It’s wild. When we made the decision to come out here, we sat down with Kari, my wife and I sat down with Kari. We said, “Hey, listen, this is what we’re planning on doing. We’d love for you to come with us. I know that’s a big ask obviously.”
Literally within 24 hours Kari was like, “OK, I’m good. Let’s go.” Kari came out with us and when we got here, it was obviously established living in a new house.
We’re trying to figure out where we’re going to train because we don’t have a facility out here, and I was able to speak with the owner of CrossFit Culmination. They’ve been unbelievable. It was about getting Kari prepared for the games when we first got out here and her training partner at the time was another one of my athletes.
He won the masters qualifier 35 to 39 Ryan Elrod last year. Ryan helped us immensely getting, because he’s been in Vegas for a little while.
He and his wife are Cirque du Soleil performers. We had some connections, but when it all started to snowball was when we decided to go to Sacramento for the first stage of the CrossFit Games, stage one. Kari’s manager, Cooper Marsh from Lab Management. He had an idea, let’s do stage one to sea level, because obviously, Vegas is 2,500 feet.
Kari spoke to Margaux Alvarez and she said, “Yes, if I were you, even if it helps you five seconds, I’ve lived in Vegas a long time and whenever I go anywhere else, I feel great.”
We decided that was what we were going to do. We put it together that Kari, Bethany Shadburne and Danielle Brandon, we’re all going to be able to do the workouts together. Now, obviously they weren’t able to do them together together. They had to do them successively, but to be able to feed off of each other.
We went out there and obviously Kari did extremely well, and made it to the second stage. I think that Danielle and Bethany were impressed with the process, and the relationship that Kari and I have. Right after that was over, they were like, “Listen, we want to come out to Vegas. We want to help Kari prepare for stage two, but we also want to talk to you a little bit about the possibility of working with you in the future.”
Long story short, they came out here, obviously Kari did extremely well stage two, and we had some further conversations and they were like, “Listen, we love what you do, we want to be around it. We want to move to Vegas.”
It was like, “OK, that sounds awesome.” Then it was like, OK, they’re coming.
Matt Dlugos, one of my athletes I’ve been coaching for a while, he set the world record on test three of the quarterfinals, young kid, 23 years old, I think has Brent-Fikowski-like talent, and I say Brent Fikowski because he’s 6’4″. Nicolas Bidarte, he won South America, he decided to come and then Tola Morakinyo.
The buzz started and you know how that is, when things start to happen and people start to hear things and now we’ve got people from all over the world that are inquiring and interested, and then the idea of creating something like a fit hub, essentially, which is obviously the trend that’s going on now, we’ve seen it in Tennessee and we see it in Boston, and why not Vegas?
People think Vegas, they think the strip, but when you come to Vegas, it’s really absolutely incredible for training. You’ve got Red Rock Canyon, you’ve got Mount Charleston. It’s beautiful year around. You can train outside, it’s at elevation. Within 40 minutes, you can be at 8,000 feet for trail runs and mountain biking, cost of living is great. It lends itself to a year-round, high-level training center.
It also lends itself to elite athletes to be able to come and train, especially in this space. It’s still a niche sport, it’s not paying like the NFL or the NBA. The athletes do have to be extremely conscious about that. I got to tell you, it’s been awesome.
It’s all happened in such a short period of time and now with starting Underdogs Athletics in the online program, which I’ve been thinking about forever, and then finally decided it’s time. It’s great, man.
The next step will be a facility. I’ve been in close talks with Tommy Hackenbruck and Zach Forest. I think the three of us are going to partner up and put something special together here. Now it’s just finding the facility and getting that straightened out.