In this episode we interview GORUCK Cadre Roony. We discuss how he found GORUCK, his favorite events, and his upcoming custom event Snowdrop.
Cadre Roony puts a ton of love into every event he runs so we are very excited to see how this year’s Snowdrop turns out. We’re sure it’s going to be an incredible weekend for absolutely anyone who is able to attend the event. Although it doesn’t fit in our schedule this year maybe there’s a chance we’ll travel out there next year for it.
If you’re within distance of the event you should definitely give it some consideration. It’s not often you find charity-driven events like this that are also going to be incredible fun. Plus, you’ll get to see Roony pull the winner for his raffle and, probably, make a similar face to the one he did last time!
Here’s the links from the show!
- GORUCK & Rucking Glossary
- Charity Challenges Flutter Kick Challenge
- GORUCK Snowdrop Event Page
- Ruck Customs
- Shaddox Tactical
- All Day Ruckoff Handle
- All Day Ruckoff Hat
- Snowdrop Foundation
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Brian: So I’m here talking with GORUCK Cadre Josh Haas, aka Cadre Roony. Before we get started with how you got involved with GORUCK and the Snowdrop line of events, let’s talk quickly about your nickname. Where did Roony come from?
Cadre Roony: Roony came from my grandmother. I was her oldest grandson and she started calling me Joshua Roony and my aunts and uncles and eventually cousins picked up on it. It got shortened to Roony and I was just Roony when I was a toddler all the way up until currently my aunts and uncles, grandmother still call me Roony. I guess it stuck.
Brian: Now the entire GORUCK community calls you Roony too.
Cadre Roony: Yes, absolutely. Yes, when I first became cadre, there was already a Cadre Josh and I didn’t want to be Cadre Josh II or anything like that. I went with nickname I’ve always had and it kind of stuck. It does confuse people because a lot of folks are like, “Is that your last name?” It’s just a nickname that my grandmother gave me and I went with it.
Brian: That’s awesome. Yeah, I think Cadre Roony is definitely better than Cadre Josh II.
Cadre Roony: Yes, absolutely.
Brian: Speaking of GORUCK, how did you first hear about GORUCK?
Cadre Roony: I first heard about GORUCK over 3-1/2 years ago I guess it’s been now. One of my friends that I’ve met through crossfit was asking me if I’d ever heard of it and if I would do it with him. I asked, “What is it?” and he explained it to me and I just gotten off act of duty and I kind of looked at it and I’m like, “You want me to pay to go do what I’ve been doing my entire act of duty career? I think I’m not. Take a hard pass on that.”
He was really into it and I told him I would put on some miles with him while he trained for his first event, and he’s excited about it. Then GORUCK had a promotion going on. I think it was called the Buddy Pass, where it was a buy one get one free. It’s like, “Hey, I paid for the event in Milwaukee, it’s on a buddy pass. I’d really like for you to do it with me. It’s not going to cost anything.” I caved in and said, “Alright, I’ll do it.”
The event date came and my youngest son was really, really sick and I decided that I was going to take a pass on going to do the event because I didn’t want to be gone when my son had a fever that was right on the border line of him going into the hospital. I didn’t go. Woke up in the morning and my son was magically A-okay, his fever broke overnight and my friend went and got his patch and became anointed as a GRT and I had a credit and then that following September 11th, some friends from the local police department SWAT team were going down to do the 9/11 light in Chicago, so I cashed in my credit to do that and it was at that event three years ago, just crushed three years ago where I met Brian Squared, Cadre Logan and my first exposure to GORUCK. Had an awesome time. Had a friend come up from St. Louis who is a former FISTER from the 101st and he’s a SWAT team leader down in St. Louis, so he came up and we did it together and we had fun, but I had to see what GORUCK was about, so I thought, “This is the light. I need to see what it talks about. On the drive from Chicago back from Wisconsin I signed up for tough in December in Milwaukee, which is probaBriany a bunch of that decision all rolled into one. It was Cadre Mickey, and I met Mickey there. Had an awesome event. We got to talk in and I did my application to become a cadre and here I am, just crossed the two year special as a cadre.
Brian: That’s awesome. Completed one light, then one tough.
