Rick, Tanya and Pierce Curren – Scaly Adventures Team on Straight Talk Radio with Chuck Gallagher
Sometimes you stumble upon something refreshing! In this case a family brought together by a son’s passion for reptiles and a parents passion for supporting their son. Perhaps it’s more. Perhaps it’s about a deeper more Spiritual meaning about how we make a difference in the world. Perhaps its about sharing meaning through a simple idea. The story is Scaly Adventures…with Rick, Tanya and Pierce Curren.
So glad Rick, Tanya and Pierce we able to join me on Straight Talk Radio. To hear the podcast of their interview click here: Straight Talk Radio with the Scaly Adventures Team.
Below is the transcription of the show.
Tired of traditional talk? People pontificating about this or that? The left or the right? Sometimes the truth is just off lost in the noise. Having learned life lessons the hard way, Chuck Gallagher, international speaker and author, cuts through the noise to share truth through transparency!
Nationally-known guests talk about what’s important to you – your life, your concerns and your success. So tune in, turn on to Straight Talk with Chuck Gallagher.
Now, here’s your host, Chuck Gallagher.
CHUCK: Hi, this is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio and I am so glad that you have decided to join us today. Today is going to be a show like no other, although I’ve probably said that before, but this one’s going to be a little bit different. I have to say that sometimes unusual things happen in some really mysterious and odd ways.
Let me give you a little bit of a background as you start to listen to this show. I have three guests with me, one of whom is a young man who just told his parents that they steal the oxygen from the room and it might be hard for him to get a word in edge-wise [chuckles], but it’s going to be a fun show. Let me go backwards just a little bit. Probably a couple of years ago, Rick, I’m going to say maybe two or so, I get this call from a fellow who says, “I’ve got a copy of your book and I had the opportunity to read it and my wife and I,” his name is Rick Curren, his wife is Tanya Curren, “my wife and I have read this book and we would love to have you on our TV show down in Atlanta.” Now, for a guy like me, when somebody calls and says, “We want you on a TV show in Atlanta,” you say, “How quickly do we do that?!” It was kind of cool to hear that and I think if I’m correct somebody gave you a copy of that book so, A) as we start this, you never know when you put something out into the universe where it’s going to go. Where is God going to take the message that you have and whose hands will it get into? I didn’t know when I wrote the book that that would introduce me to this wonderful family but it did. Long story short, Pierce, I suck the oxygen out of the air at times.
RICK: But he does it professionally.
CHUCK: Oh, Rick says I do it professionally.
[The Currens laugh]
CHUCK: And the family hasn’t gotten started yet. You all are going to have a fun time. This is going to be a great show. I had the opportunity to go down with Rick and Tanya and do the show down in Atlanta, which was absolutely awesome and they are wonderful, wonderful hosts and interviewers, and that began the process of developing a very interesting relationship and finding out about the walk that they had. This show that we’re doing now here on Straight Talk Radio is about how you create something from nothing. It is a show of hope, it’s a show of inspiration, it’s a show that’s really designed to help those people who might be struggling a bit with personal issues that they find in life. You’ve been laid off, things aren’t going exactly in the direction you want them to go, you find yourself wanting in need or without, and how you can go from, well, again, nothing to literally an international TV show that is just astounding and quite unique.
So, let me introduce my guests and I’m going to start youngest first, although you can’t see this because it’s radio but to my right is Pierce Curren. Pierce, give us a little information about yourself and what’s your age?
PIERCE: I am 13 years old and I am a junior herpetologist. I’ve been working with reptiles for over two years now and we’re going on Season 2: The Scaly Adventures.
CHUCK: Now, that is the coolest thing. I have to tell you, Rick and Tanya one evening said, “Well, why don’t you come up for dinner and we’ll talk about various and sundry things,” and I go up to their house and here’s a house that is quite beautiful up in the mountains of South Carolina, filled with reptiles.
