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David Pearson has been involved in the GORUCK community since 2012 and has participated in dozens of events. He puts on a custom St. Baldrick’s GORUCK Light event yearly which raises money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
After hearing about this we knew we had to get him on the show to talk about the event and what it means to him. This year the St. Baldrick’s Light events will occur in four cities around the US and David is hoping to expand that in the years to come. If putting on one of these events sounds exciting to you please reach out to GORUCK and asked to be connected to him.
- GORUCK & Rucking Glossary
- St. Baldrick’s Foundation
- St. Baldricks GORUCK Light Events (Cadre Tracker)
- St. Baldricks GORUCK Light (San Diego, California)
- St. Baldricks GORUCK Light (Arnold, Maryland)
- St. Baldricks GORUCK Light (Boulder, Colorado)
- St. Baldricks GORUCK Light (Oakland, California)
- St. Baldrick’s Foundation (on behalf of David Pearson) Donation Link
Podcast: Download (Duration: 41:41 — 38.6MB)
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn | RSS | How to Subscribe
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Brian: Today I’m talking with David Pearson about the upcoming St. Baldrick’s Custom GORUCK Light event, which is a charity GORUCK event that David has, it sounds like, put on for a number of years. I’m really excited that he’s taken the time out of his day to chat with me today. So I can’t wait to get into this.
David, how are you doing?
David: I’m doing great. Thank you for having me and letting me promote this event.
Brian: I’m excited, man. My heart is always in for charity. So as soon as I heard about this and we got linked up, thanks to Dan, I just wanted to get you on as quick as possible. So thanks again for taking the time.
David: Thank you, and I know GORUCK nation has been hit by a number of cancer losses in the past few years including losing one of the original cadre who passed away from cancer. So it’s definitely something that has affected a lot of people in the GORUCK nation.
Brian: Absolutely. So before we get into the St. Baldrick’s custom events, about some questions about your involvement in the GORUCK community. How did you even stumble upon GORUCK as a company?
David: I don’t even remember. It was end of 2011, I was randomly surfing the internet and came across an article, I think, on ITS tactical. One of their authors had done an event with GORUCK and they had this cryptic review of it and it sounded really stupid. So I found the website and signed up for my first event, which happened in June of 2012 right after they changed the weight requirements and all the other requirements to do a challenge.
Brian: Yeah. Those were the good old days, right? Back when if you’re over 150, was four bricks, and under 150 was two.
David: Yeah. When I signed up, that was a requirement, and then while we were training for the event, they upped it to the current six and four.
Brian: Yeah, I remember when they made that flip, my first event was the old weight requirements and my second was the new one. So definitely felt it. It’s funny you bring that ITS tactical article up. That’s one of the first articles I saw about GORUCK and it really was cryptic, and you got to the end of it and you’re like, “I have no idea what this thing is, but I think I should probably sign up for it.”
David: Yeah. There was nothing else anywhere in the internet about the company or the event. So you were pretty much — If you were into something that was weird and you have no idea what you were getting into, that was a way to go for it.
Brian: Absolutely. So what was your first GORUCK event?
David: Class 179 in June, 2012 in San Francisco. It was a GORUCK weekend. There were three classes on Friday and three classes on Saturday, and I went out on Saturday and was being led by Bo and then Liu came along since they had a new cadre that started Friday that Liu helped out, and then Saturday he just partied with Bo.
Brian: That’s huge. I rarely remember classes being that big back then. So for them to throw three in on a Friday and three in on a Saturday, you must have been out there with a decent number of people.
David: Yes. Every class was huge. It was Nor Cal. That’s where they started, and at that point I think we had at least 30 in each group. Those are a lot of people out, and there were six classes that weekend. There was a lot of people that went through and a small handful including Matt who were doing their first back-to-backs ever.
Brian: That’s awesome. So did you enjoy the event?
