Apr 20, 2021
Riding Shotgun With
Wilder things have happened. Snow in Tennessee isn’t something that happens often. Unless I’m driving down. Despite nearly every place being closed and many Tennesseans not having experience driving in the snow, I was able to meet Hickok45 for breakfast before we filmed the show! Whew!
We’ve all been watching Hickok45 for years and he’s the nicest man around. He’s been a school teacher for years, which we share in common. We drove by where he used to teach. He took a break from teaching and he had another career that he can’t talk about, unless he kills you, of course. Then he went back to teaching in the 1990’s.
He’s been a shooter since he was a young boy. He used to go shooting with his dad’s old .22 rifle and a pocket full of ammo and that’s when he got the shooting bug.
He started the YouTube channel back in 2007 when most people posted cat videos. He did a video shooting through his Honda Element’s open doors in the very early days. Then he moved to shooting watermelons and pumpkins. While teaching a lesson on “Shane”, Hickok45 made a video using a Colt Single Action for his students to show them the firearms of the old West. Hickok’s son, John, decided making shooting videos would be cool and it would give them something to do for fun.
The Hickok’s bought the land specifically for shooting in the backyard where they have their home range. When they started the YouTube channel, they had no idea what could become of this side hustle. They just used their guns and made some review videos. People watched them and kept subscribing so they kept making videos. They did learn to edit and work in video but their approach is very natural and not ‘5th Avenue slick’. Right how, his channel has 6 MILLION subscribers! Hickok45 and his son have turned this into a full time gig.
We drive from the Cracker Barrel in Nashville to Franklin and encounter some snow and some other drivers, even from New York, that can’t drive in the snow very well. We hopped out of the car in downtown Franklin for a selfie at a memorial THe Battle of Franklin. Hickok also brings up some of the formats of podcasters like Adam Carolla and Joe Rogan. He says you really get a feel for someone in those types of interviews. I was able to share my story and connection to Adam Carolla, as well.
We also share some stories about when ‘worlds collide’ and there was some crossover between teaching and making YouTube videos. After having sponsors seeking them out, they had to decide which fork in the road to take. On his last day of teaching, he presented awards at school, then headed to Philadelphia with John to give a speech.
Hickok45 also shares a story about meeting Massad Ayoob. He’s been a reader and followers of Mas for years. And he was a little nervous to meet Mas and say hello to him. But of course, Mas knew who he was. That helps Hickok keep things in perspective when he meets his fans.
Hickok45 doesn’t really do interviews. I’m honored that he took the time to hop in the stagecoach and come Riding Shotgun. We were able to navigate through the snow and get back to where we started.
“We mainly just brought the camera outside and filmed what we were already doing.”
“Everything is so scripted. You and I, we don’t know what we’re going to talk about.”
“We don’t have a lot of advice really. (for starting a YouTube channel). Do something you like.”
“Mainly, I’m a shooter. I really enjoy firearms.”
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