If you’ve been checking out our social media, chances are you have seen our partner posts with Rural Cloth Clothing Company about giving away a truck. That’s right, you read that correctly, a life-size, badass truck! If you haven’t, you need to check it out…but first, check out this sweet interview we captured with Founder, CEO and Former PBR Announcer, Brandon Bates.
CLN: Can you tell our audience a little about yourself? (Background, your history with the PBR, what you’re currently doing, etc.)
Brandon: I started announcing when I was still in High school. I decided at about the age of 18 that riding bulls just seemed a little too rough, but I loved the sport. So I set my mind to stay involved and the easiest way to do that was on the microphone. I was hired to announce my first PBR when I was 20 years old. I worked a few of the touring pro events for a couple of years and Jerome Robinson (PBR’s longtime arena director) called and asked me if I would clear my schedule for 18 events in 2003. I still remember exactly where I was standing when I took that phone call. For me, I was going to focus on Pro Rodeo or PBR.
PBR made the choice really easy for me. I never dreamed when I took that phone call from Jerome in December of 2002, that I would essentially become the voice of the sport and announce the finals 17 times. I would have been happy with doing it once. Being able to see so much and experience so much at a young age feels weird. What really feels weird is this whole conversation of retirement. I’m only 40, so to have a career that you retire from at that age feels really strange. But when its time you know its time. I am incredibly grateful for the years the PBR gave me and the relationships I’ve built. It’s what allowed me to launch my own business and now focus on the second half of my professional life.
CLN: Where did the idea of Rural Cloth come from?
Brandon: I’ve felt for a long time that a Rural lifestyle consumer needed a direct to the consumer product. One that wasn’t mass-produced to fit the needs of giant retailers. One that truly fit the needs of a customer with regard to quality and style. At Rural we have the ability to create products and do small runs, cool stuff, have a little fun without being a wholesale slave. I’ve always been a Wrangler fan and I still am, I wear them daily. However companies like Wrangler don’t have the capacity to create small-batch products, they have to mass-produce products to fit the needs of thousands of retail stores. We don’t have that issue and hopefully never will. Our business plan isn’t to be a billion-dollar brand. Its to be financially healthy and fit the needs of a consumer who may want something a little more limited in availability. Being small has its advantages.
CLN: How would you describe the transition from PBR Announcer to Business Owner?
Brandon: Transitioning from PBR was something I had been thinking about for a few years. I have a wife and three young daughters. I wanted to be home more with them but knew that I had to have another job to support our family. That’s the thing about living in America. Its really up to you, if you want it bad enough and you are willing to put in the work, you’ll probably succeed. I can’t imagine anywhere else in the world you can do that. So the transition wasn’t hard. I just knew that I needed to go all-in on my business plans. The only thing I would say is difficult is leaving a very comfortable job and a steady income. When they say “get out of your comfort zone”, I can tell you I have done that. It does have an odd comfort to it though. It’s hard to explain, I just knew it was time to go all-in on myself, my family and my next chapter.
CLN: Can you tell our audience a little more about Rural Cloth’s Truck Giveaway? (Maybe besides what they could find on the website?)
Brandon: The idea to do a giveaway was really just a way to launch the brand. My business partners thought I was crazy at times. Hell, I thought I was crazy at times. But I knew we needed a catalyst, something to break through the noise and help put us on the map. I think Rural Cloth is really cool. However, I learned really fast that cool doesn’t matter. It takes a lot of risk, money and big-league execution to breakthrough. The apparel space is SUPER SATURATED so the truck was the quickest way I thought we could get noticed. So far it’s working. The coolest thing about the truck is the guys who built it.
He’ll kill me for saying it but the main guy behind the build and its design is the real-life version of Rambo. Again, he’ll hate that analogy, but it’s true. I can’t name him because he’s still an active-duty Green Beret. He’s been deployed 9 times and he is the guy who gave it all up after 9/11 to dedicate his life to America. What I can tell you about the truck is this, if you want a one of kind bad a** truck built by the baddest cat on the planet… Then I would enter to win it.
Who wouldn’t want to drive a truck built by a Green Beret Sniper? I honestly wish we could tell more of the story behind the build, but for security reasons, we aren’t allowed to. But, trust me when I tell you; You want this truck. If you love America, you want this truck. The other team member that helped with the build is a volunteer fire-fighter and first responder in Biscoe, NC. His name is Jeremy Smith. Jeremy and our other builder are close friends. Jeremy helps out when his buddy is deployed and is just an all-around great guy.
CLN: What advice would you give to anyone wanting to start a business, in the western industry or otherwise?