[The Currens laugh]
CHUCK: Like lots of snakes and so forth. And for those of you that might have a little, you know, get kind of wigged out about it, remember this is radio. Nothing can hurt you.
RICK: We don’t have any with us today.
CHUCK: Right, and there are no snakes physically here as the show is being done. Shucks!
CHUCK: Actually, I’m saying, “Thank you, Lord,” because I’m not exactly Mr. Snake Guy, but Pierce is really cool and has a passion for reptiles and you’re going to find out more about that as we proceed in the show. Straight across from me is his mom, Tanya. Tanya, say hello.
TANYA: Hi, guys! I’m Tanya Curren and I’m Pierce’s mom. That’s my favorite title, most proud of that. And Rick’s wife. [chuckles] And I was a kindergarten teacher, first grade teacher. So that is what I did before and I home-school Pierce’s whole life. Love it.
CHUCK: Very cool. And to my left, on the show, of course, on radio you can’t see it, is Rick and Rick Curren initially reached out to me with the television show that he and Tanya host and continue to do, but life has given Rick some interesting twists and turns. Rick, say hello to the audience.
RICK: Hey, guys, and by the way, the thing that you don’t get to pick up because this is radio is the fact that my wife is smoking hot so you’ll have to check her out on her website to see this, but she is smoking hot.
[Chuck and the Currens laugh]
TANYA: And Chuck!
CHUCK: And I have to agree. I mean, you know… Look, I’m just saying…
TANYA: You guys are awesome.
CHUCK: The cool part about it is I didn’t start that way so people won’t quite look at me as taking an advantage of a wonderful situation.
RICK: What does smoking hot look like?
CHUCK: Right, there you go, so you’ll have to check this out. So, as we sit here I’m thinking to get started, and it’s a fun beginning, but Rick I want to go to you to begin with and give us a little background about what was involved with the TV show in Atlanta but also you had a work experience that put you into kind of a different place and a calling that brought you into a level of ministry that I think people need to hear about. Don’t necessarily assume ministry means Jimmy Swaggart and Jim and Tammy Bakker and those folks, but something that I think people who listen to the show will want to connect with because it makes so much sense.
RICK: Yeah, first off, it was interesting because the other day we were talking about what is real ministry and there are so many people out there who do salvation if you will and do salvation messages. In fact, I think the world is so full of people like that that there is an opportunity for people to do other types of ministry because we kiddingly used to say there are people who bring you to Jesus and then there are people who save you from running, screaming away from Him. Really, the cool thing about what we do, if you put it in the terms of ministry, is we think of ourselves as a ministry of encouragement because we believe that there’s such a powerful message in just getting people’s minds off of the everyday things that confront them and so that’s our ministry. It’s really just encouraging people, empowering them and helping them to understand that there’s really nothing that can hold them back.
My own personal story is really a testimony of that. I got out of the army and I did what any young guy would do my age. Everybody said, “Oh, you should go into this career because it pays well and you’ll always have a job.” Well, those are both lies. [chuckles] It did pay well, but I didn’t have a great job in the sense that it was very demanding, took me away from the family for a lot of the time. I was in medical device sales. I mean, I made great money. On my best years I made over $200,000 a year, had a company car, laptop, cell phone, all of the “golden handcuffs” that would seem to be the things that you’d want in life, but deep down inside of me I was actually suicidal. I really did not like doing what I did.
Along comes 2009 and I was actually sales rep of the year and I got laid off from this 200,000-dollar-a-year job. A couple of years prior to that, Tanya had felt a calling to do something in ministry, had no idea what it was. When I got laid off, the company was gracious. They gave me a small severance, they said, “Hey, we’ll help you get placement and everything else,” and I said, “You know, Tanya, I really feel like this is the time for us to just move forward if you agree with me.” She said, “Yeah, I do,” so that’s exactly what we did and we just went forward with an organization called Boundless Limits. Out of that has birth so many wonderful opportunities, but as I sit here now, had you asked Rick Curren seven years ago what would you be doing, this is the last thing I thought I would be doing in my life.
