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First Ride of the Season

This is the time of year when the temperatures start rising and the clouds start clearing. The sun goes down later, allowing for much more light in the day. For some people, this means that it is almost time for lake days and suntanning. For me, however, the turn of the season marks the start of riding season.

Over the winter I bought a few things for my Harley like a new battery and windshield. You had better believe I put them on and had my bike ready to go shortly after the temperatures rose above freezing! A few weeks ago the day finally came. The temperature hovered around 65 degrees and the bright sun made it almost hot out. Sending a quick rally call out to the boys, I didn’t hesitate pulling the bike out of the garage and suiting up.

The first time on a motorcycle for the season brings you back to the initial ride after you buy one. The throaty roar is enough to make anyone smile when it fires up immediately after a winter of waiting. Clicking down into first gear, I pulled back the clutch and re-familiarized myself with the controls. Revving the engine and dumping the clutch, I sent a shower of gravel behind me as I left my driveway sideways. Once I turned onto the highway, there was no holding back. Throttle taped, I slammed through each gear while the wind tried with all its might to blow me off the back of the bike. Every time I released the clutch after clicking up a gear, the motorcycle bucked and shot forward, with the gears progressively getting longer. In a matter of seconds I was at the top of fifth gear and still taped, speed limit long forgotten.

Before too long, thoughts of rationality poked through the euphoric haze of being on top of the world, and I slowed my roll to engage the throttle-lock cruise control at a decent speed. Meeting up with the rest of the boys, our formation picked up right where it left off last season, running a tight square two abreast and two behind. The rest of the evening we spent cruising the familiar streets and highways, just burning gas and enjoying every second of it. Parking the bike for the night, I couldn’t wait for the season to officially roll in. I don’t think I stopped smiling from the end of the ride until I fell asleep!

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A Foreign Money Concept

I have always had a different concept of money, work, and life in general from the majority of people. One thing that really brought these concepts out in me is reading. I have always enjoyed reading, but there was a certain point where my literature interests shifted from fiction to money and self-improvement books. “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki forever changed to way I viewed each dollar.

The majority of people only make money while they are clocked in at their job. This was always a problem for me, because I knew there had to be a way to make money every second of the day. I also became aware of the trap of the hourly wage. I know my own self worth, and I feel like I am worth more than just simply exchanging a hour of my time for a set wage of which my employer takes a percentage of. I have always believed in maximizing my efforts, therefore maximizing the return on my efforts. I will use a realtor as an example. A realtor sells a house and puts ten total hours into listing, showings, phone calls, and paperwork. He then receives a 5% commission on this $200,000 sale. His commission comes out to around $10,000. If you put this into an hourly wage perspective, he made $1,000 for every hour he put into selling this house. There is very few jobs that pay this much per hour in the world today! There is a story I like to tell a lot to people who can’t see that they are worth more than their job pays them.

A man is at work and his boss drives up to the office and parks a brand new sports car. The employee says to the boss, “That is an incredibly expensive and nice car!” The boss then says, “It sure is, and if you work as hard as possible, put in long hours, and do the best possible job your can, I will get a new one next year too!”

This story sums up the reason I have always wanted to start my own business. Owning a business, you directly reap the benefits of every second you put into growing and developing it. If you know your worth, why would you allow someone else to get paid for your time and efforts?

COVID-19: Strategic Window?

As we all know well, the Coronavirus is running rampant across the world currently. The virus is incredibly contagious and can be fatal in some people. This has led to unprecedented precautions, effectively changing society in a way never seen before. Economies are crashing, businesses are closing, and in many places whole states are being confined to their homes. More people than ever before are working from home or quarantining in their homes. For the world of marketing, this provides an incredibly large window of opportunity.

A window of opportunity is an instance where industries or businesses can take advantage of temporary changes for the good of their businesses. This particular strategic window is great for digital marketing. Just think, with immense amounts of people confined to their homes, where do they find solace? For the majority of cases, they turn to the internet. The internet is where digital marketing lives and breathes, and now more than ever companies are stepping up their marketing campaigns because of the sheer volume of impressions they can make on people. As any marketer knows, leading an impression to a click is a crucial task to selling or promoting a product, service, or idea. With so much free time, people are now more apt to click on ads and explore them further. The volume of potential clicks and impressions also brings down the cost of each individual click.

Do you have a business that could benefit from a massive increase in digital traffic and exposure? If so, what are you waiting for? If you can say yes to the first question and come out of these times without utilizing digital marketing, you did not lack time, you lacked discipline and proactivity. No one can say if these unprecedented times of confinement and internet usage will ever return in our lifetime. This is the absolute perfect opportunity to educate your audience on your brand, product, or vision, and it would be a travesty if you did not take advantage of it.