Brandon: Goals… WRITE THEM DOWN!!! If you were to go back and read what I wrote down as a senior in high school in my English IV class, it would scare you how accurate it is. Your subconscious combined with higher power will drive you to accomplish things you really want to do. Great example; I always said I wanted to retire at 40, but it was sort of a joke, I just repeatedly said it over the years. Well, that joke actually turned into reality, I turned 40 this past May. It was in June I fully committed to retiring from the live arena announcing at PBR. I didn’t really mean for it to happen that way. I’m glad it did, but that is a classic example of the subconscious driving the machine. I believe the human mind is the most powerful resource we have.
Write your goals down, make decisions and do little things to help you reach those goals daily. Second, take risks. Don’t be afraid of failing. Fear is the number one motivator in the human mind, it just typically motivates you to fail. Don’t let it. Use fear for fuel. That’s why guys like Jess Lockwood are so good at what they do. They know how to use fear and not let it use them. There’s a big difference. So big in fact I believe it’s what separates you from minimum wage or millionaire.
Finally. It’s all about People. Who you surround yourself will make a huge difference. You can’t accomplish much on your own. If you think you can, you’re going to have a hard time and likely fail. For example, the past 12 years or so my partner in the announcing booth at PBR has been my biggest asset along with our production crew. If you know me or have watched me announce, you know I live for the big moments. I love the last few rides and I try to tell as dramatic of a story as possible and if you’re in the stands, I want you crying, standing or having chills when the night is over. I want fans to feel raw emotion when they are watching the PBR live. The point is, I could never do that without my team. If you watch closely, my partner always set me up for those moments, our music guy always played the right songs, it was a team effort. The same applies in business, marriage, or whatever. It takes a team and you need to believe in and trust your people. the greatest business advice I ever received was from one of my mentors, Bob Funk. Bob is a multi-millionaire who literally came from nothing. He started Express Employment Services in the early ’80s with a loan from a local bank. So many years later and millions of dollars later, now his company is one of the world’s largest franchises. I asked what turned out to be my most important question to him one night flying back from Vegas on his jet. My question and statement were this,
“Bob, I don’t want all of what you have, but what if I wanted 10% of it? What would you tell a 30-year-old you?” ( I was 30 at the time). His answer was simple and not what I expected. One word answer… “People”. He said when you invest in people and you trust your people that is how you build an empire. So here’ my philosophy… In your organization your team, your people can help you become great. Or they can destroy you from the inside. You choose, it all depends on how you treat your people.
CLN: What’s your “Why”? (Your mission behind Rural Cloth, what drives and motivates you…etc.)
Brandon: I like to win. Nothing drives me more than people who doubt me. If you want to pour rocket fuel onto an idea I might have, the best thing you can do is call me crazy, laugh at me or tell me I’m dreaming. It’s in those moments I will begin a relentless pursuit to prove everyone wrong. In a less dramatic fashion, I am a huge, huge believer in God. I have a small idea as to why he’s blessed me with so much but that idea has yet to come to fruition. I truly want to be a philanthropist. That is my life mission outside of raising my girls and having a great marriage. I want to put myself in a position to help people above all things. If I can give massive amounts of money to build churches, help my community or cure a disease, that’s what I want more than anything.
I will make anyone reading this article one promise. If I ever have millions of dollars, in the end, my family will have a home, my kids will go to college and likely have a financial head start in life. But, I will give it all away in the end. All of it. I have a vision board that I look at often. At the top of that board is a picture of missionaries building a church. It’s really important to me to make that a reality.
CLN: Where would you like to see Rural Cloth in 5 years?
Brandon: Sold! [Insert chuckle] Myself and my team built Rural Cloth with the idea of starting a direct to consumer brand that fits a need, we felt didn’t exist in the western lifestyle space. However, I don’t think I’m smart enough or patient enough to see it to its full potential. Some people may think I’m nuts for saying that but I’ve always had a plan to build it up to a maximum threshold (of my ability) then bring in a major player to help scale it to the moon. It takes a lot of cash to make that happen, like millions of dollars. So the plan is to build it, sell the majority, hold a small equity percentage and operate the company as its CEO under a different ownership group. I want to see it grow to its full potential, I just know that it will take a lot of help to do that. That’s ok with me.
You read it here first folks, Rural Cloth is the choice clothing company for rural America. Because who doesn’t love America? We loved what Brandon’s mission is and who he is trying to serve. Listen, you still have time to get in on this truck giveaway, so if you want your chance at winning the truck you’ve been seeing photos of, make sure to follow this link>>> https://ruralcloth.com/pages/truck and get yourself entered. Until then, enjoy all the awesome merchandise that Rural Cloth has to offer and Make America Rural Again!
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