David: At the time, no. Afterwards, yes. At that point you had no idea what to expect. There was no information about the event. I had trainings and met people that had done prior GORUCKs, because Nor Cal has a really strong group or did at the time, and so I kind of knew what to expect a little just from what we were being trained to do and what we practiced, but the reality is a lot different and it was brutally cold that night. I think I had four layers on and I was still freezing. We had people go hypothermic in June in San Francisco. That’s how cold it was.
Brian: That’s nearly unheard of.
David: It’s San Francisco on summer.
Brian: That’s wild. So leading up to that event, were you nervous at all? It sounds like you had at least some contact with people who had done a previous GORUCK event.
David: We had done a whole bunch of trainings on the beach and in San Francisco, so I knew a lot of the people that I was doing the event with and we kind of self-sorted. A group of us got together to make sure we were under the same cadre when the event started. So at least I had friends that was doing the event with, that helped. Then it was just one foot in front of the other and do whatever they tell you and keep moving.
Brian: That’s a good plan for success.
David: I don’t think anybody — Nobody from our group, our class, quit. One of the other classes that night, I know, while we were being smoked before we left out to do our various missions, we saw two guys walking up within the first — Probably half hour or 45 minutes. They just disappeared at one of the other two classes.
Brian: That’s wild.
David: After that, those two, there maybe have been a few others, but almost everybody else made it through that night as far as I know from all three of the classes that went out Saturday night.
Brian: That’s impressive. It’s always nice to hear about classes that everyone makes it through to the end. I think that happened a lot more back then, because GORUCK — No one really knew what GORUCK was or how to find it. So the only people who did find it were people who are looking for it. So it wasn’t people who just saw and said, “Hey! That sounds like a fun thing to do on a Saturday along with everything else and sign up.” It was a little tougher to find.
David: Nor Cal has a really strong group. I mean, they were the first — We were the first to be there, the 100% passed in a Heavy. Before that, the prior record had been the Masters Heavy that we did in DC. We were about an 80% pass rate, I think, in that class. Then San Francisco had the first 100% Heavy passed.
Brian: What Heavy class was that?
David: San Francisco one. The one Heavy I did in DC was the Masters Custom, was Heavy 6. I think the San Francisco 100% was probably like 12 or 13, maybe. It was the first Heavy they did in San Francisco, but it was pretty early on.
Brian: Yeah. I did Heavy 9 up in Seattle, and we had a couple of drop from ours, but that was to be expected at the time.
David: Yeah. And we had I think almost a dozen out of the Masters Custom. We had about an 80% pass rate. We are the oldest class, and I think the youngest cadre was what we had wanted.
Brian: If you loss a dozen — Do you say you lost a dozen on that one?
David: Yeah, I think we started at 50 or more, and lost — Yeah, about 10 or 12.
Brian: That’s an impressive class size for a Heavy.
David: Well, it was a custom event. It started as a custom, and then Mark Webb has heard about GORUCK starting this 24-hour event and we decided, “Let’s try a custom 24,” and then everybody learned about Heavy and it kind of morphed into the Heavy event. Again, it was one of those nobody really had any idea what to expect, because it was number six and we had just heard the horror stories of the New York Heavy where people were almost passing out and falling into traffic, because they went from New York City to Long Island and back.
Brian: Yeah, that class got miles in.
David: Yes, they did. I think we ended up about 40 or so miles. That’s what Devin told us for DC.
Brian: That’s impressive. That is impressive. When you finished that first event, that Tough back in California, did you want to sign up for another afterwards or did it take a couple of days for the pain to disperse and then you’re just left with the good memories?
David: I thought it was awesome. I was ready to sign up again, and I did sign up for back-to-back in November, which I think was the next event they had in the city in San Francisco. I thought it was an awesome event, and I love the people and how it was run.
Brian: Yeah. That’s what keeps me bringing me back. It’s all about the community.
David: Now I’m too broken and old to do most of it. I like the Lights. I’ve been beaten down enough.
Brian: How many events have you done so far?
