THE DESERT LANDSCAPE offers an endless amount of inspiration to those seeking it. All you have to do is contemplate a single rock formation, a measly speck of sand, or a tree growing where it technically shouldn't, to see in them all the marvels of movement and creation.
So, it goes without saying, Joshua Tree was the perfect backdrop for our 2021 Lasso retreat.
We all trickled into Indio, California, on Thursday afternoon. Thursday's itinerary was straightforward and powerful: Shenanigans. The perfect bullet point for any itinerary. Most of us had never met each other before this, minus our daily Zoom calls, and some of us, like myself, had only been part of the family for enough weeks to count on my left hand. But I'll tell you what - within thirty minutes, it truly felt as if every single one of us had grown up together; like we had been doing the damn thing for a decade! We were each a puzzle piece. We just didn't realize how epic the puzzle was bound to turn out.
Thursday night came and went for all the right reasons. We had a great dinner as a team. Our President, Jared, although back home in Manhattan, even made an appearance in the form of a cardboard cutout, his smiling face the centerpiece of our table. And we may or may not have accidentally left said smiling face behind after dinner that night. Rumor has it, he's hanging above the bar, grin gleaming, boosting the overall moral of the place. They should be so lucky! Jared, back home in the snowy confines of NYC, sent the group chat a text asking, "What am I doing now?" which fueled a fire of laughter as we sat in the pleasant desert air, toes dipped in the pool.
"Our President, Jared, although back home in Manhattan, even made an appearance in the form of a cardboard cutout."
Friday was our big day: breakfast, team meeting, compression exercises, hikes, dinner, more shenanigans. And we were all ready. We were split into two teams‚ Blue Team and Red Team, for bonding purposes and breakfast duty purposes. The Red Team had breakfast duties Friday morning and whipped up some breakfast tacos worth bragging about. Clean, healthy eats! We were ready to conquer the day.
But later that same morning, something crazy happened. Our birth names were stripped from us and replaced by new ones that would soon after be set in stone. Each team came up with three nicknames for the opposing team members, and funneled the three names into the best one. Back in the living room, our new names were gifted to us; our new identities. We presented to each other our new nicknames and the origins behind them. With these new identities and a new layer of skin, it was time to greet the desert landscape.
Joshua Tree sits about 2,700 feet above sea level. It's what many refer to as the High Desert of California. It's a very important part of the Mojave Desert ecosystem and provides habitat for numerous birds, insects, lizards and mammals. Every patch of Joshua Tree forest tells a unique, powerful story‚ one of survival, resilience and beauty. And we felt it. A similar vibe was felt walking through the Cholla Cactus Garden on our first pit stop inside the park. As a group we huddled together while Partha dropped some knowledge on us and got us inspired to really take in what this special place offered. He reminded us why we were there and what we‚ as a family‚ were setting out to accomplish. Not just in that moment of time, but every day as we each move towards our goals, whether personal or professional. From there, we kept moving towards the outskirts of Jumbo Rocks campground to climb and move amongst the gigantic native rock formations, some arguably as old as the earth itself.
"Every patch of Joshua Tree forest tells a unique, powerful story‚ one of survival, resilience and beauty. And we felt it."
Climbing those giant boulders can be best described in one, simple word: fun. Movement should be fun. Movement is fun. And that's why this group of individuals can't help but Stay Moving. Especially when we're Lasso'd Up and ready to go! We scaled the tops of these boulders like kids on a jungle gym, finding alternative routes, appearing from nowhere to the tips of the peaks with our arms held high. We took in the views and moved with the friendly desert breeze. Sometimes, some things just feel right. That was one of those times.
From there, we were at the trailhead of Ryan Mountain, our anticipated hike. It was time to conquer the fearless giant that stood in front of us. Backpacks were thrown on. Shoes were laced tight. A few stretches here and there. Then it was time. The hike offered the perfect amount of challenge. It was a steep incline, peppered with man made stone steps, tight trail and decent switchbacks. To call it an uphill battle would be an understatement‚ but we powered through it as a team. Eight different walks of life, among the many out there that afternoon, trekked on with no fear of failure. The support that Lasso compression socks provide is next to none‚ almost reminiscent to the support we provided each other as a team. We rolled on as a crew around every corner, up every incline, and rightfully rested as a team as we went. If someone needed water, we had water. If we needed a break, we took a break. This was no race. No, no. It was a reward. And with one foot in front of the other, we charged upward.
