Have you ever had a million thoughts rolling through your head and you want to put them all down on paper, or in my case a website. I own what I think is a pretty decent website that is easy to navigate and is slowly starting to gain some content but to me that’s not enough even though it’s enough. Two board dudes was supposed to be about the adventures of two friends one of which is helping to change the lifestyle of another. However, Shane has drug me into a group of people that have became family. Not a day goes by that any of us are not in contact with each other through Facebook chat or texting. Most of the conversations are about Tacos, Dogs and what and WHY IN THE HELL Ron is up at 3am to go fishing on Lake Michigan. We see Brenda in her glass box through the week then in the evenings you can find her at a dog park or doing something K-9 related. Shane is usually off teaching some poor poor kids because he was called into substitute teach. Or you can catch him ripping up weeds or spreading “purdydirt” in a customer’s yard. and if you can’t find him doing one of these two jobs you can most likely find him on the water in the small lakes or rivers around St Louis.
Besides Shane, Brenda and Ron are the first two people I met when I went up to help them in the MR340. It was later on that night that I met the rest of the motley crew. Standing in Miami Missouri “no palm tree’s or skimpy speedos” NO , just plain old Miami Mo. Shane, Dale and Jerico were about to come into that checkpoint so Brenda, Ron and I head to the steep boat ramp and waited as they approached. The reactions of the paddlers when they seen the beast of a paddleboard known as Grey Stroked was funny. Then you throw paddling legend Dale Sanders in on the board and you have tonight’s news story. The comic relief came in the form of a short, white bearded feller by the name of Jerico LeForte, a seasoned 340 paddler. As Shane and the boys hopped off Grey Stroked Shane was quick to introduce me to Both Dale and Jerico. My first thoughts were as expected, a bunch of fun water loving paddlers with one mission. To finish the Missouri River 430 on a 4 man stand up paddle board.
Shortly after they arrived Chip and Phil pulled in on their solo paddleboards and I was promptly introduced to them as well. This was the start of what was going to be a fun 3 days and a new family. So getting back to TwoBoardDudes.com, with all these new family members and our love of the water and goofing around TwoBoardDudes was really not making sense. But, if you knew us you would understand that it makes perfect sense to post blogs about my new friends. After all, we are all into something that is going to change our lives for the better, grow us stronger and leave many many adventures to be taken in the future. So while I may post blogs on here about any of our antics, I still plan on making this site about Shane and I and our goal.
Most nights I stay up late because I can’t get to sleep or just don’t want to go to bed yet. This is when my mind decides to say “Let’s see how much shit I can fill TJ’s head with. This is where your going to start seeing blog posts about random shit that might make no sense OR it may be informative. Even though I am venturing into the world of SUP “Stand Up Paddleboarding” I will never put the double bladed paddle down. There is many trips I want to take while using my kayak and be gone for a few days at a time, and the other times I will be paddling around getting myself prepped fort he MR340 in 2017. Yes, you heard that right, I am going to be on an 8 man SUP team in the MR340. Am I scared, yes, I am scared shitless but that is what is driving me to prepare for this. I have never won an award or a trophy for anything involving sports or let alone ANY trophy. We are not planning on trying to finish first, we are just trying to get through this race on a vessel that has never been attempted in a race like this. Will I or “we” get a big fancy and shiny trophy, probably not but we will get a cool t-shirt, some stickers and a shit load of bug bites, swamp ass and laughter.
So while I am up not being about to sleep I rack my brain on what I need to do in between watching youtube videos on how to convert vans into campers. I need to start training hard to get this big ol’ butt in shape so I won’t let the team down but dammit I do love Sprinter vans and what you can make them into. In all seriousness I am trying to find ways to tame the millions of ideas in my head and narrow them down to subjects that may make a great blog post…….. or may not. Either way, I promise you either a WHOA, WOW, COOL or WHAT IN THE HELL type blog posts. So all I can say is please check back often and let’s see if I can grow this into something.
Why I love my Job:
They say that if you love what you do for a living, you never work a day in your life. Ozark Mountain Trading is no exception. I started working for them in March of 2016 as a part time, seasonal help. In August I was working on a boat in the shop and Bruce, one of the owners came out in the shop and asked if he could “Have a Word With Me” this is a phrase you really never want to hear from one of your boss’s however, this time it was good. Bruce told me that they were going to open an fleet and outside sales manager position and wanted to know if I would be interested. Without a thought I accepted this position with a certain amount of excitement “I went outside and gasped and went YESSSSSS” I had been offered a career that some paddlers only dream about. To be part of a strong and successful company, traveling around selling high quality boats to people. I call it “Selling Happiness”. 8 months prior to this offer I had been going through some rough times, losing my mom, my job “I worked for my mom” and my wife did to. So, losing your entire life was a hard thing to struggle through but thanks to Larry and Bruce they shined some light onto a pretty bad part of my life. Offering me this position has not come without some hurdles. They had offered me this position at the end of floating season which meant it was going to be hard to show them or prove to them I could make this position a successful one. I am a little bit of the worrying type so my first thoughts were that I was not going to be able to perform like I wanted to because of the time of year it is. Now, here is where I tell you how awesome it is to work for two guys like Larry and Bruce. They show nothing but support and motivation towards me and the entire OMTC team. It’s “Planting seeds” as Bruce says, and when you plant those seeds they will grown with time. I thought about this a lot and the more I think about it the more I realize that this also applies in day to day life. If you sit back and worry about the next day, week, month or year you will never achieve your goals. Plant seeds for anything you want to try to do with your life. For example, I have spent most of my life in sales but also trying to make a career out of playing music. I would like to say I am pretty good at getting a crowd going but it was not paying the bills. There was something missing in my life, I just could not nail down what it was until I went to work for OMTC. Since working at OMTC I have realized that what I was wanting my entire life was sitting there looking me right in the eyes. I LOVE WATER, I know water, I live for water, and because of Larry and Bruce offering me this chance of a lifetime I have FINALLY found what I want to do with my life. Planting seeds is one thing, understanding that some may not grow is another but out of many seeds planted that one seed has sprouted into a life changing thing. When I have to help unload a truck full of kayaks, I do it smiling even though it is hard work it is something I love. When I get turned away or don’t hear back from a customer it feels crappy at the time but I know I did the best I could and that’s all that matters.
Besides having the position of my dreams I also get to work with some of the coolest people in the industry. Every person that works for OMTC works as a team, or even more so, a family. When we host demo days for each of the stores it’s sort of like a little family reunion. Everyone is there to help everyone else out and this is why I think OMTC is such a successful company because all of the positive vibes in the company spill out into how we take care of our customers.
There is kind of a point to all of why I talk so much about OMTC and that point is, If you love what you do and you can make a life doing it, DO IT ! ! ! . Life is to short to wander around trying to figure it out. If you truly love something and it’s what you want to do with your life, DO IT. If it does not work out then it was not what you wanted to do with your life. I thought music would be my career and after 17 years of hoping and working hard I finally figured out that it was only a second love and not a career choice. I love the water, I love being around it, on it and in it. It’s really all I know and that’s what it’s an honor to have the chance to make a living with it.