Ready for an adrenaline rush? Tom Wayes is living a storied life, it was great to hear some of that tale. Want to hear how he fought off a bear, we’ve all heard part of the story, Tom tells all right here.
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5:41 – the first person to introduce me to skiing, and I was completely obsessed with it
8:48 – I wasn’t planning on staying
12:28 – as long as I had my ice tools, my crampons, and a rope, I dropped into anything
18:57 – we chartered a Russian heli…and just pointed at stuff and landed on it and skied whatever we felt like
21:21 – Putin’s coming, Putin’s coming…
29:28 – I kind of enjoy just keeping people guessing on where I’m going to qualify
35:08 – never grab your gummy snacks with your race gloves…
38:31 – I gather up some lawn chairs, I gather up a golf cart, and then…
42:16 – always use the best equipment
54:25 – the bear encounter
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[00:01:47.240] – Big Rich Klein
On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Tom Wayes. Most of you have probably heard of Tom, but let’s talk about Tom. Tom not only races KOH, he is a rock crawler, an extreme skiing professional, woodcutter/tree faller, snow machine rider, but also fights bears in his spare time. Tom, great to have you on board with us and talking about your life.
[00:02:15.960] – Tom Wayes
Thank you. Big Rich. It’s great to be here. I appreciate you taking the time to talk about my world, I guess.
[00:02:23.140] – Big Rich Klein
Yeah, you’re a busy man. It’s hard to fit this in, but we got it going, so let’s jump right in. And where were you born and raised?
[00:02:32.690] – Tom Wayes
I was born in Pennsylvania, was born and raised in Huffs church, Pennsylvania, which is in Burkes County. My parents were both educators. My mom was an English teacher and my dad was an elementary school principal. And we also had a 100-acre farm that was not a full time farm, but we had horses and cows and pigs and chickens and mostly hay for the horses. But we bailed three, four cuttings a year, three cuttings a year. And we had probably 15 acres, alfalfa and 100 acre farm with a beautiful trout creek running through it. And grew up running around on my three wheeler and mini bike before that and definitely gave me the ability to know that work is not done, so the work is done and some work ethic. And I got the intensity of my mom and ADD of my dad and I got a little bit of both.
[00:03:33.740] – Big Rich Klein
So that sounds pretty rural if it was farm ranch life.
[00:03:39.890] – Tom Wayes
Yeah, definitely Rich, right? Kind of on the edge of Lancaster County. It’s basically like South Allentown, a little bit southeast of, like, Trekstertown, kind of in the Pennsylvania Dutch borderline, kind of the Amish area of Pennsylvania.
[00:03:59.990] – Big Rich Klein
Yeah. When you said that Lancaster County, I know that I’ve driven through that area number of times and come across the Amish carriages going down the road.
[00:04:09.740] – Tom Wayes
Yeah. Our first tractor was John Deere monta flywheel, start tricycle cultivator under it. And definitely when we moved into this farm in 1979, I was eight years old, and it’s definitely a lot of work. My parents were definitely brave and moving into 1800 stone farmhouse that had a slate roof that needs to be replaced in a barn that was the roof was half caved in and had 2ft of pigeon shit on the second floor. And it was definitely my parents full time job was remodeling and making that house into what it became.
[00:04:54.310] – Big Rich Klein
And what did they do before moving out onto the farm?
[00:05:00.960] – Tom Wayes
We were in Bucks County before that for a little bit, and then we were in Quakertown briefly, and then from there we moved to the farm and then that was pretty much my main upbringing was there.
[00:05:15.830] – Big Rich Klein
Okay. And then doing the school and all that kind of stuff. Like others that I’ve talked to that have grown up on the farms or ranches, you probably spent more time on the ranch and the farm than you did in school.
[00:05:35.990] – Tom Wayes
My parents were big on education but also encouraged me to play sports.
[00:05:40.370] – Big Rich Klein
[00:05:41.240] – Tom Wayes
I was definitely trying to find what was right for me, for sure. And I did a little bit of track and field pole vaulted and threw javelin and played a little bit of baseball. Didn’t really like it. Played football, played defensive safety and really enjoyed that. And then skiing was really my true passion. My cousin Phil, who lived up in the Poconos was the first person to introduce me to skiing, and I just immediately fell in love with it and was completely obsessed with it, and that just became my sole focus. And at that time that was really important to me and started racing mountain bike. There wasn’t really a designated downhill mountain biking at that time, but I pretty much wanted to ski race. That was my main goal. And I met this one local guy in Pennsylvania that had some gates and gave me some videos that I could study and I wanted to start ski racing as soon as possible and it wasn’t available as a high school sport. At my public school I went to, I started training as much as I could and pretty much the Keystone state games was the first ski race ever went to and did well at it and then went to try out for green Mountain College’s ski team in Poland, Vermont, and made the team and got a scholarship to ski race for them. READ MORE