The Pandemic’s Students

COVID-19 has taken the world by a storm, affecting nearly everybody in some way. Here in South Dakota we haven’t been exempt from this. Even though our infection statistics are low compared to other places, our precautions reflect steps that have been taken in these high risk areas.

One of these precautions is transition from on-campus class to the online environment. This new development is less than ideal, albeit necessary. One of the great things about my college is the emphasis on hands-on learning and real world application. As one can imagine, it places a heavy burden on instructors to carry this type of learning online, and they have been doing everything in their power to continue providing worthy education.

As soon as we started online classes, it was a difficult adjustment. Personally, I enjoy going to class on campus and socializing with friends and instructors. When that aspect of school was taken away, it was kind of hard to accept it. However, now that classes have progressed awhile, myself and other students are getting used to it and the laborious challenge of finishing the semester online seems a little less daunting.

Life in the Bakken

The Bakken Oilfield is a region in North Dakota where oil is quite literally king. Last summer I spent time working there before my fall semester of college began, and it was an unforgettable experience.

I moved to the Bakken all by myself. Upon confirmation of a job there, I packed my stuff and made the 8 hour drive with no knowledge of the area and no friends or connections there. As many people know, oilfields pay high wages, but there is a reason for that. The climate is unforgiving, and the hours are insanely long. I worked as a rigger for a crane crew, and we did a number of things. From setting tank batteries to building and servicing pumping units, the majority of my time was spent on oil pumping locations. In the brief time while I was there, I had only one Sunday off. I worked 7 days a week and on average 85 -100 hours a week! I did not receive a single check in which I had less overtime hours than regular hours.

We would frequently start earlier, but normally I would wake up around 5:30 am and be at the shop by 6 am. Grabbing breakfast from any of the numerous gas stations in the area, we would be on the job site by 7. Sometimes jobs would take multiple days to complete, but more often then not we would do several jobs a day on different locations. Sometimes these pumping sites would be hours away from each other so we would have to rig up the crane and haul our other rigging equipment all over western North Dakota. This also meant we had to rig up and rig down the crane several times in a day, and that is a task that takes a lot of work! Many times we would end up hours away from the shop, so if we were home by 8 pm it was considered an early day. Each night I would get about 1-1.5 hours of personal time, which I would use to go grocery shopping or grab supper from town. After that, I had to be in bed to get enough sleep for the next day.

Working 7 days a week is kind of a strange but freeing concept. I started to lose track of the days and ditched the feeling of working for the weekend. At the end of my tour, I had no concept of Saturday and Sunday, because they were still simply working days, just like a Wednesday! Looking back at my time in the Bakken, it was the hardest I have ever worked in my life, yet I prospered in the rough oilfield lifestyle. It was incredibly hard to come back to South Dakota and readjust to shorter workdays and getting weekends off work. In my current position in life I have too much invested in my life here to move back, but I often miss beautiful sunrises and the stench of raw oil. The hard work and long hours may seem unbearable, once you live it for some time it becomes normal. The pay checks also make it worth it 100 times over!

Top 7 Underrated NHL Players

7. Mark Schiefele- The Winnipeg Jets heavily rely on Shiefele’s leadership and hockey ability every second he is on the ice. He nearly puts up a point per game, and his unique goals constantly find their way onto highlight reels across the country.

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6. Brock Nelson- Even though Brock Nelson’s career high stat-line only contains 53 points, the New York Islanders rely heavily on the dynamic skill and leadership he brings to the team. He leads the team in overtime game-winning goals, notching several during the 2019 playoff sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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5. Jake Guentzel- During the Penguins famous back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in 2016-2017, young players were forced to step up because of injuries to the teams starters. Guentzel was one of these players, and lead the team in playoff goals en route to the championship. He has since cemented his place on the first line, steadily producing even through Sidney Crosby’s lengthy periods on IR.

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4. Roman Josi- Over the past few years, Roman Josi has emerged as the Nashville Predators most consistent forward. Josi has notched nearly three times as many assists as goals, and his impact on his team’s success is apparent in every single game.

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3. Aleksander Barkov- The Florida Panthers are never rated as one of the best NHL teams, so Barkov never gets the recognition he get if played for a more renowned team. In reality, Barkov is a point-per-game player that excels on all 200 feet of ice.

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2. Leon Draisaitl- The past few years Draisaitl’s success has been mostly attributed to playing next to Connor McDavid, his incredible success while McDavid was injured proves that he is not simply a product of McDavid.

