range next to the building, right? I can’t just shoot, I can’t practice shotgun in the backyard. You know. So that’s one of the hard things about that sport is you have to have the dedication to get out you have to constantly getting out getting to the range, get to a range, and a lot of times that’s not easy. Take away ammo prices and all that other shit. You know,
Matt Metzger 22:15
yeah, you got a lot of the top guys that shoot three gun that are lucky enough to live on a farm, you know, some acreage for me. I live in suburbia, you know, I’m on less than a quarter acre. So luckily for me, it’s only a half hour drive to the club. Okay, but it’s still a half hour drive there half hour drive back, you know, yeah. So it definitely adds up.
Brady Speth 22:39
The where would you like to go? Is this something that just kind of fun? And you’re, you’re happy right now with doing that? Or is this something you’re trying to, I mean, where do you find that extra time and you know,
Matt Metzger 22:49
right now juggling it, it’s, you know, for for a while, when I was working for the apparel company, it was, it was a job. So it was, you know, all that travel and stuff was was kind of calculated into the work time and, you know, getting better. And, you know, luckily back then I was able to get some ammo paid for, get travel expenses paid for now that things are kind of out of pocket. You know, it’s really a time where I’m, I’m having fun, and I’m still improving my craft. So as long as I can go out there, I can continue to see improvements in myself. And I’m getting better. I’m reaching a couple you know, I get a lot of the guys that I shoot with regular in the Indiana Multi Gun Series. You know, we’re all big shit talkers. Right? Yeah. It’s just like being in the military. You’re all shit talk to each other. So when I’m finishing out I know, a couple of top slots in a match every year. Yeah, I’m happy with that. I’m qualifying for the shoot offs. I’m happy with that. So, you know, um, you know, the only match that I’ve actually won was that Alaska match winner an FN AR from it. But you know, that’s the one thing that I hold on to is like, well, I want that match in Alaska.
Brady Speth 23:59
So we were we were talking about that before the show. So it’s funny that two sides to the same story. So my side of this Alaska event that we were at was apparently different than yours. So it was what time of year was that it had been summer
Matt Metzger 24:14
June, June, right? It was fine. I was I remember, I was gone for Father’s Day.
Brady Speth 24:18
Okay, so it’s June, actually, I had a buddy that was stationed up there in the Air Force. So I was crashing at his place. We had an event up there. And I literally in this panic, I wake up at like, 2am right. And I look out it’s brightest shit. And I’m like, Oh, dude, we we missed the event. Because I’m like, thinking I was supposed to be there at 7am like events like Oh, shit, if it’s this bright out, it’s got to be like noon, right? So I jump up, I get dressed. Apparently I was making a shit ton of noise. Cuz I’m on the second floor. I get dressed like I’m running down. And my buddy like, walks out his bedroom. He’s like, Dude, what are you doing? And he’s half asleep. I was like, Let’s go, you know, grab your stuff. Let’s go and he was like, Dude, it’s 2am. And I was like, What? What? What is happening right now. I was like, Oh, the midnight sun. And I’m pretty sure that’s what the event was called.
Unknown Speaker 25:05
Yeah, it was midnight shine, because I noticed, you know, the sun doesn’t set. But you know, your story sounds a lot more responsible than my story. My story. I was actually lucky I went up there with with my boss who was my chief operating officer, or marketing officer, excuse me. So we were up there. It was nice, because he’s like, yeah, I’m gonna, I’m gonna go to Alaska. And I remember what we were doing. I think we went out to dinner. And then we went out, but I remember getting back at 2am and seeing the sun in the windows, and I was like, Man, it’s two o’clock in the morning, and it’s still bright outside. So this is pretty crazy. I guess I should probably get some shut eye before this event.
Brady Speth 25:49
just waking up in a pancic. You’re like, man, I got five hours of sleep. This will be perfect.
Matt Metzger 25:53
Yeah, there’s, yeah, don’t even get me started on SHOT Show.
Brady Speth 25:58
Oh, man, we’ve had some fun times. So we’ve done. We’ve done some other events I was thinking about when we did in Atlanta. I think it was like an NRA or something. I remember and neither of us are fans of humidity. Like I’ll be I’ll go on record and say that right now. I’ve been stationed in Mississippi, I went to the Federal Academy in southern Georgia. I hate humidity. That’s why I live in Arizona. And I remember we both walk into this event in Atlanta, just sweating our asses off. And I was like, Dude, why are we here? This is so miserable. We’ve had some we’ve been doing this for a while this has been fun. So I’ll kind of before we reminisce too much on stories people don’t probably want to hear besides making you laugh. I just wanna say thanks, man, you’ve been a huge help for Riton. I appreciate your loyalty to go on record and say that right now the math been a huge help for calling and saying hey, man, this doesn’t work on this scope. Or what if we did this, or Hey, I beat the shit out of it. And it did this, but it didn’t do that. And you’ve been a big part of our kind of our growth of our production and our product development. And even to this day, you still talk with Jeremiah, product development, guys. And so thank you, because that’s been a huge, huge growth for our company is having guys like you out there beating the hell out of our stuff. And if you let me look at the camera and say this, if you want your shit beat up, give it to a former Marine and let him go to three gun and he will find out what doesn’t work
Find out what doesn’t work real quick. Yeah,
Matt Metzger 27:18
you know, that’s, that’s definitely something you’re doing some, Well, I mean, even this, this, this match. I’m running. I’m still running a prototype 1-8 that you gave me a couple years. Yeah, it’s still going strong. So it’s like, you know, it’s it’s unbelievable. And I’m the first one to call up and say, Hey, this is wrong with this. Yeah, this is wrong with that. You need to fix this. But yeah, I’m still running one from two years ago that was a prototype.
Brady Speth 27:47
I remember though, like, hey, check this out. Tell me what you think. So
Matt Metzger 27:49
yeah, two years later, I’m still running it.
Brady Speth 27:52
So but now I appreciate that, man. I know, I know your friends, a lot of people in this industry and you could probably work a lot of other optics companies. So it’s not lost on me the loyalty and I appreciate that.
Matt Metzger 28:01
I appreciate that. And I appreciate you guys support too. I mean, Riton is a family. Yeah. So one thing you see all the trade shows at all of the events that are out there everybody that’s on your crew is a family Yeah. And that’s what makes me bring it on to it is because I’m I’m like I said I’ve been loyal to you. I’m loyal with all my sponsors. I’m not somebody that jumps around, you know, sponsors here and there every year. So a lot of them I’ve had since I started getting sponsors so it’s something that I hold true that like a you take care of me I want to take care of you and however, it’s benefiting a mutually beneficial relationship is where I am happy.
Brady Speth 28:41
Nice dude, appreciate it. Well, don’t worry, we got a new patriotic for his his one day. So we’ll maybe you send that other one back. And we’ll we’ll put it up beat up and scratched and yeah. We’ll put that one at the front room. So you’ve listened to the podcast before so before we close out, I get a I get to ask you our fast fire five questions here. So I know you prepared for this because you listened to it. So Alright, here you go. You know the rules. If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Matt Metzger 29:08
It’s a Sunday school answer, but it’s flying.
Brady Speth 29:10
Now. That’s a good answer. I like that one. If you could have margaritas on Cinco de Mayo with one person, who would it be?
Matt Metzger 29:20
So as a mutual friend of ours, I think I’d have to go with Ron Bellan. Nice. Still, to this day, the best Super Bowl I ever had. We were in Pennsylvania for the Great American Outdoor Show. It was my first time meeting Ron. And it was me and my sales manager at the time. And Ron and he recruited like 10 of the Dodge Ram cheerleader model girls that were there. and we are eating in this Bdubs and it was like it was just the best conversation. It’s like, you know, Ron passed away a couple years ago and it was it was hard for everybody who knew him because they knew how great of a guy he was.
Brady Speth 30:01
that’s a great answer. Dude, you get tugged on my heartstrings on that one. Ron was a great dude. So if you don’t know look up look up Ron Bellan and you can google his name the guy the sacrifices he made for this country and he was a great dude so good answer man. Now hate to go on with more questions got to end it right there. Getting all emotional um, if you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what are you picking?
Matt Metzger 30:26
I probably have to go stay. Yeah, I built a big outdoor kitchen and I’ve got a I’ve got a smoker on there go into the Blackstone flat top grills, I got a nice gas grill out there. So it’s something I make a lot and I’m perfecting it every, every time I try. So you guys heard that steaks at Matt’s house?
Brady Speth 30:50
What is the title of your biography gonna be?
Matt Metzger 30:55
The title will be the amazing adventures of an ordinary guy. Because I’ve done a lot of crazy shit, that people don’t believe. That, that people don’t believe. But it’s hard to believe that I’ve done everything I’d done. It’s I’ve been blessed in that fact. And yeah, I’m no different from anybody else walking down the street. So I’ve been extremely lucky.
Brady Speth 31:19
That’s a good one. He can’t say build an outdoor kitchen. But what’s the first thing you’re gonna do? You have to buy something, you got to spend it today. If I give you a million dollars, right now.
Unknown Speaker 31:28
Normally, I’d say rental properties because I’m a real estate agent. And I see. And I know that where that money is, but it’s uh, it’s gotta be a big gun guy. I’m always buying guns. Nice. My wife when I finished my gun room, my wife was like, when did you get this one? And when did you get that one? I don’t I remember seeing this one before. I was like, Oh, yeah, I won that one. Don’t worry. She’s gonna hear this now and be like, Oh, good one.
Brady Speth 31:57
Don’t listen, that’s why Okay, what gun go with one specific what’s what gun is the dream gun that you don’t have it?
Matt Metzger 32:07
I would build a a centerfire 65 creedmoor setup for prs. Okay. That’s probably the next long term, gun that I’ll be be looking at. But like, that’s a little ways away.
Brady Speth 32:24
Nice. I like it, dude. Well, thanks for being a friend. Thanks for being its friend of Riton. So and thanks for coming to Tucson and actually being a part of the podcast in person, man. Yeah.
Matt Metzger 32:32
Happy cinco de mayo.
Brady Speth 32:33
Cheers, buddy. So thanks for being here. And good luck. I guess Good luck in the competition tomorrow. Thanks, man. Have fun with your seven year seven stages of one day. I’ll talk to you tomorrow. Let me know how that goes. Yeah, but no, I appreciate it and report back next time. We’ll say he did. Alright. Thanks, man. Cool. Thank you.
Riton Optics 32:58
Thank you for listening to the Riton podcast. Please like, subscribe and review. For more information on Riton Optics. Visit us at ritonoptics calm. That’s R-I-T-O-Noptics.com
On this episode of the Riton Podcast, Jerimiah Alexander, sits down with Andrew Binder, Navy Veteran, social engineer and hacker.
Be The Riton Revolution.
Jerimiah Alexander 0:08
Alright guys, welcome back to the Riton Podcast today we’re joined by Andrew Bindner, and he has a really cool fancy title. At the end of the day. He’s a hacker for the good guys. And not just a hacker and maybe in the traditional sense, but I’m gonna let him kind of explain his past and career, whatever, but we’re excited to talk to you and have you here with us. Kinda, let’s let’s get the elevator pitch on Mr. Bindner here.
Oh, eh, you know, thanks for having me, Jeremiah, I really appreciate it. But, yep, the fancy title is senior red team, consultant. And ultimately, I do all the stuff that the bad guys do. So we go out and we hack computer systems, and we do social engineering and we break into buildings. And if it’s got wheels, we’ll take over it. And if it’s got a computer system, we’ll modify the ones and zeros to get it to do what we want and then to our will. You know, and yes, it is a whole lot of fun. But ultimately, it’s just because we we like to think we look at things a little differently. So let’s see a bit about my background. 20 plus years ago or so somewhere in there, I started out in the military went to the Navy, go Navy beat army. know you’re probably gonna catch a lot of shit for your podcast for that, but
Jerimiah Alexander 1:32
Oh no our guy’s Air Force.
But I was. So I was a cryptographer, doing wireless intercept crypto encryption decryption type things for
Jerimiah Alexander 1:44
Is that just as messages come through, you catch them and then decipher and basically, is that what that would mean?
More or less
Jerimiah Alexander 1:51
And then you did that for the Navy?
Jerimiah Alexander 1:54
Nice. So I mean, that’s kind of that sounds like like active duty. Kind of like you’re, you’re, you’re catching the bad guy signal, right? Not just some random signal, you’re, you’re getting that Intel for our guys on the ground are kinda that that explain it?
Yes, more or less. That’s, that’s the easy way to put it. Yes, we’re intercepting the bad things and trying to sift through and do that. I mean, there’s there’s heavy regulations on what we could and couldn’t do and what we could and couldn’t report on. And we always made sure that we were not intercepting U.S. communications or whatever, if anything, anytime that ever happened, we immediately scrubbed everything, everything was gone deleted. And, but yeah, it was all in pursuit of the bad guys. In some of the communications that we would intercept, like, there was times where I tracked network signal all the way to like Jakarta to stop a child smuggling ring. And you know, it, it definitely by the end of the day, even though you couldn’t talk about what actually transpired and how you did the things, you walked away from it with a real sense of accomplishment, and knowing what you’re doing was really helping people, both at home and across the world.
Jerimiah Alexander 3:11
Did you learn those skills in the Navy? Or did you did you come to the Navy with some of those skills already are a little both or?
No, I learned? Let’s call it a 10th. Of what I know, the technical side, networking, communications, those types of things. Yeah, that I learned in in the Navy, but there isn’t, I mean, especially when I was getting off of active duty and transitioning to reserves. The NSA, I worked with them, I worked with a bunch of the other three letter alphabet soups in the Washington DC area. And they had programs. So you know, they teach you the kind of the little one thing here to do the special program or go work in this special access space and do that. But ultimately, I stopped caring. But I don’t think that’s probably the proper way to say it. But I started dabbling, and doing things that I probably shouldn’t have. And that’s where the real skills get developed. And now, of course, that there’s, you know, there’s a lot more for certification. This is an actual profession, that’s white hat, you know, base, you can do it as your normal job, but we have a lot of people transitioning from it, or even going through college and getting their hands on the knowledge that we all shared in backchannels. And by word of mouth and just demonstrating this stuff to ourselves. You know, so it’s available now, but back then it really wasn’t. So we did some, you know, questionable things. to, you know, to learn what we’re doing is more or less just we wanted to take something apart. We wanted to go and see how it ticked. We wanted to know, can we can we take whatever this is? and turn it into that? Or can we gain access into this over here? Or how does this actually work? I mean, that’s the true definition of a hacker is that we just were nutty professors, and we’ll just tinker with anything until it’s broken, or until it does something really cool.
Jerimiah Alexander 5:19
That’s something different. So you said there is there are schools now for people that want to do your kind of work like literally, like a, like a degree and social engineering, or I don’t even know what you would call it, but
it’s usually a degree in computer security.
Jerimiah Alexander 5:36
Yep. And so they there’s multiple different avenues that people can go down to, you can either go down a highly technical route, in which case you’re, you’re learning how to break into systems, and you’re learning how to test an audit security. Or you can go down the policy route, learning how to put checkmarks in the box, or you can go down a legal route, learning how to advocate for legal rights for what we’re doing. For instance, the EFF Electronic Frontier Foundation, I believe it is, they’re a huge advocacy group of lawyers that fight for every one for all the, you know, even legitimate things that you would want to do hacking on your own car. I do a lot of stuff with with farming. So did you know that farmers like they buy this like, you know, huge $100,000 tractor and they’re, they’re not actually able to work on it.
Jerimiah Alexander 6:33
They’re not able to work on it just because of electronics, or,
yeah, because the End User License Agreement there, they’re not allowed to open it up and make modifications to the software. If there’s problems, they got to pay out huge bucks to have somebody come in and fix it. And I mean, that’s where a lot of companies make good profit on their money on their return. And so like the EFF is fighting for all that. So that there is legality you own it, you paid for it, it’s yours, you can go on it and play with it.
Jerimiah Alexander 7:03
Blow it up, right. So you went in the Navy gained some skills there, you got out and kind of sounds like really educated yourself. And by doing and trying and through a network of other people. And then what was your What was your next step after the after the Navy? What did you Where did you work? What are you doing?
So I went to go work for a bunch of different places, but mostly working government contracting out in the Virginia area. So anything within the alphabet soup, we were contracted to work with it, but I mean, the most fun I probably had was working for the Marine Corps red team. And at that time, like our contract was, was gorgeous, that it was an experimental contract for a thing. And it was go after any marine anywhere in the world at any time, for any reason, with the stipulation that it had to be on a government system, you know, we’re not allowed to touch their bank accounts, their home stuff, we’re but we were allowed to do whatever we wanted. So we evaded acts, we evaded being caught for eight months before someone actually caught on to us. And we got into all kinds of military bases. And essentially, what happened was, somebody just managed to catch me while I was digging around at the Pentagon. Oh, wow. That’s the better part of what really comes out of that is that when we go through these exercises, and even when we even now, like, I don’t work on the government stuff anymore, I work on the clients I work on, you know, things that are more private, you know, hospitals, banks, colleges, they pretty much anything under the sun. And if anyone wants to pay us to, you know, tag on things, we’ll we’ll do it. You know, we’ll hack for food. But ultimately, what we’re doing is we’re finding all of the holes. And we’re saying, Hey, this is vulnerable, that’s vulnerable. This is a big risk to you guys, you know, weak passwords here. And we were able to get the domain admin and and get all the keys to your kingdom and stuff. And then we hand them a report, and then we help walk them through repairing all those holes. So we come in as the bad guys do everything the bad guy does, but then we teach them how to fix it, or help them develop policies to make sure that they’re not falling back into the same patterns and things like that. So, you know, we’re basically walking through the door and then We’re shutting the door behind us.
Jerimiah Alexander 9:39
Nice. And I don’t think I mentioned I met Andrew through. We have a mutual friend. I’m married to her. My wife Trish works with the same company that Andrew does. I remember it’s kind of funny because there was a client That was like, Well, what if so would penetration testing, I guess, is that the common term for seeing if you have weaknesses are those holes you mentioned? So they were like, well, what if you don’t find anything? And my wife being the person she is, was like, well, we won’t, we just won’t charge you. If we can’t find anything. I think the client really thought that they were like, you’re like, Alright, well, we’ll see, you know, and think two hours later, someone from your group had already like, it was it was like they were one of the worst offenders they had run into. And they were just confident that there were no chance. You could even get in there.
That client was it was me.
Jerimiah Alexander 10:41
That’s why I bought the story. I thought it was like, she had said, You were like, two hours? And it was like, Yeah, what do you want to know? And they were like, what do you find? He was like, What do you want to know? Like, it’s I have too long of a list to just give you one thing, it was easy. One what I think part of what’s going on, that’s really cool that you guys do that’s different. Maybe then when someone hears hacking, right, everyone, imagine someone you know, banging away at a computer for hacking. But and you you caught on to it, or you you mentioned earlier, you’re doing more than just behind the computer, you’re physically entering into places that you’re not supposed to be in to prove that you can gain access, what what’s like the craziest place that you can talk about data that you were able to gain?
I tell you what, I’ll give you a couple of choices. I can tell you about the casinos that my team and I did. That was a fun one. There was a energy plant for the state of New York,
Jerimiah Alexander 11:48
That’s bigger deal than people note, I would think probably like the power is a pretty big deal.
Yeah. Yeah. So in that, that one, I love to refer to this one is fat guy in a little coat. I’ll tell you why that’s. So myself and two other my co workers we went out. And we, you know, we spent the day, literally walking around the outside of the property and coming at it from all different angles using Google Maps, trying to find anything we could, and a process we call a OS int or open source intelligence gathering. So anything we can find on the internet have their huge server databases that actually catalog everything that’s on the internet that’s openly accessible. So we try using that we try to spot all their cameras, we’ll fly a drone overhead, we’ll, you know, we’ll do whatever. So we can identify doors on people. And, you know, we’ll sit there with long range scopes and, and try to and try to, you know, actually like take pictures of badges and things like that from a distance, maybe walk up and try to access the doors. So that night, we came back in just trying to break into the building. And we, we we went around and we tested all the doors and we had a lock picking gun and we tried manual picking in the lock that gun and we couldn’t get in. And like two hours on premise. There’s people working there all night long. And we just couldn’t get in it. But no one challenged us no one did anything. And eventually on our site, just last ditch effort walking by and I’m pressing up on all the windows to drain and see if any windows are open. And I come to find out I slide up this one window just a little bit is perfect when I push her all the way up and just kind of left it there. And nobody said anything. Try to listen for stuff and didn’t hear anything. But it’s all the way up here. And now mind you, this is November and it’s snowing outside in New York. So I’m wearing big puffy coat. I’ve got my backpack. I mean, I take my backpack off. I sit on the ground didn’t even think about the windows only, you know, just big enough for my shoulders to get through. climbing through the window. And it’s that guy in a small coat. So I’m trying to shimmy through the window. Because there’s there’s no way to actually learn this. No one teaches you how to break into a building you’re just assuming.
