On this episode of the Nine Finger Chronicles, Dan interviews hunter and businessman Andy Ross. Andy is probably most know for starting Ross Archery, his music, and a 10 year run hosting one of the most popular hunting shows on the Outdoor Channel. On top of that, and owns several companies outside of the hunting industry including a patriotic brand American Rebel.
We discuss growing up in Eastern Kansas, his first time shooting a bow, moving to Nashville to work on his music, and the timeline that is Andy Ross. This is one part hunter profile podcast and one part American success story. Stay tuned for a follow up episode coming very soon. Enjoy!
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[00:01:14] Dan Johnson: What's up everybody? Welcome back to another episode of The Nine Finger Chronicles. I'm your host, Dan Johnson, and today we have a really cool episode back in the day, and I wanna say maybe whenever, right before the peak right before the peak of the outdoor personalities, right around that time, I would say at the pinnacle of the outdoor hunting, celebrity hunting television shows on the sportsmen and an outdoor channel, there was a guy named Andy Ross, and Andy is the founder of Ross Archery. Andy is has had a tele, had a television show for about 10 years. He's a [00:02:00] musician, he's an author.
He, he does it all. He's a bow hunter. He's an outdoors. And some of you new guys may not know him, but some of you older, I don't know, right around my age I'm I'm early forties and so late thirties, early forties. You probably know who this guy is. He's a unique personality. He's a patriot.
And this is just the beginning of what I feel is an interesting life, an interesting profile story that I'm about to lay down on you guys today. And really what is, what it's about is a guy going out and doing what he wants and having a lot of fun doing it and finding success, doing it and just, I don't know.
What necessarily this means, but going with the flow he's gone with the flow and it's got him to where he is at today, man, and I think this is a really cool story. He is, he owns a company called American [00:03:00] Rebel and it's a patriotic type product line and things like that. And so this is just, this episode is just the tip of the iceberg.
I'm definitely gonna try to get Andy on again to break down more. His archer, his bow hunting adventures, and his hunting adventures, because there's definitely a lot of them out there. But again, awesome episode. It's a hunter profile podcast, and I think you guys are gonna enjoy it. Before we get into today's episode, though, we gotta do the commercials, right?
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I loved recording this podcast and there's a lot of questions that I asked him in this episode that no one [00:07:00] else has ever asked him, which is bizarre. Andy Ross Hunter profile, here we go.
Three, two, one. All right. On the phone with me today, Mr. Andy Ross. Andy, how we doing, man?
[00:07:15] Andy Ross: I'm doing great, man. Happy to be here. Awesome. All right.
[00:07:18] Dan Johnson: So I remember going, oh, this was a long time ago. Cause I've been to 13 ATA shows throughout the years, and I remember actually meeting you a handful of times through one of my buddies Todd Prance, who was also he's has since passed away.
But meeting you through him and I said to myself, I go, dude, That dude, it like just, if you were to judge a book by its cover, that dude loves America and he loves hunting. And if you were a book, that's how I would judge you. Is that accurate? ?
[00:07:52] Andy Ross: I love it. Perfect. Good
[00:07:54] Dan Johnson: deal. Sign me up.
Yep. And today I want to do a little bit of a hunter profile on you and talk a [00:08:00] little bit about just talk a little bit about where you were born and the whole timeline of Andy
[00:08:04] Andy Ross: Ross. Okay. That sounds great, man. And I I'm in the outdoors right now in the woods, so if you hear a little wind blowing in the background, I apologize for that.
But this is an outdoor podcast and I thought I should be in the outdoors to do it. You go, here we are.
[00:08:17] Dan Johnson: Go. There you go. All right. So I'm just gonna, I kind, I'm gonna go right to the beginning. I wanna go as far back as we can. Remember here where were you born? Where did you live?
[00:08:28] Andy Ross: I was born in a small town called Chinook, Kansas, down in the southeast corner of Kansas.
And I grew up in a small town seemed like me and, everybody I knew all my friends, hunted. And back then we had a good quell population in southeast Kansas. So our when I was go, when I was in high school, our, our hunting was mainly shotgun shotguns and upland bird hunting, duck hunting, quail hunting, Turkey hunting.
And we went to one of those that was small town and small town school. So we'd get up early [00:09:00] before school and go duck hunting and, get to school 15 minutes late, stripping off our camo running in the door with our shotguns hanging in the back window of our pickup trucks.
And nobody. And we had one of them principals, he'd be like, guys, you need to pick it up tomorrow. Get in, you'd get to school on time. Hey, by the way, how'd you do ? ? So he would always give us a get outta jail free card, during hunting season, if we came in 10, 15 minutes late, he knew we were learning more out there at Duck Hunting and in the woods, and we were gonna learn in class anyway, so he was cool.
[00:09:30] Dan Johnson: far are you from Emporia
[00:09:33] Andy Ross: in Chink? Would be it would take me probably an hour and 10 minutes. Okay. North to get to Emporia. Okay. So
[00:09:41] Dan Johnson: you're way southeast?
[00:09:43] Andy Ross: Yeah. Okay. Yeah, about 35, 40 minutes from the from the Oklahoma line.
[00:09:47] Dan Johnson: Yeah. So my uncle, he lives down there in Americas and he came from Iowa, moved down there for a job and he, I don't know, he just got lucky or something, but he's got [00:10:00] access to some crazy.
Farms. And ever since he started knocking on doors to get permission down there, he has ran into some giant deer down in
[00:10:09] Andy Ross: area, this city. Oh, there's great deer hunting down there in the southeast corner. It's just about a half hour, also, it's just half hour over, maybe even less over to Missouri too.
Yeah. So you're in that southeast corner and there's great deer hunting down there right along the NoHo River. Okay. I've had the opportunity to hunt riverside there for some reason. There's just some really nice, big bucks in there. But yeah, a lot of the land I used to and people I knew down there, of course, that was many years ago.