"To call it an uphill battle would be an understatement‚ but we powered through it as a team."
The wind hit us hard as we approached the peak of our hike. It wasn't a gentle slap in the face, nor was it an intrusive nudge. It was gratifying in every sense of the word. It felt like the finish line, but in reality we were only halfway there. Not that it mattered. The uphill battle was over. Soon, we'd turn around and retrace our tracks back down the beast in the opposite direction. We took in the views of the Joshua Tree valley in silence, minus a few restful sighs and smiles. From east to west, the earth below us stood still as a photograph. Then came the cheers and high fives. The wind howled and hummed. Birds flew gracefully above us, slow dancing in the stubborn wind patterns. A kind stranger snapped a group shot of us. Success. We had reached the top as a team, and shortly after, descended back to the dry, decorated valley floor as a team.
So a group of hungry urban cowboys walk into a desert restaurant... Back down the mountain, our stomachs were rumbling. It had already been a successful day and we were barely scraping the early afternoon hour. The next move was inevitable: food! We found ourselves in what could best be described as an old western film movie set. The town of Twentynine Palms was missing about 28 palms, but that's beside the point‚ the Kitchen in the Desert in Twentynine Palms was a major highlight, whether we were surprised or not. The food was fresh and delicious, much needed fuel after moving all day. The menu items were eclectic and diverse. Where the heck are we? And even though I regret not getting the craft chicken sandwich like pretty much everyone else (!!) I was more than happy with every single thing about the place. We even requested the chef to the table to personally thank him. With full stomachs and wide smiles, we watched the sun set behind the mountains out west, feeling accomplished and revved up. The temperature quickly dropped the sporadic way it does in the desert, and with that it was time to head back to our temporary home for more team bonding shenanigans.
"With full stomachs and wide smiles, we watched the sun set behind the mountains out west, feeling accomplished and revved up."
Getting back to the house after dinner and our Joshua Tree hike actually felt like coming home. Some showered, some lounged, some went straight to the fridge for a cold beverage (me). Socks glued to our feet, we were all still Lasso'd Up, feeling the compression benefits while recovering from the miles we trekked. And shortly after, we naturally regrouped around the Shuffleboard table. I'm having trouble recalling if the Blue or Red team kept smashing the other team? Hmmm‚ I guess I'll just leave it at that (ha!) Memories of the night before were bouncing around from wall-to-wall, room-to-room, deep diving into the chilly pool and back into the kitchen. You could almost hear the previous night's laughter echoing through the halls. But once again, the past was conveniently replaced by the present. We were constantly living and interacting in the moment, a notion that is often desired but not so often achieved. But one thing is for sure‚ that in-the-moment feeling secured the newfound linkage between us all inside that desert AirBNB.
"We were constantly living and interacting in the moment, a notion that is often desired but not so often achieved."
From story time to getting lost in random music video playlists and every topic of conversation that can fall in between, we covered some major ground vocally. We each have a past. We each have a story of our own. And we each learned a little more about each other that final night, solidifying that a few new pages of each of those stories were being written right then and there, and every day forward, we continue to write more. The story keeps moving, and the plot always thickens.
We moved with the desert for two nights feeling a mutual happiness; an unwritten, unspoken peace agreement. The desert was not angry with us, nor us with it. And for that, we're thankful. The next morning, after a quick breakfast from the Blue Team (as brag-worthy as Red Team's if I do say so myself‚ shoutout Chef Dontonio and Splinter!), we packed up and out as quickly as we did in. In our own separate directions, we waved goodbye. It was a bittersweet ending to an important, productive, much-needed weekend.
Memories made. Movement created. Family formed. Bonds built.
Safe to say we each accomplished what we set out to do.
And with that‚
Until next time, Joshua Tree.
I've always believed that Stay Moving was a lifestyle. Being able to get together with the team and do things like cook healthy meals together, hike together, and live to our highest potential was an experience that I will cherish. It's nice to be able to spend time with people who value the same things as you.
The importance to stay moving as an individual is critical. The importance to stay moving as a team is paramount. Moving and acting as a team is absolutely necessary to creating and maintaining a positive brand movement. Our Lasso retreat was a great way for us all to be together and come together as a unified team with a mission to Stay Moving. Not only was the exercise a great way to build bonds between us, It was a great way for us to challenge ourselves and help each other move our best and strive to improve.