David: To include everything? Probably in the low 30s, between Heavy, Light, Challenge and Capstones and Scavengers and that kind of stuff.
Brian: That’s impressive. That’s awesome. Congratulation on that. The Lights are fun. So at least still getting those in.
David: Yeah, that’s pretty much all I do now are lights. That’s fun, it’s easy. You don’t get too broken.
Brian: That’s true.
David: They Heavy pretty much destroyed my back. It was a lot of weight for 24 hours and I was pretty wrecked at the end of that. I would never do another Heavy again. That’s for sure.
Brian: Yeah, they are something else. So you mentioned that was the Masters custom Heavy. There’re probably a number of people listening who don’t know what the Masters group is. You just want to briefly say what that is?
David: Sure. After my first GORUCK event, I was one of the older people doing the events in Nor Cal, and so I joined the GORUCK page and then I set up a page on Facebook for masters, which is anybody who’s completed a GORUCK event who’s 40 years or older. So we were looking — I think it was Mark Webb wanted to do a masters event with just people to see how it would work. So that’s how we came to do the 24-hour event, and we ended up — We had three who started who were in their 70s. Most of us were 40s or 50s, and we let three children in under 40 who did the event with us.
Brian: That’s wild. So if you’re listening to this and you think you might be too old for a Light or a Tough, they had a Masters Heavy and three people who were 70 showed up for it.
David: No. 60. Yeah, they were in their 60s.
David: Two of three finished. The one who dropped who was in his 60s only dropped because he had done a challenge the weekend before and didn’t have enough time to rest. He didn’t think that one through very clearly.
Brian: Yeah, maybe just a little there. They say with age comes with wisdom, but I don’t know.
David: No. Not always.
Brian: As I get older, I’m not so sure anymore. So let’s move into St. Baldrick’s. I’m really excited to talk about this. For those who are listening and don’t know what St. Baldrick’s is, can you just tell us a little bit about that organization?
David: Sure. St. Baldrick’s is — I think at this point the largest pediatric cancer research charity in the country. So they raise money by going around the country, and generally right around St. Patrick’s Day, holding head shaving events and all the money is pooled together and used to research cancers that primarily strike children. So it’s pediatric cancer research. If I remember correctly, last year, the first drug that they helped fund actually was released for use in pediatric cancer patients.
Brian: That’s amazing, and that’s a very worthy cause. Definitely, definitely worth contributing to and informing a GORUCK custom event around. How long have you been involved in St. Baldrick’s or fundraising for them?
David: This will be my 9th year shaving my head.
Brian: Very nice. You’ll have to do this again next year to hit 10 at least, right?
David: Yup. At 5 you bet a badge. You’re called a Knight of the Bald Table. I have one of those.
Brian: That is awesome. That’s a great name for that. So you’re putting on a GORUCK Light to benefit St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Where did the idea for putting on a custom GORUCK event for this come from?
David: The first couple of years, I did the event was locally in my community, which is Walnut Creek and the East Bay at San Francisco with the police department, and then the police department stopped doing it after, I think, two years, and I looked and found the children’s hospital in Oakland was doing it. At that point I had done my first — I think it was training or maybe I had done the first GORUCK event, and so I asked on the Nor Cal page if anybody would be interested and just going and raising some money and shaving their head, and two other guys came out and we did it. I’m not even sure how it morphed a year after that into doing a full custom, but I know I had done some research on customs after the heavy, and Bert at the time was a cadre and I talked to him and he was really excited, since he had been a medic about running an event to raise money for childhood cancer. So I set up a custom working with GORUCK, and at the time we had also been trying to work with GORUCK to let kids do GORUCK events.
When the Light came out, I know I had wanted my daughter to be able to do it with me, and she was under 18 at the time and technically children weren’t allowed to do GORUCK events, although some signed up and it was just for the wink and a nod. So once we got this set up, they started allowing kids to do Lights, and so we were able to have the parents and children came out and do the events.