CHUCK: It’s interesting, 2008, 2009… And if you’re listening on the radio, you might hear some extraneous sounds because we happen to be at a beautiful outside café and, as I said, this is a prerecorded show so it’s live with us here but as you hear this coming Monday, again, you might hear some unusual sounds. Rick, 2009 really gave, hmm, how do I put this? It gave a lot of us opportunities to take pause in a very painful way. It’s kind of like as a kid, I remember the little merry-go-rounds that you had and you’d put kids on there and then some of us would run around and we’d push it and you’d hope that centrifugal force would throw people off and then laugh but you’re laughing at their pain.
RICK: Yeah, of course.
CHUCK: So a lot of us then experienced in 2008, 2009, 2010 and beyond some very painful periods of time that caused us to have to look inward and re-evaluate where we are. Tanya, let me go to you because let’s stick with 2009 for a second when Rick got laid off, and I’m assuming everything that you’ve said, “I’ve got a 200,000-dollar-a-year job, I was the sales guy of the year, I had the car, the phone, etc, etc,” and then your husband comes in one day and says, “Gee, the worst has happened. I’ve been laid off.” What did you do experience? What was happening within you at that time?
TANYA: Right, you have to understand that I know this man. He is my best friend so I watched him bring home great money, but a huge part of his life was unfulfilled. He felt like he had purpose and passion with our marriage and with our child, but he was not living a life of purpose and passion. He was not fulfilled so I knew that this was going on as well. When he turned to me in 2007 and said, “I feel called,” I’ll be honest with you, the first thing I said, “I hope not to be a pastor because I’m not nice enough to be a pastor’s wife.”
PIERCE: Because she’s not.
CHUCK: Okay, whoa, whoa, whoa! Everybody, if you didn’t hear that, everybody, I mean it was like round the table, “She’s not!” Pierce.
PIERCE: Nooo, nooo…
TANYA: I know. Listen, I’m not in denial. I just don’t have that level of long-term compassion for people who won’t listen and take advice so I don’t and you have to have that. I said, “Listen, I’m down with my going into ministry of some sort, I just can’t be a pastor’s wife.” It took God a couple of years working at his heart and for us to figure out what that was. So in 2009 when he was laid off, honestly, I’ll tell you exactly when he called me, actually, he got the call from his manager, he said, “Cool,” and when he said, “I don’t have a job for you anymore,” he kept driving, because when he called me, he said, “I don’t know exactly where I’m at,” and I said, “Come home,” and we packed a picnic and we went to the park.
My most important thing was we’re going to stop, we are not going to panic, we’re going to have a family moment and we’re going to talk about this and we’re going to pray. You know what? We said, “We can do this.” So we downsized. I do everything; I color my hair, I do my own nails, we cut out everything, eating out, so we reduced as much of our output and then we said, “Okay, so you started working for a company. Went from full time to just doing per diem or as needed,” which was a huge, huge loss.
That was an interesting part of it too when God calls in a ministry, he didn’t send us a million dollar donor. He did not make it easy. Like, Rick still had to piece this together and I said to Rick, “I think we’ll make it one year,” and now we’re going on five. So, for me, I’m so committed to this family like we’re all in no matter what we have to do. It was more about I would rather my husband live a life of passion and purpose and be happy and create things of value with our son than worry about the paycheck that he’s bringing home.
CHUCK: Now, I have to ask this question and I’m shifting gears, but that was five years ago.
TANYA: Correct, yes.
CHUCK: Right? Pierce, you were eight. Okay, so here’s the question to the 13-year old thinking back on eight, and I’m not sure I can remember much of what happened when I was eight, but for you it’s not been that long ago. What changed in the family that you recall? Was there anything?
