Hunters HD Gold is the Official Eye Wear of USPSA and Steel Challenge anecdotally I have seen their eyewear showing up all over competition shooting starting with where I first saw them at the PCC and Rimfire Championships. If you are aware of Hunters HD Gold odds are you have met my guest Brian Conley.
Speaker 1: [inaudible].
Speaker 2: Hey everybody, and welcome back to the Cindy cast on this episode we’ve got Brian Connolly from hunter’s HD gold. They’re the official eyewear of USPSA and still challenged. And anecdotally I’ve been seeing their eyewear showing up all over competition shooting, starting with where I saw them first at the piece of seat and rimfire championships. If you’re aware of hunter’s HC gold, odds are you’ve met Brian.
Speaker 3: He’s joining us now. How are you doing Brian? Hey, what’s going on? Gosh, it’s been a, it’s been too long since we’ve been in the dirt together. It’s been over a year at this point. It has and I’m have not been back to, um, where we met and um, it, Lucas all arranged so far yet this year. That was a pretty long ago. Yeah. I mean, just to be straight, I don’t think anybody has, I mean, I went there twice last year, so I’m not missing, I logged 21 days in that house last year. Well, I never got the pleasure of I’m staying in the house. I had to drive to Warsaw every day, so I got it. Yeah, it’s um,
Speaker 4: I, oh, sorry. I got my dog, Lucy here. Who is going to come here? Cool. Get in there. You’re going to take a little break. Come on. Oh, you’re all over my stuff and we’re going to have to drop an edit in here. You’re working loose Kendall up. There you go. All. Alright. She is a
Speaker 3: business associate and my secret lover, but um, she’s a pain in the ass sometimes. All right, so here we go. So yeah, you know, Lucas, um, it’s an interesting thing. They, um, you know, I was involved. So last year I was involved with um, strategic mash design and a couple of other companies that were doing major events and um, I got into it on the, well they wanted me to do media, which translated to, would you also do our prize tables? Wow. Yeah. So I did six last year and um, and then, you know, and it was, I learned a ton. It was totally worth the, the mental exercise. And at the same time, I don’t think you’ll see me doing that again. I can understand that. I actually had to, um, had the joy of walking a prize table for somebody this year when they weren’t gonna be able to walk it.
Speaker 3: And I decided that was the first and last time I want to do that as well. So yeah, I definitely have my, I want to talk about prices with you a little bit cause you guys have been really gracious, but you also have kind of a spin on that that I really like. Um, so then we can talk about a little bit later in the cast as we get deeper into, um, hunter’s ht gold specifically. But tell me before we do that a little bit about you, like you started out in insurance, is that what I’ve, I’m gathering, I’ve been in retail management since I was, um, 21. Okay. And I, I’m 48 now. Got It. I used to tell everybody I sold everything buddy insurance back. And then I had a friend of mine who was, um, owned an insurance company and he says, Hey, well go get your, go get your license and everything and this and this. He had a
Speaker 5: practice. He was starting up an insurance. I was like, well sure, why not? So 50 exams to the hardest test. I still keep those. I’m insurance licensed current today. He’d taking the ced seat CD be correct. Can’t talk, taking the credits every two years to keep my license current in the state of Alabama. So I’ve got a backup plan. If I ever got to go back and sell insurance, I’m not going to lose my license cause I think now they’re requiring a lot more to get your license and insurance, everything else. So every couple of years I walked back into a classroom and take eight hours of credits and um, fulfill those. But based on how everything is going now, I don’t really think I’m gonna have to go back down that path. And You Thompson know you guys are having a great run and uh, well so tell me like how do you go from now you, you were born and raised in Alabama, right?
Speaker 5: Yeah, I was born in Tuscaloosa and in 92, um, moved up in Birmingham. I had been in Birmingham area every since. And, um, you know, I got, you know, like I said, I went to school and, um, at the university and, um, when in criminal justice and had a path set there for me but never really finished. Once I get into retail sales, um, got a call from the local police department that I was gonna go work for. And um, they tell me my starting salary, I think back there was going to be 16, five, and at that time in retail management as a young manager at 21 years old, I’d made I think 30 something thousand dollars. So I might’ve, I made a commitment in our decision and saying, well, I’m not gonna, um, turn around and look back. I can make this much more money and not get shot at.
Speaker 5: And, um, then that’s kind of the path that shows every since I got that. And I would, I would imagine there’s more than one human being that made that calculation in their lifetime between laundry is one of those things that, um, I’ve never been in a situation where I haven’t had gainful employment based on being in that kind of environment. Had to change jobs a lot because in retail management, the way you may got a pay raise was getting recruited by somebody else certain or changing in a career path to sell something different. So, um, lots of, um, lots of training through that, through the years being able to go from different positions. I’ve managed and sold everything from, um, let me see, you know, video contents backward guy started in 92 selling big springs and camcorders and after five years that company closed up, they wrote about Tandy Corporation went to go manage your radio check and then I didn’t like selling the parts that made the big screens when I was selling the big screen.
