You are listening to the big Frig, my way of life podcast where we feature people living their passion. Amanda Lynn Mayhew. Uh, she’s kind of the Swiss army knife. You do a lot of everything.
Amanda Lynn (00:16):
Thank you and I have never been. Never been compared to a Swiss army knife before.
Is that a good or bad thing?
Amanda Lynn (00:22):
I think it’s good.
That’s really good.
Amanda Lynn (00:25):
I think it is versatile, diverse. You can use it in every situation.
I think back in the day, um, you know, people always said be great at one thing, just pick one thing and be great at it and I just think that’s changed and I think you’re the perfect example of that because you’ve got your hands in so many things and you’re good at all. You’re great at all of them.
Amanda Lynn (00:44):
So what you just said is so true. I used to have a fitness magazine and we can go through that later on, but when I had the fitness magazine, I was dabbling in some other areas of things that I really liked to do and the person, the partner in my life at the time was like, you know what, you should just concentrate on one thing and if you concentrate on that one thing, then that is the thing that will explode. Well, what ended up happening is vice versa. So I was concentrating on that one thing, but I intertwining all my marketing and different skills in that way to make that one thing go. The outdoors world came…came, became a career and a success instead. So I think that when people say concentrate on one thing, no, just do what you want, period.
If you have really bad ocd, I mean I do to an extent. I’m sure you do, but you have to…you have to adapt with change. So if your plan isn’t working that you initially set out, you kind of got to just let it play out and you just have to have an open mind. I personally, that’s what I found in my life.
Amanda Lynn (01:51):
I agree. Um, you, you change… everything changes. I mean, look at five years ago, we’re reading most magazines in our hands and now I can read most of them on the computer. Um, my background is marketing and advertising, so it’s everything. Everything that changes within technology, you have to find a different way to market that and promote that, endorsed that and, but you don’t want to do it the same as everyone else, so you, you, you, you got to keep trying to be innovative on your own. And that’s what I’ve tried to do. So I don’t really, um, bounce off of other people’s ideas. I take what I’m doing and I try to process it further, going with what my goal is and what is presented to me and therefore it’s clean, it’s creative and it’s my own.
Amanda, as part of the Big Frig Pro Staff and you know, from doing my research, she’s definitely a role model. So that had to begin somewhere. So let’s talk about your family.
Amanda Lynn (02:56):
The role model part, uh…I don’t know when exactly that started. It’s, it’s crazy and very flattering, but I’ve always hunted and fished my whole life. I was born and raised in northern Ontario. My Dad was an angler and a hunter and my mom was an angler and my grandfather was a moose and bear guide and he’s harvested over 100 moose and bear in the northern Ontario area. Growing up like in the sixties and seventies. And I just followed suit and I had three boys and I raised them the same way. It was…it was how we…how we lived and what we ate and to this point now. I mean we’ve never been really, um, even though being financially secure, we were never really like super wealthy. So we tried to cut costs as much as we could. And eating wild game was a way of doing that. So anything from partridge, fish, Moose bear, you bring down a moose, you have freezer meat in your freezer for a year, you know, and it’s healthy and it’s good for you and you know where it came from and it’s not going to get recalled, which is the biggest thing. And I was a single mom of three boys, so the best way for me to provide for them was the same way. And then I was…I was…how can I start? So I was diagnosed with graves’ disease in 1998 shortly after I had my third boy and I rolled into the fitness world because they were trying to pump medication down my throat in order to stabilize my thyroid. And I said No. So they cut most of it out, put me on a hormone supplements, and then I started going to the gym and I was just like pumping iron and getting strong and as healthy as I possibly could. And in the meantime I was paying attention to all these things that were around me. And this wasn’t. The Internet was just kind of kind of starting. So people that had issues like rare diseases and ailments like graves’ disease or fibromyalgia or whatever, they all…they all felt kind of like they were alone because it feels like without the Internet you are the only one and you don’t seem to realize what’s going on with other people because you don’t experience the same symptoms or the same struggles. So I developed a magazine called fitness fanatic and within that it was ad free. I had the ability and the path to communicate all my different passions and one of them was the outdoors. So I printed a hard copy magazine, uh, 11 months out of the year, 32 pages. I did the layout, the photography and modeling the editing.
