By Aaron Waldron
Welcome to LiveRC's weekly column, "Talk-It-Up Tuesday!" Here we spend a little time talking with industry icons including racers, manufacturers, team managers, developers, promoters, and everyone in between! Sit back, relax, and go behind the scenes as we interview them all!
Cole Ogden may not yet be a household name across the U.S. racing scene, but he’s on his way. The 21-year-old from McDonough, GA, which is about a half hour southeast of Atlanta, has picked up both speed and industry-wide recognition over the last couple of years, gaining major sponsors and racking up impressive finishes in several major events across the country. He finished third behind TLR teammates Ryan Maifield and Dakotah Phend at the Alabama Manufacturer Shootout this year and made both finals at the ROAR Fuel Off-Road Nationals a couple of weeks ago, but while he may be getting closer to his dream of racing at the top level he’s still just having fun racing RC cars with his dad, Shane. This week’s Talk It Up Tuesday will give LiveRC’s audience a chance to get to know “The Ogden” a little bit better.
Aaron Waldron: How did you get started in radio control, and how long have you been racing?
Cole Ogden: I was first introduced to RC cars when I was six years old. My father gave me my first car, which was a Team Associated B3. I played around on my backyard track until I got comfortable with driving. My Dad and I then traveled to Dalton, GA to compete in my first race when I was 9. I've been racing here and there for 12 years, but I've actually been racing full-time since the middle of 2012.
AW: When did you decide to start taking racing more seriously?
CO: I started taking racing more seriously as soon as I graduated high school. I raced here and there throughout my teenage years but never thought it'd lead me anywhere. I've always known I enjoyed racing but it wasn't until I made the A-Main at a couple of big events that I thought I had what it took to get better.
AW: How long did it take to earn your first sponsorship? Who are some of the companies you’ve raced for? How long have you been with your current sponsors?
CO: I raced alongside my dad growing up, so I raced whatever he had at the time. I didn't really start gaining my own sponsors until I got better, around the end of 2011. I never wanted to reach out and get sponsored, I wanted companies to approach me. I raced for Murnan Modified Motors, VP/Powermaster, and Sweep Racing. I've always raced with TLR vehicles but I wasn’t sponsored by them until recently. I've been with TLR and JConcepts since January of this year, and REDS, Byrons, and Airtronics for two years now.
AW: What do you currently do for work? Is it difficult finding time to commit to practicing and racing?
CO: I currently work for Allan Vigil Ford, the largest ford dealer on the East Coast, where I'm a used car lot manager. It's not too difficult to find time to attend races when my boss is super cool about me racing. He does freak out when I'm not there though! Time for practice isn't too hard, my local track isn't but 15 minutes from me, so I can run up there and do some testing/practice whenever I need to.
AW: How do you explain to non-RC friends what you do?
CO: I normally explain it as racing supercross, but with a remote control car! Then they give me the “how fast does it go” question. Of course, I answer with “fast, but it's not about how fast it goes, it's how fast you get around the track!”
AW: What are your most proud racing moments? Where does making both Nationals A-Mains this year rank?
CO: I've got a couple. Making the finals at NEO this year was awesome, being that it was my first time ever going! Also, coming back from the IFMAR 1/8-Scale Worlds on a monday, then going to the Southern Nationals the following Thursday evening and winning both buggy and truggy was quite an accomplishment as well.
Being in both nationals finals this year is definitely an accomplishment and I'm proud of myself, it's just a bummer I had issues in both so I really didn't finish to my full potential. But I did finish both mains!
AW: Do you have any particular goals for your RC career?
CO: I do, and I feel like I'm working my way there. I'm able to make all the awesome events and do well at them. I'm super thankful for this due to the support of my sponsors! It would be nice to possibly work in the industry somehow, but for now, the goal is to attend the major events and make a name for myself. And win, of course!
AW: Who are some of the people that have helped you the most?
CO: My dad has always been there and has always helped me with racing. Everything I know today is from him. Jason Ruona, Mario Rossi, Marco Rossi, and Alex Pilson have also helped tremendously this past year and I couldn't thank them all enough for all they've done for me!
AW: What has it been like traveling around racing with your father?
CO: It's awesome. It's like the old days when I was a kid racing sportsman, except I'm better than him now and he still races but helps me out as well!
AW: What is your favorite track? Favorite big race? What about your favorite racing class?
CO: There are many tracks that I like. If I had to choose one, I'd choose Thornhill; it's huge, has huge jumps, and it’s wide open! My favorite race, without a doubt, is The Dirt Nitro Challenge. My favorite class is 1/8th scale nitro buggy - it's the premier class in racing, other than Mod 2wd Buggy!
AW: Do you primarily race 1/8-scale off-road, or do you dabble in any other types of RC racing?
CO: 1/8-scale off-road is what I primarily race. I'll race 1/10-scale sometimes, just because my dad has cars. But I'm going to try and start racing more 1/10th scale here soon!
AW: What do you think of the direction that 1/8-scale off-road racing has taken, with smoother and harder-packed tracks that are fast and technical versus loose dirt and lots of bumps?
CO: It's nothing bad. Technical tracks help make for better drivers, and smooth, hard-packed tracks make for closer racing. But then I still like those bumpy loose tracks sometimes too!
AW: What’s your favorite part of RC racing?
CO: My favorite part of racing would have to be when I help others and see that my help has worked and benefited others! I also like the time after a long race day when you go out and enjoy a nice meal with friends.
AW: What about RC racing annoys or bothers you?
CO: The thing that most annoys me is packing. I absolutely hate packing for races, I feel like I forget something every time I pack my RC gear or my clothes bag! I’ll get to the airport and think, “oh dang, what did I forget?!”
AW: Now that you’ve had a chance to travel around the country racing, how does the Southeastern scene differ from other places you’ve been?
CO: There are many differences. One big difference is that our tracks lack the size and elevation changes as others in different parts of the country. Another is our competition - I wish we had the competition here as they do out west. That's why I want to move out west somewhere!
AW: Thanks for the interview! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
CO: Thank you, and thanks to my sponsors for their support. I couldn't be where I'm at without them!