So You’ve Played Red Dead Redemption 2 and Loved it: Be a gunslinger in real life, join the Cowboy Fast Draw Association

As much as I talk about other things, I am not completely lost like a lot of people my age might otherwise be on the magical world of video games and their relatively new impact on global entertainment. But let me just say to my usual readers, its big business. I finally finished the story mode of Red Dead Redemption 2 after around 100 hours of game play, taking my time when I could and I have to say that I was absolutely amazed by the result. The game is such an astonishing technical achievement and it is by far the best thing that could have ever happened to the entertainment format of the American Western. As a story and experience it really is like taking a real-life cowboy experience like the movie City Slickers and placing them into a 1960s spaghetti western with all the high drama of something like Game of Thrones. It is big, bold and beautiful in so many ways. And I knew that as I completed the game and all the epilogue missions that there was going to be a Red Dead online coming at the end of November. I planned to revisit the game at that time but wasn’t expecting much. But let me say that I have been pleasantly surprised. It looks like as massive as Red Dead Redemption 2 is as a game with sales well over a billion dollars already and something like 20 million copies sold before the Holiday season, that the purposed of the online play is to use the game as a kind of training experience for the online world that they have created. It is just vast and ultimately never-ending in what it allows players to do and interact with one another.

I couldn’t help but think as I was playing missions with other people the other day, most of them much younger than I am, that this game is really their only experience with a real American western and for many they are very touched by it. The game itself is a very moral story about good and bad and the many quandaries of the critical decisions that went into exploding life across the American frontier. But at its core it’s about gunfighting and is clearly one of the best arguments for the real-life problems of the Second Amendment. A lot of young people may not be paying attention to the real political problems going on in the outside world, but they sure care a lot about earning enough money in the game to purchase upgrades for their guns and dress in the coolest gunfighting outfits. But I couldn’t help notice that many of them probably didn’t know that they could do all the things they are doing in Read Dead Redemption in real life with Cowboy Fast Draw as seen at the following link:

Belonging to the Cowboy Fast Draw Association is one of the groups I am most proud to affiliate with, they are really a good group of people who meet all over the United States to compete in real life fast draw competitions using real guns. It’s what I think of as one of the coolest sports in the world right now as other countries are trying to participate but have too strict of gun laws to actually do it. But in the good ol’ United States it is much easier to participate in. Yet I have noticed that most of the members are well over 40, largely because guns and holster rigs are expensive so it takes a little upfront investment to get involved. But once you do, it is infinitely rewarding. I enjoyed the original Red Dead Redemption enormously and getting my own fast draw rig was always something I had planned to do. But raising a family every last dollar that I made went into family needs, a car was always breaking down, a kid always needed a school fee or band instrument. Someone needed braces of a family member across the country wanted us to visit them, so there was always something for like twenty years that kept me from getting my own fast draw gun rig.

I ran across a substantial amount of money for a big job I had been working on so I treated myself to my gun rig and have been practicing at Cowboy Fast Draw for several years now, and am getting pretty good at it. After probably 30,000 to 35,000 shots at a fast draw target, I am starting to feel good about my speed and accuracy. It did take a while. It was something that had been on my mind well before I ever played the first Red Dead going way back into my twenties when I was going through a really tough time. Westerns and western music really kept the zest for life alive in me. On their most basic foundations westerns are about the meaning of life so they always had great appeal to me so when I grew up I wanted to be as much of a gunfighter as society could endure. Ironically, I had acquired my gun rig and some advanced fast draw skill before Red Dead Redemption 2 came out which had even more meaning for me because of the new hobby I had.

Traveling around the online world it has become very obvious that many young people are deeply touched by Red Dead Redemption 2 and likely would like to have a similar experience as I have. So let me put this little invite out there. If you are unsure of how to get involved in Cowboy Fast Draw because you are enjoying playing Red Dead Redemption but would like to take everything up a notch, don’t hesitate to ask me. I can help you get started on something that would be infinitely rewarding. While my regular audience here is much older than the people playing Red Dead Redemption 2 I would personally love to see more young people getting involved in Cowboy Fast Draw. It really isn’t any different from what you do in the game, but that it never ends. While the content of Red Dead Redemption does eventually run out, the challenges in real life never do.

