Looking for a family – Mike Shatynski knows all about it on Episode 166


If you’re a military vet, look up Admiral Mike with Mag7 and WarFighter Made, you’ll likely find him in Baja; he’ll help you find your family. Offroad or military, there is so much love. Mike tells a great story and the history of Mag7 – real and embellished. It’s a great listen, be sure to tune in on your favorite podcast app.


4:43 – I decided I needed something that was a little more comfortable to drive, so I moved up to a class 9

9:29 – What I love about this offroad community is my family, my earned family

15:40 – there is the truth, and then there is the embellishments of the truth

25:05 – The logistics is what makes us successful

34:13 – I look at what we do in Mag7; it’s almost like a special forces organization, they’re self-selecting in what they do

47:48 – I’m absolutely convinced that we lose 22 vets a day to suicide because they’ve lost a sense of purpose and they’ve lost that military family

53:29 – people don’t know that Bruce Meyers was a real hero in World War II

Special thanks to 4low Magazine and Maxxis Tires for support and sponsorship of this podcast.


[00:01:40.200] – Big Rich Klein

On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich, I am going to be interviewing Mike Shatynski. Mike is the Secretary of the Board of Directors for MAG7 Pit Services. We’re going to talk about MAG7, which was founded in 1967. It’s a band of brothers and sisters united by their love of offroad racing, Baja and each other. We’ll go into the whole aspect of their 501 and how the pits work and all that stuff and the history. But first, we’re going to talk to Mike about his history and how he got involved with MAG7. Mike, thank you so much for spending some time and agreeing to come and talk to me.

[00:02:27.590] – Mike Shatynski

Rich, it’s great to talk to you about this. I just love offroad racing and my offroad family and getting a chance to talk about my family. It’s exciting.

[00:02:39.180] – Big Rich Klein

Excellent. Let’s start off with talking about you and where did you grow up and a little bit about your background schooling and then that stuff?

[00:02:50.180] – Mike Shatynski

Well, I grew up in Los Angeles, and I’ve always had offroading and driving out in the desert in my heart, I started going out in the desert when I was in high school. I went to Loyala high school in downtown LA. I graduated and then went to the Naval Academy for four years and then spent eight years on active duty. And after that, I went into the reserves and spent 25 years in the reserves and ultimately retired as a two- star Navy Admiral. I was a ship driver in the Navy. Nothing to do with vehicles, although I did everything from small fast boats with automatic weapons, patrol boats to battleships and spent a lot of time on land and the Coast, especially as a Reservist. I wasn’t a driver. I did spend some time in the desert, but I wasn’t a driver of land vehicles. But anyway, going back to my background, when I graduated from the Naval Academy and bought my first vehicle, I bought a Toyota 4×4 pickup truck. My introduction to offroad racing was when I went down to Baja to do some exploring and I was on a drive to Mike’s Sky Ranch and couldn’t understand why all these vehicles kept going by me really fast in the wrong direction.

[00:04:03.730] – Mike Shatynski

Turns out I was heading to Mike’s Sky Ranch on a prerun weekend before a Baja 500, and I was the knucklehead going the wrong way. But I had always heard about the Mexican 1,000, the Baja 1,000, and things down there. And that’s what got me south of the border and offroading. And once I saw that happen, and that was in the very early 80s, I decided I wanted to go racing and built a Class 11 bug and did my first offroad race in a Score Baja 500 in 1985.

[00:04:36.750] – Big Rich Klein

In a.

[00:04:37.030] – Mike Shatynski

Class 11? Involved ever since. Class 11. It was pretty much a stock Volkswagen back in.

[00:04:41.910] – Big Rich Klein

That day. The kidney busters.

[00:04:43.750] – Mike Shatynski

Oh, my goodness. I only did three of those, two Baja 500s and a Baja 1,000. I made it halfway through all three of those in ’85 and ’86. And I decided I needed to do something, to drive in something that was a little easier to maintain and a little more comfortable. I moved up to class nine, which…

[00:05:03.370] – Big Rich Klein

Something more comfortable, really? Exactly. All you did was stretch the wheelbase a little bit.

[00:05:10.040] – Mike Shatynski

Right. I got a whole six inches of travel in the front and up to nine in the rear, depending on how I set it up. But I’ve loved it since then. And a bit more about my background, besides the Navy background. I had a real job in the civilian world. After I got out, I ended up going to work for the Los Angeles County Sanitation district. I was a Civil Engineering Master’s from Loyal and Merrimount University. I have a mechanical engineer license based on my undergraduate degree from the Naval Academy and my work in the Navy. But I worked in energy recovery at the sanitation districts and ended up retiring from there.  READ MORE


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