Amanda Lynn (05:41):
My sister helped me with the editing. I have my girlfriend helped me with the photography. My mom sometimes did as well. I went and I pounded pavement on feet, finding the stories that they wanted to print in there that were about asthma, congenital heart disease, um, William Syndrome, progeria, all these things that you would never hear about it. And I would put that in the magazine. But then to give it like a fun, uplifting kind of, uh,,, all around feel I would talk about the outdoors and fishing and hunting and motorcycles and all those other little things that kind of added up for me. Um, and then I did that from 2006 to 2013. Within that time frame. I also, um, helped manufacture 120,000 pound forklift. So I have shop experience. My Dad was a mechanic, my nap has been [inaudible06:37] fabricator welder, so that all kind of came into play. Within that building forklifts I had to learn, um, how to take care of all the marketing and advertising and trade shows. So I started, uh, going to trade shows in Houston and presenting these big a hundred twenty thousand pound rig or trucks and doing all cold calling and sales calls and website design and brochure. So I picked up all those skills and then from adding those into the magazine and basically running through life and, and doing all the little things that I did helped me become successful in what I’m doing now for all those little things. Then in…I also organized motorcycle rides for charity events, snowmobile rides for multiple sclerosis and donated a lot of money to those organizations. And then in 2013,[no] in 2011 I started working at a gun store and I was recognized as a female in the outdoors just around that same time because my, my push to just say, hey, I hunted, I’m a girl because every time I picked up an outdoors magazine, it was all guys, guys, guys, guys. And so I became friends with some of the senior editors to the outdoors… all the outdoors magazines in Canada because I had a fitness magazine. So we kind of like used to bounce similar ideas off each other. Um, and in two different genres it was harmless. Um, and what ended up happening was a good relationship. And then the one magazine had put on a sportsman show in Toronto and they wanted to talk about women in the outdoors. So they picked four notable women of the outdoors, four Canadian girls. Mariko Izumi, myself [Vanessa Herous?] And another lady who was a pro fly fly fisherman. And we did the show. And is incredibly received and after that show it was just that when everything started. So everyone was like, oh my God, who are you guys? What do you do? Well, we know who Mariko is, she’s, you know, Bob [Izumi?] niece.
Amanda Lynn (08:53):
And she’s a…she’s an angler. But who’s Vanessa, who’s Amanda. And so then I started working with the transports and show and we did a couple of meet and greets at bass pro. And then I started range days to introduce women to firearms who never had a chance to have an opportunity to shoot. And then that snowballed. And then we moved to a farm and I started doing home setting and I changed jobs and started working for the government but still participated in all of these range day events and, and all of um, all the sportsman shows and people really started paying attention to the…the noise I was making about ‘hey’, I’m a girl, I’m out here too. And I never really understood that, that, that there was a genre, a gender, um, issue until I worked in that gun store. Because to me, being raised in northern Ontario is just, it’s just what you do. So I really wanted to help the females in my community push through and get into the outdoors too and just start influencing empowering more women to do it. And I became successful at doing that, so I just kept doing it. Then it created women… women’s hunting association, which was originally called Ontario Women’s hunting association to be a voice and to be an organizer of getting women set up in the outdoors and where do they start? How do…how do they begin? Where did they learn? But people always say, we’ll take the firearms, firearms and hunting classes. What do you learn from that? Really? Right. You, um, [I’m just talking nonstop, I’m sorry]. [You’re good. I love it. Keep going. I’m not talking]. Okay. So, um, when you go to those classes, you learn. I mean every instructor is different. Every instructor is creative in their own ways. But is that information really sticking in your head? I took those classes for the most part. I was bored out of my mind. Um, I did already know most of the information in the class because of how I was raised. So why not offer that same opportunity to more women? So having range days, a girl’s coming out and learning pistol shotgun, rifle archery. Well they know the difference now between a semi shotgun, a hand shotgun, Emmanuel pump shotgun, a lever, a bolt action rifle, like they get it. So when they go in the firearms course, they can say when the instructor saying, you know, name me five auctions and they can rhyme off, no problem because they had their hands on it, they shot it to know how it works. What’s the difference between rifle and shotgun? What is the difference between a cartridge in the shell, you know, the slug in a sabot or…there’s so many different things that we go over and over each day.