Brian: That is really cool. That’s wild. Your GORUCK Light for St. Baldrick’s actively encourages kids to come out and do the event with their parents. What age kids are we talking about here?
David: One of the Nor Cal parents, his daughter has done two or three Lights now and she started, I think, she was five or six. She’s a multi-patched GRT at like 8 years old.
Brian: That’s amazing. The only other group I know doing something like that is Team Ninja with their Santa Ruck where they actively encourage little ones to come out too. So I had no idea that St. Baldrick’s did as well. That is really, really cool.
David: That was where the custom part came from, was because with customs, you could have children doing them, because originally you had to be 18 or up to do any GORUCK event, and then for a period of time, GORUCK actually let under 18 sign up and then obviously there were some accidents and a death and the insurance companies looked at the events and they had to pull back on allowing children to do events. But with customs, you can still have kids. So making Baldrick’s a custom let us have children come out. Then even now that it’s a semi-custom, we’re still allowed to have kids participate. They’re light Lights, not a typical Light.
Brian: That’s good to know. If you’re listening and you want to set up a custom event that kids can go to, then make sure it’s a custom through GORUCK and that could be a really fun birthday party idea for parents listening.
David: They’re a good way for the kids to come out and see what it is their parents — Why is your mom or dad carrying stupid heavy things on their back and doing these all these exercise and they get to come out and do the event. Generally, when the kids are out there, the cadre pick the kids to be the team leaders and they get to order the parents around, and that’s always entertaining.
Brian: Yeah! We had some of that at the Team Ninja Light up here in Seattle. The last team leaders were elementary school-aged. So it was fun. It was a good time.
David: That’s perfect. In the first Light my daughter did with me in San Francisco, I think we had 90 people in the class, and she and another 16-year-old were in the class. So we threw them under the bus and they got to be the team leaders for the last third of the event.
Brian: There you go. It’s perfect. So where is your St. Baldrick’s custom Light taking place?
David: We start at children’s hospital at 9 AM with our head shaved, and then as soon as our team is done shaving heads, we meet up back outside of the shaves at the hospital and go off through Oakland, California and do basically a four-event, and it’s wherever the cadre take us.
Brian: That’s great. Your event is based out of Oakland, California. Are there any other locations that there are custom St. Baldrick’s events occurring?
David: Yes. The other oldest Baldrick’s events is on the East Coast with Maryland with Dave Smith. We have one that started up two years ago, I believe, it’s in Colorado. I think it’s out of Denver, and we just, this year, Southern California, add a Baldrick’s event that’s getting started.
Brian: Very cool. So expanding. That’s good to hear.
David: We are, and we’re looking for people who want to take on the leadership role in their city and do it next year.
Brian: So do you collaborate on ideas with the other GRT who are leading these custom events in the other cities?
David: Dave Smith and I, who’s back in Maryland, have been doing it for years, but we helped, like Joe Hanning, who’s in Colorado when he got started with ideas and how to get everything up and running and work with the cadre and the GORUCK. Flash, who helped run Nor Cal, has been running the Colorado one for two years now, and we love the events. Then we’ve been working with So al too to get everything smoothed out and figure out how to set up a head shave and do the event. So we’re happy to work with anyone else who wants to do it in their city.
Brian: That’s great. So if you’re listening and you want to put on a St. Baldrick’s custom GORUCK Light event, it’s probably too late for 2018, because the events are in a month or so. But for 2019, it sounds like you’ll get some good support from people who have put on these events for years.
David: They will, and GORUCK headquarters is very supportive. Mocha Mike is really behind this event. He loves doing this and working with any kind of kid event. So even if you don’t want to do a Baldrick’s, if you want to do a kid-centric events, get a hold of Mocha and he’ll work with you.
Brian: Good to know. You mentioned a couple of times, head shaving. My next question is what can people expect at one of these events?