Jerimiah Alexander 14:20
But I actually like it was like the worst entry that you could possibly imagine. There’s blinds vertical blinds on the other side of the window. I managed to squeeze myself through the window I put myself down on someone’s desk. It just so happened that everyone was across the room in a in a different meeting in another room. So the the place that I was coming in there wasn’t anybody there. walked around opening the door and then the three of us had access to the building. We were in the building for four hours we left remote callback terminals. We Went dumpster diving we picked the locks on their their security bins and started pulling out papers we did all kinds of fun stuff we started going through people’s cabinets and picking those and opening those up and taking records and we found the I.T. space and we saw we we started taking laptops and stuff with us as well. But on our way out with all the lights come on with it all man here we go. This is this is not going to be good. And here comes the security guard around the corner. And you know first thing out of my mouth was wow there actually is still somebody here tonight looking at you know just I’m just joking around and my my coworker security guard comes yeah burn candle at both ends, arn’t ya. Yep, life of a consultant never done just walked right on mine. Oh, wow. But on our way down, we actually got off on the wrong floor. And as we turn the corner, we found the space a space that’s labeled NERC, which is energy compliance. So we had very specific instructions, do not open this door, do not touch it, if you see it, take a picture. So we’re snapping selfies and all that in front of the door. Because on the side of that door, if we opened it, it would have been an FBI investigation at that point. Because it would have been illegal for us to go into that space. But you know, if we could have taken down half of New York, at that point, because of just where we’re located in the company and everything else, my themes, not half, but a good chunk of state of New York for their energy, we could have taken them offline. So we ended up having a whole lot of fun.
Jerimiah Alexander 16:43
Yeah, that sounds good. Yeah, I think that’s kind of like, at some point, at least a half, half half the people I know that’s like the dream job. I’ll tell you our guy doing the video and recording in the back. I can see him nodding his head. Yeah, yeah, that you know, the acronyms make sense to him. And he’s on he’s on board with it. So I like it. Well, I mean, you told me I was gonna have to pick but man a casino sounds like an interesting story to I have to hear how you got in casinos seem pretty, pretty tight. Like, I’m going off the movies. Mind you, I don’t really know how tight a casino is. It’s a lot of money rolling around. So common sense tells me there’s probably quite a bit of security for all of that money.
Unknown Speaker 17:26
I’ll tell you the story. And then I’ll leave you with a few tips because we learned so much about the gaming industry and how they want people for like, you know, for like swapping chips and stacking cards and all that jazz. We learned so much about all their monitoring capabilities. A lot of them have gait monitors. And by gait, I don’t mean a physical gate. I mean, you as a person walking your actual walking path. So you know
Jerimiah Alexander 17:57
how your your walk goes. Yeah,
yeah, exactly. So if you’re normally walking one machine is sit down, walk over another machine sit down, it actually tracks you throughout the entire thing. Like you think your cell phone tracks you like now these guys have got the corner or mark on. But yeah, I mean, there’s I went to one Casino in Colorado, I swear to God, they had more cameras than I’d seen at NSA. I mean, it’s just just a wall of cameras. Everywhere is insane. But when it comes to social engineering people are they have their tics, and we are genuinely programmed to be nice, we’re programmed to be helpful. Our jobs regulate, you know, helping people directing flow of traffic, making sure that the customer always has their thing or you know, that that the business is always flowing smoothly. And so I went in there one night and just started gambling and you know, sitting you know, sitting at a slot machine, and I had a pocket recorder and glasses with the camera inside of them and stuff. And so we took pictures of badges, we figured out what their uniform looks like. We you know, we figured out we kind of mapped the whole area, the casinos, those types of things. The next day, I went out to Walmart bought something that looked really similar to their their uniform because it was decently basic. I made myself a name tag real quick. And then I was standing at kinkos because my tools, I usually have a laminator and a printer and everything was me and they got damaged on the plane. So I’m standing at kinkos making a badge and sitting there with an exacto knife. compassion, they’re all just looking to be like
Jerimiah Alexander 19:54
Your like, I’m going to break into the place next door. Don’t worry about it.
But yeah, you know, sure enough, I put on the clothes and the badge and I walked in and nobody questioned me, nobody did anything didn’t even get checked for ID because I looked at the part went into the control room where all the cameras were. And I was like, Hey, hi, my name is Andrew I, I just started here. And they said, I could come in a few hours early before everything gets, you know, before my shift starts, and I have to go hit the tables, but they said I could, you know, kind of learn about what’s going on and the operations and, you know, see what, what’s going on with your cameras and stuff. Those guys were so, so helpful. Yeah, just I mean, seeing everything in their control room was just unbelievable. And they were like, they gave me all their documents on like, how to spot and catch cheaters and all these other things. But we had a lot of fun with that one, and went all the way up and down, every floor of that casino got into all the offices went down into the money cage. The money came when we looked at the money cage and went. Now, this is way too much exposure and decided to leave. So we just left that on the counter that said we were here that that was definitely a lot of fun. That was probably the most nervous I’ve actually been on on the engagement just simply because there’s so many cameras, there’s so many sensors and everything else. But so a little tip about the gaming community is Don’t, don’t go Don’t go gamble on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Monday, Sunday night, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.
Jerimiah Alexander 21:45
so all the slot machines, if you’re if you’re in slot machines, they they have a statistical payout. So they can actually change the randomness of each of the machines, not just one machine individually, they can, they can control the whole entire Bank of machines. So on or so on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, that that’s it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, they actually change the payout to be a little higher. Because as you get there and you’re on a roll, you’re likely to stay over the weekend. And then they take the randomization and they turn it down. So when all that money is coming through the casino, the payout is a lot less. And proof to point on that one was we sat there and monitored the door with a cell phone camera just over our shoulder while we sat and played and we’re smoking and drinking. And somebody came by and punched in the code to the door. And we eventually they came out and we walked in right behind them and they left the machine logged in to the what they call their jackpot machine. So we shut down an entire Bank of of slot machines that had a payout of like $11 million. Oh my god, and we turned the payout to 100%.
Jerimiah Alexander 23:06
turn it back down and turn them all on again.
Jerimiah Alexander 23:10
How often do you decide you just want to go break into the casinos or make a bunch of money? Because I’m sure you’re you’re under paid for what you you could go do so do you do you have these nightly wrestles that you could make a killing being Ocean’s one just by yourself?
I honestly I would not try it outside of it. Well, I’ve done some questionable things. Let’s put it that way. But I have not. I wouldn’t do it as a full time profession as that’s an incredibly different lifestyle. I mean, you can’t leave a trace can’t leave a fingerprint can’t do anything. I mean, they know we’re gonna be there. So if there’s a problem they go, hey, yeah, we got you on camera doing this or you know, we’ve heard you actually get confronted by officers or you know, police guards or whatever, whoever’s there. And it’s fun to go and do we know we’re definitely under contract and that we can get a letter that says basically like get out of jail free. This here’s my point, the person that I’m working for, here’s what I’m doing. Yes, we’re under contract. But if they catch us the game is over. So if they do their job, right, they’re good. I mean, actually, that’s that’s partly why I have a beard is if I go in and I get caught or stopped one day, I can go in shave change out my glasses go back and they don’t recognize me for madam, new guy.
Jerimiah Alexander 24:43
I’m gonna get you to write me some of those letters for my wife
to get out of jail free.
Jerimiah Alexander 24:47
Yeah. But Andrew wrote the letter I don’t know. Well, that’s so what is the we’ve talked about the the kind of cool part of it and that but obvious You’re doing this for the for the better of the community, you’re doing this to help. It sounds like I mean, on one level, you’re doing it to help companies. But really you’re doing it to, like, help me right? If I go to the hospital and check in, or whatever, like you’re, that’s your who you’re helping is Is everyone. So So what is the benefit? You know, I’m gonna call us end users. I don’t know if you can end user a hospital, but oh, no, yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So I’m the end user at the hospital. What? Why? Why do I owe Andrew a vote of thanks for his work?
Yeah, so actually, so the client that your wife was mentioning earlier, you know, the kids, you brought up that one, they had gone through multiple series of penetration tests. But when I got there, yeah, I had access to everything, including all their databases, all their databases have all of the you know, the patrons of the hospital, all their P.H.I., all their P.I.I., any medical records, credit cards, anything is stored in their systems, I had full access to it. So by helping them secure those holes, and writing procedures for them to be able to check and make sure that those are blocked. It’s kind of a two sided coin, yes, I get to go in and play and then I get, show them how to fix it. And then ultimately, the end user is protected. Because it’s not a matter of if somebody breaks in, it’s a matter of when somebody breaks in. And that’s something it’s been a long time running through our community of, of, you know, how we evaluate risk, you know, it’s like, well, no one will ever do that. Well, we haven’t had someone in, you know, 10 years in the history of the company ever break in? Yeah, just just wait, it’ll happen eventually, or you just never caught them.
Jerimiah Alexander 26:51
They might have come and gone even though they were there.
Yeah. So you know, when those happen, all of your data is generally scraped, it’s taken off the network, and it’s exposed out to the internet. It’s, you know, whether you want to call it the black market, or the Tor network, or the deep web, or whatever, you know, security buzzword term somebody wants to put in the fact of the matter is, is that at the end of the day, your stuff is now exposed, there are a couple of really good things that have been put in by the government to protect you as the consumer. But it does make your life a little harder. So like for some, for instance, if somebody gets a hold of your credit card, and they start racking up your credit card, there’s 1000s and 1000s and 1000s of fraudulent purchases. And it can go very fast, by the way, it can go from here’s a $30 purchase to a here’s a $900 purchase, here’s your now 10 grand in debt. First thing is don’t panic. There are protections through FDIC and through banking and Visa, MasterCard, everyone has it and they go, fraudulent case. Okay, well, here’s your money back, your debt is forgiven. And here’s a new card and everything else. The problem is you got to sit there for, you know, anywhere from two weeks to 30 days for them to fix everything. So if you’re getting stacked up on, like paying your mortgage or not being able to pay for food, that’s kind of an issue. But eventually it won’t solve itself you are protected. When it comes to your having your social security number put out there that especially when it’s your Social Security, birthday, access to your money or your personal information. People can open up loans and stuff like that in your name. You wouldn’t even know about it until you actually go check your credit score.
Jerimiah Alexander 28:45
That’s obviously what’s wrong with my credit score. Someone’s definitely hacked. Well, I was thinking I’ve heard you know, just in talking to my wife that you know, your personal info because I thought I think credit cards I think that kind of stuff like you’re saying, but I’m what I’m hearing kind of over and over again is like your personal information is worth more out there floating around, then your credit card information is and I was like trying to figure out how but it sounds like that’s the How is they just start a life under your name and take out a loan under your name or get three credit cards under your name. And so that’s why not not that goes from one credit card they got from you, are they now they can have who knows how many?
Well, you know, for them, they may get a payout of a couple $100 or a couple $1,000. And as long as they’re, you know, the identity theft is real. And it can be a real pain in the butt and it can it can wreck your credit for years while you legally go through the process of trying to correct the issues. But for them, you know, like when I say them, I mean the real bad guys, you can go out and buy I mean, you’ve got on right now and go by stacks of valid credit card numbers with their pin numbers, or passwords to accounts that actually exist. You know, you you can you can buy some really insane stuff. You know, they’re making a payday by selling it and not actually using it themselves because they eliminate the trace of having their their fingerprints attached to that, you know, the digital transaction stuff so. But for those who buy it, yeah, sure, maybe somebody who is an identity theft person, like that’s their, their main goal in life is just to live life off of other people’s expense. The bank won’t catch him, the credit card companies won’t catch them, they’ll just decline the card and shut it off. They’ll just reach for a new card and a new one, keep going. You know, so your credit card, the banks will just eat the money. But your personal information is you. And that can be a royal pain to get corrected.
Jerimiah Alexander 31:02
Well, I’m glad that you guys are out there doing that. Because that Yeah, that sounds like I don’t need any help reckon any, my my bad decisions are all my own. At this point, I would like to, I would like to keep it that way. was something else I was? I was hearing that was along with the penetration testing. I can’t remember I was gonna say there was something else about that. It’ll come to me here in a minute. So. So we went over your history a little bit, we talked about kind of what got you to where you are now. In this position? What’s like, what’s next? So where do you go next with kind of your skill set and all that? Obviously not into robbing casinos we’ve been over that
is definitely a No, no, I have a wife and kids. And I don’t want to I don’t intend on giving that up anytime soon. So
Jerimiah Alexander 32:02
what’s funny that it’s funny you say that because I there’s a there’s a company that we work with Dave over there with you guys. Last name starts with a B, he he’s working with us on it too. But destiny rescue is the name of the organization. And I met him at a tactical game. So people are like, you know, running around basically doing CrossFit with guns. And I was there. I was there as part of that. Yeah, it is cool. And I was talking to a guy and he’s one of the guys that found a destiny rescue, they go and save children overseas that have been sold, or whatever, into the sex industry. And they need what’s called burner agents pretty frequently, where basically, you know, and they asked me to do it, you know, they because they’re like, you have enough of a skill set, and blah, blah, blah, to be able to do this. And I was like, Well, what does it entail? I would love to help for sure. Like, talk to me about what it? What goes into it. And then you go over there, basically, and you have to ask for for sex with little kids. And so I was like, I don’t believe I could do that to be quite honest. And they’re like, no, like, when you’re doing it for the right reason you could and then I found out it’s like an $11 billion a year. industry that we know about. And it’s funny because you said like, you’re like you didn’t say I’m not gonna rob banks because I don’t want to get in trouble or because it’s wrong, or you’re like, I have a family, I love my family and I can’t like put them at risk. And that’s what I said, I was like, I would love to help. There’s a lot of ways I can help but I have $5 Man, I can’t be going overseas and Bustan sex slave rings up you know what I mean? And not think that’s gonna follow me back home. It’s interesting. Our reasoning is usually as guys we’re desperately want to get into the thick and the trouble and you know, and be fun like that. But, you know, at the end of the day, you’re like, well, I really like my family. So I think I’ll, I’ll pass on that activity.
So it’s funny that you mentioned that and that is you know, obviously there’s there’s a very dark underbelly of the world and how things operate, whether it gets reported on or not what people want to think about it. It’s there and it exists and it’s disgusting. Yeah, to, to say the least, it’s disgusting. But anyone who has any type of even just multicoloured a mild curiosity about helping out for specially for things like that. There is an open source project called buscadoor. It’s a it’s an operating system that you can download. And it has it’s specifically built for open source intelligence gathering, and like building criminal files and everything else. I want to say two years ago at DEF CON. So before the pandemic which is one of the one of The bigger half hacker conferences, that happens in Las Vegas, usually around July, August, I think they, the people who had started the project actually started opening cold cases with the PD departments and even some stuff overseas. And they were making a point system like a capture the flag type game, out of trying to find open source intelligence to track missing persons or, you know, gather data on various situations and things like that. So, you know, even if all the worst that you can do, technically, is just use Google, like, you can find just about anything you want. And these tools make it really easy to kind of collectively put all that data together and, and help drive somebody in the right direction. It was it’s called buscadoor
Jerimiah Alexander 35:56
Okay in it. And where would I go to just just log on and look for, for buscadoor? And it kind of walk me through how to download it?
Yeah, that’s buscadoor Linux, and they have a big website for it and stuff. I don’t know if you have tags on your, on your, you know, your podcast here, whatever. But you can, I’ll send you a link to it if you want it.
Jerimiah Alexander 36:17
Yeah. We’ll put it. We’ll put it here. We’ll see if we can do that. Awesome. I like that. And so I sorry, I, I interrupted you, you were talking about kind of like what’s next for you? All right. You know,
the next thing for me is to train. I, you know, I’ve been in the field for 20 years, I have, and I’m never gonna stop learning. And I don’t ever want to stop the tech. I remember you saying like,
Jerimiah Alexander 36:49
you learn something every day, you were like, upset with the day. And it was like about what you did. Even you were like, I’m not happy if I’m not learning every single day. And I thought, Man, you’ve been doing it so long. How could you learn every single day? And it’s just, man, it’s amazing. I don’t know what I don’t know, right? There’s so much to know, that it’s out there if you seek it out. So I love that attitude. And that idea of just like, continuing education is in our hands in so many different ways.
To me, it’s not just, it’s not just training myself. I, you know, at this point being so senior in my career aids for me to train the next fleet of cyber warriors. So I, we have seen, so Morgan and I, when I say we, my boss and I, we actually have a meetup group that meets twice a month. And we have people from all over the United States from coast to coast, they come in, and we we help train them, we guide them through different projects, or hack the box or capture the flag scenarios or things like that. They’re just sharing tools, sharing knowledge, you know, even even though I may be so senior, because our field changes so much. And it can be almost a violent on how fast it changes. Somebody who comes into the field who’s only got a year or two of experience, or even less than that can be like, Hey, have you guys seen this tool? You know? And it’s like, Hey, you know, that’s cool. We didn’t we’ve never seen that before. So yeah, we, the training, and research is probably the, my path from now on?
Jerimiah Alexander 38:28
Well, that’s how we get better writing on
I’ll die with a computer in my hands. And I’ll be right, amen.
Jerimiah Alexander 38:36
I like that. Because, I mean, you had to learn it, like you have a collective, you know, couple decades or more worth of knowledge, and it took you that long to gain all of that knowledge. And I’m gonna throw an arbitrary number. So within two, three years, you could educate somebody with, you know, a majority of what you learn in a start from that point, whereas you started, you know, with not a bunch and so who knows what can be done. And I feel like that’s the right thing to do. Because if anyone’s under the impression that the bad guys, this, I don’t know how this ends, like you’re in a good business, right? Like, this is as good as like building confidence. or working for the taxes. It doesn’t matter. It’s always coming. It’s always coming. So yeah, and if we’re, if we’re not on top of it and pushing, and then we’ll, we’ll lose, right? Because someone is always gonna be there to do the bad stuff. So.
So yes, I can teach someone in a couple of years how to do this job. I’m very lucky man in the fact that my wife and I are both in the same field. But I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. She’s been in this field for three. I think she’s coming up on her four year mark. I will constantly go to her and say, hey, how do you do that thing? Where when she was first getting started, she would run to me, hey, how do I do that thing and now we get to collaborate and share. We we actually don’t have Was it called Netflix and chill?
Jerimiah Alexander 40:04
You’re like, we don’t
We have IOT and chill. And so we’ll go to the Best Buy or some electronics store and we’ll go get some like consumer grade camera or, you know, some little dancing electronic thing that’s got wireless capability or something, and go grab a couple bottles of wine and that will sit at the bench all night long, and just drain the bottles of wine and tear apart the electronics and go to town like a bunch of nerds that we are.
Jerimiah Alexander 40:30
That’s awesome. No, that’s, I mean, you kind of lucked out, right? That’s not everybody that has their spouse that loves to do the things that they do I, you know, Trish, I’m lucky enough she loves to shoot and I, I’m always I’m always playing that card. I’m like, yeah, I’m shooting in the wild, if you want to. Would you like me to take you shooting, you
You know, kid shoots to doesn’t she,
Jerimiah Alexander 40:51
all of them do. But Samantha in particular, she shoots a lot. She loves that she competes. And all that she’s the one I told you that had already shot out. When she was 13. She was already shooting out to a mile like pretty consecutively like, I don’t want to say easily but like she didn’t really miss out a mile with one MLA targets like a 16 inch by 16 inch target at 1760 yards. And she was she could do that pretty much at will unless something crazy happens. So yeah, I’m fortunate I’m, I’m in the field I’m supposed to be in I do believe on it is fun. It makes it so much. I don’t it’s just so much more fun. When you like what you do, you’re looking for new and innovative ways to do it. versus just to go through the day. You know, when someone says, Oh, you couldn’t build a retical like that. I don’t just say okay, they told me I couldn’t do that. I’m like, I don’t know. Maybe I could maybe we could do that. How do we do that? We’re going to do that. You know, I mean,
You can skip the how too, just go do it.
This is something I teach my daughters on a regular basis, like, yeah, you wanna do something. Sure, go for it. But we’re not supposed to. Whatever, go for it. Okay, well, it didn’t work. Cool. Let’s talk about it. Don’t do try to
Jerimiah Alexander 42:11
Dont do it again. Like don’t do the same thing again. That’s all I ask for failures. Yeah, do something fail again, in a different way. Yeah, I love that. Well, man, I appreciate your time. We’re kind of coming to the end of our, our time, and I have a few Okay, that we have some questions. You’re like hidden under here. Like they’re really hidden. So I don’t forget them. I just hacked this mousepad to get to these, it was pretty intense. So they’re just some fun, kind of, we’d like to wrap it so we just want to know what’s off the top of your head.
Jerimiah Alexander 42:45
So if you had a superpower, what would it be? Like there’s so many
off maybe you know, what if I had a superpower Actually, my wife and I have talked about this for years because just one of our when we were dating because one of the things that we had in mind was hers was in visibility. So she didn’t have to get seen by anybody. Mine was actually to make plants and trees grow at my will.
Jerimiah Alexander 43:12
because then I could just have like a wall and like hide instantaneously behind the tree or
Jerimiah Alexander 43:19
I like it I like it we that’s a new one. We haven’t had that one and visibility is high on the list.
I’m sure it is.
Jerimiah Alexander 43:27
power over the flora is is a new one so I like that if so past present or future if you could sit down with anybody can just have a beer with them. Who would who would you pick?
I don’t know about a beer but i’ll i’ll take Glenmorangie 18 year. You know what I’d actually like to I’d like to sit with I’d actually like to sit with one of the Presidents
Jerimiah Alexander 44:07
just I could see that. We had a lot of George Washington’s.