In the Cowboy Fast Draw Association, you get to dress up as a gunslinger for real, and have a reason to do it. You have a reason to buy fancy guns for real and learn to take care of them. And the scoring format is safe and fun. Its one of the most satisfying things I’ve done in my life and I would recommend it to anybody. I had been thinking that membership in the cowboy sports may just flicker away because new generations just do not have many positive western entertainment venues that are cool enough to hold their attention, that is until Red Dead Redemption 2 came along and inspired millions of people to live in that world quite authentically. And for those who just want to climb into the world of Red Dead Redemption for real and live it in real life I’d point you to the Cowboy Fast Draw Association at the link shown here. If you have any questions, just ask. I’d love to help as many new people get involved in the sport as possible. While I personally love the world of Red Dead Redemption, it is no match for having a real fast draw rig on your hip which is an experience I have every day. And wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Rich Hoffman

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The Beauty of the NCAA Tournament: Evidence of a thriving culture with healthy roots


Just a footnote of contemplation, I couldn’t help but notice what a wonderfully vibrant culture America is on the evening of the first March Madness games of the NCAA tournament. Everywhere I went all during Thursday March 16th and into Friday March 17th, which happened to be Saint Patrick’s Day as well—it was a thriving culture full of energy and forward-looking optimism.  Donald Trump had just submitted his budget cuts to congress, Space X launched a rocket into space from Cape Canaveral and all of the American colleges who made it into the famous basketball tournament were competing for attention on the nation’s television stations in every restaurant, bar, and personal device.  It was wonderful to see.   For context I had just spent much of February in England with a little time in France and I watched a lot of their news—particularly Sky News and the BBC—and it was boring compared to the activity that was going on in the States.  For days on end I watched coverage of cricket, rugby and soccer and everything was kind of an anticlimax.  As I looked around, especially in London I would have expected a lot more energy—but everything was pretty flat—especially regarding sports.  If England was a first world country, then those poor people in second-rate and third-rate countries really had it bad.

If Europe is supposed to be the model we are all to be following in the world—as it certainly was under Barack Obama’s presidency, then that was a serious mistake. They have nothing to offer that matches the excitement from coast to coast as what we have in America with our Super Bowl, and NCAA games.  No matter where you went from California to New York, people were excited about the NCAA Tournament if even mildly.  It was quite a unique exhibition that I noticed more this year than in years past because I literally had just experienced a different culture in a supposedly first world nation that didn’t even come close.  I tend to watch a lot of news no matter where I am in the world.  I’ve experienced similar opinions while engaged in extended stays in Japan and it continues to amaze me how limited the artistic scope of places outside of the United States truly limit themselves to—and to me sports is a branch of artistic expression entwined with commercial enterprise.

All during the first days of the Tournament I had the games on with my multiple devices and even if I didn’t care much for the teams, I enjoyed the festivities immensely. What was even more stimulating was that for a time during the 16th I spent some time at home as Vanderbilt was trying to make a comeback and there was much excitement from the broadcasters—I had the game on so that I could hear it over my Playstation VR headset where I was playing Rush Blood—which is a really creepy haunted house shooting game and I was able to blow off some stress while still enjoying the game on television because with Playstation VR, you can pump all the video into your headset leaving the television free for another broadcast which I thought was pretty cool.

Little things like this matter to me because I spend a lot of time studying old forgotten cultures and when I see all these very dynamic interactions playing against a static global culture I get excited about the prospects of the world. In America in spite of the bad news that always seems to come from our newscasters, enthusiasm is oozing out of every crack.   And you can clearly see it when we have major sporting events where advertisers put up their products on television commercials, and restaurant sales spike because people gather together to have a few drinks and watch the games to measure their success on office pools.  I see it all in a very positive light.  The rest of the world isn’t like this, and it should be.  There is nothing wrong with America—the only fingers that point out the possibility are the jealous countries out there who call our success “excess” because they can’t compete at the same level.