I, I moved up to Kansas City when I was 17, and then I moved to Nashville about 14, 15 years
[00:10:40] Dan Johnson: ago. Okay. Quick question. Do you come then from a hunting family? Did you, your brothers or sisters or uncles all outdoorsmen?
[00:10:51] Andy Ross: No. No, I I learned to hunt. I had some friends, my friends growing up, all hunted when I was young, my parents were divorced.
My dad lived in Colorado. [00:11:00] My brother lived with my dad. I just kinda learned it from my friends and little interesting story. I'm sure we're probably gonna get to it, how I went from shotgun hunting and upland bird hunting to, to archery. But yeah, it was I just, all my friends hunted.
It wasn't like something you thought about getting into everybody. Everybody did it, yeah. It was I don't have one friend down there that, didn't hunt in high school and still hunts today. Yeah.
[00:11:24] Dan Johnson: And so you started off your hunting career though, with firearms, right?
Yeah. Shotguns. Oh, shotguns. Okay. All right. So shotguns. Yeah. All
[00:11:33] Andy Ross: linberg and Turkey pheasant, quail.
[00:11:36] Dan Johnson: Gotcha. Did you, when abouts did you start doing the
[00:11:39] Andy Ross: whitetail thing? How I got into archery and you know what's funny is I've never told this story. You would think with doing the TV show for 10 years and all we did there in vo hunting that someone would've asked me this.
Yeah. But no one ever has. When I was 13, maybe 12, almost 13, I got sent to [00:12:00] military school, , cuz I got in some trouble . And I had to, I did two two school years in military school, but I couldn't come home in between the school years. So I had to go to the military school camp for the summer. Okay.
Because I went to Wentworth Military Academy in Lexington, Missouri. And the summer camp really, in high, I would've rather been home with my friends. I was 13 years old, they went teenager, doesn't wanna be home with his friends, but, The summer camp. Looking back, I really learned a lot.
And that's where I learned archery was at the military school. Okay. The summer camp, I learned they taught us archery. They taught us shooting. First, first time I'd probably ever shot a rifle. I only, like I said, I had shotguns when I was young and then in high school and so on. But that was my first exposure to a rifle.
Archery. They taught us how to tie knots. They taught us how to canoe, Bowman, midshipman, Sturman. So that's really where I fell in love with archery and it never really dawned on me, cuz at military school, when they taught us [00:13:00] archery, they didn't teach us hunting. They taught us, we were target shoot.
Yeah. So I was target shooting and loved target shooting, but it never dawned on me, Hey, I could take this in the woods and go hunting. It was like my shotguns for hunting. But I like to go out and target, shoot. It was a lot later in life when I picked up, decided to go out and Really pretty much be exclusively a bow hunter.
[00:13:20] Dan Johnson: military school and military camp almost sounded it sounded like boy scout camp for bad kids.
[00:13:28] Andy Ross: Yeah, that's exactly what it was. We picked up streets and cleaned graveyards and did all that stuff and we had to do a lot of that stuff. It was not it's probably though, I always, I tell this part of the story, looking back, if I look back at all my.
younger years and grade school years and middle school years and all that stuff. The ones that stand out are those two. Like I've learned a lot there, yeah. And I've learned a lot about discipline and it was really good for me. Yeah. And I'm not sitting here recommending all you parents send your kids to military school,
Although some of them could [00:14:00] use it. I'm telling you. Yeah. I saw some in the convenience store yesterday that they need to get their little bust to military school. I'm telling you, . But it was good for me. Yeah, it really was. So
[00:14:10] Dan Johnson: You came out a
[00:14:10] Andy Ross: different person. De Definitely had a little learned a lot about respect for the land.
I became the kid that that when we hunted on a farmer's land, not only did I pick up my shotgun shells, but any shotgun shells, anyone else would leave left behind and tell my friends, Hey, pick that up, don't drop that rap, I became that guy. Yeah. So that was good for me.
[00:14:31] Dan Johnson: That's good. That's good. Okay. So this is where the seed for archery was planted in military school. Did what, did that transfer over immediately once you got outta military school into the outdoors for archery seasons?
[00:14:48] Andy Ross: No I met a girl and this was later in life like early thirties and all her parents did was bow hunt.
Yeah. They were just bow hunting crazy outta Wisconsin. And I [00:15:00] still hadn't taken my bow into the woods and I was shooting, I was shooting long bows and recurves and that kind of thing too. Military school, we weren't shooting compounds, we were shooting stick bows. Yep. And so they were all about it.
And . They wanted, they were going on a hog hunt or something, and they in invited us to go. We were hanging out up there in Wisconsin for a couple weeks and I ran to an archery store in I can't think of the little town in Wisconsin, but I know the store was called Duchess. Okay. And I bought my first compound bow and it didn't take me no time to, figure it out.
Yeah. I'd been shooting for a long time and that's when I got my first real bow and bow case and quiver and arrows and rests and sights and, put it all together and I was shooting, I was shooting pretty good right outta the gate. Gotcha.
[00:15:50] Dan Johnson: So there's a big period of time that went by from military school to purchasing your first compound bow.
Yeah. Let me ask you, in between [00:16:00] those that time, what were you doing? ,
[00:16:03] Andy Ross: That's a loaded question, . Yeah. Yeah. We were, I was working and obviously still doing some upland hunting, and I'd moved to Kansas City I wasn't hunting nearly as much down there in, in Schute growing up, if I didn't have land.
My friends had land and our uncles had land and everybody had land. But I'd moved up to Kansas City started playing music just being a young man and trying to, get my business life and personal life my adult life off the ground. Yeah. But hunting, definitely through my through my, when I moved to Kansas City I had a different group of friends.
Yeah. And my hunting friends, small town friends were back in chink and we were hanging out and. Going to One Block West, which was a really cool rock bar with live music and and started playing guitar. And focus just changed a little bit.
