Brad Scudder is an outdoors kind of guy. He grew up on a farm, but at 27 years old, he found himself spending 80 to 100 hours a week encased in concrete and glass as a corporate attorney. So he spent his weekends participating in tough, muddy 10-mile obstacles courses. He began to get ideas for his own obstacle course, a shorter one. He found suitable land on a horse farm and built clever, challenging obstacles every spare minute he had. Fifteen hundred people signed up for his first event. Four months later, he put his three-piece suit in mothballs and invited his friend, Wall Street lawyer Rob Dickens, to join him.
They soon were churning out 15 events a year. All-day affairs with a 3-mile “mud run” and obstacles such as:
- Rows of pull-up rings suspended over a large water pit
- A steep, 50-foot water slide into a deep pool of water
- A tall wall curving backwards at the top
- A 4-foot deep pool of muddy water to jump into and cross
- Rows of burning logs for participants to jump over
In addition, there is an award ceremony after each race, live music, food, beer, and products from their sponsors—all free to the runners.
Rugged Maniac now operates 30 events a year across the US and Canada with more than 150,000 participants. It is one of the most successful Shark Tank investment deals ever. Brad and Rob give due credit for their success to their investor, Mark Cuban.