Ridin’ with Ruff: Valken Corps Road Trip: Day 2

January 12, 2018

Well, after several overnight “naps” the sun rose on day 2 of the trip and we all stopped for a down home breakfast at a small roadside restaurant south of Nashville, TN, where we met up  with more players from the Valken Corps. Just down the road was the halfway point of this trip, which happens to be Dr. Katie & A-Train’s Alabama ranch (which I never knew existed until today) where our road crew took a much-needed break. It was a great change from my normal city life. The horses seemed to enjoy the attention of us as temporary visitors, their ranch dogs and little gangster barn cat, Bunker, were equally as curious about us and seemed to have a social routine they kept to and it made this stop feel like just a quick run back home. While everyone stretched out and loaded up for the day ahead I spent some time enjoying the change of pace and just sat on the porch swing overlooking a rural road and river valley enjoying the quiet morning. I could get used to this, maybe.  

Nap times over and we hit the road. The rolling hills of central Alabama whizzing by the window until we pulled up to a completely empty Talladega Speedway! I’m geeking out, bro! I went into Rick Bobby fanboy mode. Shake and Bake Cal !!!!!!!! Immediately sending pics home to my kids because we love that movie and this place is actually really cool, plus we have it to explore all to ourselves. The kids were impressed and of course I love to feel their excitement about this adventure because that’s what gives me fuel to push harder! If you have kids you end up being their biggest hero. No better feeling in the world! Train and Paco snapped me out of geek mode and we were back to it and as cool as this stop was we didn’t have much time to explore, there is paintball to be had. I realized we had already travelled across the country to Georgia. Man, we are killing it out here!

 Traveling for paintball and a road trip is fun, but I am realizing really quick when you take Valken with you, you are working. All the time you are working, emails, calls, pulling over to make a graphic quickly and even visits to paintball and airsoft fields and stores down every turn. Before we know it we are off the exit, in the driveway and on our way in to see what we can do to help the next dealer and sometimes just say hello and check on the products in the store. I didn’t mention this to anyone, but I thought that was amazing! If they had a question about anything, marker, paint, pods, shipping, tech, training whatever it was the manager was shown the tools, videos or offered a solution. I watched their eyes light up and even the manager behind the counter thought it was too.  We were always offered the nickel tour as field managers and owners are proud of their businesses. We walked the fields and talked with the staff about all things paintball. I am having a tough time even still seeing this as a real career because it is still so much fun for me, but these Valken guys hustle for their dealers for sure and the dealers appreciate it.  I even got a scientific education on paint fill by walking a rec field looking at splats. You learn a lot if you ask questions and then listen.  I could tell by the look in Paco’s eyes he was thinking the same as me, “Why can’t this place be open for play on a Thursday afternoon?” Because it looks like so much fun, but we must get going to Florida for this event.