So whether you know anyone who’s who’s been in that position? I’d love to just pick their brain.
Jerimiah Alexander 44:17
Yeah, that’s, that’s intense. That’s intense. Um, if you were low vibe change here. If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Oh, that’s easy. lasagna.
Jerimiah Alexander 44:29
lasagna. That’s my man. I love lasagna. What I every time I read this question, I want to say if you eat one food for the rest of your life, why would it be pizza? I’m not allowed to ask that. So that’s my apparently it’s mine, lasagna’s close enough for me.
That’s, that’s fair. Yeah.
Jerimiah Alexander 44:45
If what would the name of your biography be?
Not this guy again.
Jerimiah Alexander 44:52
This guy again, you again, that’s a good one. Just you again. Okay. And if I just showed up before house with a million dollars, what’s the first thing you would do?
First thing I would do
Jerimiah Alexander 45:05
other than take the million dollars
you know, my wife has been bugging me for a barn for the horses and stuff out back. So I’m pretty sure we’d have a super secret hacker lab underground and then barn and everything else, you know, nice facade on the outside, but taking care of the horses at the barn and whatever. I didn’t mean, I probably give it up to charity. I’m happy. I love my farm.
Jerimiah Alexander 45:40
That’s the great thing about being happy. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, or crippled or in good health happy is a standalone thing. I mean, how if I could pick a superpower happy? might might be as good a superpower as I need to be quite honest. Doesn’t matter what
your ability to forget is that a superpower?
Jerimiah Alexander 45:59
Yeah, well, I mean, I tried to develop that superpower, but it did and stuck as well as I would have hoped. Well, awesome, man. I appreciate it. I feel like we could talk to you for hours. all the cool stuff that you do, and maybe we’ll, we’ll do a follow up talking about some other stuff. But you’ve been awesome. I appreciate you taking the time. I know you’re busy. I know my wife’s always trying to push you guys to do something new that you’ve never done before.
Oh, yeah. She always comes up with some of the best stuff. Yeah, clients are
Jerimiah Alexander 46:30
wonderful. They’re so awesome. She is wonderful.
So cool. Well, we appreciate you, man and come up to you talk. Come visit us sometime and we’ll go shoot man.
Absolutely. That’d be fun. Absolutely. Thanks.
Jerimiah Alexander 46:52
You too. Thanks.
Riton Optics 47:04
Thank you for listening to the Riton Podcast. Please like, subscribe and review. For more information on Riton Optics visit us at Ritonoptics.com That’s r i t o n optics.com
Follow along with Ryan and Kris as they capture Kris’s first Javelina hunt!
What’s up I got something new.
Okay today’s mission. Sight in a rifle. Got my bad boy right back there. Got some new Riton scopes, some Riton swag. So that everybody out there in the desert where I’m shooting knows that I, I mean business.
Alright what we got here is the Riton Conquer X3 this is the 6-24×50. I just got it mounted to my Tikka T3 it’s in a .308. So you get to see how this thing does. I’m just going for a 50 yard zero right now. I’ve got a hunt lined up tomorrow for Kris, this will be her first hunt. This one’s pretty exciting.
The good news is we did hit cardboard. Just gonna make some adjustments here. Bring it up. Bring it right.
Alright. Elevation is almost on point. I need to come up just a, couple of clicks.
Just finished sightin her in. Give you a look of what we’re workin on here.
Yeah. She’s pretty.
Hello. Good morning.
I’m ready to go.
Okay I see that. All swagged out. Good.
Got your huntin pants on.
What are we doing this morning?
We’re gonna catch a piggie.
We’re gonna catch a pig?
We are here I mean we’re gonna shoot one but. We’re still catching one.
Okay, here we go. Got the whole family. Hello, Hello boys and it’s six o’clock and they’re chosen the hotdogs for breakfast. So it’s gotta be a good day.
Did you say you fell down.
He’s walking up. Okay now get on target.
Take your safety off when you’re ready. Forward.
He’s gonna come out from behind that green bush
And then slowly squeeze the trigger once you’re on target. Squeeze the trigger just think about your shot
What did I say this morning, I was gonna catch one. Caught him.
How’s it going?
You enjoying the hike?
Um, three for three and hopefully, Max will get one next year.
Yep. Well I think if Max gets a tag next year there’s no doubt he’s gonna get one because we got this locked down.
Poke it in the head make sure it’s dead. If it get’s up and runs You can shoot it.
Why don’t you grab it by it’s hind legs. So we just got a nice spot to work.
A nice trophy shot.
Oh, that is like a great shot.
A little low right?
No, I mean
all the way up until you get it in the hill there.
Be The Riton Revolution.
Brady Speth 0:08
Everybody, welcome back to the Riton podcast. With respect to your Riton Optics. Today we have a special guest in studio here in Tucson, Arizona at the Riton HQ. Dan Haban. He is the owner of Brand Makers going by branded dad, we were kind of talking and laughing a little bit about titles and different things that we go by and what’s important in our life and I like to give every guests an opportunity to how would you like to be introduced and he thought about it actually for a little while, which is cool. So welcome to the show. We’ll dig into the the brand part in the dad part. So both are obviously huge in your life from us kind of BS and a little bit. So welcome. Kind of old stomping grounds. It sounds like back here in Tucson.
Dan Haban 0:52
Yeah, I love Tucson, grew up in in Sierra Vista, right next to Fort Huachuca and moved here when I was almost eight years old, but came up here to Tucson to play a lot of sports, graduated in Sierra Vista. So from all the way from eight years old until I graduated. And ever since then, I’ve been out of state
Brady Speth 1:12
nice. The so we were kind of talking a little bit, and you shocked me when you said where you were actually born. So let’s dig into that because you literally are the first person I’ve ever met from this island. So where were you born? And kind of tell that backstory a little bit?
Dan Haban 1:26
Yeah, so my, my dad on the youngest of three boys. And so my older brothers, they were able to travel a lot more than me, just because I was there early stages of my dad being working with them working with the military. Okay. So I have a brother that was born in Hawaii, I have another brother was born in California, they’re able to travel a lot. And my parents moved from California to Japan where my dad was stationed for a few years. And then I was born there. And then my dad had to do multiple trainings and some of his trainings was just going back home to Hawaii. Okay. But yeah, my mom and dad, they both grew up on Lanai, small, small island in Hawaii. There’s, there’s a one stop sign. And I think now there’s two grocery stores. I spent a while back there, but a little over 3000 people, right, so that’s why
Brady Speth 2:20
Yeah, that’s why that’s why I’m like, Oh shit, like, a decent amount of people that are you know, either lived in islands or grew up there and like to have somebody actually like on Lanai, That’s super rare, just based on the size and then yeah, you know, a lot of natives that don’t leave. I mean, that’s a big part of the night too. So it’s kind of that homegrown and you kind of stay so. Yeah, that’s pretty cool. So what’s it like so eight, you’re there to eat then right? So what’s it like kind of being that kid run around in the Hawaiian Islands?
Dan Haban 2:48
Oh, it’s uh i mean, back then. You’re so young. I don’t remember too much about it. But it’s just my brothers. My brothers and I just running around barefoot going to the beach. That’s all I remember. Yeah. I don’t remember anything about you know, growing up inside of a home. Being in Japan was that was that was super interesting. I think just being able to we lived on on the base for for a little while. Then we lived off base and so we’re living surrounded by a whole bunch of Japanese families. didn’t speak a lick of English. So for us being young if you just learn those those easy phrases in Japanese and communicate with Mama-san, Papa-san, the mom dad Yeah, the older generation Japanese and but we would play play a lot of soccer, a lot of baseball and those those kids are good. Yeah. They’re they’re super disciplined. And but it was fun because we were just young, having fun, and then moved to the mainland and realized that I got a I got a some stronger competition. Right. So we picked it up and my brothers and I were super competitive. And it was it was fun to be on the mainland and kind of see what it’s like over here and grow grow up in Arizona. Yeah. Learn hunting, learn fishing, learning the whole outdoor life growing up and doing some farm work and being right next to a military you kind of learn that mindset, that military mindset and learn from veterans and it’s I couldn’t ask for a better upbringing. Yeah, marathon. Yeah,
Brady Speth 4:18
the I can’t imagine the difference between going from Lanai to Sierra Vista. You can’t take two different places.
Dan Haban 4:25
I think the funny story about my coming from my mom was my dad was taking my mom down to Sierra Vista movie Pass, pass a Huachuca city, you know, very, very small, small town out there. And I think my mom said that she was crying is like what the hell did I get? Yeah, she asked my dad. I really hope our house is a double wide. And because that’s all that’s in there and what you can city and then we ended up passing forward Touka and then growing up in that larger Sierra Vista town. That’s hilarious. Awesome, but it’s not a small town anymore. It’s
Brady Speth 4:57
Yeah, thank you for that. Yeah, that’s a shock to the system. So your parents are still in Sierra Vista then? Yeah,
Dan Haban 5:03
Brady Speth 5:04
So yeah, you get to come down a little bit and see family here in Arizona. So now I love the southern Arizona tie. So um, talk about growing up then hunting and fishing, we were kind of talking about kind of coues deer and you know, taking now get a chance to maybe take your kids fishing and hunting down here. And
Dan Haban 5:20
that’s, that’s my life. I base almost every principle that I live by based on the the outdoors, hunting, fishing, and shooting. Shooting has been one of the times where I learned the most from either from my father, my brother, or other people who just took us out shooting. But hunting is that’s that’s heaven for me just being out there. Even if you don’t harvest something. Growing up I had really close buddies that we would if we didn’t have to go to practice, we rush home, grab our bows, grab our guns and go go up to the mountains. Yeah, go scouting. I mean, Saturday mornings, you never got to we never slept in. Right, which is a lot of what you mean. I don’t know. Right now. I feel like Saturdays are the times where people just want to not do anything, right? Yeah. Uh, growing up it was. Hey, what time are we leaving to go coyote?
Brady Speth 6:17
It was your free time. Yeah.
Dan Haban 6:18
What time are we gonna go fishing? What time we’re gonna go dove hunting. And that that’s all we did. And now that I’m an adult and a father, I can’t wait to get to the point to where I’m just saying, hey, you want to go hunting tomorrow? Yeah, yeah, fishing tomorrow. My kids are like, Yeah, let’s do it.
I yeah, that’s, that’s what I look for.
Brady Speth 6:36
Yeah. You know, what’s cool is that some of you touched on, and I think people outside of even a lot of people within, like the hunting world, and then everybody outside the hunting world doesn’t quite understand. Is this what you just said. And I say it a lot of times I grew up in Montana, I hunted since I was five, six years old. You know, like, I was shooting, I was hunting. We live on a Black Angus cattle ranch, like I have access to the outdoors. That’s what we did. He didn’t hang out inside. I don’t know if our TV worked to be honest with you, because that was what we did. And, and we did not like we got cable anyways, even if it didn’t work like rabbit ears or that whole thing. But I think something you touched on that’s important. And to me, it’s huge now is like hunting is my escape running RIton and the day to day of this and being a parent and baseball practices and soccer and football and all this stuff that just pulls us 1000 different directions. Honestly, I love getting an animal. Right. Right. But the other side of that is and I think people forget is it for me. It’s just getting out. And that’s something you kind of touched on and running a company now and kids and that precious time of being able just to get outside and I’ll just sit there and glass and I just love every minute of it fall asleep probably half the time in the sun just sitting there hanging out trying to glass. Right, no matter naps than glassing naps. But no, I think that’s important for people to understand. Because I think a lot of people within looking from the outside and think it’s you know, bloodthirsty, and all those guys are hunters, they’re just out there killing anything they see, like, you know, when he was like passed on, compared to how many I’ve actually shot, you know. So I think that’s a big important thing. And I love that that’s a side of it, I think it it takes a little time to get from wanting to go hunting everyday with your buddies to then maturing to a level of like, I just kind of want to go out and now you get to that phase of, I want to take my kids like I have more fun. And one of the guys that works for us. He got his first deer ever I was with him. And I was like, wow, I was more excited for him than I ever was shooting a deer. I was like this is awesome. So to be able to pass that on to employees or friends or, or even now kids is that’s amazing. So I’m glad to kind of touched on that point.
Dan Haban 8:34
Yeah, one of the in, including in that is the the whole health aspect of it.
Brady Speth 8:38
Dan Haban 8:39
I like to work out as I’m growing up as an athlete is something that I’ve always enjoyed doing something physical. My wife likes to workout we like to be active. And there’s a point in our early marriage where we we weren’t healthy. And when I went out hunting, I couldn’t I couldn’t go anywhere as good. Yeah, I’d go a mile and I’m done. I’m like, I’m just gonna sit here. And then realize I’m not even close to the animals I need. I need to get in better shape. In addition to that, as I strive to get more in shape, to be a better outdoorsman. Because of that it’s made me in better shape. Just straight up, be. Be able to keep up with my kids. Yeah. So yeah,
Brady Speth 9:20
that’s a never stop of having what three kids under would you say your oldest was four
Dan Haban 9:26
Brady Speth 9:27
three kids under four homes.
Dan Haban 9:28
So at one point we had 3 under 3.
Brady Speth 9:32
Yeah, that some energy levels
Dan Haban 9:36
Coming out of my mouth It sounds it sounds crazy.
Brady Speth 9:39
Like what the hell are we thinking? That’s awesome. So let’s talk about hunting a little bit. And then and then I kind of want to dive into the professional side but so you live in Utah now. Right? What what do you hunt up there and do you get a chance to get out? Is it is it still the same as it was? Do you still have that kind of passion for it up there?
Dan Haban 9:57
Yes, yes and no. It’s definitely harder, just because it’s saturated by I mean, there’s so many great outdoorsman in Utah. Yeah. Being able to hunt on public land, you really have to be able to be in that shape to just hike as far as you can and be away from the crowd. So I haven’t most of my hunting has been with other other people with tags. And so we I mean, we we’ve done some coyote hunting out there we’ve done some waterfowl, some some duck and up there you have grouse and chuckers. So this is kind of kind of a weird way to hunt. Yeah, because you’re hiking up mountains to hunt birds. For us here in Arizona, you’re kind of on flat land in the desert wash in the desert. Yeah. So in in Utah, you’re you’re walking straight up and then to get to go after chuckers. But it’s, it’s beautiful. Wherever you go. Doesn’t matter the season, you really have to enjoy weather. It’s hot in the summer. And you have mule deer archery hunts. And that’s kind of going into the fall, right. And then you get into the actual late season, and it’s starting to get really cold. And then you get into the winter and the mountains covered in snow. So you’re freezing your butt. Right. So you have the hunting season is is full of so many different seasons. So you really got to train yourself on how to hunt. And whatever terrain or whatever conditions it is. So it’s tough. But I mean, anywhere you go in Utah, the outdoors, it’s just going to be everywhere. One of my favorite things to do Provo, Provo River. It’s a wonderful place to go fly fishing. During January, February is when we go ice fishing. And that was new to me. And the first time I went out my my buddies had me haul the the sled. Oh, no, it’s super easy.
Brady Speth 11:52
Dan Haban 11:52
You’re on. You’re on slippery ice. Oh, yeah, right. Um, I’m pulling. I’m pulling probably around 50 pounds on a foot and a half of snow. Yeah, I just know that so hard. But when you get out there, people think it’s super cold. But when you have three guys in the small, five by seven tent, it’s actually quite warm. We’re on T shirts. And catching some some big trout out of Strawberries a big fish Lake there. Yeah, there’s, it’s man. It’s great. So would you? It’s definitely definitely different from Arizona. Yeah, but either way, you’re you’re outside. You’re just loving it.
Brady Speth 12:27
The I’ve had a lot of chances to have family that live in the Provo area. And Jeremiah, our director product development is in what Spanish for mableton area. So I get a chance to get up there and hunt a lot. Man, this is 20 years ago, behind Lake Utah. Yeah, there now it’s like houses. There’s like development out there. We used to go out there and shoot rabbits and coyotes by like the hundreds. Like it was just nothing but open desert. Yeah. And I think the last time I drove through, I look over and I was like, Oh, just houses like everywhere we used to go hunting. It’s crazy how it’s grown in that valley in that whole area. But yeah, I love I love hunting up there with that diversity. That’s something that we take for granted here too, in Arizona, where you hear we get the different weather changes, but we also get the different, like geographic changes just from south to north, if you want to mountains go drive four hours to Flagstaff, and you’re in, you know, 7000-8000 foot elevation and big elk. And you know, so we’re lucky we kind of get that. Although I haven’t been drawn for elk in the last like four years. So Oh, man, we’ll see how that goes. The draws out again, I think in the next week or so. So wherever your cross.
Dan Haban 13:36
I was going to plug in something that last year, you know, COVID kind of took everything. For some people, but we, my dad and my brother got drawn for a cow elk tag in Payson, Arizona here. And I told my wife was turned into a full blown it’s my mom’s birthday, its there my parents anniversary, let’s all go and turn into a huge big huge deal. Nice. And sure enough opening day my dad gets his like an hour and a half into and then the next day was our anniversary. We didn’t do anything we just celebrated. The next day probably an hour and a half right after daylight my brother sheet says oh geez, animals cool is that we had our entire family they’re all our kids are there. Yeah. And it was one of the one of the one of the most special moments in my life to have my kids play around with, you know, our harvests and seeing up close what we do, right. More importantly, my mom was actually there because usually it’s her. She doesn’t come with us. Okay, and it’s your birthday. Yeah. So we were able to drive back and we picked her up on the truck and we all got there and we we hiked maybe half a mile to to my dad’s kill, man it was it was cool like
Brady Speth 14:49
three generations Yeah. That’s that’s about
Dan Haban 14:52
my son’s like rolling rolling around on the fur. Yeah, like playing with the the meat and stuff. And might even my daughter they she wasn’t scared because we look at hunting stuff all the time. Yeah. And she was this is love that like we’re gonna go next year we’re gonna shoot an elk Yeah, let’s do it.
Brady Speth 15:09
That’s cool. That’s perfect man I love getting kind of introducing that to the next generation. And that’s it’s really kind of cool that make that a family type event and be able to do that because that’s pretty rare to be able to have that opportunity. So well, let’s talk a little bit about kind of your professional side of things. So Brand Makers 2008. Correct. Yeah, when you founded it, it kind of talked me through the thought process by that, how’d you even get into the kind of the marketing side of the brand side of things?
Dan Haban 15:41
So it was founded in 2008. I joined about almost six years ago, okay. joined a group of guys that so I went to school for business. And I studied specifically branding, looked around, try to see what other companies that were, what they were doing in regards to branding, and went out of state to win the state and got in touch with with Brand Makers spoke to them trying to see what do you guys do. And I really enjoyed. number one, the culture they had there. And number one, what they’re just the concept of branding, what they’re trying to do, joined the team. And it’s been a dream come true. Ever since then we’ve grown 30 to 40%, every single year since then. We were just ranked I mean, ever since I’ve been there, we’ve been ranked in the top 25 fastest growing companies in Utah. And then last year, we were surprised when we receive when we saw in instead of Public Marketing. It’s like one of the top kind of online magazines for our industry. And we were ranked in the top 50 as one of the best companies in the industry. What the heck’s going on? That’s It’s awesome. It really comes down to we’re a small company, we don’t have a lot of personnel, but we we work with so many awesome brands, yeah, we help them grow. And because of that, I mean, we we’ve been able to turn those profits in those revenues year after year and grow and grow, grow. And it’s for me, it’s, it’s just being able to work with individuals that have a passion for their brand, right? And it’s figuring out, hey, what can we do to expand that brand? And then we just put together a game plan and go from there. It’s a blast.
Brady Speth 17:25
Nice. So that’s interesting. Yeah, I was trying to figure out like the progression of kind of looking at how well you guys have done, we kind of get that kind of question a lot too. And the you hit the nail on the head, that passion of like, you have to love what you do. I’ve had I was military, I was law enforcement, I had some some shitty jobs growing, you know, growing up, scrapping cow shit and on a ranch and like changing irrigation pipe, and like, I’ve had some horrible jobs, and I’ve had some really good jobs and, and so it’s nice to be able to take that and kind of kind of infuse it into the culture of a company and have that passion. You find the right people that love doing what they do. You can do amazing things with a small group. And then a lot of who you partner with, I mean, that’s been really big for us to our growth is our partners and who we align ourselves with. So talk about kind of the ups and downs, a little bit of that everybody sees from the outside of growing company. Right, right. Oh, that’s awesome. You guys are doing. I know what that’s like sitting on the inside of that. talk through that a little bit about the kind of the ups and downs and the the troubles of, you know, growing that company like that? Yeah. Well,
Dan Haban 18:30
I mean, you look at last year, a lot of companies had to make adjustments, right? Things go up, things go down, you just have to adapt, and you have to change. And you got to keep trying, you got to figure out okay, that worked a little bit. Let’s see, let’s try it again. Let’s see how we can expand, expand on it. One thing that a lot of people when I speak with brands, I always the first thing I asked him was like, what what is your brand? I don’t you introduce me as the branded dad. And the reason why I like branding and personal branding, because we work with business branding, personal branding, social branding, it really comes down to because you have branding, advertising and marketing, right? branding is what do people think, when they think of you, right? And then you have marketing that’s basically telling people why they should buy and advertising is informing them why they should buy. So when it comes to branding, I like that because it it kind of encompasses everything, everything that you do. So when people think of me, the branded dad, Dan Haban, what is it that I want them to think when they hear my name, right? And so when I bring that up, they a lot of times they have to go back to the drawing board, which is a good thing because in reality, they never really understood their brand, right? So when they go back and they say okay, when when they think of my company, I want them to think of quality quality products, the best service or you talk about personal brand. I want people to know that I’m willing to drop everything and help you or I want them to know that I love them 100%. And you’ll see all this, you’re able to bring in all this passion. So like for me, same thing as, as the branded dad. I’m starting to love that a little bit more.