Cadre Roony: Yes. Then after the tough, before I got hired, but while I’ve got the tough and the light under my belt, let’s see what the heavy is all about, and signed up for Memorial Day Heavy in Chicago and that’s where I’ve met Flash and Jason J. at the Memorial Day Heavy in Chicago and shortly after that is when I got the phone call from Garrett Noonan. He said, “Hey, I’m hearing some good things. Let’s see if I’ll get you on board.” Here we are.
Brian: That’s awesome, and you’re still doing events.
Cadre Roony: Yes. I enjoy the heck out of the community and I love everything about it. I had an epiphany at an event where we’re in the welcome party and one of my good friends told me after the event, he said, “Hey, it would have been anybody else’s cadre, I probaBriany would have quit at the welcome party because that was pretty brutal.”
I thought to myself, “It’s pretty easy for me stand here on the beach and tell these guys to front, back, go and roll right, roll left and all that fun stuff. It’s easy to kind of lose touch with the emotions and struggles that the GRT are going through while they’re participating in the event. I promised myself that I would do at least one event per year just to kind of keep my roots and understand what everyone’s going through in these events. I don’t lose focus about what they’re going through and that sort of things. I’ve exceeded that one event per year thing and it’s easy to do, because we all know how fun it is.
Brian: Absolutely. Speaking of being a cadre for GORUCK and running events, what are your favorite events to run?
Cadre Roony: My favorite events to run. I’d say just the standard tough is a lot of fun. I think the ones that I get the most out of believe it or not, is the lights, because you get a lot of people who are kind of dipping their toe into the GORUCK pond and they’re not sure what it’s about. They’re not sure about their ability level and if they can do it. When you show them their ability and that they can do it and that light bulb goes on over their head, that’s when it’s really rewarding.
You see that in all the events, but at the light you have a much broader base of ability level for this level and that sort of thing and when you show people the value of teamwork and DFQ and that sort of thing and show them what they have inside, maybe you like that, they realize at that point there’s probaBriany a bunch of other stuff that they’ve never tried or even thought about attempting, because they’re always believed that they haven’t had the ability and now they realize that, “You know what? Maybe I do have the ability and what else can I do that I never I could do?” That’s what’s really awesome for me.
Brian: That is awesome.
Cadre Roony: Scavengers of course are a lot of fun too.
Brian: Yeah, you can’t go wrong with those.
Cadre Roony: No, absolutely not.
Brian: All GORUCK Special Operations Cadre clearly need to have a military background. Can you elaborate a little bit on yours?
Cadre Roony: Absolutely. I did eight years active duty. Had seven deployments, one to Iraq, the rest are all with Afghanistan. Served in various roles and capacity as well as part of the regiment the last four years, I was in a Regimental Reconnaissance Company, 6-man reconnaissance team and that was some of the best memories I have from my time on act of duty.
Got off act of duty in 2012, moved from Fort Benning back to Wisconsin. Moved back and just kind of took a break from military. Really missed the brotherhood and camaraderie and shared sense of purpose that the military offered and end up joining the Wisconsin National Guard, and I’ve been in the National Guard for almost three years now. Currently a platoon sergeant, I was light infantry company air platoon and recently we were activated. I was actually in Chicago getting ready to start the 9/11 heavy. I received a phone call, it said, “Hey, you are effectively on orders for Hurricane Irma release. I need you to report tomorrow morning at 8:00.” I’m like, “Well, I’m in Chicago. I’m running this thing. I can’t get back till Sunday.”
They decided to let me report on Sunday. I worked with Cadre Chad, ran the heavy then ran the tough. Put on a pretty good welcome party for those guys and then went straight from North Avenue Beach back home and grabbed my gear and reported in to the unit. We deployed down to Florida and we’re down there for just over a week and helped out the people down there. Get back up on their feet, recover from Hurricane Irma. Got back here to something — Monday, was it? Sunday. Yeah, I got watch Packers. I got back on Sunday. Got back on Snowdrop again.
Brian: That’s wild. That’s truly amazing.
Cadre Roony: Yeah, it was a pretty busy 10 days.
Brian: I’m sure.
Cadre Roony: Yeah. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t like it, and I definitely have a sense of serving, helping out the community and just being part or something that’s bigger than me. That’s what service is for me.
Brian: thank you so much for both your service and for continuing to serve. Let’s talk a little bit about your custom event, Snowdrop. Where did the idea for Snowdrop come from?
