Benny Brappo: Adventure Enthusiast, Undercover Businessman

Photo by Daniel Milchev 


In the community of outdoor enthusiasts, there are heaps of interesting people, and at DMOS we get to meet some of the most intriguing of all. This week, we spoke with Benny Brappo, motorsports fanatic, nature admirer and one of the raddest dudes out there. Born in Arkansas and raised between New Hampshire, Colorado and Utah, Benny’s childhood granted him access to sports and the outdoors early in his youth, a passion that only grew as he aged. He knew he was destined to be an adventure seeker. At 18, Benny signed his first pro contract for Grenade Gloves and moved to Portland to attend university, and has since lived in New York City, Boston, Boulder and Denver. He now lives in the small town of Eagle, Colorado, and his semi-nomadic lifestyle has given him nothing but opportunities for growth and exploration.


Photo by Drew Carlson 


In fact, Benny’s lifestyle has allowed him to excel in almost any outdoor sport there is. He rides ATVs, dirt bikes, snowmobiles, motocross, practices stunts on his Harley, does off-road racing and, as he explains it, does “pretty much every board sport except longboarding”. In fact, a recent favorite of his is lake surfing, not to be confused with lake skating or wakeboarding. “Lake surfing is 5, 6, 7 feet off the back of the boat, surfing without a rope”, Benny describes, “and it’s the best time you can have on a lake ever. When you’re lake surfing, your friend can just like toss you a beer and talk to you while you surf on this wave behind a boat. It’s literally the funnest time”. He laughs, and it is clear through his positive attitude that he loves his life. But while it might seem like Benny’s life is all play and no work, it wasn’t always this way. Underneath his easy-going attitude is an intelligent businessman and hard-working individual.


Photo by Daniel Milchev


“When I lived in Denver,” Benny described, “I owned a warehouse where we just had events week after week. We were running a skate company and had this epic event center that we rented out to promoters and athletes and musicians, and all kinds of people. It was unbelievable. At some point, though, I decided to get out of there. I wanted to go up into the mountains and find nature again”. Benny left Denver and got into archery, eventually being hired by a local ranch as a hunting guide. “It was literally amazing and it was the hardest work ever,” Benny says, “but it turned out to be a blessing. I built a pretty good relationship with the ranch owners and they hired me on as a ranch manager. I learned so much about the ranch and I discovered we were never really using this one part of the property, so I told [the owners] we should sell a bunch of mini ranches and make money”. The ranch owners took Benny’s advice, even letting him pay into a 25% ownership of the company. He eventually bought his partners out, ending up with 970 acres, where he started his own ranch, Royal Elk Ranch. He has recently sold 75% of this property, he tells me, and the new owners will be building a private ski resort.


Photo by Drew Carlson 


But instead of just sitting on the money he’s made, Benny has used it to pursue as many adventures as he can, and to spread his love for the sports he is passionate about. “The second I started making some money”, he explains, “I bought a SxS, originally just to get around the ranch. But then I started making videos and jumping with it, and people really liked them, because no one else was really doing freestyle. I started getting like 100,000 views fast. Sponsors started noticing”. Benny explains to me that freestyle driving is a relatively new sport, starting with the founders of Metal Malicha hitting huge natural jumps in the desert, just a few years ago. “[Freestyle driving] is what I want to introduce to this industry and this community”, Benny tells me. “There are extreme enthusiasts hidden within this market. We don’t know the boundaries of these cars yet. I wanna show people what's actually possible. No one else is going to the sand dunes and going as hard as I am right now”.  


Photo by Drew Carlson


Plus, Benny adds, DMOS has been a key component in ensuring his daily success. “I’m a professional snowmobiler and I’m always jumping and free-riding stuff”, he says. “When I saw your guys’ Kickstarter, I was like ‘dude, this is awesome!’ In snowboarding and sledding you bring out shovels and rakes, and DMOS is a rake and a shovel all in one. I saw it and supported it”. Since backing the campaign, Benny has primarily utilized his Stealth Shovel, which he says he has used for snowboard jumps, sled jumps, carving natural terrain, getting his sled unstuck, getting his ATV unstuck, raking my gravel in his backyard for his parking space, shaping sand dunes, and more. He says he is excited to try out his new addition to his DMOS collection, the Stealth Pro Shovel.


Photo by Daniel Milchev


However, though Benny has found a way to use his DMOS tools in year round, he still can’t pick a favorite season. “I love powder days more than summer”, he tells me, “and on average I like summer more than winter. But you can’t beat a perfect bluebird powder day boarding with the boys. The difference is that it’s rare. Summer is epic every single day”.


Photo by Kristine Kohl 


Benny plans to continue using his Stealth Shovels, educating adventure enthusiasts about freestyle driving, and living each day to its fullest potential. But despite his plans for epic adventure, the businessman in him is far from taking a rest any time soon. “I have this long term goal to have this giant umbrella of companies”, he says, “A ranch, a warehouse in Denver somewhere, a race team, a surf team… I want to facilitate everything that I’m into under one umbrella”. He says it’s a slow process, but his plan for what he will call Royal Industries, led by Royal Wolves, like himself, is well underway.



Photo by Todd Westphal


“My whole life people have told me I remind them of a wolf”, he explains, “And I totally am. I just carry on”. And perhaps that’s why Benny has gotten as far as he has, finding his passions, chasing his dreams, and never worrying too much about what other people think. Like the motto of his company states, “Wolves don’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep”, so get out there, find what you love, and be a wolf in a world of sheep.


Photo provided by Benny Brappo


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