Brady Speth 20:08
Dan Haban 20:10
So thanks for asking
Brady Speth 20:13
for that one. That’s a good one.
Dan Haban 20:15
I want people think, yeah, Dan was the guy that really helped me grow my brand. But he was also willing to take me a hunting, fishing, shooting he he’s the one that showed me how much how much fun it is to get out and once in a while in the outdoors and not stay at home or in the office.
Brady Speth 20:30
Dan Haban 20:31
I want I want them to know that he loved his children, he empowered me as a dad to be a better husband and a father to my kids. Yeah, that’s, that’s what I want my brand to be.
Brady Speth 20:41
Dan Haban 20:42
And so when it comes to the up and downs of a growing business like that, it’s going to someone that has so many demands for me and my company, but then asking them, Okay, tell me about your brand. And then you have to start over. Right? So it’s kind of like, yeah, it’d be nice to just take an order and say, Hey, we want we want 1000 shirts. Okay, let’s, let’s talk about that. Let’s How do you want to? How do you want to present it? What kind of shirts do you want? And then they’ll tell me, and then I’ll ask him, Okay, tell me about your brand. And then I’ll say, okay, does this represent that brand? Because it doesn’t match up? Right? And they’re like, Oh, well,
Brady Speth 21:24
that is not matching what you want to put out
Dan Haban 21:26
Yeah, yeah. So it’s, it’s tough because we, I don’t want to, when it comes to our service, I don’t want to give, I want to be able to elevate brands. And if a company wants crappy, I’m willing to give them if they really want it, then sure. Yeah. If you’re gonna force me to give you crappy service and crappy products, and I’ll give it to you, but
Brady Speth 21:53
but just know what the end results could be.
Dan Haban 21:54
Yeah, yeah. If this is what you, if this is what you want, then let’s talk about it. It’s really build, build your brand. So when it comes to the ups and downs, it’s more going through that process of going to a company and say, let’s, let’s look at your brain a little bit more. Yeah. So
Brady Speth 22:15
something that is kind of that triggered for me is we always talk about like, so we we sell riflescopes, right? That’s the end product, right? Of the entire sale cycle is yes, we get somebody to purchase a riflescope, right. But we’re not actually selling riflescopes, we’re selling us we’re selling, what is that we stand for the type of people we are the type of image we want to put out. What are we expecting. You know, what image is our customer taking on by being a part of our brand? So there’s a lot more stuff than like, he kind of said, People come to you in like, hey, I want a shirt. Okay. But you know, I think a lot of people don’t understand. And I talked to a lot of other kind of conversations like this and other small businesses that are coming along. And he kind of, I don’t think a lot of people quite quite grasp the fact that it’s not just a product, anybody can walk up and just sell you this. That’s great, right? If it’s a good product, but at the end of the day, how do you get them to come back? How do you get into tell their friends about it? How do you get what do you want to represent? And I think that’s a big key that a lot of people miss on the marketing and on that kind of brand side of the world is, what is it that you’re actually selling, they’re buying the scope, especially in the beginning, when I first started the company, they were buying it because of me, they didn’t really give a shit, there’s a lot of people like, I don’t need to look through it. Like I trust you, your you know, oh, and and that’s a huge one, if you can get that kind of the brand side of it is like the product doesn’t necessarily matter. If you can build a kick ass product on top of that, then that’s even better. And that’s what we try to do. But ultimately, you’re selling yourself. Yeah. When we look at like trade shows and stuff like that, we kind of do that, our products at the back normally, because I want you to come in and talk to me, I don’t want if I walk up to any type of booth at a trade show, and somebody hands me a product, the very first thing they do, you take a look at this, I’m already out. I don’t care about your product, we’ll get to that. But I care about you. I want you to kind of sit here and bullshit with us. We we serve coffee, we serve beer, we serve whatever, like come hang out with us. And at the end of this, you’ll want to do business because yeah, we have a kick ass product. But we’ll get to that. Yeah, it’s our brand that you’re going to like first. And so that’s a big one that really resonated with me when you’re kind of talking about that, because that’s everything we’ve done. Yeah, you know,
Dan Haban 24:19
I love it. Because I always tell people, the brand is the person not the product. Yep. And I mean, even going back to your guys’s ambassadors and you’re the people that carry your brand on on social media. They I’m sure you guys you guys. Don’t pick anybody. Right? You guys look at people that represent the brand like you want them to. Yeah, and just like you said, they’re the frontline. Yeah, they see those guys, and then say, Oh, yeah, I’m gonna I’m gonna give what they have. Yeah, because I like that guy. And that’s the brand and
Brady Speth 24:46
they may not be the world’s greatest shooter in our instance, right? I don’t need somebody that’s the world’s greatest shooter. I don’t need somebody that you can be a great shooter, but be an asshole. And I want you to have anything to do. Yeah, you know what I mean? Just because you’re a great shooter. That’s good for you. You’ve perfected your skill. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want you anywhere near my brand, you know if that’s the type of person you are, so that’s a huge one, like, I kind of, I laugh at some of my managers and some of the directors of our different organizations within the company, because I sit in on a lot of kind of the final interviews for some of the positions. And they’re like, do you have questions you’re gonna ask, now they know. But in the beginning that I was like, No,
Dan Haban 25:22
I just, you know,
Brady Speth 25:22
I just wanna sit and look, I want to sit here and just see that person, just how they are, what type of person they are, I’m not gonna ask them about the job, that’s your you handle that part. I’m gonna ask you about your kids, I’m gonna ask about what you do in your spare time. I want to know that have a person you are. And I can look over Chris. And he probably remembers that his whole nervous sitting on the other side of the table. Because that’s, that’s what’s important. And that’s why I like having this conversation with somebody that actually understands, like a lot of people that have failed have tried to sell the product. And that’s not a long term success solution. So
Dan Haban 25:54
going back to that question that always asked, tell me about your brands. Yeah, I can, I can tell you already know your brand to the tee. And you know exactly what you want to represent that brand. And so you’ve gone through those questions. Yeah. And you’ve built it so much, that now like now, it’s, it’s not the scope, right? It’s the name and the people behind the name. Yeah,
Brady Speth 26:13
that’s cool, man. And it’s funny too, because we get a lot of like, when you guys are growing crazy, what’s your secret sauce, you can go to the same place that we source our glass, the same place that we source, our aluminum, our reticles, you’re not going to end up with the same product, because the product isn’t the raw material. It’s not, you know, the product is how we present ourselves and how we interact with you and the people around us. If you want to duplicate what we have, you’re gonna have to take our entire team move it and put it somewhere else, because that’s the only way you can duplicate that, you know, and that’s something that we’ve kind of prided ourselves on is finding the right people and surrounding ourselves with people that are way smarter than me, that’s I get to do this because I have all these guys. Yeah, that’s kind of the cool part. So So talk to me a little bit. I kind of just freeflow man and so let’s, let’s talk a little bit more. I like to see kind of obviously, you see me kind of leaning towards the hunting side. So you talk a little bit about archery, is that you kind of go to you rifle? both? If I have both sitting here which one you grab him first the bow? Yeah,
Dan Haban 27:09
yeah. I mean, that’s a that’s a great question. This podcast is three hours long, right? Let’s talk. So when it comes to like recreational shooting, I would take a rifle. Okay. Just because you’re able to move you’re you’re able to reach out further. But when it comes to hunting, I’ll grab my bow. Nine out of 10 times. It’s a I still remember the first we’re just talking before that that Parker Canyon, I shot my first archery bow, yeah, small little coues. They’re about a basket, only about five inches apart. But it was it was January 1, I told my dad I was like, Hey, I found this spot. I’ve been I’ve been scouting this area for quite a while. It’s beacon, park at the lake and just hike a few miles out and there will be I just have one spot. And I called it like the deer sanctuary or something like that. And I took I took antlers out to rattle. I took the calls out on my dad’s like you are dumb And then so I was doing my sequences. And sure enough, I think we’re there for for 35 minutes. And my dad, my dad just hits me on the shoulder say, dad, hey, Dan, there’s a there’s a deer coming. There’s there’s another deer coming. He’s like, Oh, it’s just a doe,
Brady Speth 28:32
because you can’t see it till we get within about 20 yards.
Dan Haban 28:36
And so my dad’s pulling up the binoculars as it gets closer, and then I can see him pike up a little bit. He’s like, yeah, there’s antlers that’s a buck. And he the look on my dad’s face, to be able to experience that with number one my father, who taught me everything about hunting, right, who taught me everything about shooting. I’m like, Okay, I’m not gonna F this up. Yeah. Yeah. And I couldn’t see I was in a bad spot. And so I crawled to a small little bush in front of me. And I looked back to my dad and my dad. He’s still I mean the deers probably 20 yards away. He’s because he didn’t want to scare it. Yeah.
Brady Speth 29:11
Didn’t want to breathe.
Dan Haban 29:12
Yeah. And so people are gonna laugh and think this is cheating. But I i rattled one more time. And it turned and started walking straight to the bush. And I’m like, oh, man, I need to situate myself self now to get a good shot. Yeah, it’ll walk five yards away from me. And I shot high and broke its back. I was timid Yeah, for sure. But sure enough, I shot and ran off. Took us you know, we waited took us probably half an hour to find it. Yeah, I shot broke. Its back. Okay, but that was my first deer. Nice and that. That feeling? Oh man, right. You can’t beat it. There’s something that close that you kind of manipulated to get in And then I remember coming coming back home and from from college with my brother and saying the same thing we spotted and spot in stock. My brother went to go park park the truck and I walked a few miles in, got within about 2020 yards and just stood up and it just looked at me and it’s I’m in my heart, my heart. So I love archery when it comes to hunting. Well, rec recreation. I love shooting my handguns in your AR your tactical. And always it’s always nice to be able to reach out 300 500 yards with a with a rifle too. So there’s a there’s a lot that goes behind shooting, but not a lot of people understand. Yeah. But I was I was taught by a lot of great people and learned a lot of life lessons to shoot and shooting a handgun or rifle. But hunting, you can’t beat bow hunting. Yeah.
Brady Speth 31:05
It’s funny because I thought I thought I was a good hunter. And then I started bow hunting. Right. I was like, I’m killing a lot of animals with rifles. Yeah, like that. I started bow hunting. I was like, Oh my gosh, I gotten that lazy with my stock. Yeah, like, you get so caught up especially with like, technology nowadays with rifles and optics. And in a factory ammunition like we were out this weekend 1155 yards was that’s how far we are shooting on a silhouette plate. It’s doable and repeatable. Now with factory that was a factory rifle with factory ammo and one of our x7 scopes. Not like some crazy, you know, 10s of 1000s of dollar rig or anything like that. And it’s something that you can do so repeatable that I think I’ll admit I got lazy hunting, because I could shoot some 200-300-400 yards. Yeah, you know, within still an ethical range where I felt what I was within my capabilities, and then all sudden you get a bow in your hand, you know, like, I’m comfortable out to maybe 50 or 60. That’s a huge difference getting 50 yards away from a deer versus 400 especially here in Arizona with the coues deer that are like, well, they’re desert ghosts, they just disappear. I don’t know what the hell they do. They like can time travel and warp or something because they’ll be right there in front of you. And you blink and you’re like never see him again. Just calling out over the desert. Like I don’t know what led me out. But yeah, it’s uh, I love that part of it. So yeah, I’ve with you on our tread. I definitely got the bug. I told you before the show we got a bunch of us got drawn for javelina. So I got my first ivelina kill this year in January, which is awesome. I was actually chasing over the kind of deer tag. And I found a good size muli with like four or five doe around his house kind of chasing them. And just happen upon this little group javelina and I was like well first of first, I got out of like just little over 20 yards, which was awesome. It’s awesome. The way I describe it is like it’s rifle hunting is it’s harvesting it’s still hunting still to have skill. bow hunting is intimate. It’s, you hear the animal breathing before you shoot it, you hear it walking, you hear it take its last breath you have you know, it’s a, it’s a lot more of a like after I shot that have led to havoline for crying out loud. Like, I was like, holy shit. Like, that’s an experience I’ve never felt before hunting. And I’ve hunted for 30 years, you know. And I was like, I was pretty humbled by I was like, Oh, this is something that like imagine when you had to do this, you know, a couple hundred years ago, put food on the table and you have this you know, not compound bows that shoot at 340 feet per second. But I was I was humbled by the experience because I was like this is it’s a lot more intimate and close bow hunting is you know, you feel a little bit more in touch with kind of you have to be in touch with what you’re hunting and you know, one false move one twig one breath one something and they’re gone. So yeah, it definitely requires a higher level of commitment. So I’m with you. I think the archery bug is bit pretty hard. So
Dan Haban 33:58
I still remember growing up, um, and you know, I was I played a lot of sports, I was super competitive. And with that comes with, with rage, I guess the best way to put it right like sometimes you get angry, you get angry. And sometimes I’ll be home and I’ll come back from a bad practice or losing a game. And my parents will understand like, Okay, he’s frustrated. And my my parents would say go shoot your bow. Yeah. And that’s the you know, because you calm everything because if you mess up your if you break it out, you’re gonna get more pissed off have to focus, I still remember that. So yeah, I still do that too.
Brady Speth 34:36
We recently did a I’m trying to think that the was the name of the group. It was a group we started working with a file, think of the name that they’re using kind of archery is sort of like PTSD treatment and stuff like that. And we just did a hunt. They brought a bunch of people into Arizona and did a hunt. Operation Enduring Warrior. Thanks. Um, yeah. So we did a group with them and one of the guys who’s a double amputee. He was Like this is like, this is my zen this is how I you know, kind of cope with the all the shit that’s happened to me is like I can just go for 10-15 minutes, shoot some arrows and it kind of just brings me back to center and I was like, you know what there’s you can go into rapid fire gun right right with archery it’s it takes like you have time you have to actually think about what you’re doing there’s a breathing there’s so I was like wow, that’s actually you know kind of cool to see people turn on a passion like he oves hunting before his injuries. Yeah, and you know, turning that into, you know, kind of a way to heal a way to kind of just get back to yourself, you know, especially when you don’t have a ton of time with three kids and all that. Yeah.
Dan Haban 35:39
Yeah. Going back Yeah, I just teamed up with Nodens Outdoors, okay. And he he was special forces Matt Williams, he founded Nodens Outdoors. He was in the Special Forces and he he was with the CIA. And now he’s he founded this organization, organization to transition Special Forces veterans into the real world through outdoor immersion. Specifically bow hunting. Nice. So yeah, I’m excited, man.
Brady Speth 36:07
I’ll look into it. Definitely do you have their website. Feel free to shout it out. If you didn’t know what the best way to reach out and Nodens Outdoors you said,
Dan Haban 36:15
Yeah, Nodens Outdoors. N-O-D-E-N-S Outdoors? And then same thing on Instagram. Oh, Nodens Outdoors. Perfect. Yeah,
Brady Speth 36:22
we’ll put people there. If we can put a link or something. I’m all about that being both military and law enforcement that like that’s those are my brothers, man. So whatever we can do, and especially if it invloves hunting and shooting archery i’m in. I love that. So and that can’t be enough of them. That’s the beauty of Yeah, you know, when it comes to those type of charities and those types of organizations that can’t be enough of them that are trying to help out and transition and in honestly get people back outdoors. I think COVID had an interesting effect, we were kind of looking at Arizona fishing game website. And they’re like, we’re going through application still. It’s up like, I don’t know, the numbers like 60% or something like that. It’s it’s kind of been a weird reset. And I don’t know, if you tell us kind of like that where you’re at now. But it’s been a weird reset of like people wanting to get back into like, being prepared outdoors, maybe harvesting their own food. You can’t take that, you know, annual trip to Disney World, or whatever you used to do. So let’s go camping. And it’s been this weird. Like, it’s kind of cool. Like, from my perspective, I love it. Cuz I thought our country and a lot of people are getting away from that. I don’t necessarily love the extra 60,000 people put it in for elk tags. But I know, it’s good to see the you know, people kind of transitioning back to, hey, the supermarket might not have food, how am I going to get food, you know, so I don’t know if you’ve kind of seen a little bit of that or any of that. But it’s we’ve seen that a big change down here as far as people kind of getting back to nature almost.
Dan Haban 37:46
Yeah. I mean, the Cabela’s is about 30 minutes away from me. Yeah. And they’re just like, no fishing poles. Yeah, camping, camping gear is down to down to the last five or six, right? I mean, all the Walmarts I mean, you can’t wait, you can’t go which is Yeah,
Brady Speth 38:01
it’s I hope it lasts, honestly. I mean, I don’t like I said, it’s that catch 22 where like, like you said, there’s so many outdoorsman in Utah, and you know, it’s hard, but at the same time, like, if we have a society that’s getting back towards nature getting back towards I’m all for it. Let’s get out there, get out there and get you out of that Walmart tent and setup soon. But hey man, if that’s what you got to get started. Go do it. Yeah. I think teaching that next generation and letting people I love that your kids understand that, like, hey, this elk is our food. This is you know, like, this is what we’re putting in the freezer. This is what we’re putting on the table and like my kids helped us process my deer from from last year. You know, like we butcher at home, we process it, we do everything and, you know, I want them to understand that it’s not you know, it doesn’t come from the supermarket. That’s great that we have that, you know, it’s a it’s convenient, but it’s it’s nice to kind of have them understand how much better how much more would you appreciate if we harvested this right? Yeah, exactly. And then just that that burger tastes so much better that steak tastes so much better when it was it was you that put in the work for it. Love that. Um, so what is your dream hunt now? I’m curious. Oh, man, what have you not done that you would love to do?
Dan Haban 39:14
All right, well, growing up it’s always been the New Zealand stag. Okay, right. Well loves to go out there. Yeah. And then after that it was it’s probably an Iowa whitetail. You always have the South Texas whitetail. Yeah, those are fun. This is all archery. I got a if it’s gonna be a dream hunt, it’s got archery is good. If it if it’s elk, I want it to be in Utah. Since I’ve been in that terrain for a few years now i would i would love to be able to, to harvest and elk in Utah, but more kind of high end. I don’t know if you would call it exotic but it would be that go to New Zealand. Yeah, and go after one of those stags.
Brady Speth 39:56
That’d be crazy because that’s a hunt and inhabit. For the amount of miles you put in and the time you have to be out there. Yeah, that’d be awesome. I’d love to do that I had a trip to New Zealand that wasn’t for stag, it was for some different type of ram that got cancelled because of COVID. So I was like, oh, man, that’s because that’s one of my dream ones that just the landscape itself would be awesome to be out there. But yeah, the stag would be amazing to go do that. I think kind of the, I’ve always thought like, even in like Scotland or something like that, like the traditional, you know, like, I want some guy in some tweed jacket taking me hunting. There’s something about that. It’s been happening for hundreds of years, you know, that gamekeeper that landed? Like, there’s something about that, like, I was like, man, that’d be a fun hunt to go stag hunting that they’re
Dan Haban 40:37
very traditional. Yeah, nothing’s really changed since 100 years ago. Yeah,
Brady Speth 40:41
exactly. That’s cool, though. No, I think that’s fun. So the Well, good, I hope that you make one of those happen. That would be that’d be a lot of fun. Oh, yeah. The Utah elk one should that should happen pretty quick.
Dan Haban 40:53
Yeah. I’ve been speaking with Awesome Land from wild Wild Country Outfitters. And he’s, he’s married to Taylor Drury outdoors. And we’ve been talking and hopefully we can get something set up. I can go on 100. And you can take me elk hunting up there. Nice. It’s up in northern northern Utah.
Brady Speth 41:12
We need somebody to schlep your gear around, let me know. Okay. These guys are laughed by the camera cuz they know it doesn’t take much to get me out. That’s why what escape it’s a work event. And I get to go Hadid. So yeah, that’s done. Yeah, these guys, I think the last guy was on I was like, We’re going horseback. And he was all that it’s the, it’s been kind of fun to try to. I love it personally, just because the body inside of it, too, is the, the, the friendships I’ve made through hunting through, not the physical act of releasing the arrow or pulling the trigger, right. But that other 23 hours and 58 minutes, you’re out there during the day that you’re not doing that, you know, and then times that by 2, 3, 4, 5 days, that’s that those types of relationships and like, some of the closest friends I have, or the ones that I had no clue who they were, and then you go spend, you know, you go hunt for a week or week and a half and all sudden, you’re you know, you have that tie, that’s forever, you know. So that’s kind of my thing with hunting. I know these guys give me a lot of shit about it, because I talk about it a ton and always want to do it. But to me, it’s almost encompasses all the good things in the world, you know, and brings out the best in people when you’re under hardship or you’re hiking or you’re on heavy loads. And you really get to know who somebody is pretty quick when you’ve been with them for four or five days. So
Dan Haban 42:30
there’s a lot of times where, whether it be you or the person you’re hunting with, I mean, maybe you’ll have 30-40 pound pack under and you’re carrying a gun. Yeah. And you’re climbing, you’re going to gain 1000 feet. And then you just you want to quit Yes, I can. This is dumb. Let’s just go back. Or let’s just stop right here. And then you finally get up there. And then you just take that moment to stop. You look around you realize oh worth it. Hell yeah. Let’s do this.
