Hello, this is Ryan. I often ask people the question, “If you could do anything in the world and get paid to do it, what would you do?” For many this is a hard question to answer and I think it’s because people are still searching for their “purpose” in life. As for me, I have a good idea of where I’m going mainly because where I’ve been. “Backyard Genius” is a reflection of my past, and hope for the future that I will complete my purpose in life to inspire other people to find theirs.
Before most kids removed their training wheels, At the age of 5 I rode my pony over the Continental Divide of Colorado’s majestic Rocky Mountains. While other kids played Atari and Nintendo, my little sister-Carey and I had baby chickens, horses and goats to entertain us. Farm life provided the real world education that most people often miss. Financially, my family didn’t make a lot of money, but our riches came from experiences beyond our years. Growing up on a farm was an advanced course in fundamentals. We learned such values as team work, having faith, respecting our elders, use of commonsense (which I’ve come to learn is not so common) and to appreciate all aspects of life.
Our family business called Iron Horse Stables was big and busy. With over 90 head of horses and cows to care for, chores were all but “normal” and as a result, my sister and I took on a lot of responsibilities at an early age. From busting ice in the winter to cleaning stalls after school, we did what had to be done. We helped with animals born in the spring and killed chickens and rabbits to eat in the fall. We learned about the circle of life and how each one of us makes an impact no matter how big or small.
Aside from the values learned in nature, “work hard” was one of the first lessons we perfected. Once the work ethic was established my father would often say, “Work smarter, not harder.” So after mastering how to do to a job we learned how to do it better. It’s amazing how a 10 year old can innovate ways to shovel mass amounts of manure into a wheel barrow when lured by free time to play. So in addition being creative with our chores we learned some time management skills too! However, the master of time management was my own father who after working 8-10 hours making cans at Coors would come home and put in an additional 8 hours on the ranch with his family. From Can Tech Specialist to Rancher Rob he was always fixing something and that’s where this story begins…
Like many parents who work hard to provide for their family my folks were no different. They made sacrifices so their kids might live a little better than they did. With limited resources our family got by on necessity and creative innovation. When it was 20 degrees below zero in the dead of winter and something broke, my father and mother often relied on spare parts around the ranch to make repairs. 9 times out of 10 their fixes where usually better than if we had the money to replace the broken parts. From modified power washers to Horse Hoists, over the past 40 years my family has built numerous farm inventions to not only get a job done, but to make life a little easier.
Founded on the principles taught by my parents and late grandparents all the while going to a Jesuit College, I developed a deeper understanding of the “big picture.” In college I began to discover the joys of entertaining and bringing people together. I became fascinated with other people’s stories and decided to find out more. So, off I went to travel Europe on a bicycle. Two months on the long road and a new person I had become. Thinner and in much better shape I came to see the struggles all humans face in trying to live “the dream.” From England to Italy I witnessed people just like my family struggling to make ends meet, yet making the most with what they had. And aside from their personal burdens, I experienced a genuine kindness in people as they welcomed me into their homes. I learned that regardless of the differences in the way people work and live, we all share the same basic needs in life. People want to be happy and happiness comes from having a purpose and being appreciated for it.
Like so many others in the world, my family was committed to doing what needed to get done in the hopes obtaining a life filled with happiness. Because of this commitment to creativity and “lend-a-hand” attitude, I created Backyard Genius to honor all of the great people who choose to make a difference because they can. This company is dedicated to every man; woman and child around the world who seeks to make the most out of what they have in the hopes that others may have more! And the best part is I get to do really cool stuff with the people that matter the most to me, my friends and family.