Amanda Lynn (11:40):
And then archery got compound, crossbow and lawn and recurve. Well, what are the differences between all of those? So we try to cover everything. We make it fun because if you know who I am, I’m kind of known for being silly and fun. Um, and we’d give away prizes and we, and we introduced the products and the brands to the women. And when you’re introduced to something that works, what are you going to do? You’re going to go buy it, right? So the range[inaudible12:07] in itself is good for everybody in the industry. It’s good for the manufacturers, the dealers, everybody. And then playing off of range day because I had so many women coming in and saying, well, okay, I have my firearms license and my hunting licensed now what am I going to do? Who’s going to take me hunting? [Right] Oh my God. So I’m going to take you hunting because I can do that because I can. So I started a program initiative called um, take me hunting and take me fishing. And we started that last year and it was…it was amazing and I didn’t realize that I had all of this information to share with others that I just took for granted. You know, like just the simplest little thing, like how can…how do you know what choke is in your shotgun without taking the choke out of your shotgun by counting those notches on the…on the choke or this is [miss track?]. Most of those women, I’ve never even been outside of southern Ontario. They’ve never seen a [miss-track?] before, you know, so, um, and all that stuff comes super natural to me. So CBC recognize that and they did a huge um, radio camp or not a campaign but a radio interview saying, you know like, this is this young lady and she’s educating women in no classroom, with no books just because of what I know from experience.
Amanda Lynn 13:32
Now in the last three years, I’ve also been given the opportunity to host a television show. And uh, that was pretty incredible and something that I wasn’t. I was really unsure of at first and in 2016 at shot show while TV approached me for a meeting and I said, sure, let’s talk. And they gave me this [inaudible13:55] which allowed me to only shoot three episodes in the first year to see if I even liked it and to see what the feedback would be. And they said, Amanda, all you got to do is just hunt and we’ll film you and we’ll take care of the rest. And I’m like, oh, that’s perfect. Because my brand has always been just hunt. So to follow that same concept was perfect for me and I told my mom and she was super excited and I’m going to come with you on the first one and blah blah, blah blah. And it was supposed to be back in our hometown where we going to go for the spring bear hunt. It was the first spring bear hunt in 17 years. And on April Twelfth, 2016, my mom passed away unexpectedly. And I just kind of basically said, screw everything. I’m not doing nothing. Forget it. I’m done. And then I sat on that for a couple of weeks and I talked to a couple of different people that were in my industry leaders. And um, we decided that, you know what? No, she was super happy for me to do this, so I’m going to do it and the very first show was dedicated to my mom and I only went fishing and in memory of her and we did the whole show kind of in memory of her and I realized then that still the same thing who I am and what I’m doing is just being me and it’s entertaining for people. It’s inspiring for people and it’s empowering people.
Swiss Army Knife. I was correct. [laughs] [No, I’m done. Got to go] drop the mic out. I mean listening to this, it’s like[my gosh!]. My question is where…where do you think that confidence comes from for you to just keep going?
Amanda Lynn (15:39):
I can totally tell you. And it just came up again this past week. When I was in high school, I was bullied and people would say things… because I had red hair and hung out with the guys. Um, I was in a motorcycles and hunting and it wasn’t into all the recreational drugs and drinking and all that shit. So I stayed away from all that. Plus my dad told me I had to be home like 8:00 every night. So it made it impossible. [right] So, um, I was…I was always given a hard time because I was a cute girl hanging out with the guys so the other girls thought that I was something else when it wasn’t. And then moving, keeping that going like through my whole life because I was a fitness figure model and you know, I had red hair and the red hair people might think, oh, it’s so beautiful and nice now, but when you’re kind of 11, 12, 13 years old, you’re the odd one out so you get picked on a lot. And so, um, it just started…it started, um, I don’t know, pissing me off and when I started going to the gym and I was…I was struggling with graves’ disease and trying to get back in order. And um, I met Chuck Norris and I got to work with him and total gym became a big part of my life and the story behind that product and that brand.