And then as I got back, when I turned about 28 30 started missing the the outdoors and got back into it. Yeah. [00:17:00]
[00:17:00] Dan Johnson: And so with a boat, with a bow. Yeah. Yeah. So it's crazy to see this, the piece of the Andy Ross puzzle slowly start to be put together, so to speak. Because, you had the foundation for the outdoors in southeast, in the southeast Kansas, move up to Kansas City.
And it sounds like that's where the musical side of you started
[00:17:21] Andy Ross: to blossom. It did. It definitely did. I had friends that played in bands and I was promot, I was promoting bands and booking shows and playing mys, playing guitar myself. , and that's where all that definitely started.
All right. In fact, I was at a concert when I met the girl who was my wife for a good long period of time. And one of the most amazing people in the world. If you don't know her Angie, who's her name. I was at a, I was at a Brooks and Dunn concert in Orlando, Florida when we met, and she was from Wisconsin, and that's who's, eventually we went back to visit her folks and that's when I got back in to archery.
[00:17:59] Dan Johnson: And [00:18:00] so what is easier to learn? Shooting a bow or playing guitar?
[00:18:07] Andy Ross: Let me say this. I've never been asked that. I'm, I'll think that through too. But let me say this, learning to shoot a bow is fairly easy. Yeah. Learning to hunt is a completely different story. There you go. It's a completely different deal. You can take. , somebody with a little bit of desire and a good attitude.
You can take 'em out in the yard and you can get 'em shooting a bow, pretty good by dark. Yeah. And you can get 'em hitting the target. But the amount of time and experience it takes, if we're just talking whitetail hunting I did a, I got really into all the spot and stock stuff, but if we're just talking whitetail, it takes hunting season after hunting season to, to, first of all to get one close enough to you to know when to draw and pull back and to, to the judge how amped up the, the dough or buck is, and whether, just what you can get away with and [00:19:00] what you can't, which is, as is next to nothing.
Yeah. That you can get away with. And you think about how long you have to learn that, I can work on guitar every day of the year, but you've only got so many weeks to really practice deer hunting because you've only got so much season. And you can't duplicate, you can't duplicate it, you can't duplicate it in your yard.
You can shoot targets all day long, but you can't duplicate the skills and the intuitiveness that it takes to get near something like a deer or something like an elk or a mule deer or a grizzly bear, or a brown bear or a mountain goat caribou, all the stuff we did. You've only got a small window to a year to learn that stuff.
Yeah. And you can read it and watch DVDs and listen to tips and all that stuff. But so hunting, I would say shooting a bow is far easier than learning to play guitar. Getting really good at being a hunter and outdoorsman. Is as hard or harder [00:20:00] than, being able to play a guitar.
Yeah. Now, if we're talking about variety of things here, if we're talking about, Eddie Van Halen, good playing guitar that's a different story if you're talking about Andy Ross that knows about seven chords on a good day, we can get you there pretty quick. .
[00:20:15] Dan Johnson: Yeah, I, there's a scene in a movie where the guy goes, I wanna play a guitar.
And he goes, why? Because I want to get the girls. He goes, okay. And then he teaches 'em three chords and he goes, you play these three chords in different, in different orders. Then you got three different songs, or I don't know. But he was like, then you can get the girls. ,
[00:20:35] Andy Ross: DC and g Ever get it done?
[00:20:38] Dan Johnson: Yep. All right. So you pick up a bow and you start bow hunting again in your early thirties. How long did that take from that point until you said, I want to I want to jump into the archery game, into the bow manufacturing game.
[00:20:57] Andy Ross: I don't know. I probably
it was [00:21:00] probably six, eight years later. Okay. I was approaching probably 40 Okay. At the time when I when I started making Bose.
[00:21:08] Dan Johnson: Okay. And what sparked you wanting to start making Bose? Was it more or less of, Hey, I love this as a passion, or did you see a business opportunity,
[00:21:21] Andy Ross: Probably more passion morphed into business opportunity.
And, you're asking me some good stuff. I don't know why no one's, I've never talked about this stuff before, but when I started making bs I really didn't start making bs. Yeah. What I started making digital cameras had come out. Yep. And they and they have these little SD cards that went in 'em, and this SD card would hold 300 pictures.
Yep. Okay. Video is 30 pictures taken in one second. Good video. Yeah. So if you have 30 pictures boom in a second, it looks seamless. And that's what video is. Yep. [00:22:00] So if you could take 300 pictures on this card, then you could shoot 10 seconds of video. There was no digital video recorder out right at this moment.
But I could shoot, you could shoot 10 seconds of video if you could get the camera to take the 300 pictures in 10 seconds. Yeah. So I made that, and what I wanted was to put that on my bow, and I wanted to record the flight and strike of my arrow. Okay. Okay. So I actually made that thing, but what I couldn't do is get the vi it would work, but the video was so bad from the violent ness, you don't really realize how violent a bow is when it goes off and how it vibrates and shakes and you know what all it does.
So the video, by the time the video would clear up the 10 seconds, the arrow would already [00:23:00] reached its destination. Yeah. Whether that be a arrow or a target. So I was trying to make this digital video camera before there was a digital video camera. And so I got a hold of Sims Vibration Laboratories out in I think they're either in Washington State.
Yeah, I think they're in Washington State. They made the, okay yep. Jim's Vibration Laboratories. Yep. And guys out there, I got ahold of them and said can you help me design a mount that'll get rid of some of this vibration? And they did clean it up quite a bit, but it never it's, it wasn't gonna be a product.
It was close to being a product, but it wasn't gonna be a product cuz it just wouldn't, it just couldn't get it cleaned up enough. So in the process of that, two businesses launched those SD cards started becoming like one gigs and four gigs. Yeah. And now you could get like 30 minutes of video. And I took that circuit and put it in a flashlight.
I invented the digital video [00:24:00] flashlight and I sold it to law enforcement. They could search the trunk of a car, take testimony from a witness, investigate a crime scene, running a house on a domestic violence call. And so we had the digital video flashlight that became, that originally was a, was the first bow camera Okay.