Speaker 5: So I got out of that and went to another type of sales. But I’ve managed everything from targets to the best buys to being in the wireless industry for multiple years. And then, um, then I was in of course like we just talked about selling them insurance with a, um, insurance agency. And then, um, my current wife’s ex husband at the time, you know, called me about wanting to do their marketing and, um, stuff for the lab that I worked for now. Yeah. And, um, that was kind of an interesting blend, but we had a great working relationship and, um, started doing marketing in the lab business. So I went from the selling retail to, I’m talking directly to ophthalmologist, not Tom Matricis about how to, um, improve their sales in their field and quote unquote selling the accessories that were up. Because in the optical world, the essential, these are, you know, ars photochromics colors, tans, anything, you know, something besides just the normal thing that insurance is going to cover.
Speaker 5: And I did that for four years and then, um, got involved with, um, I’m all over the place. But then I got involved with, um, two other friends that were, one was a Napkin kinda strain. One was an older gentleman that I’ve known forever or 15 years now that was in the wireless industry. And we went together and bought some hunting property. And that was in back in, um, 2013. Um, place called triple forks hunting. We do executive hunts and stuff like that. So I had all these tools at the lab and I wanted to make myself a hunting lands and I wanted to, you know, something to enhance my hunting, you know, for what I was doing. Cause I had, um, prescription outwear and I kinda had all the, all the fun toys to play with at the lab to design something. And that’s Kinda, you know, the beginnings of where I’ve got, you know, where I am now.
Speaker 5: So it really cool. So that’s optical prescription lab, which is the, the lab, correct? That’s correct. And incorrect. Triple fork hunting LLC was something you created in 2013 it looks like. Yup. Yup. That’s correct. And that’s where we basically, we didn’t just want anybody with a hunting license and you know, a gun to come hunt. We wanted to open it up to corporations or a place for them to bring their employees and um, and really have a place to, you know, bond and um, team build based on the, you know, you know, to build the relationships with either their clients or their employees and works extremely well. And one of my business partners is still running that more. I’m not running it as much based on where hundreds HD go does that now. So I’m lane is really stepped up and made a difference for that, keeping it going on the side.
Speaker 5: So cool. I’m always curious about something. So you’re, you’re, I mean at this point, whether you intended to or not, you’re heavily involved in the firearms industry. Um, and so, well you’re not selling guns. You’re definitely directly marketing to that group with both the hunting and the, the, the hunters HD gold. So did you grow up with guns? Did you, how’d you fall out? This is, my dad had guns and um, we always use, I mean, we used to only brought them out. Usually when we traveled, it was kind of the time he put the gun in the, you know, in the trunk. And we traveled to Texas to see his family and my mom’s family in Fort Worth, you know, Dallas area. And that’s how I remember about growing up with the guns that don’t really have the history of out shooting guns myself. I just remember my dad would always take guns out there and trade with some relatives and stuff like that. Um, October of 2011, my, um, father passed away and we stayed with him the last two years of his life. I’m helping him. He died of, um, cancer and he was in a situation where, um,
Speaker 1: yeah,
Speaker 5: that’s where I inherited, you know, seven guns that he wanted me to have guns. You know, why? Um, grandfather was the mayor of, um, Bessemer, Alabama for 18 years. So he had these guns that bought a shot, guns and um, all these 11 Remington, 11 hundreds that were, um, back from the fifties and sixties. And how all these pictures with, um, local, um, celebrities, we’ll call it the, um, bear Bryant’s and stuff like that of shooting these guns and out shooting together and doing a bunch of ’em dog hunting and stuff. So there’s a lot of history with these guns that I inherited. And that’s Kinda what got everything started. Cause every time I look at sharing, we’re talking or something, I always like, you know, you realize your fathers, you know, started this back in 2011, just had no idea where I was going to go. Yes.
Speaker 5: So that kind of got me involved in, you know, collecting guns and um, and getting started there in 2011. And that’s what caused me that, you know, back here in the, um, previous presidency where I was wanting to say anyway, he bought some property and, you know, I have a place to shoot this and train and you know, hot and, you know, and everything else that was being, you know, jeopardize back in the, um, the 2000, you know, late 2000. Yup. Years of that. And, um, that’s kind of where everything got started. And then when I actually had a gentleman, when we were building the lake at, um, triple forks hunting and, um, had a gentleman, Marketo bulldozer, it, it was moving dirt for the lake and he comes up to me and goes, hey, I need you to get me some more of this wasp spray.
