• Wed. May 11th, 2022

WTF is FRA? The Origin Story of Free Range American

ByMary M. Ward

Mar 14, 2022

The best ideas are born in the mountains around a campfire, around a coffee, before or after a hunt, a fishing trip or a day of shooting with friends. American Free Range is no different. It’s a community of like-minded adventurers, born – it turns out – out of a love of archery and the shared therapeutic value of the outdoors.

On a recent episode from Black Rifle Cafe PodcastEvan Hafer, John Dudley and Michael R. Shea entered the origin story of ENG and mapped out the bright future of the project.

“It’s such a good episode because, with John, we have the whole genesis of American Free Range“, Hafer said.

Dudley, bow hunter, educator and owner of Nock on archerystarted ENG in 2018 with ex-Navy SEAL Andy Stumpf. After a moose hunt in British Columbia with Hafer, the founder and CEO of Black Rifle Coffee Company bought the young brand.

Andy Stumpf and John Dudley on the lineup. (Photo by Free Range American)

After a few iterations as a massive merch piece, podcast and lifestyle brand, Hafer, along with the team at coffee or diebrought in Shea to shoot ENG into a large-scale outdoor media with five main focus areas: hunting, fishing, shooting, survival and gear coverage.

ENGThe mission of is to inform, inspire, and entertain veterans and other freedom-loving Americans through stories, podcasts, and videos set in these worlds, as well as a general love of the outdoors.

“Andy was coming out of the military and he did some super awesome stuff,” Dudley said on the podcast. “He did CrossFit. He decided to fly jets; obtained certification on this subject. Wing-suited all over the world. jumped everywhere […] And I think he was looking for something else.

That thing was archery, and Dudley helped him practice. The two were filming in Dudley’s backyard one evening, and Dudley pushed Stumpf to do something with his diverse and impressive background. “You have to put what you do in front of people,” Dudley recalled telling her.

American Free Range
One of the first FRA bow hunts in British Columbia. (Photo by Free Range American)

Stumpf didn’t feel it. “Dude,” he said. “I’m just an American at large.”

“Well,” said Dudley. “It’s the brand. We. Our friends. That’s who we are. We are free Americans.

Hafer and the BRCC crew were part of this circle of friends. They hunted with Dudley and Stumpf in Oklahoma and again in British Columbia. Then, one summer, Hafer, Dudley and their friends Logan Stark and Trevor Thompson took a quick trip from DCBC headquarters in Salt Lake City to the Wasatch Front.

They rode in the elevated Thompson Tacoma and made coffee in the mountains. “After that, it all became a vision of Evan,” Dudley said. “You were like, ‘We have to do this for Black Rifle Coffee. It’s so therapeutic.

On the podcast, Hafer said that ENG “represents a lot of what’s going on in the business” as an expression of what he and BRCC co-owners Mat Best, Jarred Taylor, Stark and Richard Ryan love.

Evan Hafer with a handful of moose hearts in British Columbia. (Photo by Free Range American)

For example, Hafer had a traditional bow for a long time and used to shoot it into a target next to the first roaster BRCC – a target he made from burlap coffee sacks.

Baker Leavitt was always on me like, ‘You gotta shoot a compound. You have to shoot a complex. And I was like, ‘No, not really. I have no interest in that,” Hafer said. “But once I saw Andy shoot, I was like, ‘Damn. Andy picked it up. Maybe that’s cool.

Shortly thereafter, the DCRO sponsored Total archery challenge, and archery became the unofficial company sport. There are 3D targets at the Ranch in San Antonio for employees and guests to shoot. There is a full time bow technician in Salt Lake and archery targets in the parking lot. Climb onto the loading docks and the shots can exceed 100 meters.

A first version of Black Rifle Cafe Podcast has been called American Free Range. As it turned, Hafer and coffee or die editor Marty Skovlund Jr. hired Shea to create a website component.

American Free Range
Trevor Thompson at full draw. (Photo by Free Range American)

Shea has spent most of his life hunting, fishing and shooting as a writer, editor and video producer for magazines like Field and flow, Outdoor living, men’s diary, Unlimited ducks, and much more. Last year, he wrote a book about guns.

“My career,” he said on the podcast, “has been a way for me to just be in the field, hunting and fishing. In writing about the outdoors, I’ve participated in the outdoors So I knew Marty and I knew Black Rifle wanted to get into outside media, and obviously I liked you guys, so I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s do this.’

The public’s response to freerangeamerican.us has been incredibly positive and 2022 is looking bright. A new outdoors American Free Range the podcast is in the works and miles of video are currently being cut to launch a new YouTube page.

“We have a really special opportunity here with Black Rifle Coffee and with American Free Range,” Shea said on the podcast. “We have the advantage of authenticity and honesty.”

This article was originally published by Free Range American. Read more by Free Range American here.

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