From 4th place to champion, rockcrawler Dave Wong on Episode 142


Mr. 4th Place, Dave Wong, has shaken off that title to become a champion trail breaker. Dave shares his history in California, and now Utah. Listen in to one of the kindest men in rockcrawling on your favorite podcast app.

Be sure to Subscribe on your favorite podcast app!


7:42 – There was a lot of chocolate pudding I put down as a kid

18:51 – there’s so many stories I have about my dad, his heart was always in the right place for the kids

30:11 – I couldn’t ever leave any vehicle alone

43:51 – Just take her for a ride in your car

51:50 – I always wanted to compete, but I never thought I was capable

1:05:47 – she’s been trapped in the laundry room – “didn’t you hear me banging?”

1:09:10 – whatever you do and whatever I do, I’m going to be fourth place

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


[00:01:47.160] – Big Rich Klein

on today’s episode of conversations with big rich, we have Dave Wong. Dave is a trail breaker winner at Trail Hero. He’s unlimited driver in WeRock, has quite a few podiums. He’s also the runner up this year of the Texas Top Gun Shootout, which was a first time event at K2 in Mason, Texas. And he’s in ex Californian that made the trek to southern Utah. Dave, it’s really good to have you on the air and talking to you about your history.

[00:02:18.480] – Dave Wong

Well, thanks for having me, Big Rich. It’s an honor. I’ve listened to a lot of your podcasts. There’s a lot of really good people on there. I’m honored to be on here.

[00:02:30.450] – Big Rich Klein

Well, you deserve it. So let’s get started and jump right in on where were you born and raised?

[00:02:40.120] – Dave Wong

Well, not too far from where you were. I was born in Fairfield. Fairfield, just north of you. That North Bay area out in California. And then we moved to Livermore when I was really young, and then we moved to Pleasanton when I was four. So we did a lot of moving around. And then when I was eight, my dad moved our family up to Sonora, California, up in the gold country.

[00:03:04.400] – Big Rich Klein

And what was the reason for moving? Was he military or did the job do it?

[00:03:11.600] – Dave Wong

So my dad was a teacher, actually, he was a math teacher. And his passion was coaching basketball. When I was born, I think the first week I was alive, I went to a basketball game. Of course, I don’t remember it. It’s just what I hear.

[00:03:26.790] – Big Rich Klein


[00:03:28.280] – Dave Wong

But my dad, he grew up in San Francisco, in Hunter’s Point, which is not the best area.

[00:03:35.320] – Big Rich Klein


[00:03:36.300] – Dave Wong

And he wanted to raise my sister and I and somewhere a little more wholesome and safer. So he went to a wedding up there in Sonora and fell in love with it up there. So he said, that’s where we’re going.

[00:03:51.380] – Big Rich Klein

Yeah, it’s a real nice area. It’s part of that highway 49, golden chain of cities. Columbia, Sonora, jackson Placerville, auburn Grass Valley, Nevada City. It really is a nice location.

[00:04:11.860] – Dave Wong

Yeah, it was a good place to grow up there in the foothills of the Sierras there.

[00:04:16.470] – Big Rich Klein

Right. That was Pleasanton made the move. That was about the time you started school. Or was it Sonora, where you started school?

[00:04:27.160] – Dave Wong

So I started school in Pleasanton, and then funny thing for people that know the Bay Area, when we moved to Pleasanton, wasn’t going to date me a little bit, too. But Pleasanton had one stoplight.

[00:04:39.450] – Big Rich Klein


[00:04:40.880] – Dave Wong

Yeah. So I started school there. We still walk to school, and parents didn’t worry too much. There was a huge park across from our little neighborhood, and that’s gone. It’s all houses now.

[00:04:58.100] – Big Rich Klein

That’s too bad that they removed parks to build houses.

[00:05:02.420] – Dave Wong

Yeah, I think there may be still a small park in that area, but it was huge when we were there.

[00:05:10.060] – Big Rich Klein


[00:05:10.680] – Dave Wong

Of course. Maybe it’s perspective. I was a lot smaller then.

[00:05:14.440] – Big Rich Klein

There’s a lot to be said for that. There’s a town called Woonsocket, South Dakota, and my grandfather grew up there, and they had a little hotel in a Main Street square, and there was a pond in the middle of the square. Lake, I would say, but I was there. Oh, God. It was before I started driving, but not quite right. At the beginning of my teens, I think it was. But I remember that lake being big, and Shelley and I drove through there a couple of years ago, and I was like, okay, they must have filled in the lake, because if it was an acre, I’m giving it credit where credit wasn’t due. So, yeah, it is perspective. Absolutely. So then Pleasanton, you started school there. Dad was a math teacher and basketball coach. Did mom work?

[00:06:18.940] – Dave Wong

Mom didn’t work. When we moved to Sonora, their friends that went to their wedding, they told my parents about a restaurant that was for sale, and above the restaurant was the house. So they told my dad, you can buy this restaurant. You have a place to live. You have a business. So that’s what they did. They bought that restaurant. It was called Scandias Smorgasbord. It was actually in Sugar Pine, just above Twain Harte, which was above Sonora.

[00:06:47.180] – Big Rich Klein


[00:06:48.120] – Dave Wong

And so we lived above the restaurant. My mom ran the restaurant, and shortly after that, my dad started coaching at the high school in Tuolumi, Somerville, and then he became a counselor there.

[00:07:01.040] – Big Rich Klein

Okay, so your mom became a housewife to restaurant owner.

[00:07:07.820] – Dave Wong

Yeah, she ran the restaurant also cooked, and it was a smorgasbord. So my sister and I, anytime we were hungry, we could just go hop in line and we never went hungry, that’s for sure.

[00:07:23.750] – Big Rich Klein

I guess not. Smorgasbord.

[00:07:25.700] – Dave Wong


[00:07:26.470] – Big Rich Klein

Man, I’m glad I didn’t have that as a kid. God knows how big I’d be.

[00:07:34.980] – Dave Wong

Yeah, I don’t know. I guess it’s the genes. I think a lot of it’s just genes.

[00:07:40.340] – Big Rich Klein

I do. I agree, too.

[00:07:42.200] – Dave Wong

There was a lot of chocolate pudding that I put down as a kid because that was one of the desserts. READ MORE


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