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  1. Evgeni Malkin- This Pittsburgh Penguins star forward is often overshadowed by Sidney Crosby, but has definitely sealed his place in the Hall of Fame. In 902 career games played, this Russian forward has notched 412 goals and 653 assists that accumulate to a whopping 1065 points!
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If It Flies, It Dies

Fall is by far my favorite season. The blistering heat of summer dies off, and the crisp air is perfect for hoodies and bonfires. Hockey season starts and most hunting seasons roll around. I look forward to duck hunting all year, and there is nothing more refreshing than watching the sun rise over a spread of decoys on opening morning. Unfortunately, many popular spots are well hunted out during later season, and you have to find fresh locations to set up.

Thanks to one of my hunting buddy’s religious scouting, we found a honey hole late season last year that had never been hunted due to its inaccessibility. Our hunting group is always up for a challenge, so we showed up at 4:00 AM to find a way in. We wanted to set up on a stock dam that was flooded for 100 yards all around it. The problem was that several deep ditches and dense cattail clusters in the way. Donning my headlight, I waded into the chest deep water and began clearing a path with a machete for our kayaks to get through. When the ditch got too deep, I would lay on the kayak and my friends would give it a boost through the cleared path. I then got off and shoved the kayak back to them. Holding onto a rope, I would pull them back across once they jumped on. Repeating this process three times, we finally were able to break through the reeds and wade to the island. It took us nearly three hours to just get out to the island, and we thought the hunt was blown because we didn’t get our spread set up until well past shooting light! Our hard work was not in vain, though, because we had one of our most successful hunts all season. We shot our 8-man limit of 48 ducks in two hours, and did not regret a second of the work we had to put in to get there.

House Framing

Before I got into the marketing field, I worked in the construction industry. My partner and I were both 17 when we framed our first house. There is something about the hard, honest work that is extremely satisfying. Watching a house appear from a barren patch of dirt and knowing it came from your efforts is an amazing feeling. People as a whole enjoy the concept of instant gratification, and framing definitely taps into that. With the sun beating down, it feels like you can never drink enough water and you will never be able to pull all the splinters out of your hands. However, when the sun goes down and you un-sling your tool belt, the fruits of the days labor are always apparent. Even as you are laying down in bed, it still seems as if the reverberating echoes of nail guns are still pounding in your ears and the omnipresent weight of your nail bags is still strung around your waist. Sleep comes easy to your weary body and you can rest easy, satisfied from a good days work. When the alarms wakes you before dawn and you are drinking coffee on the way to the job, your spirits have never been higher as you look forward to another great day under a brilliant sunrise.

Harleys and Highways

As soon as you get your drivers license, the highways open up to you and the feeling of freedom is amazing. You are the master of a machine, and the roads will take you to where ever you please. Once the novelty wore off for me, I always assumed that that unique connection with open highways would never again resurface; that is, until the summer of 2019.

That was the first time I moved out, and I ended up in a house with several friends near several others houses with several other friends. One day we all had an idea, and the idea came to fruition. We all wanted Harley-Davidson motorcycles. I found a great deal on a 2008 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 XL and as luck would have it, the five other boys all bought Sportsters as well. Now mind you, I had never even driven a motorcycle before the purchase but I caught on quick. The bikes were no cheap thing, but after the first few rides as a group there wasn’t one shred of buyer’s remorse from anybody!

There is something about rolling the highways with the boys on these powerful beasts that is absolutely indescribable. The roar from the engines and the wind rushing around you blocks out all other noise, and it almost seems as if your heart beats in rhythm with the pistons of the throaty engine. Riding tire-to-tire, one bad move could spell disaster, but strangely enough our unit moved as one, as if we could read each others minds and act accordingly. I’m pretty sure I put more miles on my bike that summer than my car, because if it was sunny and warm, I chose my bike over the car every time!

Mid-Winter Wishes

February has got to be one of the most brutal stages of winter. Temperatures drop below zero, the blowing snow bites deeper than ever, and warmth feels like a rare commodity. At this point, everyone’s mind drifts to summer, however far away it may seem.

Although ice hockey and snowboarding are my favorite winter activities, I still catch myself wishing that the lakes would melt and my snowboard would turn into a wake board. I can only dream about warm evenings out on the Wakesetter with the boys, veins still pumping with adrenaline from the wipe-out that was earned from the newest trick I was attempting. As the sun drops below the horizon, we load up the boat and throw the Yeti in the pickup. We fire up our motorcycles and give the engines a few revs for good measure before we swap out our shorts for damp jeans. Spinning the tires on the way out, we form a vanguard to accompany the boat home and our worries are nowhere to be seen under a brilliant summer sunset or heard in the roaring thunder from our pipes.

That’s all for today, hang in there because summer will be here before we know it!