David: It’s going to be different in every city, but basically what the event is, you set up a team with St. Baldrick’s, which is your GORUCK group, and that team is comprised of volunteers who are just raising money and then those who actually want to shave their head, and the object is obviously to raise money for Baldrick’s. Our head shave, we do before the event. I think in Maryland, they do their head shave after their event at the conclusion. So if you want to share your head, obviously you’re showing up and they clipper it down and you walk out with a crew cut.
Brian: Is the shaving head a requirement to participate?
David: No. Not at all. I mean, there’s a lot of women that do the event that aren’t interested in shaving their heads, and some of the guys were already bald, so there’s nothing to shave. But that’s part of the fun of it. If you want to shave your head, here’s the opportunity to do it for a charity. I usually get my last haircut towards the end of December and then let it grow out and look like a hippie until March when I shave it.
Brian: That’s awesome. So who is the cadre for your event?
David: This year we have Mikey B. and mickey coming to run the event.
Brian: That will be great. Those are two very well-know, well-respected cadre. That should be an amazing time.
David: Yeah. They’re both excited. I know Mikey B. is very involved in the Santa Ruck, so he loves to do kid-centric events and raise money for that kind of stuff. So both of them are very pumped and they have offered to do war stories for us the night before our event and all the money from that is going to go to Baldrick’s.
Brian: That’s amazing. I have had Mikey B. on twice. Once talk about GORUCK Selection and once to talk about the Santa Ruck, and then I had Mickey on once to talk about GORUCK Constellation and the changes from 2017 to 2018, and I mean both of those guys, they’re just standup guys. They are awesome. So it sounds like you’re truly going to have a really special event this year.
David: Yeah. I’ve done a bunch of events with both of them. They’re both really awesome guys. Part of it comes down to — The event is cadre selection, and making sure you get a cadre that likes kids and is willing to do a light Light and isn’t just going to go out there and turn it into a Heavy and just beat people down, because it’s — You’re going to go out and you’re going to sing songs, and we’ve done coloring books before and egg toss races and tug of war, that kind of stuff, as supposed to the normal GORUCK beat down. These are light Lights. Six or seven year olds shouldn’t have much trouble keeping up.
Brian: That is really cool, and I mean it definitely adds a next level of uniqueness to the event, and it sounds like it just really aligns it with the charity that you’re fundraising for too.
David: Yeah, and I know it various times. I mean, when I first started, at the end of the event somebody would always collect whatever cab money was left and it would be sent into the GBS, the Green Beret Foundation, and then GORUCK kind of got away from that charity aspect. I know in the last year, now they’re pushing it again where at each event you should have some type of a connection to a charity. So Jason is starting to focus the company back on doing community events again, which is good.
Brian: Yeah, the audition of the service component was definitely interesting for 2017, and I think aligns GORUCK with more of that charity aspect. Then they also ran those two virtual events last year, which I think combined raised over $200,000. It definitely seems like they’re aligning themselves with the charity.
David: Yeah, and it’s another way to keep the company going. I mean there’s only so many times that most people want to be beaten down before they kind of get burned out, and there’s only so many people crazy enough to do a GORUCK event of any type. So they have to do stuff to keep bringing people in, and I think that’s a good focus, is on that charitable aspect too.
Brian: Absolutely. The GRT community is definitely a subset. That’s for sure.
David: A special kind of stupid.
Brian: Yup. Couldn’t say it better than that.
David: We’re paid for this punishment.
Brian: Yeah. Anyone that will throw money at this kind of an event and pay for it willingly is definitely a unique breed. Yeah, that’s about it right there. So what has the turnout been like for previous years at your St. Baldrick’s events?
David: Once we started actually combining it with GORUCK with an event, we’ve had amazing turnout. Usually, between 40 and 60. I think the last time I asked for a roster for this year, we were in the mid-50s, maybe close to 60 for signups.