I’ll admit it was nice to see a few of my hometown teams of Xavier and NKU win their first games and you could feel the sentiment on the radio broadcasts the next morning. The entire city of Cincinnati was stepping a little lighter across the day.  Sure there were budget problems in Cincinnati as Democrats had overspent to the point of deficits and cuts would have to be made, just as Trump is doing at the Federal level.  But that’s management, the sports events were what made our culture tick with the inflection of the net result of our place in the world.  Just as some teams had their worst days of their lives yesterday when they lost in the first round—as only 32 teams will advance to the next game.  32 other teams did advance to the next game and that is the joy and sorrow of capitalism and the reason the rest of the world doesn’t have such an experience is because they are functioning from the wrong political philosophies—which is a shame.  A thriving culture should be able to take the downside as well as the uptick.  Beer and hamburgers still taste the same when you have a down day, but on days of victory and celebration, they taste a little bit better and that’s the fun of it.

I can only say that I was thankful for the experience. Spring was in the air; the games were on the radio and television everywhere and optimism was pouring forth—which was more exciting for me because I had just been watching cricket highlights just a few weeks ago wondering how in the world those people were functioning on a day-to-day basis if that was evidence of a first world country.  In America NASCAR is roaring every weekend, basketball is being played everywhere, and baseball is about to start-up in just a few weeks.  What’s not to like.  I don’t care that much about sports but yet I still enjoy the sound of Marty Brennaman on a Saturday afternoon over the smell of freshly cut grass, pool chlorine and an outside grill cooking hamburgers.   It’s not so much if those teams are winning or losing—but it is about them trying to do so and tempting the fate of chance to do something extraordinary—which is the backbone of American culture and why we have all these sporting events to begin with—because it is inflective of our nature manifested through competitive events turned into commercial enterprise—and that is truly beautiful.

Rich Hoffman


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Allen High School Spends $60 Million on a New Stadium: The truth about school sports

Keep in mind before I say what will surely infuriate many that I spent much of my previous Friday evening listening to the pre-season football game between my favorite NFL team The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and The Miami Dolphins. I enjoy the combat of a football game. I understand the drama of sporting events. I have known, and currently know many people who memorize sports stats and pour a lot of personal time and energy into sports as their premier entertainment. I know many people who spend their Friday nights going to football games for their local high school in the fall; have block parties in their cul-de-sacs on Saturdays when Ohio State plays Michigan, then tail gate on Sunday down at Paul Brown Stadium for The Cincinnati Bengals. These same people will rattle off statistics of sport players with great conviction, but couldn’t begin to tell you who Rob Portman is–the State of Ohio Senator who has been a potential candidate for Vice-President of The United States. They drink a lot, and take great pride in losing their senses to drunkenness, and in spite of those human faults, I still enjoy the fanfare of sports.

In Texas, as displayed to the outside world quite wonderfully in the film Friday Night Lights, high school football is the centerpiece of small town entertainment, and it does bond the community together in ways that defy logic. I could write books on why this is destructive in that it shows a tendency toward collectivism that is ultimately disparaging, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say that small town politics in the state of Texas loves their Friday night football. It’s an obsession really, so much so that tax payers in Allen, Texas passed a bond package with 63.66 percent of the vote from the booming suburb of north Dallas worth $119.4 million dollars, $60 million of which was designated to building a state-of-the-art stadium for their high school football team.

For the kids who play football in Allen they will play under the Friday Night Lights for their community in a stadium that rivals what many of the stadiums for professional teams play in. 8,252 people signed up for season tickets ranging in price from $40 dollars a game to $8 and they plan to sell out several of their games in the 18,000 seat arena in a town that has a population of 84,236, which is smaller than the Lakota School District in Cincinnati. The demand for football in Allen is so intense that 1 out of every 4 people plan to attend football games at the new stadium.

The residents of Allen have a median household income of $100,843, which is about $10,000 more than the wealthy area of Lakota due in large part to all the businesses that are locating to the area because of Texas pro-business attitudes. Many of the jobs that aren’t in your town because of intense regulation and high taxes are probably in Texas or thinking about it currently. And when people have plenty of money in their pocket they tend to be generous by passing tax increases on themselves without a thought of future sustainability. The people of Allen have the money and they wish to spend it on a football stadium for their local high school, and that’s that. This has led to severe criticism from people outside of Allen who don’t understand why the people of that Texas town will spend so much money on a football stadium when the state of education is so poor in America. Well, the answer is rather harsh, but must be understood in order to be truthful about the real nature of support a community has for their local schools when discussions of tax increases arise. People like to watch violence and mayhem. They love to see gladiators on the battlefield punishing other players in a quest to score a point. Those same audiences do not show up to watch some kid take a math test.