Brady Speth 42:57
Now. That’s awesome.
Dan Haban 42:58
I love it.
Brady Speth 42:58
I love it for sure. So well, I want to wish you and Brand Makers continued success. We’ve been happy working with you guys. And you guys have done right by us. So appreciate that. I always love seeing your guys’s growth. So like good people that are successful. And so that’s I love seeing that. And then obviously, the branded dad side have fun with that, man, it’s my kids are getting a little like, to that point where it’s fun. And you know, you’ll get through it. Everything happens we had diapers only last for so long, so well, you know, you’ll get through it. So when you get to that point, and you can throw it in the truck and go out and do different things like that. It’s all worth it. So yeah, you already looks out and like you’re getting to that point. So almost there.
Dan Haban 43:37
Yeah, thanks, brother. So
Brady Speth 43:38
it’s fun. So real quick before we finish up the he gets to be submitted to the dreaded five questions. So we can do rapid fire I think you probably listen to the podcast so you prepared for this. So here we go. Got the five questions we kind of ask everybody the same ones just so we can kind of get an idea of where everybody’s at and we’ve got some pretty good answers to this. So first thing that comes to mind shout it out and let’s hear it so if you had one superpower, what would it be?
Dan Haban 44:05
Fly I’ve always wanted to fly
Brady Speth 44:06
nice. Are you going to do it outside of superpowers any any want to get a pilot’s license anything like that? Part of line
Dan Haban 44:14
my dad my dad gave me an option right high school to do things join the military go go a different direction. Yeah, and I went that different different direction. And I but I’ve always wanted to fly nice. So one of these days Yeah, I definitely want to be able to get that that license and I’ll want to take my dad out flying.
Brady Speth 44:31
Nice. Yeah, cuz the way you answered that was less superpower and more just wanting to be able to
Dan Haban 44:36
I could tell but I love being in there.
Brady Speth 44:38
Love it. If you could sit down and have a beer, steak dinner, whatever it may be with one person past present. Future. who would it be?
Dan Haban 44:46
Brady Speth 44:47
Yeah, no, I only asked why. But now for some reason. I want to hear some of these.
Dan Haban 44:51
I love I love this country. Yeah. And I want to I would love to sit down and see what vision he had for this nation.
Brady Speth 44:57
Right. I would actually like to compare what that vision was versus the vision that we seem to be on.
Dan Haban 45:05
him or any of the founding fathers. Yeah, I would love to understand what vision they had combined before this great nation. I mean, there’s there’s nothing better than being part of this free nation.
Brady Speth 45:16
Nice. I love it. Dude. If you were stuck eating one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? It could be a genre of food as well. Not just a particular food.
Dan Haban 45:28
My Yeah, sushi. Yeah,
Brady Speth 45:32
that’s the first one isn’t it? Everybody defaults to steak. I like sushi. Yeah,
Dan Haban 45:37
I mean, you get sushi. Sushi is different from being in Japan than Right. Yeah. So being able to come here and it’s different, right? Yeah. But I when you get the real stuff. Oh, man.
Brady Speth 45:52
sushi in Arizona? Sort of fresh. That’s right. What would the title of your biography be?
Dan Haban 46:05
Think I’m gonna go with the branded dad
Brady Speth 46:06
you say you got to go branded dad. I like it. That’s a good title. If I hand you a million dollars cash, what’s the first thing you would buy? You can’t pay bills. You can’t do any of that. You got to buy something. People have tried to find loopholes in this. So we got to we got to crush the loopholes.
Dan Haban 46:22
I would get a barn. There’s a lot that goes into this.
Brady Speth 46:26
I gotta hear this.
Dan Haban 46:27
I wouldn’t buy a big ass barn. Okay, number one. For a place to to work out. And well, going back, it would be a barn where veterans can go and work out. And then right behind it would be a big shooting range. Not even joking that that’s what I that’s what I would buy.
Brady Speth 46:48
That’s a great answer.
Dan Haban 46:50
different from what I would do with it. But yeah, it was you had to buy something.
Brady Speth 46:54
Dan Haban 46:54
I buy a barn
Brady Speth 46:57
it. I love it. That’s definitely a first. Well, dad. It’s a pleasure, man. I’d love to definitely have you back sometime. You’re welcome here at Riton anytime you’re in Arizona. So
Dan Haban 47:05
Brady Speth 47:06
Appreciate it. And thanks for being on the podcast.
Dan Haban 47:08
I hope no one take my idea.
Brady Speth 47:13
Appreciate it. Yeah. Thank you. Thank you.
Riton Optics 47:23
Thank you for listening to the Riton podcast. Please like, subscribe and review. For more information on RIton Optics visit us at ritonoptics.com that’s R-I-T-O-NOptics.com
How to effectively perform holdovers. Our expert Spencer Steck, gives you a great introduction to holdovers and how to use them in your training.
Riton Optics Used: X5 Conquer 5-25×50 MRAD
Ballistics App Used: Strelok Pro
Spencer Steck 0:05
Hi, this is Spencer with Riton optics and welcome back to Riton University. Today I’m going to show you how to use your reticle for holdovers. A slang term for this is Kentucky Windage. A benefit of holding as opposed to dialing your turrets is it’s much faster and much more on the fly. So a lot of PRS shooters will use holds instead of dialing, just because they’re moving from one distance to another to another, and also different wind calls very rapidly. That’s where the PSR reticle comes in handy. Now, today’s example that I’m going to be using is my X5 Conquer 5-25 in mil radians. So in today’s video, I’m going to be using the Strelok Pro app. If you are unfamiliar with this app, you can go watch a previous video called DOPE where Jeremiah Alexander actually shows you how to input all of this data. So say I’ve got a target that is at 700 yards. I’m going to go ahead and hit calculate on here, and it’s going to give me my mill radians and my minute of angle, so 6.3 mil radians, what does that look like in the reticle.
So in this reticle each sub tension I know is .2 mil radians for each little tick mark in the reticle. So I would be holding down six solid lines and then in between the first and second tiny tick
So that’s your elevation hold. Now a lot of people get real intimidated when they look at these big Christmas tree style reticles like the PSR. All those extra mil dots on the sides are for is to assist you with precise windage and elevation holds. So if I have a four mile an hour wind at 700 yards, I know that it’s going to be roughly a .8 mil radian wind call. So I would just hold .8 mils over to whichever direction the wind is coming from.
On this episode of the Riton Podcast, host Brady Speth joins country music star Ryan Weaver. Listen to this man’s incredible stories of his family and his country music.
Be The Riton Revolution
Check out what Ryan Weaver has going on:
Brady Speth 0:08
Welcome everybody to the Riton podcast. Today’s guest we’re doing this online so we’re not getting him in studio here yet. We’ll get him out to Tucson here soon but want to introduce today’s guest is a former Army Blackhawk helicopter pilot and current country music star Ryan Weaver. Welcome to the Riton podcast, buddy.
Ryan Weaver 0:26
What’s up, man? I appreciate you guys bringing me on.
Brady Speth 0:28
Glad to have you. I was kind of laughing thinking about this podcast because I think this might be the first time you’ve actually sat and talked but our circle of friends I feel like I’ve known you for a while if that’s that’s weird.
Ryan Weaver 0:41
The way it seems that way we travel and in the same circles sometimes with other the other people you know, but then if it’s not SHOT Show or something like that. I don’t even get to meet folks except for on podcast like this. But I have a performance in Prescott. I don’t know how close that is to you guys in Tucson.
Brady Speth 0:59
A few hours away when’s that one at?
Ryan Weaver 1:02
May 1 is the performance. And so hopefully, I don’t know how close you guys to Prescott
Brady Speth 1:10
about three, three hours or so drive?
Ryan Weaver 1:12
luck. Yeah. Yeah, it’s a motorcycle rally for the wounded blue and a few other nonprofit organizations. I’ll do probably seven, seven songs set real short. But yeah, three hours is a hike for you guys to maybe but yeah, maybe one day I’ll get get out there with you and get to hang out in
Brady Speth 1:29
the Yeah, well look at look at the calendar, that’d be fun to come up and hang out. We actually just picked an officer or Sheriff deputy up there for a hunt. We’re taking him to Africa on a hunt here in May. And he won one of our one of our hunts so just Sheriff deputy up in that area. So I’m good friends with a bunch of those guys. So it’d be worth coming up and saying hi. So it can be a good time. So let’s come back to the country music side. Let’s Let’s go the other way. First, let’s talk a little bit about people that are not necessarily familiar with you kind of upbringing and military and kind of how you get to the point of doing concert and prescott.
Ryan Weaver 2:09
Yeah, it’s been it’s been quite a journey. I actually grew up in West Central, actually all over Florida, and I graduate from high school from Inverness, Citrus County, which is about 50 miles west of Orlando, and went in the army at 18, straight out of high school, was an intelligence analyst in the military, up to E6, and decided to transition I had two older brothers that were aviators, one of which was Aaron he was in flight school at the time. And my oldest brother Steve was already warrant officer and I think he was a W2 or W3 at the time but ended up going to transition to be one officer going to flight school, and 2000 or 2000 ish in 1999-2000 timeframe. And transition to Blackhawk aviator, went to Germany and was deployed to Iraq in 2003. My brother Aaron was deployed there with the 82nd airborne. I was deployed with 1st Armored Division. He was just southwest of Fallujah, and I was at Baghdad International Airport in combat, and but he was a cancer survivor was non deployable. He was actually in the event that Black Hawk Down was made after the ambush in Mogadishu and Somalia, he was one of the Rangers on the ground. And he but he was a cancer survivor was non deployable, got a waiver to be deployed, but he had to get bimonthly blood screenings for his cancer. And he had to with those bimonthly blood screenings, he was taking medivac hops, you know, back and forth between Baghdad hospital and whatnot. And he was on on in route to one of those cancer screenings. And it was shot down and killed everybody on board and I came home from Iraq to his funeral. And that we became a one time Gold Star family at that point. And that’s really where the country music thing started. I still had a few years left in the military, and before I was done, and was stationed at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and as a TAC officer and an academic instructor for the leadership development portion of their of one Officer Candidate School and one officer Career College. That’s where we’re at all sparked right there in Fort Rucker, Alabama,
Brady Speth 4:23
Alabama. Well, first, I’ll jump in. I don’t I always never know what to say on things like this, because I’m a military vet and law enforcement that thank you for your family and your brother. And honestly, it sounds like a badass Dude, I would have loved to have met him for just the simple fact that if he goes through all that just to go to play with his boys and be over there and get those waivers and then, you know, going through what he did, and then for the Blackhawk down side of it, and then you know, just wanting to be a part of serving his country and stuff. So we’re forever indebted for that. So I appreciate it.
Ryan Weaver 4:55
He was he was an all American superhero. You know, he was in a Ranger Regiment 3075th Bravo Company, there were 75th and he was in the best Ranger competition two years in a row was Jeff Zucker is his Ranger buddy and they got fourth. So he was a badass, he was much more of a badass than I am. I was with the infantry in the 25th Infantry Division, and I had to do CQ duty. And I’m sitting there at night and we had a little field desk with the phones sitting on top of it and I’m pacing back and forth trying to stay awake because there’s nothing to do other than checking arms room every hour for whatever reason to make sure that nobody stole weapons out of there but
Brady Speth 5:34
nothing to walk away.
Ryan Weaver 5:35
I just walked right I fell asleep standing up I guess and walked right over the top of that field desk smashed the phone and was I knew right then and there that I was never going to go to Ranger School because I love to eat and sleep and you don’t get to do either one of those in Ranger School.
Brady Speth 5:50
Ryan Weaver 5:53
Intelligence and they went they both my brothers went in the Ranger Regiment were in the Ranger Regiment, and they got out of out, went to two years of school then went back and went to became warrants after they got out for two years of college. I went straight from recruiting duty that sucked to, to flight school. So it was pretty cool. Nice transition.
Brady Speth 6:14
That’s a good transition. Actually, the I was gonna say for those of you that haven’t run familiar with the Best Ranger Competition, take a look. watch some videos on that, because that’s, it’s insane. So that gives you just a small little glimpse into what it’s like to be an Army Ranger. So much respect to those guys and the friends of mine that have been through that.
Ryan Weaver 6:32
I would I don’t want to go to Ranger School much less after being the best Ranger competition there was just complete animals.
Brady Speth 6:39
Yeah, to be up for days at a time and marching and rucking and just Yeah, I’ve I’ve watched that one a bunch of different times. And those guys are machine so yeah. So let’s jump into that the kind of the country music side of it. So you come back to Alabama. Is that something that is music something that’s always been kind of a part of it? And is that something you just kind of picked up as you know, a you’re going through some shit? And this is a coping type thing? Or what was it the kind of got you into music?
Ryan Weaver 7:07
It’s actually kind of interesting, because I don’t have your typical, you know, I was three years old, listen to Johnny Cash and all that kind of stuff. You know, the Country Music stories that you hear out there is completely different than that. I grew up in a small town USA and we were not, we were I mean, I would say that we were I don’t want to say a poor family because we had a lot of love and everything that we needed. But we definitely had a lot in our house a lot of folks in our house because my were step siblings and half siblings and all that. But you know, I never I did some I played the violin over you know, when I was growing up a little bit, played that and got bored with that. And I never really did a whole lot in the music side of things until I got to flight school. Because I was broke off my ass in flight school. I was actually in the middle of a divorce and flight school, but I was broke. And I needed to find something cheap to do on the weekends when I when I you know, to get away from flight, you know, the studying and flight line and all that kind of stuff and entertain myself. And it was karaoke. I started doing karaoke just for fun. And I entered into a karaoke competition. And won. Well, I think I got one of the top three or whatever it was, but I ended up winning money with it. I’m like, well, hell, if I can make money singing karaoke. I was like, whoa. So I really got into the karaoke scene, and Dothan in Alabama and around in that area, Southern southeastern Alabama. And it was just something late in my life that I found out that I was decent enough that for people to enjoy what I was doing. I can’t say that I’m the best vocalist in the world. And I don’t ever say that I am but the entertainment aspect of it. And engaging with the crowd seemed to be something I had a knack for and got re stationed in Germany. And I did karaoke for fun, didn’t do any competitions and stuff over there. But when I was deployed to Iraq, I started writing there was one of the guys that was with us brought his guitar and I started writing with him and I’ve always written poems and poetry and stories and different things like that, but I never had written music but kind of learned a little bit about how to do it and chord structure song structures and different things like that. And then when Aaron died, you know, I followed in my brother’s footsteps, my oldest brother was an aviator. Aaron was an aviator my oldest brother, Steve was an aviator, Aaron was an aviator. They flew Kiowa warriors, I flew Blackhawks essentially followed in their footsteps and everything I did and then when Aaron died, you know, it’s kind of like, Well, what do I do? I mean, it’s not it’s not what do I do now? It’s this was I did did this really, because my older brothers did it and I want to get the hell out of my house at the time. And it was a great way for me to be able to do that. And it’s cool to be able to say that I did it Don’t get me wrong. It’s a badass job. To to To fly, but I wasn’t super passionate about it like they were it was idea. So I realized that I was kind of letting life pass me by and needed to find something that I was passionate about. And I was, you know, I really love getting on stage and singing. I really love performing. I loved engaging with the crowd and making people forget about their lives three minutes and 15 seconds at a time with, you know, with each song so I decided when I came back after Aaron’s funeral to start chasing this dream and country music in his honor, and I did a Fort Rucker military auto competition that was in 2006 started traveling back and forth to Nashville. And then they had a fort ruckers 50th anniversary celebration in the winter, I actually got runner up in that singing competition. But when the winner went to Nationals, Fort Rucker had their 50th anniversary. And since I was a runner up, I got to open up for Darryl Worley and Tracy Lawrence for their, their show there. And I connected with the Army Band that that had some noncommissioned officers that were playing off post in a rock band. And they needed to country music artists to front their band. So I just said, Hey, if you’re if you’ll let me market because I already had a plan for marketing my name and marketing a brand and just try and getting the branding in there. It’s evolved over the years, but I had a plan for it and and I said, Hey, we’re not stuck on our name, we just want to make some extra cash as noncommissioned officers playing, doing what we love to do, which is playing music. So that was on a Saturday in my first show with him was that Thursday after that, and I did all the bar scene club scene with them. And I started moving to setting goals for every six months to move to a bigger size club started off at the bars and restaurants, small bars and restaurants. And then I moved to the medium, medium sized clubs, and then the guys couldn’t travel as much because the Army Band was really they had a lot of work to do. And they were active, obviously doing installation, stuff, military, you know, music and all that kind of stuff. So I did a 10 High School tour with them with their rock and singing ensemble, which was really cool because I got to go TDY and do that. And then I end up working with another band down there and they were already booked in the larger clubs and started in the festival scene by 2007. So almost had a year I was already into the festival scene and open for Blake Shelton and Craig Morgan, Jason Michael Carroll and Montgomery Gentry and Trace Adkins. You know, it was a it was a pretty killer year in 2007 and 2008. And once I retired out of the military, I was fortunate and I will say this, I was fortunate because I was an instructor. And because of the soul survivor act, I was non deployable after Aaron died. And the I know I have an older brother, but Aaron was my only full blood sibling. And he was killed in action, obviously. But he was my only full blood sibling. And we got I could go into a long drawn out story about how we were both adopted by our stepdad who is my dad don’t call my stepdad because he raised us essentially from those 10 months old when we were adopted. But he was s our dad, but anyway, so I was non deployable, and I was fortunate that I had Mark Jones who was a Colonel he was the commander of the Warrant Officer Career College of the Commandant excuse me in the Warrant Officer Career College. And he was when I did the military auto competition, he he came to every one of the the events when he was not with our with the Warrant Officer Career College, he went to every one of the events and became a fan of my music. And then when he became the commandant, or Warrant Officer Career College, he brought me in as soon as he did, he said, Ryan, I want to know what you’re doing with your music and like what what you’ve got going on. So Well, sir, I’m doing the club scene and festival scene. And you know, I’ve already started advancing my music, you know, to larger venues and bigger, bigger shows. And he said, Well, I’m gonna tell you right now, as long as you continue doing your job, if you do your job the way you’re supposed which have gotten nothing but positive, you know, words from folks that have worked with you and have been your bosses. As long as you continue to do that. You have my 100% support, if you need to go get something done if you need to do a concert if you need to travel if you need to whatever. Yeah, I’m going to tell every one of your bosses to let you do what you got to do because what you’re doing is much bigger than this Warrant Officer Career College here. And it was amazing to have his support. By the time that I got out of the military. When I retired in 2012 and moved to Nashville. We had I had already started actively traveling back and forth to Nashville and writing on a regular basis and just networking so it was cool. 2012 moved to Nashville jumped in headfirst went from being a Chief Warrant Officer three to a personal trainer and a barback and going to college full time with my post 911 Montgomery GI Bill.
Brady Speth 14:58
You gotta love it. Yeah,
Ryan Weaver 14:59
yeah, too. Two part time jobs in that. And that in itself turns into a whole different transition story. Because then you go from the military solid paycheck, everything is there to jumping into Nashville. I mean, headfirst without I mean the only thing I had a pretty good safety net with my retirement check. But getting into jobs, I mean, Hell, I was 39 years old and barback and for 20 something year old bartenders and whatnot. And yeah, man, I mean, wild horses, like three, three flights of stairs, and you’re carrying cases of beer. And I’m like, man, oh, man, but it was I was doing what I wanted to do. You know, I felt free. I felt I didn’t have time for music. That was the only problem. Because I was just trying to pay my damn bills. And then event, you know, try and get into the music scene and figure it out. Nashville is its own animal.
Brady Speth 15:50
Ryan Weaver 15:50
And I met my wife. And after I retired my second wife, but the best and the only one for the rest of my life. But she, her dad, does corporate meeting planning. And he said, you know, Kara, needed help. My wife needed some help in the office, and they needed help on their events and whatnot. And he said, What do you need to pay your bills, and I said, I need this much money and want to pay my bills. And he said, Well, I will give you if you need to work three hours, or you need to work 80 hours, I’ll give you that much on salary every month. And that afforded me the opportunity to he said I want you to get back into the reason why you came here. It’s very, it’s it was very much like Mark Jones, you know, he did the same thing. And I was honored it that he brought me into his family and my wife has been 100% supportive and had my back on, on everything that I’ve done since then. And it’s just once I signed with a PBR 2016, that the 2017 to 18 my life just completely changed on the music side of things. It just went ballistic. So yeah, yeah, man.
Brady Speth 16:59
I kind of let’s come back to the PBR thing. And I’m so curious, I want to hear a little bit more of that, for the professional bull riding for those of you that aren’t familiar, I think aren’t we kind of started. And I kind of started recognizing you, when you started doing, I think you did some stuff with Tig and with Tanto and some of the 13 hour guys, and then I think that’s kind of where our, our paths kind of crossed when I first noticed what you were doing for the military community, what you were doing, as far as some of the music you’re putting out and the support you were doing. Talk obviously that’s near and dear to you, with serving and with your brothers and talk a little bit about what that’s kind of meant to you as far as being able to, you know, play at some of these bases do some of these events and how that’s helped your career out a little bit?