Brian: That’s impressive. Did you notice a change? You mentioned the GORUCK run customs as supposed to the traditional custom, and for those who are listening, it sounds like the traditional custom, you put all the money upfront for the event and then you sell spots to the event. The GORUCK run custom is GORUCK listed the event on their website, and it’s still a custom event you’re running, but it’s more through GORUCK than the traditional ones. You don’t have to put up all that cash up front.
Have you noticed a difference in turnouts between when it was an original custom and a GORUCK run custom?
David: Yeah. I mean, either the custom was more driven by the people running it. Like Dave Smith and I, we had to go out and find the people. So the people participating at that point were either all of our personal friends or GRTs already. They knew what a GORUCK event was. So we have an easier sell. Once we went to what we call now a semi-custom, we were getting people who were just going on the website and saying, “Oh, hey! This was like a cool GORUCK event. I’m just going to show up.” It requires a little bit more explanation that, hey, this isn’t the typical GORUCK event. This is something a little different.
So I have to do — The organizers have to do a little more work from the standpoint of emailing people who aren’t in the Facebook group to let them know, “Hey, we also want you to sign up for Baldrick’s and raise some money and here’s what likely to happen during the event.” There’s a little more prep on that end, because you’re getting people who are brand new to GORUCK, since GORUCK is putting it on their website.
Brian: Yeah, that’s definitely an aspect to look at there. The custom that you put on yourself is not listed publicly on GORUCK’s website, and the custom through GORUCK is listed on there. There is a possible chance that someone will sign up and think it’s just a traditional Light and show up expecting that. So it definitely seems like you have to do some work on your end to levels and mentally prepare them that this is going to be a light Light with kids. Don’t expect tougher, heavy beat down in a light amount of time.
David: Those people signing up for a Light aren’t looking for a beat down, and so so far everybody who’s been to these events since we went out with a semi-custom has been totally happy with it. They were surprised and didn’t realize they could have brought their kids.
Brian: Yeah. I can imagine people who are either new to GORUCK or not used to this type of event being a little surprised and they show up and they see kids in the lineup with their rucks out and getting ready for gear inspection.
David: Yeah, and it’s fun. I mean, the kids get a kick out of it. Last year one of the things we did is we learned how to use a team to scale a building. Of course, we were in Berkley doing this and so the Berkley moms at the park called the police and cadre had to go explain to the police what we were doing and they were cool with it, but the kids thought it was awesome that they got to learn how to climb on to a roof without any equipment.
Brian: That’s amazing. Like what an incredible thing for a kid to learn, because at least when I was a kid, I mean like grappling hooks were the coolest thing and I didn’t even know how they worked, but I just thought climbing up stuff was the best. So what a fun experience for kids to be a part of.
David: And they were a little unhappy at the end when the parents got to put them on their backs and put water in their face.
Brian: I can’t imagine why.
David: A little bit of water torture. It was good for them.
Brian: Yup! Resilience training. For someone who’s listening to this and they’re excited about the event and they want to go and sign up for this event, where they should go and sign up?
David: Just go directly to GORUCK’s website. If you scroll down on — I think it’s called — They are special events, because it’s the non-regular patch. So it’s the specially designed patches, and if you just scroll down you’ll see the — I think there are three different listening, because the three of the four cities are on different dates. Ours in Nor Cal is actually on St. Patrick’s Day, on the 17th.
Brian: Very nice. So if you want to sign up, just head over to GORUCK and the event should be there either under the list of all events or under that special events page. For those who are listening and they maybe just want to donate or support you in some way, where should they go to do that?
David: So www.stbaldricks.org, and there’s a search for find people or events, and if you type in GORUCK, you’ll probably find a couple of different teams. Should be one for each city. You can pick which city you want to donate to and you can even drill down to a particular participant and donate to them.
Brian: Awesome. I’ll include links to all that on the website in the show notes. So if you’re listening to this and you want to check out the events, you can do quickly hit up the show notes and I’ll have the links there or you can hit up the show notes and I’ll have the links to the donation pages there as well. So very cool. This event sounds truly unique. It sounds like not your — I don’t want to say your traditional custom, but in terms of customs, this sounds like a custom custom.
