Helluva nice guy, Matt Hodges, shares the richness of life on Episode 74. You know him from Red Neck Ram and West Texas Off Road, but there is much more to the story. From his love of family and travel to his redneck engineering and the soft spot he holds for those less abled, meeting Matt on the trail is one of life’s pleasures.
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3:10 – the Hodges’ Family Zoo
6:51 – driving on the highway to the ranch at 11 years old
13:46 – Marine Corps intelligence is just asinine
19:07 – I could let my OCD flourish
21:52 – he gave me a ’46 and a ’48 Willys and said “put them together”
27:29 – started tearing apart gearboxes
33:20 – it’s funny to call it a manufacturing facility
44:33 – I just gave Kenny Hauk the Unimog
51:53 – as far as the media stuff goes, I would never want to do that
1:17:33 – I’m already the richest man in the world
We want to thank our sponsors Maxxis Tires and 4Low Magazine.
Big Rich Klein: On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Matt Hodges. Matt is west Texas off-road redneck Ram, and just a hell of a nice guy. Anybody that knows him we’ll attest to that. I’m, I’m sure of it. He’s made a lot of friends in the industry over the, the years that he’s been in it. And we’re going to talk to him about his life and how he got involved in this. So, Matt, thank you for coming on board with conversations.
Matt Hodges: Thank you for having me rich it’s so it’s an honor. It really is. Thank you.
Big Rich Klein: Well, I don’t know about the honor part, but we’re glad you’re here. So let’s, let’s jump in with both feet and, you know, I’ve known you a long time, but there’s a lot of stuff I’m sure I’m gonna find out. So let’s start off at the very beginning and let’s, you know, let’s discuss where you were born and raised.
Matt Hodges: I was born and raised right here in little old San Angelo, Texas. it’s not, I guess, little anymore, but, born and raised here. I left for a few years for the Marine Corps then decided I wanted to get out on my own and was gone for about another year to work at a ski resort in Colorado and then came back and I’ve been here for 25, 30 years now that I haven’t left other than vacations.
Big Rich Klein: Okay. Let’s let’s talk about those first, early years there. If you were born and raised there, that means that, all your schooling was done there and all your influences were created there or happened there. Where you, were you studious Were you mechanical Were you athletic or did you just kind of do your own thing
Matt Hodges: Well, I was the, I was the son of a veterinarian. my dad, graduated from A and M, the vet school and, moved here to San Angelo. They had me, so I grew up with a big influence of animal background. All of our friends called us the Hodges family zoo. Cause we always had every kind of stray pet you could imagine from raccoons to owls, to Bobcat’s to just odd dogs and cats. So Bob cats, yeah, a mountain lion, even one time. Dang. Yeah, a baby mountain lion is as big as a full grown house cat by the way. But, animals are animals and you fall in love with them. So that was a big influence. but I was, I was always the mechanic kid, my mom and my, especially my mom would get so mad at me because I would take apart everything and figure out how it works and then put it back together.
Matt Hodges: I got so much trouble cause she came home one time and the lawnmower was a part in the driveway to my credit. I cleaned out the cylinders and put it all back together and had it running before dark. So, oh, very good. Let’s see. I was not a great student. I have been blessed with a fairly high IQ, but that proves the point that you do not have to be smart to have an IQ. I was terrible at school. I could, I could pull my shit together or sorry. I could pull my stuff together at the end of the year and take final test and pass. But I did not want to do the schoolwork during the rest of the year and it drove my parents crazy. I always did just enough to just barely get by so that I had time to go hunting and fishing and work on stuff and things like that during the rest of the time.
Big Rich Klein: So what was your earliest mode of transportation Bicycle motorcycle
Matt Hodges: Earliest is going to be a bicycle. You know, we had to, we had to ride a bicycle to the school and back red, white and blue.
Big Rich Klein: And your parents didn’t drive you to school
Matt Hodges: No, we only lived about, well, all I can remember is elementary school and we only lived about five or six blocks from the elementary school. So I rode every day, it wasn’t a big deal. We lived in town pretty close to the air force base. I can still remember back in the seventies. You could still hear the jets flying over and breaking the sound barrier, which you can’t do anymore. They made it illegal or at least here in west Texas. They did.
Big Rich Klein: I believe.
Matt Hodges: Yeah, they a side note. They made it illegal here because it was breaking all the water tanks. The shockwave would transfer through the water and break all the concrete and stone tanks. Oh, so anyway, first mode was, was a bicycle red, white, and blue with a banana seat of first powered transportation, I guess technically it was a, I don’t know, a late sixties, early seventies, FJ 40. it was given to me as a gift, but it was used as a tractor. It had a PTO output and it had a post hole diggers and stuff like that. And we used it around the farm. So how many times did you take it apart
Matt Hodges: I was given strict rules that I could not touch that. Yeah, very strict rules that I couldn’t do it, but it honestly, it didn’t last long. It got moved on to something else. And then I guess my first highway vehicle was the, 1976 Ford, F three 50 with a four 60 and a manual for speed and driving it down the road. I can remember driving it on the highway to the ranch at 11 years old. And you could physically watch the gas gauge move. I know most people don’t get to drive on the highway at 11, but in small town, west Texas things are a little bit different. Right. READ MORE