Speaker 5: Um, that looks like it’s in Pelham, Alabama. And I was like going, Huh, it’s in my backyard. Sure. I go and look into it. Yeah. And, um, so I took this can, it was, um, kind of rainbow wasp spray. So I took it to the building and um, had to be buzzed in. They weren’t open to the public and I was like, I walked to the door and I was like, Hey, I want to buy this wash spray. And I’m like, well, we really don’t sell to the public, but hold on one second. And they went back in the back and then gentleman came out and he was like, where’d you hear about this? And I want it just to go on a bulldozer and I’m no, Port Alabama handed it to me and said, you know, come get some. He goes, well, we really don’t.
Speaker 5: Some of the public, you know, but, but however, you know, here’s the icing on the land of Basaam and you know, so forth and I’ll let my business card with you before it’s hunting. And he gave me his, um, and um, I went off on my merry way and went online and ordered some. And um, then about, yes, about a week later, if not yet, not that long. Um, the one of the owners of Rainbow Technologies, Larry Joe steely junior called me up and says, you know, hey, I see that you have a hunting camp and, um, so forth and tell me about that. When did that process, and he actually booked a hunt with his brother and one of his employees to come out there during hunting season. And then, um, we become a cane. You know, Franz went after, did the hunt together in the early fall, late fall season when the hunting season was starting.
Speaker 5: And, um, he saw the lenses there that I had used. I’d made up some just some demo stuff there as you want to use tested with, um, you know, people that were coming to hunt. I’d already was testing the lens with some game wardens, stuff like that. You know, just trying to get their feedback and stuff cause I was made a lens that, you know, allowed me to see a lot earlier in the mornings to hunt and in the state of Alabama hunting hours of defined 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset. These were actually bringing in enough light to be able to hunt during those hours when it’s pretty dark. So having the hunting property, I’d already made friends with a bunch of the game wardens cause I wanted them to be, you know, the places, two hours from where I live. So I always wanted them around the property to be able to keep watching what was going on and gave them full rights to come out there anytime they wanted to.
Speaker 5: They saw some suspicious, you know, come hang out at the place and you know, using this, it’s kind of your home base. So that met Larry and Larry come out there and did a hunt and he got me involved in them. He goes, you ever do any competitive shooting or anything? And I was like, no. And um, he was doing cowboy action shooting and not a time slap, you know, single action shooting to Saudi SAS. And he got me involved in that and I was pretty intrigued cause I always, you know, like I said, I was collecting guns that look like this was going to give me another reason to, um, to buy some more guns, which I was all about. So got my cowboy outfits together and um, we got me at, um, an 1873 navy arms of Winchester that had been ridden and um, couple of Ruger voke heroes that we’d set off to have tripped out.
Speaker 5: Um, stoker double barrel shotgun and I wish you can. Cowboy action shooting was a blast. And I’ve had these lenses I’ve made there and I’m using them. And couple of locals there were like, what are you wearing? It’s awesome. And made Larry Joe some of course, and he was all about it. And Larry Joe steely, if you don’t recognize that name, he’s the gentleman that now alone still target paint. Oh Man. That’s the correlation there. This is before still target pink was even created. Yes. So if this time, you know, he was telling me, you know, I’m thinking about making a paint for the steel targets, he saw a need there. And um, the locals were all kind of intrigued about what I’d done with these. Lindsay goes, I really think you got something here. You gotta to see what you can do with it. And I started getting more intrigued cause I was already, I was kind of, you know, thought about going down the hunting road and I was doing a couple of, I didn’t do any shows.
Speaker 5: I was visiting a couple of ’em, you know, directs expos and stuff like that. Just trying to see what was going on and made it a couple of visits to shot show with, um, some of my friends that start arms, they’re hearing best from Alabama, about 20 minutes away and became good friends with them. So I was, you know, intrigued in what was really happening around the lands and what kind of feedback I was going to get. So I went to shot show a couple of years before it was, um, anything just to see if anybody was offering something I’d already created in the lab and make sure I wasn’t walking into something that was already there. So why create something that somebody else is already putting out there? And there’s already a market that’s already been exposed to it.
