With the recent release of the new, limited-availability 2012 Ram 1500 Mossy Oak® Edition, we figured now would be a great time to sit down with Ronnie “Cuz” Strickland, EVP of Mossy Oak, for a chat about camouflage, the outdoors and trucks. Ram Trucks and Mossy Oak are two brands passionate about hunting and fishing, and no one – and we do mean no one – puts it better than Cuz.
RamZone: What is it you love about hunting?
Cuz: You’ll learn things outside that you’ll never learn anywhere else. I had all daughters, no boys. I taught them hunting so they’d know the lingo and know where meat came from. Meat doesn’t start in the grocery store. I wanted them to know the life cycle. I wanted them to know why I hunted. One of my best friends said hunting is not a sport but an instinct, from the moment you draw your first breath. Hunting teaches self-reliance, patience, respect, weather – you can’t learn that anywhere else.
RamZone: What do you typically hunt? What’s your game of choice?
Cuz: My game of choice is wild turkey. Thanks to conservation efforts, you can hunt turkey in every state. You’re reversing nature when you try to call a turkey. You have to catch them in the right frame of mind. Plus it’s in the spring, which is such an unbelievable time because everything is new. But I’m also a passionate bow hunter because I’m into camouflage.
RamZone: What is it about Ram Trucks that you really love?
Cuz: Ram has always been a big deal to me, all of my adult life. My dad had one early on, a ‘61 model. He’s retired military, real tough, frugal. I was never able to buy a new vehicle until much, much later in life. First NEW truck I bought was a Ram. I drove everything, but that truck felt like I was getting way more for my money. They built that truck to be a TRUCK. That’s all I’ve ever driven is a pickup. My first was gray.
RamZone: Do you have a favorite truck? Why Ram?
Cuz: My favorite is an ’07 2500 mega cab diesel. It was my first diesel; the fuel was cheaper when I bought it. But the mega cab made me feel like a truck guy with that Cummins under me. I love these truck, they’ve been so good to me. My truck is my office, and I drive so many miles. Ram is just like me – good and hard working. Plus, you have to be loyal to something.
RamZone: Tell me more about the Mossy Oak partnership with Ram. How did that come about?
Cuz: Ram-Mossy Oak came to pass because of Joel Schlader from Ram marketing, who’s a lifelong hunter. He understands hunting as good as anyone I’ve ever met. He was a fan of what Mossy Oak stands for, and Joel, I think, would see my truck all the time. He reached out to us and started the conversation. And I think he was comfortable with us because it was centered on creatures and the environment. If it wasn’t for hunters paying for restoration, it wouldn’t be like it is. If you watch the history of our company, it’s always stood for something bigger than camo, and I think Joel saw that. He flat gets it. We connected on a higher plain.
And Michigan gets hunting, so Mossy Oak and Ram are natural to me – I just love my truck and I love hunting. We’ve been in this business a long time, and I have never worked with anyone that knows hunting more than Ram guys. They get it, they know what hunters like. It’s like talking to your buddy next door when you’re cleaning a deer. No wonder these guys build a great truck. I was destined to buy a Ram all my life.
RamZone: Describe a typical day for you.
Cuz: We run a big production for television for a couple different networks. Depends on what time of year it is. I was just in Ohio. We have a new show called “Inside the Obsession” about how people get obsessed and what they do every day. We went hunting with a Deputy Sherriff in Ohio. I drove to Goshen, Ohio – ten hours – changed into Mossy Oak, and we were in a tree stand in 30 minutes. We ate deer meat, shot interviews, rode in squad car, and then went with him at night to check on parolees. And what charges his battery is getting out there and sitting in a tree stand.
I’ve been doing this since 1995 and hunting cameras are so good now that you have to figure out new ways to raise the bar. So how do I raise the bar? I tell stories about people and not just hunting. Hunting is around it, but there’s interesting people out there. I like to say thanks to the Deputy Sherriff for what he does. He keeps his sanity by hunting and fishing.
RamZone: Any parting words?
Cuz: Don’t guide the guide. Nobody is going to try harder than he does. Let the expert do his thing.
Ram is the official truck of Mossy Oak and Mossy Oak is the official camo pattern of Ram Trucks. Read more about the launch of the new 2012 edition at the Chrysler blog’s, “Ram Truck Launches Mossy Oak Edition.”