That I tried to make. And so that became a business called Digital Ally. And we made those flashlights and the company's still in business today. We made 'em from law enforcement. Then at the same time, I learned how Vos Boes vibrate, cuz we were studying this to try to clean up the camera.
Okay. And I thought heck, I could get rid of if people would just make a do this and this through the bow, it wouldn't vibrate so bad and my camera would work better. I just decided to make the bow. And so we made the bow. and so Digital started and then Ross Archery started, which really was gonna be just a hobby.
It wasn't, I had no idea it would take off like it did.
[00:24:58] Dan Johnson: Yeah. And that's crazy. [00:25:00] Cuz I also host another podcast called The Hunting Gear Podcast. And it's amazing what happens when someone who, let's just, for example, talk about what you did, you have this passion. You like bow hunting and you say, wow, I'm just gonna mess around with this.
I'm gonna start a company. And then boom, something happens because you've solved a problem that everybody else wants. Every other bow hunter or archery, not one salt.
[00:25:26] Andy Ross: And I thought, if I could make some bows and sell some bows, I had no idea what I was getting into. , I'd never even been to an ATA show, let alone, the first ATA show I went to, I had a booth.
Yeah. I didn't know what ATA was. Yeah. But I thought if I can make some bows and sell some of these bows, and then I could maybe ride off some of my hunting and I just, it, I don't know. It didn't seem like that big a deal at the time. Yeah. But it became a big deal. Yeah.
[00:25:52] Dan Johnson: And so when you said, Hey, I wanna make a bow that has less vibration in it, like how did you go about trying to solve that [00:26:00] problem?
[00:26:01] Andy Ross: It had to do with the shape of the riser and, everybody was going, we went to some pretty hard parallel limbs pretty early speed at that time.
And I don't know, maybe they still are. I'm still shooting the same bow I've had for a long time. But and not really although rumor has it, you might see some hunting products out of us here in the near future. But as it relates to archery. Gotcha. But everybody was chasing speed at that time.
Yep. And, speed is the, is the enemy of accuracy. Yeah. It's, they were getting speed by shortening the brake site. They were getting down to six and a half inches and, it would go fast, but it would, it was more a violent, and then it it took away some smoothness and stuff and we just figured out a good way to do it.
And I had a lot of help. We had a, we had some engineers that were trying to help me and Doug Hutchins was helping me. My main man, Mike that's an interesting story. Mike Osborne, I don't know if you know him. I called him my main man, Mike, on the TV show that, maximum archery.
Yep. And he had done some filming for the [00:27:00] jury brothers. and when I wanted to go I'm getting ahead of myself. I'm morphing into the story of how the TV show came about, if that's all right. Yeah. All right. So I wanted someone on TV to shoot my bow. Yeah. And Ralph and Vicky were really hot and Lee and Tiffany were really coming on and Waddell was still with the Real Tree guys.
He was like, two years later he broke off into his own show and did his own thing. And, that's where we were. These show were really coming on right before the peak. Yeah, it was before the peak. Right before it. Yep. And so I tried to get Drewry someone to shoot my bows.
Primos man, the Primos guys. Man, that was great. I tried to get someone to shoot my bow and I couldn't do it because one, it was a new bow, and two, they already had contracts. With Matthews, Hoyt and Botec, and they weren't gonna start shooting my bow over the brand names that they, that they knew and were being sponsored by.
And I didn't even realize how all that worked. Yeah. We, [00:28:00] we're got a four year deal with Hoyt. Oh, okay. I didn't, I didn't know. So Mike Osborne had filmed some part-time hunts for the jewelry brothers, and I met him and said, would you come with me and film, four or five hunts with me?
And he said he would. And we went on four successful hunts, took the footage, made a D V D and put it in the box with the bows. And then when we would do trade shows, we'd give this DVD v away because. Everybody wanted to see the bow on tv. This is how I could put the bow on tv. But they had to do it with the D V d had no idea that six, seven months later I'd get a call and from the network asking me if I wanted to do my own TV show.
[00:28:43] Dan Johnson: wow. Wow. And so really those two things are intertwined cuz you have the product you're trying to promote it. Yeah. And you said why don't I just promote it myself?
[00:28:53] Andy Ross: That's all we could do. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:28:55] Dan Johnson: And I know how the industry works, right? Unless you're willing to pay buku bucks to [00:29:00] try to get some of these big names, to fill that slot.
And sounds like you just took care of the
[00:29:05] Andy Ross: problem yourself. Yeah. It was, it was when they called and asked us if we wanted to do our own show, we did it for 10 years. Yeah. And in hindsight, now that I, I'm far enough removed from it that I can look back, I probably shouldn't have done the show.
Okay. What I probably should have done was sponsor some people who had shows and then if I wanted to be on tv. I'll sponsor you, but I'm gonna go on two Hunts a year with you and I'll sponsor you. But I'm gonna go on two hunts a year and and have a handful of people that we sponsored.
Because once I had my own show and I was the bow manufacturer, everybody else all, all the TV personality people were very friendly to me and I made some great friends. I'm not saying that. Yeah. But I couldn't go hunting with him because Waddell, like I never went on a hunt with Michael Waddell because his sponsors and his BO [00:30:00] sponsor aren't gonna let Andy Ross of Ross Archery, they don't want me on his show.
Yeah, makes sense. And. I would say we'll film it on my show. Sponsors don't really want them on my show because Why are you hunting with Andy Ross of Ross Archery when we're paying you to shoot pse? Yeah. So to speak. You know what I mean? Yeah. Yeah. So it, on one hand I made a lot of friends, but I was isolated from the good old boys club of being able to, when you see those guys out hunting together and doing things or doing meet and greets together and Yep.
And so on, we were our own, it was like being a one man band.
[00:30:37] Dan Johnson: Yeah. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. Okay, so out, like how long after you started Ross Archery and started making the bows, did it take for Ross Archery. To get a, get its own foothold in the archery industry?