Sri aka Yogi
You can't have a testimony without a test.
The Lasso Team got an opportunity to come face to face with nature, be challenged and changed, and come out on the other side having shattered pre-existing mental barriers. We took the hard way and braved the elements, which gave us a common enemy and a singular focus. Reach the summit. Only way to get there is to #StayMoving.
Along the journey, we realized that we needed each other to make it to the top. Looking out for each other and supporting each other became the modus operandi.
"Individually, we are strong. United, we are invincible."
Afterwards, we broke bread and became brothers as the sun set on the horizon. We are all in this together. This much is evident. You're either on the rocket or you're off it, and we all just boarded on a one way trip to the promised land.
Glad to be a part of this remarkable group! Looking forward to helping everyone on planet Earth #StayMoving together.
Pulling back to Scale up.
We have grown a great deal since we began our journey here at Lasso. We have several new team members and this was the first time some of us met in person. What one could imagine might have seemed unfamiliar felt like family.
I think that one of the most symbolic moments on our retreat took place on our hike at Joshua Tree National Park. We all decided that the only way to tackle this challenge was together and with the same goal in mind. As we approached the base of the mountain, it reminded me that we are the base of what we are building. Much like a mountain, we are the foundation and the stronger we are, the higher we can build. Also, like a mountain, you will find many types of rocks that will all tell a different story of how they got to where they are and why they are who they are. This is us. We've all come from very different walks of life but here we are on a path to create something that one day like a mountain will be around long after we are gone yet our mark on the world will live on.
The Lasso team descended upon Indio, CA for our 2021 retreat. It was a time to come together and grow as a team and family.
This marked my first ever company retreat I've attended and provided an opportunity to meet our East Coast teammates in person for the first time as well.
Lasso has been a series of these firsts, marking a big departure from the world of off-road racing I've been a part of for the last three years.
The beautiful thing about the Lasso crew is the camaraderie that was immediately apparent from the first day. This continued into this retreat as we all had the opportunity to put the grind of the regular workday behind for a moment and connect with each other on a foundational level.
The absolute highlight of the trip was our excursion to Joshua Tree National Park. While being another first of mine for going to Joshua Tree, I was immediately connected back to my desert roots. It was a great opportunity to share with our members that have never been in this terrain before.
Joshua Tree provided the perfect backdrop to illustrate how small we are in this world. As we climbed on top of boulders and got a view of the desolate, yet equally beautiful landscape, we truly had a sense of appreciation of this. This culminated on our hike up Ryan Mountain. This mountain broke me, but the Lasso team was always by my side making sure I was good to continue. They pushed me to achieve our collective goal of summiting. I've made it my goal here at Lasso to try to live a life that embodies more of our mantra of #StayMoving and I hope that we get a second chance at this trail. I vow to have round two be very different than round one.
After making it down the mountain and back into town, we found the most amazing little restaurant tucked into this sleepy desert town. We let the sun slip beneath the horizon as we enjoyed the amazing food and each other's company. It was the perfect cap on the day as we all could look at each other and tell that we were building something special.
As the oldest family member here at Lasso Gear, I've experienced numerous business cultures and backdrops. I'm born and raised in San Diego, CA., and I have an extensive background in board sports and action sports activities, businesses and product specific goods.
The one thing that sets companies apart in any market is authenticity.
It's that authenticity that validates the true reason the business should occupy the space and create products for that industry and customer. As a designer/manufacturer, and former athlete, I appreciate our company. We all share the excitement and drive to build Lasso Gear to promote and sustain our lifestyle.
Commitment to detail, willingness to achieve, determination to stay the course and build together while having each other's backs is one thing, but can we prove it? This was none more evident than our choice to gather together, lock arms and become one with each other on this Lasso retreat in Indio, CA.
You see, we set out for Joshua Tree National Park. And a simple hike to Ryan Mountain became a challenge for me. I was met by my business mates with the same outlook, determination and will to succeed as I hold myself to. We've built our company together in these Covid-charged-times through video meetings, emails, text messaging and if you're lucky‚ phone calls. Nothing compares to the energy, camaraderie and insight that being in the same room generates. This Lasso retreat was all that, and the forge for life-long friendships.
Our mission as athletes and former athletes has always been the advent of movement. Movement is progression. Movement is power. Movement is LIFE. Lasso is life. That is Lasso‚ More than gear... Stay Moving!