All public schools and all large college campuses use their sports programs to drive their funding models for their education institutions. “Jocks” are treated as special in schools because the school acknowledges the gladiators as the life blood of their existence. Without the Friday Night Lights, without football, schools are boring places of history, art, math and science. Only a few kids in each grade class excel in those categories and go on to become esteemed world-wide scientists or mathematicians. Most parents would rather give birth to the next Payton Manning rather than Albert Einstein and it shows in schools by what parents support. In Allen, Taxes they are just being honest about their priorities. They are not functioning from illusion. When it comes down to it, people do not care about educating a bunch of inner city kids on how to bake a cake in home economics. They don’t care if a 1000 nerds score a perfect 2400 on their SAT scores. But they do care if a kid is 6-4 and weighs 280 pounds in his junior year and can play as a guard on the offensive line protecting the team quarterback. In essence, they care about their own entertainment on a Friday Night, because once the game is over, they are back to their own lives looking forward to the next game.

On a typical Saturday during football season most men will sift through the political section of a newspaper and read intently the sports stats from the game on Friday. On Monday morning he will be able to go into his workplace and impress his co-workers with his vast knowledge about the tackles that 6’, 4” 280 pound kid had in Friday’s football game. He might even claim to know the boy’s father hoping that such a revelation will impress his co-workers with is access to celebrity. But nobody sits around the water cooler talking about how a kid from their public school won a spelling competition, or won an academic scholarship to Yale due to academic excellence in high school physics.

Schools are very aware of this leverage they have over the community. Locally, around the Cincinnati area the closest thing we have to the Texas Friday Night Lights experience is Colerain Football. Already, the band leaders in that town are letting it be known that if residents don’t pass a school levy this November that there will be cuts to the football program, and the band that plays for them. They know as school officials that the community cares about sports, but not about the positions of assistant art teachers, so the threat is directed and quite intentional. At Lakota in my home district, after three failed levies, the district cut off its nose to spite its face threatening to hurt the parents of the district by charging players $550 per sport for each player in order to force levy passage which has ended up backfiring. Lakota isn’t Allen, Texas; people are more indifferent to their Friday Night Football. If it’s there, fine, if not, they’ll go to a movie and out to dinner instead. The only parents who really feel passionate about football like they do in Texas are the parents who are hoping their kid wins a scholarship to college which will save them tens of thousands of dollars in college tuition. Lakota took bad advice from the classes the school board attended at Levy University in Columbus, Ohio that the OSBA puts on every year. In that class they learned that to pass tax increases that public transportation and sports are what motivate voters to throw more money at a public school. If those things don’t work, then nothing will. At Lakota, to make up for picking the wrong strategy in winning the hearts of the community, they have had to spend $160,000 on public relations to attempt to win back community support, which they won’t get as long as 1500 kids are being charged $550 to play sports.

Penn State covered up the sex crimes they all knew about because they understood that it was Penn State Football that drove new enrollment, and therefore revenue to their university. It is sports that drive education, not academics. In Allen, Texas at least they aren’t trying to deceive themselves in being so high-brow to not wish for the blood lust of violent impacts under the Friday Night Lights of their new $60 million dollar stadium. Nobody really cares about “education.” This is well-known, it’s just not publicly acknowledged. The people of Allen are not going to pour $60 million dollars into a program to help the poor and needy. They are not going to give it to a bunch of fools who want to build solar panels and wind mills. They are not going to give it to a bunch of socialist teachers who want to save the world with world peace. In polite conversation the tax payers will utter support for such things, but when it comes time to put their money where their mouth is, they spend it on blood, broken bones, and drama on a fourth and goal. Everything else is a waste of time and that is the key to the education funding structure. Without the Friday Night Lights, public education is just another stale experience that could easily be replaced with online classes.


This is what people are saying about my new book–Tail of the Dragon

With Tale of the Dragon, Rich Hoffman combines NASCAR, Rebel Without a Cause, and Smokey and the Bandit. If you like fast cars, and hate speed traps, this is the book for you. And just every once in a while, any real American wishes he had a Firebird like the one in Tale of the Dragon.