[00:30:58] Andy Ross: Not as long as you'd think.
[00:31:00] I would say within a year we were making some big bold moves. And when a couple of years, everybody talked about the big four. They would mention Ross. It was like Botec, Voigt, Matthews and Ross. Yeah. We were just part of a, we, in the archery world, we were right there.
And people ask me, they say how did the market needed a new bow? I, I didn't, number one. Yeah. But what I did know from branding and somehow I've just, I've been blessed to just have a mind that, that does well for branding. I'm, I started so many things. That people picked up on and used in the industry.
For instance I made the comment, I said, the market don't need a new bow. The kids need a new sticker for their truck. Yeah. Because when something is so popular, like Matthew's and everybody puts the sticker in their truck cuz it's cool, but once everybody has one, then it's not cool no more. And they're looking for the new thing Yeah.
To put on their truck. Yeah. And I [00:32:00] say that half jokingly, but it's half true. So I came up, I went to the first ATA show and I tried to get Bruce Alva from Alvin Associates great man, great company, great, just great outdoorsman to, to to market my bow or to rep my bow. And I showed him this brochure and I said, what do you think of this?
It wasn't the one we were handing out. It was, and we were only just a few, six, eight months into the thing. And I showed him this brochure. And it said, own more bone with Ross Archery. And it had these big elk antlers. And he looked at me and he said you can't say that. And I said, what?
And he said, bone. He said, you can't say that. And I said, because you think it's silly, or you just think it's just a little over the top kinda hardcore or something, he goes, no, it's cool, but you can't say that. And I knew right then, that's exactly what I'm gonna do. , we had a, I'm like, as long as he didn't think it was goofy.
Yeah. So [00:33:00] we started that whole bone thing. . We owned more Bone with Ross Archery. We had our sh our online store had bone wear, which was all of our shirts and hats and stuff. We were owned more bone with Ross Archery and bone wear long before Waddell decided to do bone collector.
Yeah. The whole industry started calling Antlers Bone. Yeah. And pick and stick and a lot of these things we would say and do on the show and and then you see some rest company you gotta, pick it before you stick it and, it's like they're taking so, so we did a, we started a lot of those catchphrases and and those things.
So we, I think it was the marketing, the own more bone with Ross Archery cuz people wanted that sticker in their truck. We had really cool shirts and hats and stuff. People just gravitated to it. Yeah. And. And the most important thing, we made a really great bow. Yeah. You can't put that on bubblegum and get away with it.
We made a really great bow, but we marketed the hell out of that thing. That's awesome. And it took off. Yeah.
[00:33:57] Dan Johnson: And so when you have that you have this awesome [00:34:00] promotion and then you also have the meat and potatoes to back it up. You have momentum going into whatever it is you're trying to do.
[00:34:09] Andy Ross: Yeah. We had momentum going in and we had our own more bone with Ross Archery and the elk camper hats, and we'd give those hats away, like ATA or whatever. And you couldn't look down an aisle and not see people wearing the hats. Even, I'd been doing it, I had my TV show for about a half a season when the first when I had my first big ATA show, which was our second ATA show, but the first time we were somebody.
Yeah. And I remember block came over and block targets came over and put me in a. They used to do that deal with, everybody from oh gosh. Anybody who shot on TV was in those block target ads. Yeah. Lee and Tiffany and Chuck Adams and all those guys.
Roger Raglin. Yep. Remember all those names. Oh, yeah. And I thought I'm standing here will Primos and I'm standing in a group, all these people like, huh. . I didn't know what was going on.
[00:34:56] Dan Johnson: And so now you start to get the, the momentum in the [00:35:00] archery industry. Where are you at this timeframe?
Cuz you got a couple successful out businesses at this point. Where are you setting musically at this point?
[00:35:11] Andy Ross: So the music is a great story of how I got here. First of all , this whole thing. If when you replay this and you listen to this, you're gonna say he didn't really mean to have the bow company be what it was.
He didn't really mean to have a TV show. Yeah. It just happened. Yeah. You the show was called Maximum Archery and about year four, year five of this 10 year run that I had with it, I told my cameraman, my main man, Mike, I said, Mike, have you seen these X Games? These X Games, man, the things these kids are doing with skateboards and bicycles and motorcross and snowmobiles and these video games they have today.
Man, these video games are really getting cool. I said, who's gonna, what? Kid's gonna wanna watch me,[00:36:00] sitting in a tree going, Hey, it's toasty , we're in Kansas. , yeah. I'm like, this stuff's boring compared to the rush they have on that other stuff. I said, we gotta step this thing up.
Yeah. So we changed the name from Maximum Archery to Maximum Archery World Tour, and I took the dates, the species and the location, the town, city, state, country, whatever that I was hunting. And I put 'em all in a straight line down the back of a, of our t-shirts. Like a Van Halen concert shirt, tour shirt.
Yeah. That was sold out. Yeah. Like a tour shirt. And we changed it to Maximum Archery World Tour. And we treated it like we were on tour, but we were on a, making a TV show. Hunt date tour. Not a concert tour. But we treated it like a tour. And I'll never forget we were at this and I am, I'm getting to the music.
We were at this. It was in Colorado. It was one of these old, [00:37:00] like gold mining old towns, but they had, they had kept it true to the era and they had these little saloons and bars and shops and stuff. Yep. And we're going down, we're going down the road and I see this sign, it says, honey Blonde on tap at this bar, this gold mining, salini old school looking bar.
And I said, turn around. I said, turn the camera on. So Mike, turn the camera on. And I said, look, honey blonde on tap. You don't pass that up. Yeah, we're going in. So we go in, we're playing darts, and then, we'd had a fuse. So we didn't want to, obviously we weren't gonna travel much from there.
So we decided there's a laundry mat down the way. Why don't we go throw some laundry in the laundry mat and we'll come back here while it's, washing and have some more beers and play dart. We're filming all this stuff. Yeah. And all of a sudden the travel became the show.