David: GORUCK handles all of the backend for us now, but we pick date, time, cadre, and the cadre work with us on what we want to do for the event. They realize that they got five and six-year-olds coming out to have fun with mom and dad, so it’s scaled to include everybody in the event. They understand that there’s head shaving involved and we have to be flexible with time, especially with our group. We have a lot of people who get their head shaved. So even though the website says the event are going to start at a particular time, it’s usually about a half hour after that given how many people we have to shuffle through for head shaving.
Brian: Yeah. That makes total sense. You don’t want to rush that.
David: No, you can’t. You’re up on stage with a crowd watching you. Usually in Oakland, there’s like eight at a time about getting their head shaved. So it takes a little time to get everybody shaved down. Sometimes they’ll auction out to people to shave their beards or their eyebrows or do other crazy stuff.
Brian: That sounds like definitely a site to see.
David: Well, this year — I know our team is doing a video before the event. St. Baldrick’s is sending out a camera crew to do a video of us doing stupid activities that they’re going to have up on the website, and sometimes they’ll do some live feeds from the actual events around the country.
Brian: Very cool. There’s pretty much a head shave in almost every city in the country at this point, any kind of significant size. So if you don’t want to do a GORUCK event, you want to go participate in just Baldrick’s and head shaving, there’s almost bound to be one in your local community.
David: Good to know. If you want to get your head shaved and don’t want to participate in GORUCK, there’s a chance that you can do that.
Brian: Yup! If you always wanted to have your head shaved, this is a good excuse, and just tell people you’re doing it to support raising funds for children’s cancer, not because you’re just totally crazy and want to shave your head.
David: Yeah, you can’t knock that. I mean, if someone’s says, “Why do you have your head shaved?” and you come back with, “Well, I did it for children for cancer.” That’s end of conversation.
Brian: Yeah. Is there anything else that you want to talk about with the St. Baldrick’s events before we get going?
David: No. I think we’ve pretty much covered everything. It’s a great event. It’s a lot of fun and it’s a chance for an entire family to come out and it really isn’t your typical GORUCK event, because you wouldn’t want some of those cadre out there trying to boss around four or five-year-old. It wouldn’t last very long. I think the cadre would lose on that.
Brian: Yeah. I lose on that every night with my kids, so I can’t imagine a cadre would as well. So just a couple of general questions to you, what is your event calendar look like for this coming year? Are there any events that you’re signed up for besides obviously St. Baldrick’s that you’re really excited about?
David: At this point, no. That’s the only one right now that I’ve got for this year. I know there are some new capstones coming up. I don’t know if they still call them capstones anymore with GORUCK, their expeditions. I’m looking at some of those. I guess there’s a new swimming one that’s just coming out on the web within the past day or so. They have a couple coming to California, and that looks really interesting.
Brian: Yeah. They’ve changed the name of those a number of times. It’s been capstones, it’s been expeditions. Now they’ve got — I think it’s a survival umbrella, and underneath survival they’ve got constellation, which is urban survival. They’ve got immersion, which is water survival, and they have expedition which is wilderness survival.
David: Yeah. I mean, those are the ones that interest me, is the learning classes. I’ve been beaten down enough by GORUCK over the years. So I’m like so many of the older GRTs, I’m semi-retired, but the learning ones in enjoy, and I’ve done most of their prior ones. I’ve done a couple of navs in Jedburg and trek and all of those. So were really enjoyable.
Brian: Are we sure that trek ever happened?
David: No one’s going to talk about it. It may never even come back. Who knows?
Brian: Yeah. I’m excited for this new wave of survival events. I did constellation back in 2017 and then I recently did constellation when Mickey came up here to Seattle, and he put on a really good class and they didn’t sell a short. It was a lot of fun and the culminating exercise on this one was definitely different than the last one. It was a good time.
