Trail Mom, Barbara Rainey, Executive Director for the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame on Episode 48


The most positive woman in off-road, Trail Mom, Barbara Rainey joins us for Episode 48. This episode is long on story, from Reno Rock to the Off-Road Hall of Fame.  Innovation and grit at its finest. Barbara’s interview tells a bigger story, though, we all have to get involved in preserving our stories.  The Off-Road Hall of Fame is a great place to start. Get involved with a partnership, a membership or a donation today.

Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to Conversations with Big Rich on your favorite Podcast Player


2:59 – I just wanted to go to the Races!

4:32 – David got the girl, but not the Jeep

6:33–  having a list and a roll of quarters

10:57 – innovators and instigators, aggravators and agitators

14:29 – special place in heaven for race promoters

20:56 – the strongest link then is the weakest link now

23:07– the importance of Tread Lightly

27:09 – Reno Rocks is born, and the lessons there

43:34 – testing the ramps in my rental car

49:32 – when I get stuck, I ask two questions

52:66 – the history of the Offroad Motorsports Hall of Fame

1:00:15 – everyone’s got a story

1:08:19 – the loss of the home of the vehicle collection

1:15:05 – it’s not the off-road Racing hall of Fame, it’s the off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame


[00:01:20.190] – Big Rich Klein

On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Barbara Rainey.


Barbara has been well, she’s been around offroad a long time. We got acquainted doing the Reno Rock’s event and we will discuss that.


We’ll discuss being the managing partner, office manager, the Offroad Hall of Fame and Barbara’s significant impact there. So, Barbara, let’s go ahead and get started in. Where did you grow up?

[00:01:52.610] – Barbara Rainey

Well, hi, Rich, and everybody, thank you very much for the opportunity to talk with you. Yes, I’ve been around a long time, as Dave Cole likes to say, since Barbara’s been around offroad since before, since wheels were square. So I am a Southern California beach girl, grew up there in the 70s. And probably the thing that defines me the most is just I like wide open spaces. I want to see what’s over the next horizon, always leaning in, pushing ahead, wanting to see what’s next.


Grew up riding horses through the hills, body surfing at the beach. And pretty much everybody says, well, you must have been rich to live there. No, it was just a good time to be in Southern California in the 60s and 70s and Orange County and Laguna San Juan area. And it was just magical. And I lived near Orange County Raceway, couldn’t explain why I wasn’t from a car family. My dad drove a Corvair and was an aerospace engineer, but I just wanted to go to the races.


So I showed up at Orange County Raceway one day in my teens, wound up working in the souvenir stand. And so that’s how I got my start in racing. Was at Orange County International Raceway in the 70s?

[00:03:12.470] – Big Rich Klein

Wow, that’s pretty interesting. I knew that you were you got involved in racing, but didn’t realize it was from the souvenir stand.

[00:03:22.770] – Barbara Rainey

Well, you know, that’s a great place to start in the marketing, and then I worked in working in the timing tower and ran the telewriter. If you’re a drag, you know, you work at a drag strip and the cars go down the quarter mile, somebody has to write down the times and the speeds and then this fancy little old antiquated machine would mimic that what I wrote up in the tower and take it down to the other end and the guys would pick up their timing slips at the other end from the booth.


So got to do a lot there and really got my boots on the ground. Education in marketing learned from some of the greats. I worked for Charlie Allen and Bill Donner and my friend Lynn Rose. We worked side by side at the raceway and put on events like the Buggins and the Fox hunts and the 64 funny cars and manufacturers’ championships and anything anybody that grew up in Southern California in the 60s, 70s, 80s, that was that place to be and those were the events to be at.


And so I got a real education on operations and marketing from my experience there. And that’s where I met my husband to have kind of fun.

[00:04:28.800] – Big Rich Klein

Excellent. And your husband is David, right?

[00:04:32.670] – Barbara Rainey

You can’t talk about trail mom without talking about recovery. Dave, my husband was stationed at the USMC El Toro, which was right next to OCIR. And actually we met over a Jeep pickup truck, which is kind of funny. One of the companies I work for had a pickup truck for sale, a Jeep truck in the 70s, and my our chief starter, Smitty, Ron Smith told David he was a, Smitty was a, he was a gunnery sergeant at the Marine base. And then he worked over at the track and he told David there was this girl that had a pickup for sale and flash forward. Forty two years and we’re still together and still at the races.

[00:05:14.670] – Big Rich Klein

So not only did he pick up the truck, but he picked up you.

[00:05:19.210] – Barbara Rainey

You know, he didn’t he didn’t buy the truck, but he got the girl, so I don’t know if these wonders if that was a good, good decision or not. You might be wish that he had that Old J-10 back.

[00:05:33.250] – Big Rich Klein

That’s awesome. How long were you there at the Orange County Raceway?

[00:05:38.890] – Barbara Rainey

Yeah, I was there. You know, we were there five or six years. You know, unfortunately, one of the hallmarks of any kind of racing and it’s a thread through everything we do is land use issues. And, you know, it just got too expensive to keep the track going. So the track closed in eighty three. We did world finals there and before the track closed. READ MORE

Follow Big Rich

SHare this article

This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.