PIERCE: Well, for one, I saw my dad a lot more. He used to be on the road a lot and so for that I thought at the time I wasn’t really into all this stuff, but my parents have always been very open to not keeping secrets from me and letting me know everything. By the time I was soon eight, I didn’t understand what it all meant so I just thought, “Hey, I’m getting my dad home more often,” and now that I realize they were struggling so hard to take away all this stuff so they could provide, not making me change all that much, without making me have to sell my stuff or downsize, they made sure to sacrifice their stuff so that I continue to live the life that I had.
CHUCK: As I hear that I’m like, “Okay, wow.” I’m hearing a 13-year old sharing some information that is absolutely incredible, and, Pierce, I’m not sure that on this show I will interview many 13-year olds or that will be that articulate, so kudos to you, dude. [laughs] That was articulate.
Here we are, we’re wrapping up our first segment and I don’t think there was a better way to wrap that up. We’re on Straight Talk Radio, this is Chuck Gallagher, we’re talking with Pierce, Tanya and Rick Curren of Scaly Adventures and we’ll talk a little more about from 2009 where things have gone and what’s taken place because the story is incredible. Stick with us, we’ll be back after this break.
CHUCK: We’re back, this is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio and we’ve had a very interesting first segment and we ended, Pierce, with something that, although people on radio can’t see, brought your mom to tears and was just absolutely a very priceless thing with Rick, Tanya and Pierce Curren of Scaly Adventures and Boundless Limits. But Rick, when we we’re on break, you started something and I hushed you up because we were talking a little bit about the experience you had the night before you were laid off, and this was back in 2009 and I think that provides a great segue into the experience that you were having but now we’ll carry us into this next segment to where you can be. So tell us a little bit about that.
RICK: What I was saying was that basically we had actually felt a calling to come into some sort of ministry as early as 2006 or 2007, I can’t pin it down exactly, but it was like I felt this epiphany, “Wow, I really feel a calling to do something,” and that was it. I told Tanya and then it was like right back to life as normal.
Then we start a little bit of doing stuff. She gets an opportunity to speaking engagement talking about her testimony and I’m sitting there and going, “Okay, I felt the calling into ministry but you’re having her do stuff,” so throughout the span of the next two years we’re building this organization that we call Boundless Limits, but I’m still working full time as a sales rep. It starts to interfere a little bit with my career and to the point where literally my manager is like, “Listen, what are you doing? If you want to be a missionary, go be a missionary but you work for us, this is full time.”
I remember it, probably came to a head in 2009 where I’m sitting at the table and I’m designing my website because I have to teach myself how to do all the tech stuff, all the behind-the-scenes stuff, we’re working nights, weekends. She was going to do a women’s conference, which was our second independent that we had produced, and I’m sitting there at the table for 14 hours doing this thing and finally Pierce comes to me, “Hey, Dad, can you spend a few minutes with me? Can you spend a couple of minutes?” and I’m like, “No, son, I’m building this website. I’ve got to get it done tonight.” I was like, “Wow, this is not what I had in mind when I felt this calling into ministry.” I said, “I’m done.” I closed the lid on my computer. I remember just sort of yelling at the ceiling, I said, “God, this is it. I’m done. I don’t know if this was a cheeseburger or what that happened to me that day that made me think I’ve heard from you, but if I didn’t hear from you, then take this desire away from me, but until you tell me exactly what it is you want me to do, I’m stopping. I’m stopping everything. I’m going to go do the last thing you told me to do which was to be a medical device salesman and until you make it perfectly clear to me that this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, I’m going to stop and I’m going to be a husband, a father and a salesman.” And that was it. I slammed the lid on my computer and I walked away.
The next morning at 9 A.M. I got a phone call from the manager and he said, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but I don’t have a job for you next year.” That’s when Tanya was saying I said, “Cool.” He said, “I’m sorry. I must have misunderstood what you said. You’re the only person of the four people I’ve called today who said ‘cool’ when I laid you off.” And I said, “Yeah, John, but I’m probably also the only guy who asked God last night, ‘What do you want me to do with my life?’” Sometimes it takes God literally reaching into your life and going, “Okay, here you go,” because who would quit a 200,000-dollar-a-year job in a recession? Nobody. So I literally tell people I got dropkicked into ministry.
