Rufus Racings Chip MacLaughlin on Laughter, Living, and Loss


Humor is how you get through the tough stuff.  Chip MacLaughlin of Rufus Racing shares memories of early KOH, racing with friends, making memories, and Zandy Willems. This is life and how we live it. Thanks, Chip for a beautiful reminder.

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6:25 – we built a lot of fences, dug a lot of holes

9:44 – I got pulled out by four train cars

17:25 – oh, by the way, it has to float

21:33 – I sold the buggy, then you called and said I had a spot at Hammers

26:06 – the Crawling Chaos guys out of Central Texas were my first race friends

37:38 – don’t be afraid to ask somebody questions

46:17 – we were meant to be together

49:08 – almost all males get prostate cancer, the majority die before they know

55:36 – we did it with humor, and I think we helped some other people

57:13 – the whole point of the team was, let’s go make some memories and find friends

1:08:08 – my last words to Zandy while I was standing in the spotter stand at Crandon…

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


[00:01:47.230] – Big Rich Klein

On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Chip McLaughlin. Chip has been a friend for a long time. I met him in the Pringle Fab days while we were doing things in Texas. But he is also the president of Eco Earthworks, which is a construction company. He’s an expert grom pilot. He is a koh and was a dirt riot racer. He in fact how I met Zandy Willems and then graduate or went to school at Texas A and M and the University of New Orleans. We’ll get into all that here shortly. But hey, Chip, thank you for coming on board and spending some time this morning.

[00:02:30.680] – Chip MacLaughlin

Thank you, Big Rich. It’s good to talk to you. Been friends for a long time. You opened up and I’m sitting here thinking I think that was back around 2010 is when we first met.

[00:02:42.370] – Big Rich Klein

Might have been even earlier than that, but absolutely by then. I think we first met, it was before I did the visit to Rednecks with paychecks, but I don’t remember the exact date that we met.

[00:03:04.210] – Chip MacLaughlin

Yeah, that would have been around twelve. But you were doing events down in Spring, Texas too, correct?

[00:03:11.020] – Big Rich Klein

Spring, Texas we did in 2007.

[00:03:21.600] – Chip MacLaughlin

Wyatt Pemberton and Matt Enochs and all.

[00:03:23.800] – Big Rich Klein

Those guys, those crazy days in Texas right after a hurricane, which is luckily we’re not having any of those right now in Texas.

[00:03:33.200] – Chip MacLaughlin

Right, exactly.

[00:03:34.670] – Big Rich Klein

So let’s start right off, chip, where were you born and raised?

[00:03:39.890] – Chip MacLaughlin

I was born in Houston, Texas, and then moved to Dallas in second grade. My dad owned the company and transferred up to Dallas. So I finished high school in Plano, Texas, which is in North Dallas, and grew up with a brother and two sisters. My youngest sisters adopted, graduated, and ended up in New Orleans for ten years. Well, let me rephrase that before that. Ended up in Galveston. Galveston for two years with plans to go to the main campus at Texas A and M and then ended up in New Orleans and finishing university in New Orleans with mechanical engineering.

[00:04:19.690] – Big Rich Klein

Excellent. And going to school in that Dallas Plano area. What was that like? Was it far enough back that it was still kind of rural up in Plano and not just suburbia.

[00:04:35.310] – Chip MacLaughlin

I lived right there in Plano Frisco area, which people are familiar with. North Dallas, that is just huge. Now, that’s where the Dallas Stars have their Dallas Cowboys have the Star where they practice, and it’s just huge. But when I lived there as a kid, it was a lot of cornfields and rural areas, and our family still has we bought it in 1980. We have a ranch up about an hour and a half out of Dallas, so I grew up in Plano during the week, and then on Friday at school, we’d go to the ranch. So that’s where I learned a lot of the how to ride motorcycles, four wheelers, break stuff, fix it. So I had the best of both World City during the week and country and weekends.

[00:05:19.150] – Big Rich Klein

And were you on the school side of it? Did you play any sports or anything like that?

[00:05:28.930] – Chip MacLaughlin

I didn’t do any school related sports when I was in high school. I took auto paint and body because I just like doing things with my hands. I like building things. But I started racing motorcycles when I was 14. I did hare scrambles and enduros

[00:05:44.620] – Chip MacLaughlin

okay. And did all that all the way through high school. And then when I left for college, I stopped, and when I graduated, I went and bought another motorcycle, started it again, but I was getting older and found that trees hurt a lot worse when you’re older, longer to heal.

[00:06:01.180] – Big Rich Klein

Yes. Don’t I know that?

[00:06:03.600] – Chip MacLaughlin

Yes. It’s kind of evolved from there, but I didn’t do any really school related sports, but during high school, not a road, motorcycles.

[00:06:13.530] – Big Rich Klein

Okay. And the ranch that you guys have or had, was that a working ranch or more of a get out and enjoy it?

[00:06:25.810] – Chip MacLaughlin

It was both. We ran cattle on it. So we first started, we just like commercial cattle and then went to Beef Masters to raise big bulls. And so me and a couple of buddies and my brother, we built a lot of fences, dig a lot of holes, pipe fences, barbwire, dropped a lot of hay, bills on the highway, all the fun stuff that teenagers will do on a ranch. But yeah, it was working ranch, and I’d spend the summers up there with one of my buddies, and that’s what we did all summer. We’d get up at six morning, work till it got too hot, go home, take a nap, and then get up again and work until 09:00 or so at night. And for a high school kid, I think I was making six $7 an hour, working 50 hours or so a week. And we thought we were rich back then.  READ MORE

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