Amanda Lynn (17:03):
And Chuck Norris himself and his wife Gina is amazing. And um, I have a couple of points, but this week alone, I was…uh, the same thing came up, so high school buddies or high school people, I wouldn’t call them buddies, uh, seeing all the success and stuff that is happening in my life right now. And there was a big post on social media about how I’m going back to my hometown to film for a new episode. And this one person I haven’t heard or seen from in a long time, you know, made a couple of snarky remarks on the…on the page. And it brought me right back to what, how I felt that. And you know, what, screw you. Basically, that’s where the confidence comes from, is to prove people wrong. Don’t tell me that I won’t be anything because I’m going to prove you wrong.
We are[inaudible17:50] from the same blood. I hear you. Everyone’s not built that way. Saying no can devastate people. [Yep]. I just found out for me, it was like, no, [F] you, I’m going to go…I’m going to go into the lab and do whatever I got to do and I’m going to come back and be better than anything you expected. And it might take weeks and years off my life, but I just kind of been my thing. I think it’s important for people to learn grit. People have to learn how to fail. To figure their self, how to get out of it and to excel.
Amanda Lynn (18:26):
I completely agree. I completely agree. But at the same time my Dad taught me not to put up with any bullshit, [laughter] so I was nervous. I guess when it first started happening to me, I’m like, just being kind of pushed around and stuff and that. And now. now [inaudible18:42] you, if you’re going to have the balls to say something on…on the computer as a keyboard warrior, you better pick up the phone and give me a call because I ain’t…I ain’t back down from anybody. And yes, the harder you fall, the harder you work to prevent that from happening again. And there was a point, and I’ve never told anybody in public ever before in my life, so this is going to be an exclusive for you.[love it] There was a point in my life were in 1997. I had two young boys so they would have been probably two and five and it was February and I was on social assistance and obviously in February it’s very cold and I had to go to the food bank and walk with both of them across town uphill both ways in a snowbank no, I’m kidding. Um, and get my…and get my food and come back. And when I had got back home, um, they had turned my hydro. I had no hydro for two weeks in the middle of February in 1997. And so everything…that was like as low…as low…as low as I can get and I was nowhere near my parents. I’ve had no family. I was living in southern Ontario in a different town. Um, so I had nothing, like I had $20 fo-r the week to buy kraft dinner and peanut butter and milk. And I did it and I made it and I’m here now.
I’m sure you go back to that and you think about that when something stressing you out, like mhh ‘that is not stress’, that was stress..
Amanda Lynn (20:18):
Yeah, exactly. exactly. There’s nothing worse than that really.
So I would like to meet chuck, Chuck Norris also, like, how’d that happen?
Amanda Lynn (20:27):
Um, when I started doing the fitness magazine, I…actually when I was diagnosed with graves’ disease, I was watching TV and this infomercial came on and it was chuck Norris working out on this total gym thing. And I love him. I grew up watching him with my dad. So I’m like, well shit, if he likes that thing and it works for him. It’s got to work for me. So I went to Walmart and I bought the $140 version of the total gym and I used the hell out of it. I was on it in front of the TV for like two, three, four, five hours a day. And that’s all I did. And um, I transformed my body and my strengths and really became noticed in the fitness industry in that way. And when I started the magazine, I called total gym and instead of getting your office administrator, I ended up getting the inventors wife, uh, her name is joy. And she was like, so, um, how can I help you? And I, and I didn’t really know what to say. She never really told me who she was. But, um, I knew I had somebody important on the phone. So I just said, well, hi, my name’s Amanda Mayhew,. I have this magazine in Canada, it’s called fitness fanatic. Uh, this is my story with graves’ disease and then total gem and the magazine and my mission and my purpose and wanting to know if maybe you were interested in and working together somehow. And it’s just like, oh, so like what do you want? And I said, really? I want to do an infomercial with Chuck Norris. And she’s like, you have the biggest set of balls I’ve ever heard on anybody. And I said, well, you asked me what I wanted. So on the following, uh, I think it was six months later, she called me and asked me if I wanted to come to Houston and have dinner with chuck and Gina at his kickstart, kids fundraising event. And I accepted. And the rest is history.
Do you have…do you still stay in touch at all?