Best Selling Co-author Larry Schweikart, A Patriot’s History of the United States  (CLICK ON THE LINK TO VISIT US ON FACEBOOK)

Visit the NEW Tail of the Dragon WEBSITE!  CLICK HERE and help spread the word! TELL SEVEN PEOPLE TO TELL SEVEN PEOPLE!

Rich Hoffman!/overmanwarrior

Why The Bengals are a Terrible Team

Lately I was having dinner with a man who was very impressed with himself, and he spent a lot of time showing off the items that he had amassed through his successful career endeavors to his dinner guests.

When I talk with such people I don’t have the heart to tell them that the reason they are well compensated in the way they are is to placate them from thinking outside the box, and to settle in their lives. The compensation is to purchase their very soul from the curiosity of personal growth and invention. So I often feel pity for such types, because down the bumpy roads of life, somewhere way down there at the end of that road will come the realization that they short-changed themselves and lived an otherwise eventless life of little fulfillment.

And while I politely placated the man’s proud achievements with my attention, my thoughts fell on the Cincinnati Bengals, because there were elements of this man’s character that I believe are extraordinarily similar to Mike Brown, the owner of the Bengals.

The similarity comes from the popular belief that just because someone may have success in the legal profession, as Brown has, or finance, as this man has, or in some other endeavor, the game of football requires the ability to think outside the box to have leverage over your opposition, and therefore requires that type of thinker to have success.

As this man showed me the features of his new car, my thoughts lingered on a Bengal game recently that told the whole story.

An arctic front had brought temperatures hovering in the teens to Paul Brown Stadium, a palace that is operating in tremendous dept, currently projected at nearly $700 million dollars by the year 2032. For the moment, the burden the palace has placed on the city of Cincinnati is forgotten because it’s the fourth quarter with just seconds to play, and the Bengals are beating the far superior team of the New Orleans Saints and the crowd is gripping their seats in ecstatic disbelief and hope.

But the Saints drive down the field and are in scoring position. Kick the field goal and the tie. Go for it on 4th down, and the Saints get a 1st and goal.

In an ultimate act of disrespect, the Saints go for it. They line up and Drew Brees does his hard count, and everyone’s fears in the world of Bengal Football were confirmed. The Bengals defense jumps offside’s. The penalty gives the Saints a first down.

The Bengals lose…………………………again.

The Bengals are a terrible franchise. They have had only a few winning years in the last 20 years, since Mike Brown took over the franchise from his deceased father. The first thing Mike did was fire Sam Wyche, a fiery, motivated coach that always had a chance to win. I loved Sam Wyche because he thought outside the box all the time. He always was competitive and it was fun to watch his teams play on the field. He went to the Tampa Bay Buccaneer organization and my loyalty followed him there.

The Bengals have been a terrible franchise since. In fact, as Marvin Lewis completes his contract at the end of the 2010 season, he is the fourth head coach since Wyche left, and none of the coaches have been able to take the Bengals consistently to a playoff game, let alone a Superbowl.

• Paul Brown (1968–1975)
• Bill “Tiger” Johnson (1976–1978)
• Homer Rice (1978–1979)
• Forrest Gregg (1980–1983)
• Sam Wyche (1984–1991)
• Dave Shula (1992–1996)
• Bruce Coslet (1996–2000)
• Dick LeBeau (2000–2002)
• Marvin Lewis (2003–present)

Rebuilding years are expected. For instance, the time between Forrest Gregg’s Superbowl appearance and Sam Wayche’s was five years, something at the time the Bengal fans thought was unacceptable. Nobody would have fathomed at the close of the 80’s that the Bengals would become a complete joke among professional sports circles and fans by the far off-year of 2010, and yet another head coach would be dismissed at the end of the season and another rudderless recruiting process would take place for another head coach.

So why are the Bengals so bad? They’ve had plenty of first round draft picks. Here’s just a couple.

David Pollack, 2005
Chris Perry, 2004
Peter Warrick, 2000
Akili Smith, 1999
Ki Jana Carter, 1995
Dan Wilkinson, 1994
David Klingler, 1992

Not to mention Carson Palmer, Terrell Owens, Chad Johnson, all in the 2010 season were they had only won three games prior to Christmas.

