Building for a Good Time: RJ and Ronnie Anderson

You know them as rising stars. Second-generation off-roaders, paying full price for every win on the short course track, wrenching and revving their way towards hall of fame status. But RJ and Ronnie Anderson aren’t just the bloody, sweaty, starry-eyed future of off-road racing.

They’re also a really good time.

Building for a Good Time: RJ and Ronnie Anderson

The Cooler Scooter

Dipping their toes into the viral-worthy side project years ago, the cooler scooter took a few prototypes to get right. But when they got the formula down, these scooters were the talk of the cul-de-sac, even inspiring some mass-produced imitators online. The brainchild of RJ’s lead fabricator Nick, the cooler scooter is a simple, potent trio: a Yeti 35 cooler, a custom chassis, and an impossibly small turbo engine unearthed from the depths of eBay. A trifecta of fun.

“Nick’s a very talented gearhead who is just redneck enough to think of something like this. He loves fishing, drinking beer, and making race cars go fast. The cooler is a summary of all of those passions.” – RJ Anderson

 

The Container Bar

Like many others, when COVID-19 lockdowns began in 2020, the Andersons found themselves getting a little bored. With off-road racing at a standstill, they needed something else to occupy their creative minds and suddenly-idle hands. With a pandemic “bubble” of fabricators, welders, and gearheads of all kinds, being cooped up with nothing to do didn’t last very long. 

The Container Bar at the river house was actually the second storage container bar the friend group built that summer. The first was at a friend’s place, where they happened to have a container on the property that they weren’t using. 

“It was a 40-foot container. We went the full nine — flooring, light fixtures, plumbing, fridges. By the time we were done, he had a full-service bar in his backyard. Then, later that summer, we started talking about a giant slide, and we thought back on the storage container. We decided to pull it off again, built into the slide structure.”

The Giant Slide

Stacked right on top of Container Bar #2 rests the Brothers’ pièce de la resistance: the giant water slide. Two stories high and big enough to accommodate an inflatable unicorn loaded up with friends, the giant slide has become a high-flying staple at the Anderson river house. It took six gearhead buds, eight long desert days, and countless guesstimated measurements to construct. But they all swear: it was totally worth it.

“The hardest part was absolutely the elements. We'd wake up super early to do as much as we could because, by midday, it was like 108 degrees outside. It's nearly impossible to weld and mix concrete in such intense heat. I was so smoked from working on it that I didn't even ride the thing the first weekend. But seeing how much fun everyone else had with it — priceless.”

The Shop Truck

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Another lesson that the pandemic taught the Andersons is the beauty of having a shop truck — it’s that project car that hangs out in the corner of your garage, waiting for a little free time to emerge in your schedule. A few years before the world shut down, for his 25th birthday, RJ’s dad gifted him the shop truck of his dreams: a 1966 Chevy pickup. The truck didn't really run. It needed a lot of work, but it was overall intact.

In a stroke of greasy genius garage luck, right as work on the shop truck started to pick up, short course racing regulators announced some rule changes. RJ competes in the Pro 2 class, which was going from an unlimited motor competition to more of a spec engine situation. This left RJ and his team with an engine that they weren’t sure what to do with. Selling it would be difficult in the new rules climate. They’d never get what it was worth. Nick the fabricator first posed the idea: what if they put it in the shop truck? 800 horses was a lot for a vintage pickup. A lot of fun.

“The sound of this truck alone is gonna be something insane because it'll sound exactly like our race trucks. So for someone to hear that going down the street, coming out of this patina-ed 1960s Chevy, they're gonna absolutely trip.”

To handle the race-ready levels of power under the hood, they needed maximum traction on the pavement. RJ called up BFGoodrichⓇ Tires to request the widest available size they made — a set of BFGoodrich® Tires  g-Force™ COMP-2™ tires fit the bill.

The Best Kind of Peer Pressure

The DIY glue that binds this crew and each of these wild side projects together is a joyful, collaborative spirit that just won’t quit. As strong in the off-season as it is on race days, it’s this spirit of yes-and and what-if that has made these off-road race teams so much more than just off-road race teams.

With the same passionate minds and skillful hands that they use to tirelessly chase down podium wins, RJ, Ronnie, and friends chase down crazy big ideas for crazy good times. Side-project to side-project, win to win, leap of friendship faith to leap of friendship faith, only the party gods know where the adrenaline-laced energy will lead them next. 

“We're absolutely guilty of encouraging each other and the people around us to step out of their comfort zone. It’s just so fun to watch! It’s the best kind of peer pressure. Getting my mom to go down the slide, for example, made all the supply money, all the planning, and all those long days by the river so, so worth it.”

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Mission: Push the Limits

So, what’s up next at the Anderson Compound? This July, the brothers and crew mounted a metal jump onto some empty fuel drums and started experimenting with their jet skis. The first runs weren’t as successful as they’d hoped, but this is not a towel-throwing kind of crew. Too determined to let anything become a complete fail if something isn’t working, they keep at it. 

Keep an eye on their YouTube channel for the footage of Mission: Jet Ski Jump flying into the W column soon.

“Whether it's racing, making videos, or engineering a great time at the river, I’m driven by incremental progress. It was what fueled me as a kid, too. I was always cheering the sports stars who were most improved instead of the ones who dominated every game. To go just a little bit bigger, push the limits, and bring the people around you along for the ride — that’s what I’m building for.”

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