Ryan Weaver 17:41
Well, when I when I started getting back into the music, really getting into it in 2014, I released in 2012, I released Crank It my first music video and that was the very first song that I ever wrote in Nashville. That was a fun one, you know, shallow hell concept. You know, it was it was great all my my friends and family that I had become part of the my wife’s friend friends group up here and her family, they were all in the video. You know, it was a great, it was a cool concept. It felt good to see that go from a writer’s room, when I’m sitting there with two guys sitting in a writers room, all the way to a full production video and releasing it out and having funding to be able to do that and fans help no record deal no record label song out there and whatnot. But you know, the that opened up a whole lot of avenues for me to start doing more regional shows and and brought on you know, some loyal band members that I worked with. And the hardest thing for an artist is keeping band and keeping band members because you’re in the club, seeing the bar scene and you know, everybody knows 500 covers, but then when you want to start doing original material, you start adding that to the mix, it changes the dynamic of things, and you got to start moving up and the quality of guys that you’re working with so that you’re competing with these national level acts without the funding that they’ve got so, but you know, 2016 I already had written a song had already written burn the song that’s out there with the 13 hours guys, I’d already written it but it was supposed to be more from a military standpoint. And then I did a Charlie Daniels volunteer jam I paid to play here at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville and I played between let me digress here for a second I got involved with the Charlie Daniels group in 2014. And David Corlew, Charlie Dino’s manager invited me to play the Ryman Auditorium stage with Charlie. So that was first stage I ever walked out onto and cried just because all the stuff that I had gone through since 2006. And just for soundcheck standing there in the Ryman Auditorium and Mother Church of country music It’s an honor incredible feeling when you have the opportunity to do something like that and you don’t take a second of it for granted So, soaked it all up, but, and then 2015 played that the Bridgestone Arena event with him and john Teigen, TIG and Mark Geist oz. we’re promoting 13 hours at the time it hadn’t come out yet. And then so that was, yeah, Bridgestone Arena then and then later in the year 2015. I ended up being introduced by Charlie Daniels onto the Grand Ole Opry stage on September 11, in 2015, and debuted on the Grand Ole Opry stage and got to sing what you think of me, which is a song we haven’t released yet, but I wrote it on my the anniversary of Aaron’s the 10th anniversary of Aaron’s death. But I have to tell you guys something back in 2013 because I’m skipping this too, and I don’t want to skip it. But my brother in law, Randy Billings was piloting a Black Hawk in Afghanistan, they were doing a recon mission on a cell phone tower and, and, and Al Qaeda, whoever had set an IDE up next to that cell phone tower, and it blown the tail tailboom off the helicopter, and a passenger in the back was was ejected and survived. But the rest of everybody on board was were killed in action. So we became a two time Gold Star family in 2013. That just motivated me to even want to be even more successful. And that’s when Crank It came out in 2014. And then Burn came out in 2016. But when they were promoting that video, or excuse me promoting the movie, you know, I was talking more with Mark Geist at the time and you know, I said I got a song and the lyrics, we had to change up a little bit, we’re gonna try and get it in 13 hours is one of the songs and 13 hours and by the time that we got it recorded and finished, and all that was done, it took us too long and they were already past the editing phase for music. So anyhow, the you know, got instead of getting it into the into the movie, I decided I was going to do a music video for the song and john Teigen really jumped on board and you know, had my back for that music video. He helped me get it funded. He got Chris Paronto on board and Mark Geist at that time was really super busy. And we we didn’t we didn’t he wasn’t involved in the video at that point, and but Chris Paronto and John Teigen both jumped on board, john contacted Paramount and got the got the authorization to use the trailer clips for the film, in the music video, and as an independent artist, I mean, you have a major motion picture company that’s allowing you to use trailer clips and music videos. Monster thing? Yeah. So once again, it was all fan funded. We, you know, we did the whole music video with with fan funding and supporting no record label, no, just you know, song on the radio, no, nothing. And that expanded my shows even more at that point. That’s probably when you really started hearing about me because I was had those guys and I was at SHOT Show, and we’re promoting it and we’re doing all this stuff. And and, you know, for me that that I would say that was the big stepping stone in my music career at that point. Because the shows that I was doing, I was all of a sudden, able to ask for enough money to actually pay my bills, and, you know, with music, and it also got me a show out in Colorado. I did a show in Colorado Springs. And I think it was it was at Colorado Springs or Littleton. There’s Littleton Littleton, Colorado anyway, right there right next to each other, but did a show opening for docking warrant in Great White. And that was 2016. So 3, 80s rock bands opened up for my show. I mean, if you guys watch Burn out there, those of you that haven’t seen it, check it out. Ryan Weaver Burn but watch the music video for that you can see it’s rock man. I mean, it’s it’s as much rock as it is country. And I would say that three quarters of my set fits right in with the 80s rock guys. And you know, we’re actually transition and we’ll talk a little bit about that here in a bit but transition into a more modern rock sound. And because I grew up listening to, 80s rock and that kind of stuff show. But yeah, did that show in the PVC do the PBR was in the front row, and they were a prime sponsor for it as a veterans nonprofit event. And I got to tell you this, I gotta tell you what this was. So first and foremost, I don’t know what kind of cuss words I’m allowed to say on this podcast. Is it wide open or do you like to keep yourself out?
Brady Speth 24:34
wide? All right, so
Ryan Weaver 24:35
Dokken? Dokken is a dick. I mean, he is an asshole straight up. And his manager. And I’ll say it, I’ll say it to any I don’t care because he treated us like crap. I was it was a veterans nonprofit event. He was the headliner. They sucked anyway. Warrant was just so much better than they were in they I don’t know why they were the opening act. They should have been the headliner. But actually I was the opening act. But there were two, two bands behind me before Dokken and what was one of them anyway, I get out there. So they fly my whole band out for this military nonprofit event, veteran nonprofit events, a motorcycle ride. I mean, they’ve got, I think, several 100 motorcycles in this ride, great stage, great venue, all that stuff. And I get out there and I’m on stage and Mark Giest had driven I think two and a half hours to come there because I was gonna bring him up on stage and sing with me when we did Burn. And this was kind of the big debut of me playing it live with the band. And I get three songs into the set and I’m sitting up on the front front of the stage. And I’m singing and Dokken manager comes on stage to my bass player, or my acoustic player at the time, which, if you watch Burn, he’s he’s actually the guy wrote the song with Craig Wilson. He’s my acoustic player still, but he comes up to him and says, You guys are done Get the fuck off stage, Dokken will not start late because of the local acts that they had played before me ran a little long. And I didn’t know he even came on stage. So yeah, Craig went over to Trey my bass player who is one up there. I mean, they these two guys are up to my best friend’s now. But he went over to him and he said that Dokken manager just came once you were done, Get the fuck off stage. And I was like, and then we got done with the song. And I was up front performing doing all this stuff. And then Trey comes up to me, and he said, Ryan, Dokken, and just say, we got to get on stage because we’re Dokken won’t start late. And I said, Oh, no, I said no way. Because I had a 45 minutes set to do and Mark had driven two hours in Burn was gonna you know, that’s that’s my my highlight moment song, you know? So I turned around my wife is actually videoing and like, she’s video with her phone.
And I turned around, I said, I need to tell y’all something. Fuck Dokken and fuck them wanting to be the headliners of this thing, this is a fucking scam when I started dropping, and I don’t drop bombs on stage. I even had I mean, it’s a biker, veteran, nonprofit event. I so I mean, it’s pretty safe to say whatever you want. I mean, it’s pretty right on the money. It’s an 80s rock shows, you’re gonna get the F bombs dropped. You know, I’m saying my wife. She said, I just went, Oh, my goodness, what just happened? She dropped her. She dropped her phone down. She stopped recording. She’s like, What just happened? Because she had never seen me do that I’d never gone off. Well, I told him, I said, you know, I’m the only nonprofit or I’m the only veteran in this bill and I came out here to raise money for my brothers and sisters in arms. And Dokken doesn’t he’s got his head up his ass he doesn’t have it where it needs to be, which is about helping you guys and helping you my brothers and sisters in arms, not him starting on time. If he ends up being a little bit late, what the fuck ever. Thing is the CEO of the PBR was sitting right in the front row. And I got done with the show. And when I got I we finished it. I mean, I finished the show. And when I was down off to the side of the stage, and everybody you know was coming up and wanting to get an autograph and different stuff after that in the CEO, the PBR which I didn’t know who he was at the time came up to me and hand me his card. He said, I work with the PBR. I’ve got some plans, you know, coming up, and we would love to get you involved in what we’re doing. And I always heard about the PBR’s events, I’d always heard about how freakin awesome they are and what kind of production they put into these things. And I was like, heck, yeah, man, I want to, I’d love to do this. In in, but then I paid attention to him. He just gave me his card. And he kind of walked he kind of backed off and then everybody else was swamping, and, you know, swamped up to me, and I’m signing autographs and talking to folks and went up. And I know, this may seem like a long thing. But it’s, I mean, this is how it all happened. And it was just and I remember like it was yesterday, I went up and signed a you know, was had some merchandise and and he came up and bought a T shirt and a CD and signed it for him took a picture with them. And, you know, we did all that stuff. And I went back to the bus and I looked at card. I’m like, holy shit, it’s the CEO, the PVR. And so I went out to him. I was like, hey, sir, you know, I apologize. I didn’t know who you were. I’m sorry. I didn’t spend more time talking to you said no, Ryan, I want to tell you something. I sat back and I watched how you deal with people. And he said, You treat every single person who’s standing in front of you like they’re the most important person, you’re not looking over their shoulder for somebody more important, even if they’re being irritating, whatever. You handle yourself very well. I loved your show. I love your story. We’ve got a plan for you. So Steven Tyler was the headliner for 2016 World Finals in Vegas. And through 2017, we recorded a four song EP called Celebrate America you can get all four of the songs. I co wrote all three of the four songs. It was produced by Wynn Varble who wrote Have You forgotten Just Got Back from the War Waiting on a Woman I’m he’s a hit songwriter, co wrote one of the songs with him called Get Up or Get Out. I think you guys will appreciate that one’s about standing up for the national anthem. But he produced it in you know, it was it It turned out to be a cool album. Well, my first show with the PVR was to a sold out arena and last sold out T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. And and, you know, just the most incredible moment for me there. I mean, one of the most incredible obviously the Ryman and Grand Ole Opry but we entered my first show in 2000. That was 2017. 2018 my first show was Madison Square Garden with him. And I did 24 arenas with them. We did 18 and as he was 24, I did 24 shows total and did three three in Australia. So this is killer. I got to do a at&t Stadium and down there. I did play in Glendale, Arizona. I don’t I don’t know what the name of
Brady Speth 30:44
Cardinal Stadium. The Football Stadium up there.
Ryan Weaver 30:47
It was inside an arena. No, it was inside an arena.
Brady Speth 30:50
Okay. It’s probably probably the coyotes are one of those. Yeah, one of the teams. That’s right there.
Ryan Weaver 30:54
Yeah. is where I guess they’re hockey. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it was. Yeah, I loved it. But um, so yeah, we did all those shows. They sent me to Australia for three shows. And we actually had four shows scheduled in Australia for 2020. Of course, COVID kill all that. But no, I mean, that’s how it all happened, man. It’s how it went down.
Brady Speth 31:11
Yeah, that’s great. That’s why I wanted to come back to that because I’m the kind of getting involved with those guys. All sudden, things are on a whole new level. So.
Ryan Weaver 31:19
But the cool, the cool thing was, they brought me on and I didn’t have to change who I was, I did change my cowboy hat, I’ll tell you that I did change my cowboy hat. I changed it to a more traditional cowboy hat at the time, because I had a road rock, you know, like a rocker cowboy hat. What changed that but, you know, I was able they they let me co write the songs. They let me you know, put my show out there. They I mean, it was it was incredible. And if you guys who are listening or watching whatever, check out Never Forgotten attribute video, it’s PBR World Finals tribute video. My family’s in there, we honor last fallen law enforcement, first responders, military and Border Patrol. My family was the military representation in the video, but I co wrote that one was, you know, just honored to get to do that in every single arena that that they had for the Monster Energy tour and for their Velocity Tour, which is their lower tour, that that song played in every single arena. And I would sing the national anthem. For you know, for Trump Jr. in Madison Square Garden. That was kind of cool. But you know, just got to do a whole lot of stuff, no record deal. I mean, I would say that’s got quazi record deal for that EP, but it’s not like, you know, record label that’s pushing the songs out to radio and all that stuff. They essentially own that music for their marketing platform. And I was that guy who lit up arenas form I
Brady Speth 32:43
love it. Go back for a few because I want to dig into that a little bit. your country, your country genre, but then you kind of dove into the the whole 80s rock band and you know how we grew up and then the music we listen to growing up? Where what kind of music do you you know, do you like where do you get your inspiration from? Who would you say kind of I mean, you know, you talked about Charlie Daniels and talked about some of these other guys. Where do you kind of look at when you know for model yourself after inspiration?
Ryan Weaver 33:12
Well, when it comes to the performance side of it. I would say the Garth Brooks is Garth Brooks performances were really what I want that that over the top energy connection, genuine connection with the crowd. If anybody out there has ever seen Sawyer Brown live their lead singer just I mean, he jumped around. I mean, he was I saw him way back and I don’t know it was ’93 or something like that. jumped around on stage like a ping pong ball. And that’s kind of my performance to high energy. Yeah, and I would say as far as the writing is concerned, I don’t like writing about you know, pickup trucks dirt road and fireflies underneath the moonlight. You know, drinking a Coors Light on your tailgate with your girlfriend and or cut off jeans and flip it
Brady Speth 33:58
on, hold on, just write this down.
Ryan Weaver 34:01
on a river on a river. Yeah, on a riverbank listening to am it’s just there’s Friday night football, you know, high school, you know, you name it a dog, your dog. I don’t usually write about that kind of stuff. I write up you know, I don’t know what the best way we hit the newest song that we’ve got. They were I got a song called Let’s Talk About Heroes, which is is I would say a patriotic song. But that’s not really what my show is about. It’s got some of those patriotic themes in it. But you know, I grew up listening to Steve Miller Band and Journey and heavy metal, the group heavy metal my brother did all you know, listen to all of those things, The Eagles and then I started listening to pop and you know, the boy bands in middle school in early High School, and then near the end of high school. You know, the Bon Jovi and Def Leppard and Metallica and Guns and Roses kind of started you know, so I would say you have an eclectic taste in music, because I love listening and all that stuff. But my influence in the country influence that I’ve got, I can’t say it southern rock because it really isn’t. I think you could probably put it in that southern rock genre, but it’s more of an 80s rock infused with country music. So the Metallica sound to me when I’ve got my two guitars that are just chunking away at it and you know, you feel in your freaking nuts rattle on stage, and it’s because the bass is just slamming and you know, that’s so much I mean, I that’s Love it. Love it, we got a song called Swamp Thing that we do that’s a Jeffrey Steele. He’s a huge hit songwriter in town. And he helped me out when I first came into town. But um, we got a song called Swamp Thing that is just ridiculous and Burns the same way. We’ve got several other songs that are played that originals we haven’t released, but they have that hard, hard feel to them. But the new stuff that we’re I’m starting to write, I started working with the rock producer here in Nashville, and his his name’s Andrew, but his I can’t remember his last name. And I need to kick myself in the teeth. But he he’s got he’s worked with a lot of the modern rock guys that are out. So we kind of to get more modern and not sound quote unquote, as they like to say, and Nashville, this sounds good. We kind of we started moving more towards that modern rock with, you know, slight country variations in there. So it can be cross genre I really wanted. I mean, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings to cross genre. And, you know, started moving to the ball cap, as opposed to cowboy hat and, you know, in some of my performances and whatnot, and just know, you got to evolve as an artist and I were just like you I’m sure I wear a ball cap all the time. So it’s not I don’t have to, um, don’t have to be any different. I’ve always worn a cowboy hat for performances, but I mean, it’s still me. You know, and it’s, I mean, I’m bald headed. So I like to wear hats. Cuz II’ll fry my dome. Oh, you’re
Brady Speth 37:07
I don’t know what you are talking about. I got the same situation going on. So yes. I love it. Now that I like that. And I think that’s a cool idea with the sound and everything. So that’s that’s definitely something I can get behind the because I kind of grew up It sounds like they listen to the exact same bands and exact same type of music. And I grew up in small town, Montana. And it’s funny how it kind of mirrors a lot of the same no matter where you grew up in in small town America. So the definitely get by Yeah. What do you have kind of going?
Ryan Weaver 37:39
Yeah, shoot you this newest song, send it over. Yeah, get a preview of it. Perfect.
Brady Speth 37:43
Yeah, I’d love that. That’s what that was actually my next question. What kind of going into 2020 he kind of said ruined a little plans with some travel and concerts and stuff like that. But what he had not literally ruined everything. But what what’s on the horizon as far as new releases or travel plans or anything else.
Ryan Weaver 38:01
We’ve got, I’m starting to work with a group out in California and they got a they got a touring company / production company. Looking at doing California, Nevada, I think it’s California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas are the four states they focus on working with them on some tours, which I haven’t. Most of my stuff. It’s like fly dates and one offs, except for when I was touring with the PBR. Those were regular shows for you know, I was flying out on a Wednesday flying back on a Sunday flying back out on Wednesday. And so, you know, that was a pretty consistent situation. But those were fly dates, just the same, but probably get out to California do several weekends of, you know, tours, with the with getting in the theaters and festivals and whatnot that they’ve got going on there. So I’m excited about that, because it’s the first time in quite some time that you know, getting out there on a regular touring schedule. And, you know, I need to get I mean, as an artist not being on stages, it just kills me because it’s what I love to do more than anything. A lot of folks say, you know, there are a lot of artists out there that just they just want to make music and put music out and I want to do that too. But I want to be out there performing because that’s that’s love for me, man. It’s kind of like my home. It’s my home away from home getting up on stage and performing. But so we’ve got a song called Let’s Talk About Heroes that just got recorded. And we were funding that right now. I’ve got a raffle going on that has three John Teigen signature edition firearms. We’ve got a desert eagle 50 cal, tommy gun, and a ST9mm and got we’re using that raffle as the primary funding source. We’ve got to get to 500 tickets to be able to fund this music video for let’s talk about heroes and we’ll release both of them. At the same time. I want to have the music video done. We got a really powerful concept. Got a Medal of Honor recipient Don Jenkins is going to be in it. We got you just law enforcement, law enforcement folks and a small town, USA, Georgia town, we’re going to film it down at Georgia. Really cool concept for that one. But I’ve also got a different one. I’ve written two songs for this, this video that we were going to be filming in the first week of May had a song called Chasing Down Time, really liked it. And then last night, I sat down with Craig Wilson again. And we wrote another one that’s even, I mean, I feel we both feel strongly, much, much more strongly about the song that we wrote last night. So yeah, so it’s called No Second Chance. And we’re going to record that on April 6, I’ll get in the studio and record that on April 6. And then like I said, I’ll, I’ll be doing a music video and we’re gonna do I’m gonna tell you something, this music video we’ve we’ve already got going and and we’ll be filming it down in Texas with a great friend of mine just went through a huge cancer battle, dual throat cancer. We thought it was gonna be a celebration of life video, we’re gonna try and get it done before but he ended up I mean, coming out the backside of it like a champ. And he’s ready to rock and roll. He’s feeling good. But some of the stuff that we’re gonna put in this video, I’m hoping that no one has ever seen. I know one thing that’s going to be in the video that I don’t think I’ve seen anybody do and their music video that I know of, which is me flying a helicopter in my own music video. Yeah, I gotta have a have a helicopter with an airboat scene that’d be kind of cool. We’ve got all kinds of stuff that we’re gonna be doing for this. And I’m super stoked about it. Because that one’s already funded. It’s already ready to rock and roll, we’re going to be doing it come, you know, June timeframe, June, July timeframe. It’ll be the first time in my music career that I’ve ever released two music videos and two singles out in the same year because I’ve always used one video and essentially that’s been my, my go to because I’m funding and all this by myself. It’s not like I got millions, like a record label, as you know. So yeah, dude, it’ll be two killer videos, we’re gonna get to honor our law enforcement, first responders and military again with Let’s Talk About Heroes. You know, it’s part of who I am. I’m not going to get away from doing that. And you know, if we can, we’re actually fundraising with that raffle for canine line, which is a nonprofit organization that you guys supported this past weekend, you guys gave us that the glass, the red and the magnifier, the nomenclature, dude, I’m trying I’m so trying to learn, learn to know nomenclature to come around because anyway, I know you guys got me the tactix. Was it x3 for mine.
Brady Speth 42:37
Red dot and a magnifier for the giveaway too or for the raffle? So yeah,
Ryan Weaver 42:41
yeah, it was it was it? Well, I mean, the it was, it was amazing, dude, what? That rifle went for $4,000. And there’s a custom rifle by very tactical and you guys donated that. But canine line is also in this raffle.