Speaker 5: Um, come to find out there was nobody that was putting a traffic’s lands together with a photochromatic combination. And, um, so I was even more intrigued to see where this would really go. And then I guess about a year later, Larry Joe Staley Jr was running, you know, had his thing going with still target paint. And he had called me up and says, I think I found a way pressed again and the competitive shooting, I was like, what do you mean? You know, everybody, you know, Sass already knows about it locally. You talked about something that goes, no, no, I think it’s something bigger. Even with this thing called steel challenge. He goes, he had met a, he had met a competitive shooter named Steve Foster out of Georgia and was thinking about putting a team together. And um,
Speaker 1: okay,
Speaker 5: he asked me if I wanted to, um, sponsor the team. I was like, well sure, what does that, what do you want? What do you want to do? He goes, well, I’m just very, we put them all in hunters, HD gold. Well I’ll put a Jersey together and we’ll get your, you know, logo on the Jersey. And I said, sure, why not? Sounds great. And um, that’s Kinda how I got involved with, um, steel challenge. Really cool. Wow. Oh my goodness. An interesting, you know, why do you get into it? Cause I had no idea what I was doing and I was, you know, I knew what I was doing on the land side, but I had no idea what the, um, competitive shooters of steel challenged was. I knew about Calloway shooting cause I’ve been doing that for about, you know, six or eight months, you know, once or twice a weekend.
Speaker 5: And I had a lot of fun with that. I didn’t really think it was going to go much farther. And I was focused on the hunting side. So we were already testing a lot of products at triple forks hunting. I was obtained up with, um, Pradco, they’re here in Birmingham as well and they all, they all Moultrie summit on tree stands Code Blue Night and hell game calls a lot of other brands. Yeah, I had come pretty close with veil and still close with them. Today. I’m testing their products out in the field and I’m had a lot of those guys, you know, helping me. Um, did some testing with hunters HD going and having some other avenues with on the hunting side. You know, with, I’m trying to get a hundred HD go to see what kind of um,
Speaker 5: way I could break into the industry. You kind of see what that looks like with my, with my lenses, but I’m meeting, I’m stay, you foster kinda change that entire direction. I kind of told the hunters I’ll be back with you later. This is something that’s really happening now. And Steve Foster had actually told me that um, he was always finished in second and third and once he got a hold of the 160 go and he was actually finishing first, that’s the only thing he changed. Found that kind of, you know, intriguing because I didn’t realize, you know what, I was really opening up to the competitive shooters to find them a shooting at vantage. I knew we had one in cowboy action shooting, but the targets are a lot closer and there’s not much distance involved. It was just about more of transitioning and being able to work a leap or action and reloading your shotgun fast regardless,
Speaker 3: regardless of the platform, regardless of the game. I think Jerry Mitchell, he says it best is like you can see it fast, you can shoot it fast.
Speaker 5: Yup. And that’s what [inaudible] when we were thinking about slogans, we were going through that, my wife and um, we were going back and forth cause one of the things she said is you can only shoot as fast as you can. See that’s what it is. That’s what it is. She always wants to put something together with the lenses being able to change in the eye. And she actually came up with a slogan as well. They changed so you don’t have to. So that was kind of, you know, that kind of told a story about you know, the land without, you know, getting too much into it just because I have a lot of people would still walk up to the tent today when I traveled and I go, what is this? They changed it. I’ll have to, and it just opens up the story. So it’s working real well.
Speaker 3: That’s really good. Well, okay, this is like, you just opened up like a bout a thousand conversations. Okay, good. So first thing I want to say is, is I’ve been, I’ve been in the firearms industry now for Ah, well, let’s see. I’ve been really engaged as a consumer for about seven or eight years now and I’ve been engaged as a service provider for let’s say five or six of those years. And I can’t tell you how many people stumble into their careers. Like I just was looking for something for myself that worked better. Alex gun works. Great example. That guy just wanted a gun that worked better for himself, made a gun work great, kept making him. Um, you know, I’m here, I hear this over and over and it’s really interesting to me how few people in the modern games are, um, on the gaming side of things.
Speaker 3: Uh, started with hunting and started a lot. I mean like, you know, you and I both grew up, like I didn’t grow up around guns and sound like you, you know, you had him in the House, dad had him, but no, it wasn’t like you grew up shooting every weekend or he lived on the farm shooting all the time. Um, and just how many people have like really who have really advanced the sports significantly come from like a whole different world of um, you know, uh, firearms used to saw post 18, you know, um, it’s fascinating. But let’s do this. I um, so when you were starting to develop this lens, so let’s just explain this to those who you know, I’ll give the simpleton. So for those of you who aren’t watching this on video or you’ve never seen 180 gold lens is a essentially a very bright yellow lens, not unlike what you’ve seen in inexpensive, um, lenses.
Speaker 3: Like, if you just saw somebody walking by, you know, you find that like you buy the three pack, there’s the smoke, there’s the red and there’s the yellow and you throw away the yellow and you take the smoke and the red with you out to the right, you know? Um, and so it looked kind of like that, but then you put them on and instead of it just liking everything, like super vivid and uncomfortable. Cause when I wear yellow lenses, I’m just like, I mean it’s just like I’m being assaulted by