Amanda Lynn (22:16):
Yes. And kickstart kids, our kids is probably the only, um, American charity that I completely support. It’s a very intimate charity where they have a gala every spring and only 300 tickets are sold and there’s a silent and live auction. Um, the total gym inventor, Tom, him and Chuck Norris go way back. They’re best friends and that’s how Chuck Norris got intertwined with the total gym. And yeah, there’s…there’s actually a photo of me and chuck on my website and kind of a little bit of the story about how that went down and I get invited every year to the gala. I haven’t been able to go this year or last year due to prior commitments. Um, outdoor trade shows, booked me quite quickly for public speaking and they sometimes overlap that weekend. So, but I stay in touch with the kids. Um, it’s a fantastic fundraising event. It’s a fantastic program which gives kids the opportunity to participate and learn about themselves and confidence in this environment. And I had the one girl that I met when I first started going, I think she was 13 and I’ve been following her ever since. Her name is Chrissy and now she’s a registered nurse practitioner and she’s 19, 19 now. How cool is that? [That’s really cool]. So everything that I’m involved in and everything that I do has a reason, has a purpose, has message.
Yeah. That’s what I’m gathering. And then, just you telling the stories, Like just a passion that you have for all of them is just, it’s a, it’s contagious. It’s fantastic. I feel like, uh, I feel like I need to go do better things right now.
Amanda Lynn (24:11):
[laughs]You know, when I first got a hold of Brock and Big Frig and I was, you know, I was playing all the different coolers and a cooler brand companies and there is and we won’t mention the one, but either it was them and there was actually, I will mention that because that is the biggest reason why I chose brock and Big Frig. Um, but I chose, I talked to a couple of different companies and when I got to brock, he had an incredible story. And His story matches my story, not that it’s the same story, but it was the same like you could hear the energy in his voice and passion in his voice and, and just, you know, why he’s doing what he’s doing with big frig. And that’s exactly why I’m doing what I’m doing with women’s hunting association and Jeff Hunt. So, um, I originally had called or spoke to and that was the number one one because a couple of years ago that was the number one cooler, like big frig didn’t even exist. And um, when I had talked to them, they talked down to me like I was nobody, Oh, I’m sorry we don’t deal with anybody in Canada, you know. And I’m like, what kind of answer is that? You, you’re just shutting me down. You don’t even know anything about me or, or what I’m want to talk to you about. They just completely shut me down. And they were ignorant about it. So I was like, okay. So I went to all these other different companies and research them and check them out and stuff. And my best, my best communication and best story came from Brock and he was just amazing and he had a similar story. So that’s, I think that’s how we kicked it off so good.
Yes same values.
Amanda Lynn (25:58):
Same values. Yes.
It’s just so nice to work with good humans.
Amanda Lynn (26:00):
It is, right. People who don’t have any ego,[No egos] Perhaps they don’t have any ego and the communication line that is open.
What are some challenges that you might face that people might not expect?
Amanda Lynn (26:12):
Graves’ disease, if you were, if you were to follow me on social media or watch my TV show you wouldn’t know in a million years that I, you know, I’m absolutely completely drained, exhausted and tired by 2:00 every day that I have to take a billion precautions in order to make it through a day, um, that I have to take medication every single morning. If I miss it, I’m in big trouble, um, that I have asthma and people wouldn’t know that either because for the most part when people meet me, they like, I’m always hyper and full of energy and smiles and stuff. But behind closed doors I get very tired. I get very like, lethargic and things like that. People would never know about that. Those things. I’m… I’m…well so I struggle with um, so that’s health. [right] Uh, keeping my Sierra from rusting. I struggle with that[laughter] I’m not too much really. I try not to, like I find a way around it. I’m a fantastic problem solver and a yeah.
How and when do you know when you’ve done things right?
Amanda Lynn (27:25):
Um, feedback. People, I get feedback from them saying thank you. When I hear. Thank you. Right on. I’ve done IT right. When people call and say, Hey, I want to do something with you, then I know I’m doing something right.
How much of the day do you dedicate to your passion?
Amanda Lynn (27:43):
Twenty seven hours[laughter] [every day].
How do you stay on top of your game in the off season?