Brady Speth 42:55
Ryan Weaver 42:56
You know, we’re given 25% of them because I don’t need the guns. And we needed to get this done. And I’m getting 75% for the video. I like to be clear about where the money’s going, but it’s going through them. So if anybody wants to get raffle tickets for that, you could check out my social media. I’m posting about it almost every other day because we were up over 300 tickets now. And we need 500 tickets to fund the music video. As soon as I get that means music video funded, where it’s already ready to go, the songs done and you know, it’s ready to rock and roll and everybody’s ready. They’re all chomping at the bit everybody that’s involved with this project to to support it. So those will be our you know, what we’re working on in and the shows I’ve got to show down in Orlando on July 30th. Support and Shadow Warrior riders Motorcycle Club. And Chris Poranto is 14th our foundation and going to be headlining at the Abbey and Blackbird Anthem will be opening up for that and gonna share the stage with them. So excited about that another veteran band. Yep. So I love getting to work with my brothers and sisters in arms like that, you know, it’s it’s cool. Just continue to serve after service.
Brady Speth 43:56
No, I think that’s one of the things that drew me and drew RIton as an organization. When I was like, Hey, we need to work with this guy. It’s it’s something that is near and dear to me, obviously, being both military and law enforcement vet. But that’s a huge part of who we are, is giving back and so I appreciate all you do to make sure people understand the causes and to continue to get back to and take care of our brothers and sisters that sometimes, unfortunately, get forgotten. So appreciate everything you do.
Ryan Weaver 44:22
Yeah, it’s crazy when you got what I think the statistic is that 95% of all funding that’s done for in support of our veterans is done by other veterans. I mean, it’s freakin crazy to think about that. So I mean, I, you know, being on the on the civilian side of it in in the entertainment industry, I’ve been able to be kind of a conduit to folks that aren’t that aren’t don’t necessarily know about our lives and don’t know, you know, what the sacrifices that our heroes have had to make. And, you know, it’s for I think that neither one of us can sit back and just let some of the, you know, some of the things that happened to our veteran community happened to it without trying to do anything that we can to make sure we’re supporting them as well. So, and a lot of folks out there, I’m sure that are watching this are veterans as well. And you know that there are a bunch of bullshit nonprofit organizations out there. And I like to, you know, if there’s anything I love to do is make sure that I can vet those organizations, enough to where if I say that I’m working with them, and you should be working with them, that they’re a great organization, and we can legitimately get, you know, amazing things done for our veteran community. And the hero goes to law enforcement, first responders as well.
Brady Speth 45:33
Yeah, that’s the big one, too, is making sure that the money that’s actually intended for them actually goes to help the people that actually need it, because that’s the unfortunate right, a lot of those charities, so we appreciate it, man. I wish you the best of luck, and especially with these upcoming concert stuff, we’ll see what we can do to get up to prescot. And, and hang out with you the first part of May. We got to he got to be subjected to our five questions here at the end of the podcast. So I asked the same questions, everybody, we’re putting together a nice little, nice little group of everybody’s answers. And it’s kind of funny to see how a lot of these answers the same from people from completely different walks of life. So I’m going to throw these at you. We’ll wrap it, fire them and then kind of wrap it up. So are you ready for this?
Ryan Weaver 46:14
Brady Speth 46:14
Perfect. All right. First one, if you had a superpower, what would it be?
Ryan Weaver 46:19
Brady Speth 46:22
From a pilot? I like that. That’s good. If you could I think I might know the answer to this one. But if you could have sit down and have a beer with anyone past present, future live dead? Who would it be?
Ryan Weaver 46:35
Brady Speth 46:35
Yep. Good. I knew I knew the answer to that one. And that’s that’s exactly what’s the answer. Yeah, it’s exactly the right answer. If you had to eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ryan Weaver 46:46
Brady Speth 46:47
Whoa, that’s the first.
Ryan Weaver 46:49
Brady Speth 46:50
Hey, guys, I’m with you. Man. I could I could live off that not real healthy, but I could do it. Here’s a good one that I love. Because make people think what would the title of your biography be?
Ryan Weaver 47:04
The dash between the dates.
Brady Speth 47:08
Have you been asked that before? That’s a good answer.
Ryan Weaver 47:09
Brady Speth 47:10
I like that one.
Ryan Weaver 47:11
No, I just know that. I think about I’ve said this because I’ve looked at my brother’s you know, headstones and I and I’ve always said that. I don’t want people to remember me for that the dates that are on there, right beside about the dates that are on there. I want them to remember me by the dash that’s between them.
Brady Speth 47:31
I love that one. Do you? That’s good. That’s a great answer. Last one, if I hand you a million dollars cash right now and you have to spend it right now. What are you buying?
Ryan Weaver 47:41
Oh, is it got to be one thing?
Brady Speth 47:45
Ryan Weaver 47:45
because I would I would fun fun my music career. But first and foremost, I would pay after I can’t I mean, a million bucks all in one thing. I would pay off my parents house, my wife’s house. I mean, it is my wife’s house, our house, my my parents house. And and the rest of it would likely go to me, my wife and I traveling and music.
Brady Speth 48:07
Nice. I love it, dude. Well, I appreciate Ryan. Well, we’ll definitely have you back here in a little while. I want to hear some more about some of the traveling and once you get back on the road. So keep up the good work. And thank you for taking care of our veteran and first responder community and, and for being a good voice for us out there. So I appreciate it, man.
Ryan Weaver 48:24
Absolutely. You know, and I have to say this to everybody out there that RIton, man, you guys as soon as we started talking, as soon as we got online with each other. You know, I just can’t say enough about the kind of people that are part of your company. Can’t say I can’t say enough there. I can’t say enough positive things about you guys as a company. I’m extremely proud to be involved with you.
Brady Speth 48:49
Thank you, I appreciate it. And it means the right message is getting out there. So I love that feedback. So I appreciate it, man. So thank you. We’ll, we’ll talk to you soon. Good luck and we will we’ll be in touch. Appreciate it
Ryan Weaver 49:01
right on you guys. Check out Weaver country.com for everything in my in my house.
Brady Speth 49:05
Perfect. I love it. Thank you. We’ll talk to you soon.
Riton Optics 49:17
Thank you for listening to the Riton podcast. Please like, subscribe and review. For more information on Riton Optics visit us at ritonoptics.com that’s r-i-t-o-noptics.com
On this episode of the Riton Podcast, host Brady Speth joins Mike Doyle. Canine officer, SWAT officer and host of Tactical Tangents Podcast. Dive into his journey beginning with a rookie cop all the way to educating Law Enforcement, Military and the public on all things tactical.
Brady Speth 0:07
Alright, hi everybody, once again we are back with the Riton Podcast. Today’s guest has many titles. We were gonna go with some guy, Mike the cop. No, I would like to introduce Mike Doyle, law enforcement officer, canine, SWAT, runs your own podcast, which I’ve been on a couple times. So it’s nice to be on this side of the mic now getting to interview the interviewer. So like to welcome you to the random podcast.
Mike Doyle 0:37
Thanks for having me, man. This is awesome. takes all the work off my plate. So
Brady Speth 0:40
Right I know he was gonna off on having to
Mike Doyle 0:41
Just get to sit here and relax,
Brady Speth 0:42
not having to edit or do anything so he’s all excited so. So among many things, law enforcement, like I said, canine SWAT, you run a podcast called Tactical Tangents. So
Mike Doyle 0:54
Brady Speth 0:54
If you’re a Riton fan, you probably heard about Tactical Tangents before. So let’s kind of start man just go background on you. I know you said that you thought the pressure was off. But now I’m just gonna throw you a bunch open ended.
Mike Doyle 1:04
Now this is easy. I run a podcast because I’m a nerd. And so it’s easy for me to talk a lot. In fact, it’s uh, that’s that’s how that was like my outlet to get into something where I can use my excessive talking to vector into something useful and beneficial for people hopefully. So I worked on an ambulance before I was a cop. I did the EMT thing on a on an ambulance in Southern California for a while, and then became a cop. And I’ve always been passionate about teaching and mentoring people. And the whole leadership thing was something that I just really enjoyed. And it helped me have a better understanding and knowledge base for the stuff that I do. So at some point, I realized that there’s a lot of things that we need to teach cops, that they’re not getting in the academy and elsewhere. And so we started to go down this path towards what eventually became the podcast. And the guy that I run it with Jim is a military pilot, he works. He’s an he’s in the Air Force. And we didn’t want to make it just for cops. It was kind of a we’ve got, I mean, I could go down another rabbit hole of what we’ve done and back in the day in terms of stuff that we’ve done working with teenagers and stuff. But the idea being, we didn’t want to make it just about cops, it was for public safety for military people that might be either thinking about joining or they’ve joined and now they’re just kind of working through their careers, or even just people that were into survival, self defense, those sorts of things. And so we started a podcast to talk about that stuff.
Brady Speth 2:35
I like it. And if you haven’t, I’ll shamelessly plug you a few times throughout the show. But for sure, guys listen to Tactical Tangents podcast. You can listen to yours truly on there.
Mike Doyle 2:44
Yeah, you can.
Brady Speth 2:45
I’m kind of at the low level of everybody that you’ve had on. So
Mike Doyle 2:47
Not at all.
Brady Speth 2:48
Make sure you get on there and listen, because I do like the way you guys approach stuff. So we’ll come back to the podcast, go into EMT and then law enforcement and kind of your progression a little bit through through law enforcement.
Mike Doyle 3:00
Yeah, so in Southern California, being an EMT on a private ambulance is a tough place to make a living if you don’t want to go work for one of the fire departments, which out there it was. And I don’t this is not a negative thing. It’s just it’s a very competitive, being a firefighter paramedic, that whole line of work in Southern California is very competitive. And it wasn’t wasn’t really my thing I really enjoyed the medical side of that job working on an ambulance do a 911 calls, but I wanted something with a little bit more autonomy and most of the calls that you’d go to there were very linear it was respond to seen treat patient take them to the hospital clean up and go do it again.
Brady Speth 3:42
Mike Doyle 3:43
and and so law enforcement was a little bit more fast and slow and there was there’s more possible outcomes and routes that you can kind of go down so I applied at a couple places I there was a hiring freeze at one agency I was in backgrounds with ended up out in Tucson kind of unrelated thing and they were hiring and so I put in an application. I don’t generally name my agency but it is a local agency we’ll say and and so I started working out here as a cop and man I I’ve had a lot of fun got to do a lot of cool things. I do. SWAT and canine now is my assignments, my job tasks, but I also teach a bunch and yeah, that’s a long story short, I guess
Brady Speth 4:29
We’ll dig into each of those a little bit. So you kind of go from joining patrol everybody kind of knows the progression through through sort of law enforcement. Go to some of the specialties as far as start with canine because that’s you’re currently doing is that something you want to do something you always wanted to do? Is that something that came open and hey, this seems cool. So kind of get into that
Mike Doyle 4:47
Canine was alright, so storytime back in the day I was I probably had. So you start as a cop and you go through the Academy, then field training where you’re working with another officer and then finally you get set out To the wild on your own right,
Brady Speth 5:01
Mike Doyle 5:01
yeah, and go get some good luck. And I was probably only five or six months in. When I got to go with one of the canine handlers to look for a guy that did a home invasion. There was a pursuit, they bailed out in our neighborhood. And we went looking for this Dude, that was, you know, possibly hiding in the neighborhood somewhere. And I was I mean, I didn’t know. I don’t know what I was doing. Here some guy Yeah, right. And and so we went looking for this dude. And I was lethal cover officer for the dog handler, and we were walking through like a church parking lot. And there’s a little section that was closed off where they like, apparently stored stuff. And the dog handlers like he’s in there. And I’m like, What? And he’s like, he’s in there. Hey, man, you better come out, show me your hands. And I was like, What the hell is it? I’m just pointing my gun over there. Like, I don’t know what’s happening. And so sure enough, the guy’s like, okay, I give up. Don’t bite me. And I was like, that was bad ass. I would have never known that guy was in there. Yeah, you know that it was it was the coolest thing to me. And I and it was something that like, that’s an
Brady Speth 6:06
imprented on you. Yeah.
Mike Doyle 6:08
And that kind of took me to a level in and of itself, because that it’s a pretty competitive assignment to get into. And so I had to, I had to up my game just as a rookie cop, to even have a chance downtown to be competitive for it. So that was the canine
Brady Speth 6:23
Your first experience of seeing how dogs work. Talk about some of the ups and downs of having a dog as your partner. I have a lot of friends that are canine guys. And these stories go?
Mike Doyle 6:34
Brady Speth 6:34
The whole spectrum of
Mike Doyle 6:36
That necessitates another sip of wine.
Brady Speth 6:37
Yeah, before we dig into this one.
Mike Doyle 6:40
Brady Speth 6:40
Cause everybody sees the dog right? They’re like ah that’s awesome dude, you have a dog but let’s get into some of the real world love having to deal with the dog all the time.
Mike Doyle 6:47
So attack dogs have teeth. And so my my first partner was a 90 pound German Shepherd, that his on off switch was a little faulty. And so like people would meet him and he just growl at people and put his hackles up and stuff and and probably about three, four weeks into training, I was getting bit every time he would, he would find somebody even in training, which is like a nightly, like, multi nightly occurrence when the dogs in training, and it would just be little bites, he would just kind of knip me but break the skin, maybe but not like stitches and hospital and stuff like that. But you know, the, I mentioned the guy that we found the home invader when i when i first kind of got interested in the canine thing, and there’s nothing cooler than going out and hunting for people that you know, and I’m not I’m not much of a hunter. Otherwise I don’t. I’m not like the elk hunter dude, or anything, it’s just not, I’ve never gotten into that nothing against it, just not my thing. But looking for bad guys that ran from the cops, I mean, and finding them is cool, especially when you when you find them in a place or in a way that you wouldn’t have without the help of a dog and the nose. And so that’s like amazing, right, but you work with those animals, and there’s always that risk of getting bit. So there’s a lot of a lot of ups and downs just as far as that goes. You know, the other big thing is they are a reflection of you, you know that and we have a thing that we say as dog handlers that it goes down the leash. And so like if your dog is neurotic, or crazy or stupid, that well it goes that goes both goes down the leash. So like you probably got it from you, right? It’s kind of the but that’s, that’s good and bad. It’s good in the sense that if you work hard, and you have a good, a good dog, and he does well, then it reflects well on you. But you also just have to have kind of a sense of humor, but also like a real sense of humility and understanding that they are dogs. And so they they they’re not 100%. And so you can tell them everything. Yeah, you could go in there and be like, the dogs not showing me anything. And then like the the guy sitting in there on the couch, and you’re like, damn it. You know, I mean, it’s just, they have their days and so
Brady Speth 9:01
Their not robots.
Mike Doyle 9:02
Yeah, they’re not and and i think that’s good and bad. It’s, it’s bad. Because obviously, there’s a safety component for what we do in our line of work. And we want to make sure that our dog is reliable and that we’re going to find the people that we’re looking for, right. But the other side of it is I think it’s a good It teaches you a way of thinking about doing business in a way that you kind of have to challenge your assumptions that you’re making. And you have to realize that, hey, you know, I’m gonna use this dog and he’s gonna probably go in there and find him because he’s a good dog and stuff. But I always have to have in the back of my head that I could get it wrong. Yeah. And it turns out, not just dogs get it wrong. People get wrong handlers. A lot of it is handler error. And just like anything that we do in law enforcement, you can send people into a house search the house and they can miss stuff too. So yeah, teaches you a lot of those things. A lot of critical thinking.
Brady Speth 9:53
Yeah, but that’s how long you’ve been doing it now. So you’ve mentioned the first dog you’ve been on the canine for team for how long
Mike Doyle 9:58
I’ve been in canine for It’ll be eight years this summer. So seven and change
Brady Speth 10:04
year one to year seven and change. What’s how does how have you changed as a handler?
Mike Doyle 10:12
I mean, I went from from having that dog that like no one could pet and was a total a hole. That was that sent me to the hospital numerous times to a dog that you would never guess bites people for a living if you actually met him, right. So I’ve, I’ve gotten fortunate to see both ends of that spectrum. As far as like how I’ve progressed just personally, as a handler. You know, there’s a lot of things if you were like a perfectionist with which I think a lot of people that get into law enforcement or the military or those realms are, if you’re kind of that type A personality. Yeah, there’s a lot of things that you have personal control over, like, Oh, I didn’t shoot well today. So I can go shoot more, and I can go practice and I can get the ammo and I can dry fire, or I need to lose some weight, I need to run faster, I need to lift harder, I need to, you know, I need to go learn how to fight those if there’s things that I can do about it. And then there’s things with the dog that like, one of the things that we have is like every time you fix one problem in dog training, you create another one,
Brady Speth 11:13
Mike Doyle 11:13
And so you kind of have to learn how to relax a little bit. And just say like, there’s certain things you just have to accept in life.
Brady Speth 11:21
That’s the that was kind of what I was waiting for. Yeah, I think that’s probably the biggest thing from even my limited exposure to a lot of the handlers even on your team. And you know, like, the new guys are so like, spun up. And you can immediately tell if someone’s been a dog handler for four or 5 10 years versus one or two things,
Mike Doyle 11:37
just roll your eyes.
Brady Speth 11:39
They’re gonna do Yeah, no.
Mike Doyle 11:42
Of course, he’s shitting on the carpet.
Brady Speth 11:43
Yeah, what makes sense? That’s exactly what he should be doing right now. Sorry,
Mike Doyle 11:46
is this a G rated? My potty mouth might get ahead of me.
Brady Speth 11:51
So how does it you could kind of go wherever you want with this one as far as how much you are talking about. So what from a regular handler and then you’re also SWAT certified and your dog is as well. So how does that kind of transition go from because I know there’s guys on the team that are just canine handlers that are not part of the SWAT team. And you have to also is something that you have to be on SWAT team before you can go then canine and have your dog part of that or how does that kind of work.
Mike Doyle 12:16
So this is it’s kind of agency specific, right? Everyone does, does things a little bit differently. Where I work I was on I was on SWAT before canine actually I was I was on SWAT as a regular patrol guy, and then I got into canine. And to be clear, they’re two separate assignments canine and SWAT are completely different units. But we work closely together. Because many of the operations that we do in SWAT we require or can benefit from the use of the dog. And so we have several handlers who were on SWAT, and or are now on SWAT, that are also that are dog handlers. And then we’ve also got guys that have been dog handlers for a long time. And they work with SWAT, but they’re not officially on the team, we you know, we treat them like they’re on the team there. Yeah, they’re part of our team by extension. But they’re not they haven’t gone through SWAT school, they don’t go on regular daily operations. And as far as the difference between the two, I mean, there’s, there’s kind of a personality thing, right, like my first dog, he was a, he was a certified dog, he worked the street, but he was not a social enough creature to be in close confines with the situation that we require with SWAT, you know, with other with other teammates and stuff that are going to have guns covering.
Brady Speth 13:33
Mike Doyle 13:34
Yeah, we’re in a tight hallway or, you know, in an under, under, under mark, in an unmarked vehicle or something like that, where, you know, we’re all working really close together. If your dog is kind of a jerk, he’s just not a good fit. Yeah. And it doesn’t. It’s not for it’s not a knock necessarily on the handler, it’s just, that’s just not, it’s not a good fit.
Brady Speth 13:53
Mike Doyle 13:54
And the same time, there’s also certain handlers that have to be, you know, have the right attitude to work with SWAT. Fortunately, we don’t have any handlers like that.
Brady Speth 14:04
Mike Doyle 14:05
I think handlers of years past have probably fit in that category. But that’s not the case. But yeah, so they’re separate, but they work closely, there’s some overlap, because we have some guys that do both, or at least that have done both. And, really, it just boils down to working together as much as you can and training together and having that working relationship. And it’s, it’s probably not unlike anything, you know, it’s like, you guys have to have a close working relationship with the people that make your, you know, the packaging materials for your, for your products and stuff. It’s like, you know, these things are, there’s overlap there. But you don’t lose identity either way, like the canine guys are good at the canine thing. But they’re different. We have to understand what makes us similar and what makes us different.
Brady Speth 14:51
Mike Doyle 14:51
you know, so yeah, I mean, I can go on all day about the personality differences in terms of some of that, but really, it’s just It’s about teamwork. And I think the, the thing about teamwork that people tend to lose sight of a little bit is, you know, there’s like the cheerleader types that are like, they think that teamwork is like who can like root the loudest? And like, Come on guys, we can do it, you’re doing great.
Brady Speth 15:16
Mike Doyle 15:16
And there’s and there’s teamwork that understands that, hey, this is a different share of the workload, you know, you cover my back, and I cover your back. And it’s not about being the strongest person or the fastest person or the best person, it’s about dividing the work in a way that everyone carries their own share of the weight. And that we find that synergy. You know, and I think canine is a good example of that, because a dog by itself is, is mostly useless.
Brady Speth 15:41
Mike Doyle 15:41
And a handler by himself can’t do as much as they can with the dog present. And so, you know, finding that I think is a good analogy for ethic.
Brady Speth 15:50
No exactly, that makes sense. Now, and I think that’s a good point. I know. And we’ll get into the Tactical Tangents side of it. I know you guys are big on like people and, and how like we train and how are the thought processes? Give an idea, and we’ll kind of get there but give an idea. Because I think people, there’s such a misconception I think with and that’s why I kind of dig in a little bit on the canine side is like, Oh, you said you’d pick up dog one day? And he goes, and does stuff give an idea of like, the training, you don’t got to go into specifics by any means. But like, what’s it like? What kind of time? Like, are we talking? What kind of demand? Are we talking? I mean, I know that your dog lives at home with you. You’re it’s a constant thing. So yeah, well, one idea about that.