Cadre Roony: When I first became a cadre, I wanted to do every event I could. I wanted to get out there and meet as many people as possiBriane, but I also wanted to kind of showcase the area that I live in Wisconsin. It’s a great community. Tons of stuff to do here, and I think it’s a great city to host events. I decided I wanted to do a custom here just to kind of bring people here and maybe bring up some interest in the community in GORUCK.
If I was going to do that, why not try to raise some money? The local police department was really involved with Snowdrop Foundation, which is a pediatric cancer nonprofit and I was like, “You know what? I don’t know what I would ever do if I found out that my boys had cancer, and I hope I never find out that I want do everything I can to help the families and the kids that are suffering because of it.”
I put Snowdrop as the benefactor and ran the first event three years ago, so 2015 it would have been. We raised just under a thousand bucks. Didn’t have huge numbers. Didn’t have a lot of third party if you will fundraising going on. We covered the cost and raised a little bit of money. As I gained experience and kind of looked at other customers to see what they were doing, the ideas started to populate in my head, if you will. Last year we did the second Snowdrop and we were aBriane to raise just under 8,000 and that was the large part to efforts of GRTs that wanted to help contribute.
We raised money to get a Pikachu costume. We raised money to get me to wear a Chicago Bears jersey after the event at the post-event party, which was humiliating.
Brian: They must have raised a lot for that.
Cadre Roony: Yeah, they did. They actually raised enough money that need to participate in the Joe Warner Bragg Heavy, and unfortunately for fellows that helped get me to that level, I wasn’t aBriane to participate last year, because I had to work an event. I still owe the community a Joe Warner appearance. That is still on the taBriane. I don’t know if I can commit to this year or not, but we’ll see.
This year, instead of just doing a light, we added in a tough and a scavenger. We are on phase right now to come in right around 10 grand after all the classes are covered for planning the event, etc.
Cadre Roony: Yeah. We’re on phase for 10 grand and a lot of that, again, is due to the efforts of the GRTs that have helped me with creating raffles. I think I’m going to be carrying a big concrete yellow crayon during the event and sort of a Pikachu costume. What else? Something else — Yeah, we’re doing a big raffle for calling it the UberRuck. The raffle is going to be fore a GR1 that comes with donated Shadow Tactical frame sheet from Ruck Customs. A donated Shaddox Tactical plate pouch. Some company, All Day Ruckoff donated a ruck handle as well as some patches and a tac-hat. It’s all going to go into this UberRuck raffle and got a bunch of other stuff that we’re going to all pull winners for after the Ruck.
Brian: Speaking of the location for the event, this occurs in Appleton, Wisconsin. That’s correct?
Cadre Roony: Yup, that’s right. The Appleton area is called The Fox Valley, and there’s some cities that comprise the Fox Valley. Appleton is kind of the hub and everything branches off of it. First year, we did it on east side of Appleton. Last year we did it in a town called Kimberley. This year we’re going back to Appleton, but we’re going to cover different terrains.
We’re going to have it in Appleton or the Fox Valley. We’re going to explore different areas every year so that people aren’t seeing the same old stuff every time they come here. Got a lot of repeat offenders that have done every event coming back, so just want to give them a different taste of the area every time they come.
Brian: For those who aren’t familiar with Wisconsin, Appleton is not the biggest city. It’s not the destination city for Wisconsin. It’s pretty exciting that all of these people are traveling in to Appleton just for your event.
Cadre Roony: Yeah. Last year we had people from Phoenix, New York City and all the big cities in the Midwest, so Minneapolis, St. Paul, Iowa. We had some folks coming from Iowa, Chicago of course, as well as Milwaukee, Indianapolis. The Team Ninja crew showed up in fourth last year. They’re coming back. Got some representatives from the Cleveland area rucking crew coming in. The same standard folks from the Minnesota Ruck Club are coming. We got gentleman coming from New York City another one coming from Alabama. The very first person to sign up for the event, all three events, he’s coming from Japan. I think it’s pretty badass, but there’s somebody that’s going to travel to Appleton, Wisconsin from Japan to help raise money for Snowdrop Foundation and have a good time as GRTs know how to do.
Brian: That’s amazing. That’s quite the trip.