Well, the organization is bad from the top and all that runs down hill. Evidence of that starts with the emblem, which is just a simple “B.”

If it was my team, and I had a tiger for a mascot name, I’d capitalize on that, but not the Bengals.

I was at another person’s home just the other day, and I saw a grill in the back of his townhouse, and I saw that he had a Bengal grill cover, and that “B”was on it. I felt sorry for the poor man. What a sap. He must be a real sucker to actually go out and buy that cover to support such a constantly bad team.

That’s what I thought. What a wonderful marketing strategy the Bengals have.  That stupid “B” is the most lazy emblem I can think of for an multi-million dollar franchise. 

It’s one thing to support your favorite team, win-lose or draw. But the Bengals just make fools out of their fans, because they do not offer a product on the field that can actually win.

The Bengals under Mike Brown make emotional decisions based on arrogance and a belief that the answers are inside the box, within the rules of society. Their ego’s get in the way of understanding what it means to win. They hire “yes” man coaches, and insist on top down management. They have no recruiting and believe that money can buy them a good team.

The Bengals spent the money on Terrell Owens for the 2010 season without considering the impact Terrell might have on Palmer. The Bengals have three charismatic players that have their own TV shows, and two of those guys are their star receivers. Didn’t anybody in the Bengal organization think that there might be some chemistry problems on the field?

No. Nobody even addressed it, because they don’t have any real scouting and have very limited understanding of the value of leadership. The Bengals could have spent less money on someone like Terrell Owens and instead spent the money on scouting and brought in some really good, fundamental players that fit in the schemes of Palmer.

But no, the people who run the Bengal organization are the classic thinkers that material wealth can purchase leadership and victory. And they are noticeably confounded when all their effort only produces losses.

The way the Bengals could win would be to change their uniforms, and kick-start a change in culture. They need to hire a new coach that can run the whole show, someone like Jon Gruden. And they need a General Manager to allow the coach to worry about only coaching and promoting the team through the media.

But the Bengals won’t do any of that. They’ll cling to their old ways and think they can buy a championship because money buys everything else in life.

However, in football, money does not always buy you victory. Ask Jerry Jones and his Dallas Cowboy problems. It takes heart and a desire to overpower and destroy your opponent.

The Bengals don’t inspire that kind of mentality with that stupid “B.” An emblem like that belongs on the chest of a high school cheerleader. Not the face of a great American city like Cincinnati.

I finished listening to the man flaunt his worldly possession like a small child displaying his boy scout merit badges, and my first instinct was to pat him on the head and say, “good boy.” But I didn’t, because somewhere in Mike Browns past, somebody placated his ego in a way that put this curse on Cincinnati called the Cincinnati Bengals. So all I did was sip my wine and go back in the house letting the guy revel in his temporary victories, and I didn’t want to ruin his Christmas with my piercing conviction that he was as clueless as Mike Brown.

The rest of the men stayed outside and continued to discuss sports stats and who had what, or what the next item they’d purchase would be. The sport stats were humorous as though they mattered and had an over-all impact on the ability to achieve victory. There are better things to think about, rather than the time that Mike Brown threatened to leave the city if Cincinnati did not build a new stadium for the team. An inept city government put themselves in debt to build the palace, and now the city is stuck with a huge bill and a terrible team to play in it. The Bengals are a lost cause and not worth the speech.

Rich Hoffman!/overmanwarrior

Throwback Game at Tampa Bay: Always a great show!

One thing you can always count on at Raymond James Stadium, is the Glazer Family will put everything they can into a Buccaneer game.  And that’s what happened at the recent throwback game against the Falcons.

The uniforms were fun to look at.  I am always impressed with the way they arrange the stadium during events like this.  And the most notable improvements is with the cheerleaders.  Their outfits are always well done and fashionable.   

First class. 

Too bad in Cincinnati, the Bengal organization doesn’t understand the role football plays in a city. 

That’s why the Buccaneers are playing for a wild  card spot just one year after completely reorganizing their team, and the Bengals can’t win if they tried.  It all starts in the front office.  Just like everything in life. 

Leadership is contagious, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneer organization has leadership at every single position from the office to the position players.  And it shows in the end result. 

They may not win every time, but they’re always fun to watch. 

Rich Hoffman!/overmanwarrior