David: I was surprised that our masks worked as well as they worked. Although no one quit warned me that pepper spray reactivates when you take a shower.
Brian: Yeah. So just a heads up, not only does it reactive when you take a shower, but it lingers, and I mean for a year. So I did that constellation in 2017, and then I reused my gasmask again, because that’s one of the required year items. You have to bring it back or you have to make a new one, and I reused it and there was still pepper spray on it, and as soon as I put it on to try it out, it got my eyes. I had stored in my ruck, my jacket was next to it. There’s pepper spray in my jacket. I put it on, I smelled just like pepper spray. It was crazy.
So my daughter who’s eight months now was actually born on the day that constellation ended last year, so I totally spaced on spaced on cleaning that mask.
David: Yeah. I’m surprised you were allowed to do an event.
Brian: She came four weeks early, so we were not expecting her, and I was able to do it because you can bring cellphones to constellations. So if anything happened I could have just gotten a text and left right away. But yeah, got home from the event, took a shower and then two hours later we’re on the way to the hospital.
David: Wow! Congratulations.
Brian: Thank you.
David: Mine just turned 21 this past weekend.
Brian: That’s exciting. Congratulations to you.
David: This will be her fourth Baldrick’s with me. She’d missed last year, because she’s out of the country. Otherwise, she’d done all of the customs with me.
Brian: That’s amazing. That’s very, very nice. Wow! Very cool. Family that rucks together. Always nice to hear.
David: Yeah. She’s gotten to abuse me a couple of times, and I’ve thrown her under a bus. The cadre let her do stuff to me in regular lights.
Brian: I bet she had a kick out of that.
David: More embarrassment than anything, because everybody was watching her do it to me. It’s hard to be 16 or 17 and in front of a large group and yell at your dad while everybody is cheering you on.
Brian: Yeah. I can imagine that would be a number of different emotions. Everyone is staring, but I get to yell at my dad, but everyone staring. So are there any shout outs you want to give? Any people? Any ruck clubs before we get going?
David: I mean other than the Nor Cal group, on the East Coast, talk to Dave Smith. He’s been doing Baldrick’s maybe even longer than I have as far as shaving his head with the DC Fire Department. He’s a great guy and he’s really passionate about Baldrick’s, and now Joe Hanning in Colorado, and we’ve got Andy starting up So Cal. So those are the four leaders of Baldrick’s right now and we’re just looking for more for end of the future to keep growing this.
Brian: So how can people reach out to you? If they’re listening right now and they think, “This sounds like — I’ve done a couple of events. This sounds like something I want to run in my city.” How can they reach out to you to maybe hash that back and forth?
David: I’m on the GORUCK page on Facebook. It’s probably the easiest place if they post there or even if they contact HQ. HQ is probably going to send them to me and or Dave Smith on the East Coast to talk to.
Brian: There you have it. So if you’re in the GORUCK Tough group on Facebook, just put a tag in there about St. Baldrick’s and tag David Pearson, and if you’re not, then shoot an email to [email protected] and say, “Hey, get me connected with one of the guys who runs Baldrick’s events, because I want to put one on in my city.”
David: That will work.
Brian: Thank you so much for taking this time out of your day. I’ve had a great time chatting with you, and it’s always fun to hear stories from people who started GORUCK events back when I did as well, because they’re definitely in some ways back then than they are now. So it’s nice reminiscing about that, but more important I’m just really excited to hear with what you’re doing with the GORUCK custom event, raising money for St. Balderick’s. Children hold a huge spot in my heart. So this is really cool. I’m just really glad to have you on to talk about this.
David, thank you again for taking the time.
David: Thanks for having me on, and they were definitely different when the cadre were drunker than the participants.
Brian: It was a different time back then.
David: It was very different. Thanks for everything and I look forward to meeting you out rucking around the country.
Brian: I’ll try and make it happen. It would be an absolute blast. Thank you, David.
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