Amanda Lynn (27:53):
There’s not really an off season because I go from hunting, to trade show, to filming and within the filming becomes hunting and fishing and yeah, there’s no off season because I’m involved with so much, working out motorcycles, the outdoors industry and trade show industry. That pretty much is your whole year.
How has technology helped you with your craft?
Amanda Lynn (28:18):
Oh, super lot. It allows you to reach out to a wider network, allows you to promote um, inexpensively and great. [You’re fine. Brady. He is tiptoeing around the kitchen]. Um, it helps everybody. It helps…It helps you connect with a potential sponsors and helps you connect with a potential audiences and event organizers and people don’t want to get in…get…get out there.
Who are your idols or who do you look up to?
Amanda Lynn (28:55):
Chuck Norris. My parents. Yeah. I used to have a my space page and on my…my space page it said who are your idols? And then said my Mom, my Dad and Chuck Norris. And that was like eight years before I even met him[laughter].
But it doesn’t surprise me that you know him now. Who is your archery instructor?
Amanda Lynn (29:13):
Tell me how that came about.
Amanda Lynn (29:16):
Um, I taught him everything about guns and he taught me everything about archery because he was um, when I was working in the gun store, I was working behind the gun counter and upstairs we had a bow shop. And Mckenzie would come home or come to the shop after school because it was closer than walking to another town where we lived. So come to the shop, he was 12 years old at the time and he would go upstairs and fiddle around with archery. And then he got into it and one of the instructors there took him on for a little bit, showed him a bunch of things and it got him his own boat. And then he really started picking it up and became really good. He actually became bear archery sound guest, Canadian pro staff, Pro staff at 15 years old[Wow]. And um, was amazed like, well, he still is amazing. But he was really good. He was my archery instructor at Range Day. Um, and the last couple of years he hasn’t been because he went and got himself a full time job. So, you know, priorities. [That money thing] Right. So maybe four years ago when bear archery and I were talking, the idea came out like, well, are you ever interested in Archery? I said, Nah, I don’t know. I’m kind of a gun girl. And they said, well, let’s do something different, we’ll put a bow in your hands and we’ll follow your story from learning to use a bow to becoming becoming good at it. And so that’s what we did. And I started with the bare tree bounty at the time and my son taught me, you know, everything about I didn’t know, I looked at this thing and was like, what in good God… I just want to pull the trigger and here bang!. But once you start pulling the arrows back and hitting the targets, it becomes addicting. And I loved it. So I’ve been with bear archery now since then and I’ve moved up through, um, the bounty, the finesse and now the Cooma and my son is using, um, the moment at the time, moment at the moment, the moment at the moment. And uh, yeah, that’s, that’s me and archery..
How do you suggest someone to get into the industry or start something that they’re passionate about?
Amanda Lynn (31:31):
Just do it, just do it.I don’t know. I don’t… I didn’t really know where I was going when I started working in the gun store. So it just, uh, it just happened, but just to find a way to get involved in the industry in one way or another. Um, whether you’re a sales rep, customer service, retail, a shipping and receiving person, it doesn’t matter. You’re sweeping the floors. Find a way to get in and learn the ropes.
Okay. Let’s do some rapid questions. Quick one liners. What’s your favorite sound
Amanda Lynn (32:06):
Bang! [laughter] or my handle.
Amanda Lynn (32:06):
In another life what would you want to do?
Amanda Lynn (32:15):
Um, be an outfitter in Alaska.
What do you want your legacy to be?
Amanda Lynn (32:19):
Inspiring women and kids.
Do you have any asks from the audience?
Amanda Lynn (32:28):
Uh, you can follow me on…at Twitter. Amanda Lynn Mayhew. You can follow me on Instagram Amanda Lynn Mayhew, on Facebook, Amanda Lynn Mayhew, Linkedin, guess what?.Amanda Lynn Mayhew. On google plus. Uh, you can get more information. Book me for a guided hunts and buy some gear and find out more about Chuck Norris and myself, I guess at www.amandalynnmayhew.com. You can find out about the show at justhunt.ca. You can watch the first season on justhunt.ca and you can learn all about my outreach programs on womenshuntingassociation.com.