CHUCK: Well, I guess this goes back to the statement you got to be careful what you ask for.
TANYA: Yes, be careful what you pray for. Be very specific. So now I’m like, “Okay, when we pray, let’s make sure we lay everything on the table say it right.” [laughs]
CHUCK: It’s kind of like with my wife and I. I will say things in jest and she’ll say, “You better be careful,” and I’m like, “Look, God understands I’m a comedian so He understands there’s a little leeway on my side.” On the other hand, when she says something, stuff happens. She said one time not long ago, well, it has been a while back, now a decade or so, but she said, “You know, I’m just not really sure I like this car anymore.” Literally left and totaled the car.
CHUCK: I’m like, “Darling, you have to be very, very careful.”
TANYA: You need to be careful.
RICK: I love my house, I love my car.
[The Currens laugh]
RICK: I love everything.
RICK: It really wasn’t being flipping, it was literally I had reached a point of frustration that I think that we got o church, we read the Bible, we know from the scriptures and everything that we hear that God has a plan for us. Sometimes I think the hardest thing is to wait because our time is finite, God’s is infinite. It’s so frustrating and for me it was literally saying, “God, I don’t know what you want me to do,” but now looking back, I realized I did not have that courage to take that first step. That was actually God making that happen because, like I said, who’d quit that kind of a job and go out and do this? But to my wife’s credit, here’s the cool thing about it; we were living on about $10,000 a month and this woman and I have cut back so significantly that I’m here to tell you that a family that lived on ten grand a month can do it on less than four. It’s very possible. If you want a dream, you just have to ask yourself, how bad do you want it?
TANYA: And I want to say this too, Chuck. I hope that this encourages your listeners because we did not know how to design a website. We did not know how to do any of this stuff and of course we didn’t know how to make a TV show. His background was sales, I was a teacher and here we are homeschooling our son, but he started reading all of these books. Books from here you can stack them to the ceiling because we knew we could not afford a website, to pay someone to do it, so he had to teach himself how to do it. He has laid out our book and I was like, “We had not authored a book before and now we’ve authored something together, our book and a study guide.” In fact, I was speaking at a women’s shelter sharing my story because in 2004 I was in a coma, an eight-day coma. For eight days I was given two hours to live and then after God saved my life, every doctor I went to over the next three years gave me prescription after prescription so by 2007 I was addicted to 18 prescriptions a day and I was ready to kill myself.
So that’s another part of our story, like another layer because we didn’t even know if God was going to use that just to be a cool story and He used that as I recorded my audio testimony in my closet on a borrowed laptop with free equipment to edit. That was what launched us into ministry, but as I’ve spoken at a women’s shelter for a year to get that experience sharing my story and at the end of it, I came to Rick and said, “I’ve got an idea to make a proverbs devotion guide,” and I said, “I think we should launch it next month.” Rick had to teach himself how to put together a book in a month and I just say all that to say no matter what it is, you can do it. You really can do it. You can do it with hardly any money. If you’re willing to work and teach yourself, there are so many resources out there now that you can watch, YouTube videos, [21:58].com and all these books that you can read. It’s a very inspiring way to live.
RICK: To your credit, too, when we first started, I had been in sales and I knew how to speak in front of groups. You were a kindergarten teacher so you know how to speak to small audiences of young children, but speaking motivationally was something different and you’re like, “I’m just not comfortable with how I speak,” and I said, “You know, why don’t you go down to the women’s shelter? They are always looking for people who are willing to speak.” The first night she went, she had printed out this Devotion. The Devotion time was 30 minutes. She’d landed the plane in 15 minutes, she came home just [22:32], “I can’t believe it.” I said, “That’s all right. You’re going to dust yourself off, you’re going to go back down there and you’re going to knock out the part.”