Cadre Roony: Yeah, definitely. It’s hard to do, but kind of left me speechless that someone would do all that to support and help raise money for Snowdrop Foundation.
Brian: After you completed the first Snowdrop event back in 2015, did you know that you wanted to make this a yearly series, or did it take some time before you realized you wanted to bring it back again year over year?
Cadre Roony: After the initial event kind of took a week to let it all try to sync in and did a lot of looking back, “Hey, what could we have done better?” and got a lot of feedback from GRTs that have completed it. As I’ve said, I was a pretty new cadre at the time. Really, kind of a baptism by fire, if you will, and took a lot of the suggestions part and really started to get the wheels turning for how can we do it better next time, because I know we could definitely Brianow it out of the water.
About a month after the first one was over, I reached back out to my contacts at Snowdrop, I’m like, “Okay. I want to do this again and I want to do it better.” After last year’s success, and the feedback I got, it become evident to me that it needed to be a yearly thing.
Brian: Very nice. Speaking of this year now, what are you most excited for about this event this coming year?
Cadre Roony: I’m excited for the tough, because it will be the first time there’s been a tough in Appleton. There’s lots of varying terrain and, of course, water with the Fox River running right through the city. I think the thing that I’m most excited about is the fact that we’d be playing knocker ball during the light. Do ever seen those guys trying to playing soccer while they’re inside those big rear bubBrianes? We’re going to be integrating that into the light and some former fashion. Should have some pretty good pictures and video footage from that.
Cadre Roony: Then of course the scavenger. The scavenger will be fun as well.
Brian: Very cool. The tough is Friday night, which is going to be October 6th. The light is Saturday during the day and the scavenger is the following day?
Cadre Roony: and then Sunday morning we’ll go and get our amulets and Brianoody Mary’s.
Brian: Sounds perfect. Sounds like the ideal GRT weekend.
Cadre Roony: Yeah, absolutely. Some people that are coming in the day early, going to take them out to good old Wisconsin supper club, show them what that’s all about. Show them what a real old fashion tastes like. Maybe teach them how to play bar dice or something like that. The idea is I just want to get people a real good taste of the culture and the people that basically I grew up with and grew up around. I think the people here are like the salt of the earth and know how to work hard and play hard and that’s what it’s all about.
Brian: I love it. That’s awesome. Do you think spotted cow is going to make an appearance here?
Cadre Roony: Spotted cow is always an integral part for Snowdrop. One way or the other way, spotted cow is going to get worked in the event.
Brian: Perfect. I have to thank you for getting Cadre Danny Stokes to pick up spotted cow and bring it back to Seattle, because I was aBriane to enjoy some of it down at his house and usually I only get it on my trips back to Wisconsin. It was quite the treat. Thank you, Roony.
Cadre Roony: Yes, you’re welcome. I wasn’t aBriane to meet up with him in St. Paul for the capital tour. I was a military course and I had some people bring in some spotted cow and I wasn’t there and they gave it to him and it’s made its way in your hands. It sure was a welcome treat for you.
Brian: Sure was. Is there anything else that you want to promote about the Snowdrop 2017 event?
Cadre Roony: The biggest thing that I just want to say regarding Snowdrop is thank you to the community for all your support. Thank you to the GRTs that give up some of their free time to help me out with the fundraising efforts and all of them that travel to come do this event. A big thank you to all the companies and folks that donate product, like All Day Ruckoff and Shaddox Tactical and Ruck Essence helping put together pretty awesome raffle package to raise money. Snowdrop won’t be anything without the community and the people that pitch in to give me a hand with setting it up and running it. Just a big thank you to everybody.
Brian: I can say at least from All Day Ruckoff, I’m more than happy to support in any way I can. I’m sure the other companies feel the same way too. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to support you, because we appreciate that.
Cadre Roony: Absolutely, man. Appreciate you having me on here to promote Snowdrop.
Brian: Absolutely. Thank you, Cadre Roony, for taking the time to talk with me about your military experience, how you found GORUCK, your GORUCK experience and this incrediBriane custom event that you’ve set up and run for the 3rd year now in Appleton, Wisconsin. Thank you for taking the time. I know you’re an incrediBriany busy guy and I truly appreciate this.
Cadre Roony: Thanks a lot for having me. I appreciate you giving me a platform and, as always, rangers lead the way.