IH8MUD founder, Brian “Woody” Swearingen, on Episode 98


IH8MUD founder, Brian “Woody” Swearingen, was on the internet before most of us knew what it was. Driving one of his 8 vehicles on the hardest core trails, you find Woody wherever the people are. Check out this episode number 98

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4:05– we mowed seven days a week, every hour that we could

9:56 – I basically scrubbed floors and cleaned toilets in a suit and tie for years

11:13 – the better you are at continuing to learn new thing, the better you will be

18:33 – I laid in the driveway under the truck and my friend would sit in the drivers eat and yell through the holes in the floor

29:45 – The links on I8MUD go back to 2002

36:03 – you’re officially white trash when you put your clothes in white trash bags

40:52 – I’m just going to leave a check on your counter

54:41 – I just stand back and see what things need to be done that nobody else is doing


[00:01:20.170] – Big Rich Klein

On today’s episode of Conversations with Big Rich, we have Brian “Woody” Swearingen. Most people will know Brian from the Toyota days, and I8mud, but we’re going to get into rockcrawler.com. Everything that he does from the Toyota. What was it? Toyota drivers testing or something like that? It was a Toyota program. We’ll get into all that. He’ll give you the right information. Anyway, Brian, thank you for coming on board and talking with us.

[00:01:52.160] – Brian “Woody” Swearingen

Oh, you’re welcome.

[00:01:54.490] – Big Rich Klein

So let’s jump right in with both feet and let’s talk about your life. And where were you born and raised?

[00:02:02.470] – Brian “Woody” Swearingen

So I was born outside of Rochester, Minnesota, back in 67, I guess, which puts me in my mid 50s, still a child. Yes, I know. Well, for some, yes. My dad worked for IBM for 30 years. So we lived in Rochester for a few years and then moved out into the country about 10 miles from everywhere. And then I went to school in Byron, Minnesota, which is basically a bedroom community for IBM and the Mayo Clinic.

[00:02:33.490] – Big Rich Klein

Okay, so dad worked IBM, did mom work at the time?

[00:02:39.730] – Brian “Woody” Swearingen

Mom had a teaching degree, but she was basically to stay at home, keep track of myself and my brother. So I just got one younger brother. So keeping track of us and running us around with sports and everything else kind of added up back in those days, especially when you were 10 miles from everything.

[00:02:54.080] – Big Rich Klein

So what’s the age difference between you and your brother?

[00:02:57.610] – Brian “Woody” Swearingen

We’re three years different. My brother is three years younger than me. He’s more of a computer engineering type of guy and actually arguably retired in his 30s after inventing something that was pretty cool.

[00:03:11.790] – Big Rich Klein

Oh, all right. So then growing up? Well, I guess at that point when you guys moved out into the wilds it was pretty damn rural because you said you were out in the middle of nowhere. So what did you guys do for entertainment?

[00:03:26.590] – Brian “Woody” Swearingen

Playing in the dirt, mostly. Lots of Tonka trucks, lots of mowing. Dad had ten acres, about probably three of which was grass. We had a garden that was large enough to feed two families of four in fresh vegetables for a year. So every evening after school was spent weeding the garden and snow, blowing the driveway or mowing the lawn or taking care of helping mom out with the flowers and the gardens and all the other stuff or mowing the trails or whatever. So there is plenty of chores to be done to keep ourselves occupied.

[00:03:55.990] – Big Rich Klein

Well, cool. The mowing. I’ve got to ask this. Did you at least have, like, a tractor or a riding lawn mower, or did you have to do it by push mower?

[00:04:05.840] – Brian “Woody” Swearingen

Both. So, dad, we were just joking about this the other day with my dad when I was on the phone with him, and now he had a John Deere 318 for a while and he forgot to set the parking brake, and it rolled down part of the hillside and plowed itself square into a tree. So there was a period of time where we had one summer where we mowed seven days a week, every hour, that we could be out there with a 1960 something John’s Rude push mower, trying to keep up with the grass that we could keep up with on the hillsides that we could walk. And my brother and I, we mowed nonstop.

[00:04:42.750] – Big Rich Klein


[00:04:43.520] – Brian “Woody” Swearingen

So when they dew get out of the grass, we’d start mowing and we’d mow until it was dusk and start over the next day to just try and keep up. And even then, we were only mowing half of it because a 20 inch push lower is not doing much, especially when you’re getting tired of pushing.

[00:04:56.890] – Big Rich Klein

But it did have a motor.

[00:04:59.770] – Brian “Woody” Swearingen

Yes, it did have a motor. Yeah. This is not one of the reel styles. So it wasn’t quite that bad.

[00:05:03.830] – Big Rich Klein

Yeah. We never had enough grass growing up. I grew up pretty much in the city suburbs area, San Francisco, but there was never enough grass to get anything with a motor. So it was always those real. And oh, my God, I hated that thing. I tried to sabotage it so many times.

[00:05:27.970] – Brian “Woody” Swearingen

We never wanted to sabotage the tractor because that was our savior to be able to ride that around.

[00:05:32.150] – Big Rich Klein

Absolutely. So you said trails were they for, like, snowmobiling or cross country skiing or something?

[00:05:41.290] – Brian “Woody” Swearingen

We did a little bit of cross country skiing, mostly just walking and hiking trails. The ten acres that my dad had out in the country extended back. We had farmers on both sides and extended quite a way up a hillside and then took over a little corner of a farmers field at the top. So, I mean, granted, it’s Minnesota there’s not a lot of elevation change, but it was a 36 or 42 inch wide trail that we had mowed with the mower just to go out and hike and walk and take the dogs out and do whatever.  READ MORE


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