Are you driver enough? Phil Collard, original ARCA course designer on Episode 77


Are you driver enough? OG course designer, Phil Collard, talks course setting philosophy with Big Rich. It’s interesting to hear how thee original ARCA designer set courses. Phil’s had a long, full life since then.  Join us to learn more.

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5:55 – I saw them help more people with problems

9:26 – how did you get started setting courses?

13:38 – how did you set courses?

18:55 – it was a chess match between me and the rest of the world

24:39 – I learned how to do it without having to drive it

30:46 – it’s Moab, it’s got to be the most difficult that there every was

34:31 – the goat cheese found the canyon

36:25 – would you like to ride with me?

38:40 – I’m in a high-speed chase on that little tiny, skinny road

49:53 – personality of drivers that ranges from fantastic to even more fantastic

57:46 – that’s what happened with those spear things

1:03:11 – you’re changing the face of the industry

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


[00:01:19.460] – Big Rich Klein

On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich. We have Phil Collard. Phil is well, I’m going to call him the OG course designer in rock crawling. I learned a lot from him working with him. Watching him, I should say in Cedar City, Utah, during the first ARCA event there when I was the club President and Phil over the years has set a lot of great courses. And we’re going to talk about that and Phil’s life in off road and how he got to become a Premier course designer.

[00:01:55.940] – Big Rich Klein

So, Phil, thank you very much for coming on board and sharing your life with our listeners.

[00:02:02.200] – Phil Collard

Well, thank you for having me on. I appreciate it. And thank you for all you’ve done for rock crawling.

[00:02:07.160] – Big Rich Klein

Well, it’s my pleasure. And to be honest, I would have to say that you were a big influence that time watching you set courses as a club. We didn’t really know what to expect. We had driven all over Three Peaks. We had some pretty extreme wheelers in the club, but we really had no idea. Even though we had a couple of us had gone to some of the other events, we really didn’t know how it was going to shake out. So working with you that a couple of days of setting up the courses was was quite enlightening.

[00:02:44.000] – Phil Collard

That was one of the funnest places that I ever set courses. I really enjoyed that. I believe that probably was the most entertaining for me.

[00:02:53.260] – Big Rich Klein

Awesome. So let’s jump right in with the first basic question. And that is, where were you born? And you know, where did you grow up?

[00:03:04.170] – Phil Collard

I was born in Farmington, New Mexico, and that’s where I grew up. The Choke Cherry Canyon has been a big part of my life since I was little. My father and I used to ride our horses out there. And that’s probably a big part of how I became so familiar with all of the Canyon as I grew up. Tom Weaver, a very good friend of mine. He and I would take our motorcycles out there and drive around, check what we’re doing and try to find new places to go.

[00:03:42.180] – Phil Collard

And I believe that that probably those two ventures probably were the source of me knowing the Canyon so well.



[00:03:53.300] – Big Rich Klein

At that time, Pinon Hills, Road or Boulevard. Was that a thing?

[00:03:58.050] – Phil Collard

At that point, it was not there yet. In fact, where pinion Hills goes now was farm country a big part of it. And they just dirt roads out there. That’s how we would access the Canyon.

[00:04:13.900] – Big Rich Klein

Okay. If you grew up in Farmington, there’s some other notable in offroad that have grown up there Besides a lot of competitors. Dan Mick grew up there. And I think Danny Grimes from Grandpas Garage in Moab, also grew up in that area.

[00:04:31.980] – Phil Collard

They did. They grew up in this area. I did not know them until we started rock crawling. How I got involved with rock crawling was became a member of a club called Cliff Hangers, and I knew nothing about it. The club. They were an advanced club. And we had some members in there that were incredibly good mechanics. And so the new stuff that came out, we would a lot of it. We got first, we got to use it trial and error. And so that’s how I became involved with rock crawling.

[00:05:11.580] – Phil Collard

So, like with Harold Off,  Harold Off, Jim Peterson, the Brown Brothers. They were very fun to go wheeling with.

[00:05:25.640] – Big Rich Klein

I see RJ and Joe. Every time I come into town. They were known for wild paint jobs, with flames. Some of those flames were real.

[00:05:39.120] – Phil Collard

They absolutely were.

[00:05:42.100] – Big Rich Klein

They like, forced induction, turbo charged Motors and supercharged and all that kind of stuff or nitrous. And they always seem to catch on fire. That’s one thing I can remember. Those guys.

[00:05:55.960] – Phil Collard

They were always trying to be on the cutting edge of this industry. And I saw them help more people with problems. Competitors, they have a problem and they get it down to the shop. Let’s get it fixed so you can come back and do this. Incredible, incredible. A couple of guys. I really enjoyed them.

[00:06:13.560] – Big Rich Klein

Absolutely. That’s the one thing I enjoy about our sport is that instant camaraderie amongst the competitors. So if somebody they want to beat you on the rocks, they don’t want to beat you in the pits. So if you break, they jump right into help.

[00:06:35.620] – Phil Collard

I saw Tom Weaver give up part of his equipment so one of the competitors could continue on. He literally took it from RJ shop and said here, put this in and to and do it. So it’s been a real classy bunch  READ MORE

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