The three segments that were hunting in maximum archery became [00:38:00] two segments of almost getting in trouble and the travel and the camaraderie and the craziness. Yep. And one segment was hunting and that took off. The kids loved the behind the scenes, the making of the travel. Me and Mike getting in arguments, me and Mike were together so much, we'd get to an airport and go separate ways.
I'd usually go to the bar, he'd go find the snow globe for his daughter. And then we wouldn't even set on the plane together. , cause we'd, we'd traveled seven months, a year for 10 years. And all this stuff's been anyway, so how we got to music, I had that going on and I thought I can play a little.
we're you we're buying all this, lame music off the internet for the opener in and out of commercials for when the credits roll. Why don't we just make some songs? Why don't I just write some songs for the show? Yeah. That's all I was trying to do. I wrote Gotta Go Hunting Blues, hunt Me Down Buck of a Lifetime, blood Trail on a White Tail, [00:39:00] support Your Local Wildlife.
And I did these hunting songs and I didn't know, but a lot of the country music artists actually watched my show cuz they're hunters. Yeah. A lot of the guys. Like I didn't have to go try to meet Blake Shelton. Blake Shelton wanted to meet me. He wa he watched the show. Yeah. So I'm in a, I'm in Nashville and I'm in this bar and I run into these, this band, great friends of mine called Davidson Brother.
In the Davidson Brothers band they said, Hey, we picked some of that music you're doing on the show. How about we write one? You wanna write one? Okay. I've never done that before. So they actually, that's a whole long story. We ain't got time for it, but we parted ways about three in the morning and 20 tequila shots later.
And I met up with them the next day and we wrote a song called Nicky Red. It's on my You Ain't Seen Crazy Yet. Record. And so we write this song and they say, look, our producers Doug Brown, he produced and recorded and managed Travis Trent and Little Texas, [00:40:00] Jeff Fox Spring and produced the Blue Collar Comedy Tour.
He's our producer. Why don't we, why don't we have him get you in the studio to record this song? And I said I don't know why he would want to do that. I'm, okay, would he do it? They said, yeah, he'll, we wrote it with you. So he's a great guy and he'll do it. We asked him to.
So I recorded Nick Red with Doug Brown about two months later using this great producer. I'm at the Iowa Deer Classic. There's a line pretty far down the way. I'm signing posters and DVDs from the, from the TV show, from the popularity of the TV show. These smartphones come out and iTunes comes out.
This stuff starts happening and these kids are in mind. Way down the way. And they've got a smartphone playing and my song's on it. And they finally, as they got closer and closer to me, I said, how did you get my song on your phone? And they thought I wasn't, I was [00:41:00] ied, I was, yeah, thrilled.
And they said we went to iTunes and we couldn't find it, so we took it off your website. I said, okay. So when I got a break, I called Doug Brown, the producer, and I said, Hey, these, I think these people that watched my show would buy this music if I could get it onto iTunes. Can we get some of my songs over to this iTunes?
And he said Andy, if they'll buy what you've done today they'll buy, they'll buy your music. He said, why don't you come back to Nashville and let's make a record. Oh boy. That's how that happened. Wait, that's crazy. That's nuts. And we're re Yeah. And we're now recording the fourth record called Lucky to Be Alive.
We did, you Ain't Seen Crazy yet. Followed by Cold Dead Hand, followed by time to fight. Had songs put me on Counting Cars with Danny on the History Channel where he built me the Second Amendment Muscle Car. We've played gigs as big as the NRA Night Race at Bristol [00:42:00] Motor Speedway, freedom Festivals, armed Forces Day Bike Rallies, bull County Bike Fest.
We play several dates a. Tour in the spring and summer. And, I write it all or co-write, I get to write with a lot of cool writers, but I'm a writer or co-writer on everything I've put out. And it's just been a, an amazing blessing, honestly. It just, it came from nowhere.
And I always tell people like, I know what I am and what I'm not is a musician and I know where my lane is and I stay in my lane. I'm not a top 40 country artist. I'll never win the, I'm not so sure I'd make the audition. I'm telling you, I'm just being honest. Yeah. But what I do, what I can do is write, record and play live Andy Ross Music better than anybody.
There you go. And that's all I do. There you go.
[00:42:50] Dan Johnson: So as the music starts to pick up, and it sounds to me like this locomotive that is and or that is Ross Archery is going, like, how are you [00:43:00] balancing all of this?
[00:43:02] Andy Ross: So I had made a deal with the Bo company with BoTech. Okay. Back with John Straw sign and and the Straw sign family owned it.
And the Tiller boys and a great group of men. Great men. A lot of fun. Good Christian family that really I'll tell you what, I I, I always say this and I got, I get in trouble for it once in a while, I don't care how late you stay out on Saturday night Giving life.
Finger, it's still a good idea to get up and go to church on Sunday. Yep. And I do both. But Tiller's just a great family. I learned a lot from, and and the Straw Sign family, I learned a lot from them. They ended up selling the company to Savage Arms. And Savage Arms had other plans and what happened to it from there?
I don't know. But anyway we were, we had the show it was like the show and the music and the Bo company be, the Bo company went out to bot Tech. I continued to do the show along with the music for another four or five years, a total of 10 years. And then I had to make the decision, [00:44:00] do I wanna play more music and stop doing the.
And the other thing that was happening was my main man Mike Osborne, his daughters, his two daughters were getting to an age where he's man, I'm really missing a lot, Andy. This is, this travel's getting tough on me personally. Yeah. I feel that. And I couldn't, yeah. And I couldn't imagine doing the show really without him.
I needed to make a decision anyway cuz I was getting to play a lot of music and I'll never forget, I walked in Pi Town, Mexico. It's on an elk hunt. And when you go to a little cafe on an elk hunt, it's full of hunters that are out there also on elk hunts. Yep. And Little Pie Town is, that was the name.
