Making good decisions for his family, work, and team, Russell Battles brings patience and discipline to the sport of rockcrawling and life. Listen in on your favorite podcast app or on YouTube. Always good to hear from our friends, a little history, a little present, a bit of the future.
Be sure to SUBSCRIBE to Conversations with Big Rich on your favorite Podcast Player
7:48 – …the scout went down the road
12:45 – First phone call to Marlin Crawler
15:40 – know exactly what you want and don’t let them tell you can’t
20:15 – in Abu Dhabi, we were doing something that had never been done in the world before
29:48 – I got into wheeling with some of the best crawlers in the world
33:27 – meeting Old Man Charlie, “is this Carnage Canyon?”
40:32 – we got beat up a little bit
44:07 – put your faith in your driver
Big thanks to our sponsors, Maxxis Tires and 4low Magazine.
[00:01:41.830] – Big Rich Klein
On today’s episode of Conversations With Big Rich, we have Russell Battles. Russell is a rock crawling spotter. He is from Western Colorado Grand Junction area. And we are going to talk to Russell about offroad, his life and the sport of rock climbing. So, Russell, thank you for coming on board.
[00:02:02.770] – Russell Battles
Yeah, thanks, Rich. It’s an honor to be here on your show.
[00:02:06.910] – Big Rich Klein
So let’s jump right in with both feet. And I guess you were born and raised there in the Grand Junction area?
[00:02:14.710] – Russell Battles
Yeah, I was born in Grand Junction, grew up in Palisade, little town just east of the big city known for Palisade peaches and lived there, my whole upbringing
[00:02:33.370] – Big Rich Klein
So peaches and Palisades. I thought Georgia was known for peaches.
[00:02:38.530] – Russell Battles
Yeah, most people think that. But until you’ve had a Palisade peach, it’ll change your mind. I actually had a buddy who was a Submariner, and he called me from Pensacola, Florida, and asked me if there was any way I could go down, buy a box of peaches and ship them to him so that people know what you’re talking about.
[00:03:01.870] – Big Rich Klein
Did you do it?
[00:03:03.230] – Russell Battles
I did. I send a whole crate of them.
[00:03:06.920] – Big Rich Klein
Great. I hope he was in Port at that time when you shipped them so that the peaches were fresh when he got them.
[00:03:16.150] – Russell Battles
I’m sure he got them fresh. We shipped them overnight.
[00:03:19.030] – Big Rich Klein
Perfect. So tell me about growing up in Grand Junction.
[00:03:24.190] – Russell Battles
Yeah. So, you know, growing up in the Western Slope, coming from a low income family, we didn’t have a lot of options and things to do. But one thing my dad and my mom really enjoyed doing was fishing. So we spent every weekend all through the spring and summer into the fall in the mountains, camping, fishing, just hanging out. Fall season was all about hunting, and I spent almost all my time out in the mountains just enjoying everything there is in the mountains. Grand Junction is really unique in that any direction you go, 1 hour, any direction, you’re in a different climate completely. 1 hour south here in the San Juan’s, 1 hour west here in Moab, 1 hour north, you’re in Wyoming. 1 hour east you’re in Aspen. So you can really pick and choose based off time of year if you want to get out of the heat or if you want to play in the slick rocks or in the highest peaks in Colorado.
[00:04:40.870] – Big Rich Klein
Nice. So talk about going to school. If you’re born and raised there and you spent most of your life there, what was school like?
[00:04:56.330] – Russell Battles
Oh, school is awesome. I went to all the local schools. I graduated from Palisade High School, and school is real good. You might not know it by the looks of me now, but I was a big soccer player. I played baseball, too, but soccer I spent most of my time doing while I was in school. As far as sports go.
[00:05:21.610] – Big Rich Klein
Hey, a lot of us have grown into our bodies. Okay?
[00:05:24.880] – Russell Battles
Don’t worry about it. That’s right. I raced dirt bikes. Western Colorado is well known for dirt bike riding. We have so much public land, and the Adobe is going all the way out to Price. Utah is all open country to ride. And so I grew up on a dirt bike. Not always the best dirt bike, but I always had one. And so, yeah, I just grew up riding and playing soccer. I actually had a scholarship. I was going to go play soccer at Fort Lewis College in Durango, but a little bit of a tragedy happened when I was a senior in high school is when 911 happened. And rather than go to school, I chose to join the army instead. And I thought I’d go back to school and just never did.
[00:06:26.240] – Big Rich Klein
Well, thank you for your service.
[00:06:28.150] – Russell Battles
I appreciate it.
[00:06:30.070] – Big Rich Klein
So then let’s see. One of the questions I ask is, were you athletic? Were you studious or did you do your own thing? Now, you said you played some sports, but how were you as a student?
[00:06:49.370] – Russell Battles
As a student, I was a real good student when I was in class. I guess once that Bell rang, once I walked out the door, I didn’t think about school again. I was somewhere in the middle. As far as GPA goes and get stuff done, I was really excelled in math, so I was taking pretty high level math classes. But I don’t know that I can still write a complete sentence or really, if I’ve ever read an entire book, that’s all right. But I was a big sports guy. Like I said, summers was dirt biking, and the rest of the year was pretty much soccer and baseball. READ MORE