A year later she put on a two-day women’s conference in a homeless shelter for these women. To watch somebody grow by immersing herself in one of the most uncomfortable environments possible, and the reason I say that is because many nights she would go there and speak to these women who were coming off of drugs, who were in horrible situations, they would literally fall asleep while Tanya was speaking so she learned to get a real thick skin on her and she learned how to become a professional speaker, not by some power course, not by some online videos but by serving God in a community location and He grew these skills in her to where now she’s one of the most polished people on TV in my opinion.
TANYA:[23:19] was cool again, if you have children, to just look at how you can show your children this. I am so proud that we are giving Pierce these skills, that he has seen us value a penny and what to do with a dollar. I know we’re skipping ahead, but with our television show, Scaly Adventures, we filmed Season 1 with $5,000. That’s crazy. That’s 14 episodes on $5,000 alone. We actually filmed an episode down in Florida and a professional [23:43] series was there filming with the Outdoor Channel and they were blown away. They said that is unheard of; a low budget, something that should be $20,000 an episode. We did 14 on 5. It proves what God can do what you can do it with a lot of work.
CHUCK: As you’ve heard this, the thing I think is really fascinating for the listeners, especially on Straight Talk Radio, is a couple of things, as we get ready to go into the next break. Number one, Rick, most people don’t have the guts to just jump off the merry-go-round and follow their dreams. Right, most don’t. That’s not normal and probably what is more normal is having a dream, having a desire and having something that burns a passion in your heart that’s part of the DNA, of who you are and what you bring to this world, but recognizing that if you don’t let go, you be let go. I don’t mean necessarily that just from a job perspective but from the perspective of– And we hear beeping in the background because we have little—
RICK: Turkey’s done.
[The Currens laugh]
CHUCK: Yeah, I like that. Turkey’s done or we have the little man in the car. But the one thing that I do think is, when you sit there and you look at it, it isn’t always about the job, but if there is something that is a part of who you are, that is part of what you bring to this world, why you are here, if you’re unwilling to easily follow the path, you will find yourself on the path, sometimes it’s not comfortable.
Now, Tanya, you were talking about the show, Scaly Adventures, and I know to people who’d been listening to the show up to this point for the first half, we’ve talked about it, we’ve talked a little bit in the periphery about your television show but when we get back from the break, what I’d really like to do is talk with the three of you about– Okay, all of a sudden your son has a passion which Mom and Dad are willing to be okay with. That’s unusual. Snakes in a house, kind of like Snakes on a Plane. I mean, it’s not the normal so we probably need to talk about that just a little bit and then how this idea blossomed in a unique way because, Tanya, I’m going to say this and if I’m wrong, correct me, but it isn’t the primary focus of your family is your speaking, and, Rick, the primary focus isn’t Boundless Limits but the family has come together behind the primary focus of your son.
CHUCK: So, when we get back from the break, we’re going to visit with Pierce and family on Scaly Adventures and talk about how an interesting idea can turn into something that is absolutely magical. We’ll be right back.
CHUCK: And we are back with Straight Talk Radio. I’m Chuck Gallagher and this has been such a fun interview. I think the thing that, for those of you that are listening for the first time, we’re talking with Rick, Tanya and Pierce Curren. This is prerecorded. We happen to be outside at a café so occasionally you might hear the Harley Davidson motorcycle drive by or the car with the little ‘beep, beep, beep’ background sounds, but the interview is really interesting and we’ve talked up to this point about what took you to now literally an international television show. I want to say this as we begin this, for those of you that are listening, I can kind of hear it’s a little bit weird but some people are like, “You know, yeah, Chuck, you interview people who found this success, but it’s never going to happen to me, and you don’t really understand, and I’ve been laid off, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. We don’t have the income,” and it’s like okay, and I have to say, “Get off the whambulance.” There is no value to self-pity. Things happen in our lives. Everything happens for a reason. The question becomes evaluating what’s happened and what can I do next? I’m talking with a family that’s had an amazing transformational experience, literally into an international television show that has come from the dreams of a child.