And normally somebody, Hey Ross, where's your bow? Hey, what are you have? What's going on? Yeah. I walked in the door and someone you, Hey Andy, where's your guitar? and I thought wasn't that interesting? Yeah. That somebody would, like that started to take a life of its own.
So the long and short of it is I had to I had to make that decision and I [00:45:00] determined that at concerts, the girls are prettier than they are most of the time in hunting Camp at. And . I just took advantage of the next blessing and opportunity I had in front of me. So here's you go.
The beer seems to be colder and the girls are prettier. There you go. How's that?
[00:45:17] Dan Johnson: Yeah, that's a win-win if you ask me. Yeah. And so where does American your next company come into a play? American
[00:45:25] Andy Ross: Rebel? The story continues. Yeah. I had a on the Cold Dead hand record, I had a song out cold dead hand that.
Danny the Count Coker from counting cars took a liking to, and he had me on the show and built me the Second Amendment muscle car. And when he built me the Second Amendment muscle car and put me on counting cars on us, and he called me country Rocker, Andy Ross. The show was called Rock and Loaded.
That exposure and that thing still airs. It's still, it's, it's in their top 10 [00:46:00] builds, their top 10 paint jobs, their top 10 episodes. It's in all their marathons. You know that they run on county cars. That thing airs all the time. and I, I always know when it airs cuz once every two or three months my, my phone blow up.
They had just song on counter cars still to this day. The next album that came out was called Time to Fight. And I had a song on it called American Real. And by now things had moved from records CDs from iTunes, which we made money on iTunes. Yeah. But now all the streamings coming and all the legal file sharings coming and there wasn't the, even though by far many more times, people were hearing my music, the revenue was less from it because most people weren't paying for it.
Doug Grow, said, Andy, you've made a lot of products and put stuff out. You know [00:47:00] how to design stuff, get stuff built. Market. Why don't we monetize this music you do with a brand? Put some products out. The song that was out off the time to fight record was called American Rebel. It was going viral as a patriotic anthem.
We had no decision to make. We'll call the company American Revel. The song's the mission statement for the company. We put out some concealed carry products, coats, backpacks, jackets. We got into to safes, specifically gun safes. We have a two, a liquid fire product now we have electric bike. We just introduced.
We have two A lockers. We've got some other stuff we're working and you may see me back in archery. But as of February, A year ago, cuz it's February now in 23, but as of February in 22, we're now a publicly traded company on Nasdaq. Oh wow. So I'm playing music and the CEO of a publicly traded company and we're doing really well with American Rebel and Doug [00:48:00] Gr, the producer I told you about.
Yep. He bec he's the president of American Revel. He did all my records and then when we turned it to a brand, he was, a co-founder and I was CEO and he was president. And we work together and, I talk to Doug 10 times a day and, see him at the office all the time. And he lives in Nashville along with me.
And we're working on the the lucky to be a live album right now.
[00:48:22] Dan Johnson: Oh, so you got more music coming. .
[00:48:25] Andy Ross: Absolutely. Gotcha. Just we, the way they do music. Now, you used to complete an album of music, whether it was a physical album, CD or whatever. Yep. Digital release. You would do the album of music, which 10, 12, 13, 14 songs.
Then you would take a single off that album of music and release one to radio, and then maybe release another one to radio. Now they do what they call a waterfall approach. Not just me, but almost everybody. You'll actually release songs while you're making the record. There's no reason to wait for the whole album to be done [00:49:00] anymore.
So on, on this on this Lucky to Be Alive album of music, if you will. We've already released All American Heart, which came out last. Last summer. Yeah. We went into fall. I had a make Christmas great again. My, my Christmas single was promoted throughout the holidays. And then we're getting ready to release here this spring, a song called I Stand for You.
Off that album of music. And we'll have the album, by mid-summer into summer, we'll have the whole album complete. Okay. Awesome. Awesome.
[00:49:31] Dan Johnson: So you go you go from this flashlight that you invented to Ross Archery to the, your music and then, through your music led to American Rebel.
Talk to us a little bit about because you're in this niche, this second amendment, this patriotic type niche. Explain how that came to be.
[00:49:55] Andy Ross: when we did the first album, you ain't seen Crazy [00:50:00] yet. We tried to write some Top 40 Country. We tried to make me a, a country artist.
A young person trying to be a country artist would today. And it just didn't work. No one was buying it, yeah. They liked the Andy, they saw on the TV show and, this this country artist trying to be, some top 40.
It just didn't work. The music, some of that music wasn't very good. Yeah. But we included a couple to two hunting songs on that record, cuz we wanted to give something to the audience that already, had been following me. Yep. And it, the album did Okay. We had a song on there called, you Ain't Seen Crazy Yet, and one called Outlaw Women and Whiskey.
It put me in this niche with bikers. Okay. All of a sudden they, they wanted they want, you ain't seen crazy at like bike gangs and stuff. We're adopting that as a an outlaw women and whiskey. So these, it's kind this is weird. And fun. I ride, it was fun.
And as, hunting's this big. Yep. It's good size, but bow hunting is a lot smaller than hunting. Yep. Bow hunting's a niche, but [00:51:00] patriotism's huge. Yeah. Yeah. It's way bigger than hunting. Yep. You can be a, you can be a patriot and love the shooting sports and Second Amendment.
You might not even hunt. You may like to target shoot, or three, the three gun sports or shooting clays. There's all kinds of things you can do with firearms personal protection handgun shooting. There's all kinds of stuff you can do and patriotism.
And we had a song I wrote a song. It was when. I think it was, Obama and them were really getting tight trying to, making some real moves that had taken away our second Amendment rights. And I wrote a song called Cold Dead Hand. Buddy, you can buddy, if you try to take my rights, you're in for one hell of a fight.
When it comes to my constitution. I'm a true believer. Come to my house, I'll tell you right now, I'll give you my gun when you pry and throw my cold dead hand. Start with my middle finger, , and and it went I haven't played in like several months, so I had to sit there and think of those words.