Mike Doyle 16:29
So So nuts and bolts, when we go get a dog. And again, agency specific purpose specific, we were picking dogs, typically, for patrol and detection use, if you want to just a detection dog, or just to patrol dog, you’re potentially looking at different things but. The way that we do it, the way our agencies is structured is you go and you get a dog, they’re usually from anywhere from 18 months to two to three years old, somewhere in that range. There, they generally come from the protection sports world. So they’ve done like bite sleeves and bite suits and stuff as like a sport. And then when we get them home, we take those drives, and that those traits and some of that training, if you want to call it that, and we turn them into police dogs, and that process takes anywhere from two three months, depending on how quick. And some of it’s the handler and the training and some of it’s the dog and how much you have to build them up. Now, that gets you certified, but it doesn’t get you ready for like the SWAT deployments, right? Then you get certified, you might work the street for a while. And then you get some experience under your belt some real life stuff before you might start working with SWAT. Now that’s just the the general timeline to get you up to speed.
Brady Speth 17:36
Mike Doyle 17:36
but in terms of, you know, more, I guess, philosophically what you’re looking at, I think with your question. It starts with selection, right? And this speaks to like, you’re talking about the people thing, and I’ll, I’ll get into that later. But the selection of the dog is the biggest thing. People can’t just go pick up a dog off the street or at the pound and say like, Hey, we’re gonna make them a police dog. Oh, I have. My favorite thing is when we go do public demonstrations. And they’re like, Oh, I have a German Shepherd. I’m like, Well, first of all, this isn’t a German Shepherd. And secondly, having a shepherd or a Malinois does not make it a good police or protection or guard dog or any of those.
Brady Speth 18:12
Mike Doyle 18:13
So selecting the dog with the traits and the temper and the drive, and everything you want, that you’re looking for is kind of where it starts. And that’s true for hiring people for jobs working with people. So the same is true about picking handlers. Picking SWAT guys and hiring new police officers is selection is a big, big part of that.
Brady Speth 18:34
Mike Doyle 18:34
So then, the training starts, you know, if you think about dogs, dogs are pack animals, right? And so they there’s a hierarchy and everything that that dogs do, we as humans have a tendency to assign a lot of human emotion to things that dogs are just simply not capable of. They don’t have like, likes and wants and desires the way that that we do, right? They get needs that are fulfilled by their humans. And so everything that we do, they’re kind of paying attention to so it starts when you get them home, and you’re the one that feeds them. And you know, they’re in a cage, and they’re bored until you come in the picture. And then things are fun and exciting.
Brady Speth 19:10
Mike Doyle 19:10
Right. And so you vector, all of that into the dog building a working relationship with the dog, they’re not your pet, right. And there’s a big difference for what you’re asking these animals to do. As far as like establishing that, and I think that’s something that every handler has, you know, talked about not being perfect, right? And having some being a little relaxed about what you’re willing to accept. Every handler establishes that differently. Some are very platonic, you know, this is the right word. It’s like, it’s like, look at you’re down here, and I don’t really have to have a whole lot of interaction with you. You’re just supposed to do your job work for me and that’s it. Yeah. And others. It’s like, No, man, you’re my best friend. You’re part of the family, but you’re gonna do what I’m told. Yeah, you know, you’re gonna you’re gonna let your yeah so it just, you know, all of that is established. at home on kind of on the fringes of the formal the actual training that happens but the training never stops like i said you solve one problem you create another one so it’s you know we’re constantly doing obedience building searches, area searches, bite work, gunfire sensitivity stuff, teaching your dog how to follow a laser to go into a certain room. G etting your dog a lot of is really mundane it’s like you want your dog to work around swat guys and what you have to do you have to like get all your swat buddies in a room with all their gear on and just get the dog comfortable and used to that like nobody that’s not a bite suit yeah body armor please don’t like that you know it’s just stuff like that i mean it’s and like you get the SWAT guys and they’re they’re like wow we’re getting paid for this and just hanging out hey you’ll be really glad that we did this yeah
Brady Speth 20:45
When you actually need it
Mike Doyle 20:46
you know hunkered down behind a curb getting shot out or something somewhere so yeah that’s
Brady Speth 20:54
so i think that leads we’ve kind of been toying with it let’s go into the tactical tangents side of things because i think that’s a big thing where we’ve talked about people and i know you guys people ideas hardware how none of them actually work without the other one and you know kind of dig into a little bit you kind of talked why you wanted to kind of do that but go a little deeper into why you wanted to do the podcast and what you’re trying to achieve by doing that and get people thinking a certain direction
Mike Doyle 21:20
i mentioned that it kind of started as a mentoring project i think and it was to teach people the things that we don’t otherwise have time to learn i mean formal training in the realm of public safety in the military. I mean you’re so busy doing just the administrative bureaucratic stuff that it’s hard to really get all the stuff that you need and there’s also i think a lot of people who are self starters and they’re motivated to to learn and better themselves but they don’t really have a good place to get that and so we wanted to create a resource for them to do that and again it’s not just specific to professional development that’s a big focus of it but also for just people who are looking for better advice because there’s a lot of bad advice and and philosophically kind of where we came from has a lot to do with a guy named John Boyd so you know i can spend an hour long time given an entire like class about that and i won’t but John Boyd is philosophically the work of john boyd is a guy that is where this comes from he was an air force fighter pilot there’s a book about him a biography called “Boyd the Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War” and one of his big philosophies had to do a lot with this people ideas hardware thing and to keep it succinct and to not go on for days about it because tangents is my thing he said that machines don’t fight wars people do. you have to teach them how to think people, ideas, hardware in that order and so our thing was like you know especially like i’ll use law enforcement as an example and and Boyd goes into the military side of this in depth in a lot of his work but also the book about him but like buying all the gear in the world doesn’t solve all of your problems.
Right like like just because we’re sitting here with a camera and a couple microphones that doesn’t make the content worthwhile right yeah exactly and so like in law enforcement it’s like oh we need body cameras because accountability you know and and transparency and the all these things and it’s like look you can buy i’m a big fan of body cameras i wouldn’t i wouldn’t want to work without one ever again but like if you think that just the camera is gonna fix all the problems that we have you’re not i mean it’s a window into it helps us illustrate those problems and pick those things apart but it doesn’t fix them right and so what fixing them starts with investing in people right investing in people first and the ideas the skills the tactics and the human factors there you know and then you supplement that with the hardware and the technology and all those things to kind of build into it and so we wanted to focus on on that element the leadership stuff the the critical thinking teaching people how to think about things and how to approach problems and and that’s philosophically what we try to achieve and you know that’s it’s again it’s we we say that and people think that we’re not gear nerds which is not true right you can ask my buddies like oh he’s always wanting to go play with scopes and you know and it’s like yeah we are gear nerds but the idea is to be thoughtful about it and and to apply those things
Brady Speth 24:35
without training without application
Mike Doyle 24:37
yeah and so that’s kind of the the overarching theme of it is you know yeah gear hardware technology is great but like do it thoughtfully and apply it well
Brady Speth 24:48
yeah so and you know what i like about that and we’ve talked about this in the past is it’s not you can talk about it from law enforcement we talk about from a military side it’s the same for business you can go buy somebody a $10,000 computer, you can go do whatever, but if they don’t know how to use it, yeah, and what’s the point? Right? So a lot of that is, and one of the big reasons I like and was kind of drawn to the philosophy behind you guys podcast is that it’s not it’s, it’s applicable no matter what you’re doing, like parenting, it’s applicable across the board, business, law enforcement, military, you name it, no matter what your job is, your position is, if that’s something that you can focus on, because you can buy somebody the fanciest shit in the world and get last productivity out of somebody who has the worst as long as you’re focusing on people,
Mike Doyle 25:28
I mean, think about, you know, insurgencies, you know, all over the world and, or even like, the Revolutionary War period, right. Yeah. I mean, think about, like the colonists, they weren’t the best equipped, they weren’t the riches that, but that, like, guerrilla warfare thing really goes places. And,
Brady Speth 25:47
you’re noticing that,
Mike Doyle 25:48
yeah, well, you know, and that’s, and so it’s just, you know, it’s one of Boyd’s points, and he was famous for this big study that he did have, like every conflict ever called patterns of conflict. It was like a class that he gave, and it was hours and hours long. It’s crazy. And, you know, he talked about, like, Look, under equipped forces have been winning wars and battles for ever. Alright, you know, and so, like, it’s not about just funding and equipment, it’s about making sure that we have good ideas, good tactics, and that we have the right people in the right places. And so that that was a big part of it was, you know, making sure that we’re getting good cops that we’re teaching them the right lessons and same thing across the board. You know, take our status quo, I guess to the next level.
Brady Speth 26:33
The I kind of touched on the parenting side, we’ll dig into that, because I like
Mike Doyle 26:37
that there’s like literally foreshadowing, right.
Brady Speth 26:39
That’s what I try to do here. The so your new, relatively new parents, congratulations again. Thanks. Um, life as a parent, one. you’re catching up on sleep finally. I know you’ve got every new parent goes through that phase, which wasn’t too bad.
Mike Doyle 26:55
The think work is worse for my sleep.
Brady Speth 26:58
Yeah, probably call outs. How has it changed? I always like to wonder this with new parents. Everybody talks about the sleep and the oh, the kid and everything. How does it actually changed your the way you approach work? How’s it changed the way your approach to things? Has it changed anything? Do you think that Mike from a year two years ago is different from the Mike of today? Because of it?
Mike Doyle 27:20
I mean, yeah, it’s obviously life changing. And anyone I think that the parent will say that, and I and, and I, fundamentally, I think I think everyone fundamentally understands that, even if they’re not parents, they know it will be different, but they don’t really grasp how, yeah, but I think the biggest thing is just like, It’s time management is a whole other thing. And so you you kind of refocus. It’s, you know, the number of hours in a day hasn’t changed, right? You just have to figure out how you split them up how to use it.
Brady Speth 27:50
Mike Doyle 27:51
And I think if there’s anything it taught me was what, how much wasted time? I mean, you know, I still get I could manage my time better, and I can get more done. Sure. I’m sure there’s a way but, man, I must have wasted a lot more of it. Yeah, back when, and I wish I had I had to learn how to manage that better. I mean, now it’s by necessity. Right, right. You know, so I, that’s probably the biggest thing is time, it’s our most valuable resources is our time. And so, you know, that’s, that’s obviously a big part of it. And otherwise, it’s just, I mean, I love hanging out with him. And being a dad. It’s fun. He’s getting older, and he’s interactive now and stuff. So that’s cool. But yeah, I mean, that’s probably the biggest thing is just learning how to manage my time differently, which has been in trying to keep up with my little side hustle, I got going on here with, with work and demanding assignments and stuff like that. But you know, for the people that are ever hesitant, like, I know, I was for a long time, I’m like, I don’t know, if I’m ready for this, you know, like, I kind of enjoy my free time and stuff. It’s like, Man, it’s the best thing like I it’s, it’s 100% worth it. And again, people say that all the time, but
Brady Speth 29:04
the there’s never Yeah, there’s never a point in time that you’re ever going to be prepared for it. So the only way to find out that’s what most things though. Yeah, like if I knew the demand that Riton was gonna put on me, I probably would have actually started this, but you don’t have any idea. So I can
Mike Doyle 29:18
imagine and look at what you got now. Yeah, that’s crazy.
Brady Speth 29:20
So that’s what’s crazy. But now it’s fun, man. I like seeing that. So the we do an annual hike to that. Hopefully soon we normally take our kids on so we kind of missed a couple years. The well let let him get four or five before we go to that one. So I’m eager the I know the so we do every year we take the kids and we do this hike up. It’s called Ara Vaipa. We do this hike up through this river that’s like freezing cold.
Mike Doyle 29:45
Yes. Box Canyon.
Brady Speth 29:46
Yeah, locally. So we started taking kids and now Mike’s missed a year or two but we’ll get back to it soon. Yeah, so I’m kind of dig in. Like I said, we don’t want to go too crazy long, but I kind of want to talk a little bit about, a little bit more, I want you to dig a little bit more into tangents, because I think that’s important. I really obviously we sponsor your podcast, that’s how much I believe in it kind of got to want to dig in just a little bit more as to like, how people can can kind of go off what you kind of said with Boyd and then some of the teachings that you guys try to give what kind of throw out there some of the stuff you’ve learned over the kind of the studies of doing it and kind of direct people of how what they can kind of gain from listening to it. And
Mike Doyle 30:27
I mean, I learned stuff constantly from this. And it’s and it’s from, like, a lot of different angles. I mean, it’s just human interactions. And and, you know, trying to like build and market and grow the show and kind of cultivate a team, we’ve talked about the people thing. We’re not, this was never a get rich thing, right? Like and Riton sponsors this show, and we’re, we’re super grateful for that. And it’s been there to enable us to get the things that we need to get this thing going, it was never a get rich thing, right. But you know, we’ve got people now that are starting to help out and we’re able to pay them more or less, you know, we’re trying, we’re kind of getting to that point real slow, but we’re getting there. And, and so it’s teaching me that whole side of it, which it’s kind of like put your money where your mouth is, right? invest in, invest in people and find the right people. Right. And, and all that. And so that’s, that’s just kind of
Brady Speth 31:24
important if you have a podcast talking about that.
Mike Doyle 31:26
Yeah. Right. And, and I mean, and that so far, I mean, it’s going it’s going well, but it’s it’s certainly, it lets me approach it from another angle just because, you know, I, I work in public sector job, I don’t have experience doing like running a business per se. I’ve helped manage a pizza place when I was a kid, you know, but like, that’s, yeah, not really the same thing, especially nowadays. So. So it seems to me a lot as far as those regards as far as what people will gain from it. You know, I hope that anyone can find something useful there. But I’ll give you an example that I think everyone can relate to. We did an episode early early on one of our first episodes, we talked about road rage. And and it’s it’s one of those things because it can become a self defense thing. We’ve had a number of cases here locally where people have gotten like killed over these road rage events. And, and so we kind of in a lot of the stuff that we talked about have like a really a psychology field to it. I’m not a doctor, I’m not a psychiatrist. This is not legal advice, or anything like that. But we I talk about a lot of concepts in psychology because I’m a nerd. And that’s just what I do. And it’s how I understand things. And I think teaching is how I understand things. And so, when I started to think about road rage, when I started to put this episode together, way back when it occurred to me that like, when you’re driving in this like box, right? You have like, you’re you’re down the street going down the street in your car, and like some idiot cuts you off or whatever, and you get the big voice, right, you’re like “F you” know, honking your horn, and all that stuff. And you feel really tough, right? Like you’re, you know, you’re pissed off and you’re like this frickin guy, you know, whatever. And it’s like, you know, I bet if you’re standing face to face with that, dude, you wouldn’t have such a big mouth, you know, and it’s, and it’s funny psychologically, how that physical barrier between us there is like, not only a physical distance, but also an emotional distance between us and that other person that is beyond just the tangible, right. Yes. It’s also that just like, psychologically, we feel emboldened by the fact that like, your whole car length away from this person, yeah. And I think everyone has experienced that and have that like emotional response to like that. And, and so it’s important to like, kind of de escalate in a sense, and we make fun of like the term de escalation as it relates to law enforcement a little bit because I think there’s some nuance they missed by that whole
Brady Speth 33:58
used in a wrong way a little bit. But yeah,
Mike Doyle 34:01
but but like, bigger picture, though, there’s, there’s something to be said about understanding that from like, a conflict resolution thing, and I think everyone can relate to having an argument with your spouse, and your spouse gets that like emotional overreaction, and they get defensive and like, how do you shut that down and get back to a logical and rational point?
Brady Speth 34:22
No comment on that one I’ don’t know what you are atlking about
Mike Doyle 34:25
Yeah, yeah. But But like, that’s, those are the sorts of lessons that like, that’s not just for being a cop, although it applies heavily to cop because people see a uniform and are, for whatever reason, kind of conditioned to see that there’s
Brady Speth 34:40
Theres a response immediatley
Mike Doyle 34:41
authority figure, there’s like this emotional thing, and especially the people that don’t terribly like or are apt to cooperate with the police. You know, when you recognize that you can, you can tackle that in a different way, but also like workplace resolution. You know, you have arguments with co workers and things and especially when there’s like a butting of heads because two people feel like they’re, you know, fighting for like that rank or managing their status in a sense, like, No, I’m the boss of you know, I’m the boss of units like, Guys, everyone just calm down. So it’s I mean, we talk a lot a lot about like the more nuanced stuff like that it’s not just tactics right. That said, we’ve got the tactics thing for you, too. We had one of my favorite episodes was we had Lieutenant Gary Schuelke. He’s a works for San Bernardino PD, he was involved in their active shooter event they had near and dear to my heart I mentioned I was in backgrounds for a department in California before I left and it was San Bernardino department but they were on a hiring freeze. And by the time they got back to me, I had already had like a conditional offer for where I work now. So but he was involved in that active shooter event. He got in a gunfight with the two, you know, terrorists. And he came on he shared audio with us. We had the dispatch audio, we had the gunfight audio, we had just his personal story. That was a father son event. I don’t know if you if you heard that part, but like his son was a rookie cop that was involved in the gunfight with him. So like, that’s crazy, crazy. And so he came on and we did the whole debrief and talked about the whole thing. And so we’ve got those specific takeaways. And then we’ve got the more like, kind of nuanced discussions that I think can apply to lots of everything. Yeah, we try to we try to cover it. It’s tactical tangents. Here we go. Pretty tangential.
Well, good. Now you’ve got Mike said I love it now. Man. I’m super proud of that. We’re working with you guys and everything you’ve done with that. And hopefully see keep growing man so appreciate tell people where we can find Tac Tangents real quick. And then we’ll kind of wrap up with this fun little game like play at the end. So boy,
tacticaltangents.com is the website, our podcast is available there. There’s web players and stuff. If you go there and find it. We’ve also got pretty much every outlet you can think of we’re probably there. If you find one that isn’t, then send us a message and let us know because I’ll try to get on it. But Apple podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio. pretty much anywhere you could probably find it search Tactical Tangents. And like I said, if you find one that we’re not challenges, except that I’ll try to get on it. So
Brady Speth 37:18
perfect. I like it. Alright, here’s what we like to do a little wrap up little rapid fire. Fast Five questions for you. It’s so the only rule you got to tell the first thing that comes to mind you have to answer you’ll get to really think about it. So I gotta keep it completely just off the cuff. If you had one superpower, what would it be?
Mike Doyle 37:39
Time. I’d want to manipulate time to speed it up slow. Speed it up, slow it down. Go back in it.
Brady Speth 37:46
I don’t think we’ve heard that. And I like that. If you could have sit down and have a beer with one person, past present future anybody? Who would it be?
Mike Doyle 37:56
I feel like the easy answer would be John Boyd. But I got to be more. I got to go deeper than that. I’m going to say, you know, I go back to like, one of their original colonists like founding fathers, something like that. Let them know what they’ve created and what they intended. And I just be curious to pick their brain and let them know where we’re at.
Brady Speth 38:18
Did you think it was gonna go this way? If you had eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? It’d be specific or genre.
Mike Doyle 38:28
No, I probably do sandwiches or something. The fat kid in me wants taco
Brady Speth 38:32
Taco sandwich. If/when you write a biography, what would you title it?
Mike Doyle 38:40
Brady Speth 38:42
You can’t we can’t do that. podcast and say Talk Less.
Mike Doyle 38:46
why I’d have to write it down.
Brady Speth 38:49
I can shut up like you’ve been thinking about that one. That’s not
Mike Doyle 38:52
that didn’t come up with no, that’s just a like, that’s just one of my life lessons at this point is I should Talk Less or at least just do it into a microphone.
Brady Speth 39:00
Time and a place
Mike Doyle 39:02
Brady Speth 39:03
I hand you a million dollars cash. What’s the first thing you’re buying?
Mike Doyle 39:14
I’d start hiring people to do the stuff that I don’t want to do.
Brady Speth 39:18
Mike Doyle 39:19
Starting with my landscaping.
Brady Speth 39:23
After you buy something for your lovely wife, and then that’s what you meant to say first and then well,
Mike Doyle 39:27
if I do if I get the landscaping done, then she that’s she’s actually been doing nice landscaping this weekend. But
Brady Speth 39:33
Perfect. Now I gotta throw you under the bus a little bit. Thanks, buddy. We’ll, we’ll definitely have you on again soon. Just kind of an update, like keep it short and sweet. And let people get a little taste of kind of
Mike Doyle 39:46
And we appreciate the support that Ryan has given us. It’s, like I said, it’s enabled us to make this something that we’re really invested into and committed to doing and getting right and i think it’s, I mean, it’s been growing and people been giving us great feedback. So we’re pretty
Brady Speth 40:00
Perfect, so keep on keepin on dude. I love it. So maybe you’re coming on and
Riton Optics 40:13
thank you for listening to the Riton podcast. Please like, subscribe and review. For more information on Riton Optics visit us at ritonoptics.com that’s r-i-t-o-noptics.com