Yeah. But it got real catchy. Cold Dead Hand [00:52:00] got real catchy as the Second Amendment anthem. And so we learned off that. We learned off that record. Okay. We know where our lane is now. Yeah. I'm gonna stay true to my hunt rights with this patriotic anthem that we did with this song and the amount of people that were adopting the song.
And unofficially the NRA loved it. They weren't quite embrace it cause of the middle finger thing. But they loved it. They loved it. And it went, it went. Danny put me on counting cars that went viral. So all of a sudden we just, by the time we did time with bike, we knew where our lane was.
[00:52:34] Dan Johnson: Gotcha. I wanna, I want to ask a, we're winding down the show here and the way you've described everything is very humbly, right? So you really haven't been arrogant or you haven't said, Hey, I'm really good at this and that's why I found success. But you, you've played this whole storyline, humbly talk to us about like how hard you had to work to get to [00:53:00] where you're at today versus, like failure along the way and then overcoming that to find.
[00:53:08] Andy Ross: Well, fir first of all, on the humble side I'm not in charge of nothing. Yeah. And if we think we're in charge of stuff down here we're just crazy. We're not in charge of anything. This whole life. And as I am a man of faith and I just I believe if you get up and work hard and, try to live your life the best you can and I've had a lot of blessings and a lot of breaks and I just I can't take credit for it.
I guess I I don't doubt for a second that, that the way my life is, has turned out is I'll guarantee you that I'm here for something more than to play another song or go on another hunt. Yeah. If I can. If I can put things together and help people and do some, do something good with the stage I've been given, preach a good message.
Hopefully write some good songs, for our country. Then I'm blessed as far as things being difficult and hard?[00:54:00] Man, I haven't I've loved every minute of it. I've enjoyed every minute of the process and every struggle and every bump and every trade show, and every late night and every travel.
I just, I can't look back and think of I've had tough days, but I haven't had a bad day. Yeah. I just, I, if it, if I had a bad day, I learned so much from it, from a bad experience that I wouldn't change the bad day. I've been drugged through the mud. I've been drugged through the mud online and social media and I've had it handed to me many a times.
But I just wake up the same person, be the same way, wear the same hat and I, I wouldn't change it for nothing. Awesome.
[00:54:40] Dan Johnson: Awesome. We've, we talked about American Rebel your company. You have a couple new songs coming out.
[00:54:48] Andy Ross: We, we had All American Heart came out, that's the latest single, it's been out for a few months now, and then have a song called I Stand for You.
Coming out in hopefully June, we want it to have [00:55:00] some circulation and some airplay by Flag day. Yep. And running it to the 4th of July. So we're looking forward to getting that out. And we're putting the finishing touches on that as far as mixing and mastering and getting it ready for release while we're working on the rest of the record.
Which again will be called Lucky to be alive. Gotcha.
[00:55:17] Dan Johnson: And you have I think you said before we started recording a book coming out next year or the
[00:55:22] Andy Ross: year after. W I'm working on a book don't know what it's gonna be called, but it's American Rebel, the Making of America's patriotic brand.
Yep. Basically going into detail of the story and working hard. I don't wanna say it's a self-improvement book cuz it's not a, it's not necessarily a, a Tony Robbins, Zig Ziegler, type book. Yep. But it is a great American story that hopefully will be motivating and getting into, how we got here and.
The things that we've had to do and been blessed to do to be successful. It's when I do a lot of interviews, TV, interviews, [00:56:00] radio, a lot of times it's not Andy, this is a hunting outdoor podcast that you do, and we've spent a lot of time on hunting, but a lot, most of the time it's just somebody chasing the American dream.
Yeah. It's a chasing the American dream story. And the book, it could be anywhere from, a year and a half. I'm just starting in writing the book. Okay. And I'll leave you with this though. One thing that I do like to say is, I used to say just kids, but now I think even parents ought to do this, but everybody ought to have a globe by their bed that spins a globe of the world, by your bed that spins.
Yep. And you wake up every morning and spin that thing and shut your eyes and take your finger and push it down on that globe and stop the globe. And if your finger lands on the United States of America, You're one lucky, you're, you are one lucky individual cuz there's so many other places that you could land on where you can't chase the American dream, where you can't do this podcast where me and you can't have these conversations where I'm [00:57:00] not standing out here getting ready to grill out tonight and go do the things I get to, get to do.
And I get to write songs that say, start with my middle finger if I want to. And no one, I have freedom of speech, which means I have freedom of speech when I write a song. The things we can do, you just can't do. Hardly anywhere other than United States and you certainly can't do it.
Is well and is ambitiously and is with the results that we get, everybody. And I agree, there's some things that aren't perfect in this country, but it's still the best country by far on this rock. Amen.
[00:57:33] Dan Johnson: Amen. I tell you what, that's a good ending point. I definitely want to get you on again at some point and get more into the actual hunting adventures that you've been on throughout the years.
But Andy, man I really appreciate you taking time outta your day to hop on and bs with us for a little bit. Man.
[00:57:49] Andy Ross: I had a blast. And you have me back on. We can spend a whole show me telling you about this guy who flew me down and I bow hunted in like way down in Mexico. A feral [00:58:00] bullfighting bulls with a bow.
What? Crazy about, crazy Story. I can't wait to share it with you. We'll do it again soon.
[00:58:08] Dan Johnson: Alright. And there you have it. Huge shout out to Andy. Thank you for taking time outta your day to hop on and chat. I do apologize for a little bit of the wind blowing in the background, but hey, when you're outside, that's what you get.
And huge shout out to tethered wasp, HuntStand vortex. Thank you. Go out, support and support the brands that support this podcast. Secondly, if you'll feel like giving back, go check out 2% for firstname.lastname@example.org and read up on how you can get 2% for conservation certified. And I think that's it, man.
Life is full of choices. Try to make the best one at the time. And good vibes in. Good vibes out. Wear your safety harness and we'll talk to you next time.[00:59:00]