As we start this, Pierce, you’re 13 now but somewhere along the line you got interested in snakes. Tell us about it.
PIERCE: I went through a couple of different phases. I started off in geology, then I got into dinosaurs and then snakes, so I’ve always kind of stayed in the area of really cool unnatural things. My dad found a small red-bellied brown snake in the yard one day and I got to keep it. This thing was no bigger than a pencil and not even a full pencil. It was like an already been sharpened pencil. It was small. I kept that thing for about a year which is the max expectancy. It’s only about two, so it was pretty good for me to keep it that long. Then we started collecting a few more. Then we did one small, little birthday because somebody was willing to pay. Originally I was like, “Hey, I’ll do a couple of these just to get some extra video game money,” then it just really took off from there. We went to a reptile show and we just thought we could do better, way better than that. Now I think we have. It’s just been a lot fun, just teaching people about reptiles.
CHUCK: Okay, before we go to the parents because you said when we first started, “They will suck out the oxygen out of the air. I will never get any talk time.”
CHUCK: I’ve got to say this. So, I’m sitting there, just blown away, “Well, I was interested in geology,” I’m sitting there and thinking about my two sons when they were eight years old and I don’t think any of them would have said, “I was interested in geology.” Now, one of them would have said, “I was interested in video games and wanted to be a video game designer,” and now he’s just a hippie, nothing wrong with that.
[The Currens laugh]
CHUCK: He’s a good hippie, but it’s a different experience. When you first found the snake, you said, “Dad, let me keep it.” Mom didn’t make you kill it. I’m surprised, tell me how did that work in the family?
PIERCE: My mom’s always been really supportive of anything I do. I mean, before that I’d caught toads and stuff. I’ve always been just, “I’ve got to catch it!” I see something literally now and I could be having a conversation with somebody I literally just go intto autopilot mode. I will see something and I will go after it. There’s no stopping me so she’s always been, “Go for it.” She’s never really been worried about me getting hurt. I could pretty much almost climb before I could walk. I could climb trees and stuff so she’s never really kept me back from anything. If I wanted to do it, she was just like, “Go for it.”
CHUCK: Okay, and you have no fear when you see the snake or whatever it is going to catch it? Does it ever cross your mind, “That sucker might bite me because it doesn’t want to be caught and that could cause me bodily harm”?
PIERCE: Again, I mean, it’s just an autopilot mode. My brain literally does not think. I see a snake and I just have to grab it. I know if it’s a venomous, I’ll go grab a hook, but otherwise, biting to me it’s just part of the job. It’s an occupational hazard, it doesn’t bother me.
CHUCK:[chuckles] Okay, I’m sitting back thinking, “Okay, at 57 I don’t have that, I’m going to call it ‘loser brain instinct’ to go grab a snake or to know the difference between venomous and non-venomous.” All I know is it has a mouth, a tongue sticks out and it is not natural for me to want to grab that little puppy. Now, what is natural for me is grab a hoe, which I know really causes great consternation and I am so sorry.
RICK: It’s okay. Come back, Pierce, come back! [laughs]
CHUCK: At my mother’s house, she lived in Greenville in South Carolina and she moved down here and she has a big creek behind the house and they found, I don’t know, eight snakes one day, and I’m sitting there, they’re worried about, “How do we get rid of the snakes,” and I’m thinking, “Call Pierce.” I know that’s not what you do, but I can imagine you would have a real blast.
PIERCE: Oh, yeah. That would be fun, yeah. The great thing is the further up you go, the less you’re going to worry about water snakes and stuff like that. Yeah, I mean, just give me a call if you need help.
RICK: I got a champion. We filmed on the Waccamaw River with some of the guys from the Edisto Serpentarium and the guy who took us out runs the Serpentarium and he had actually taken out the National Geographic guys a couple of years before. The goal was to catch barehanded water snakes out of trees and I got to brag on Pierce because in the two days that we filmed Pierce beat that guy. Number one, Pierce refused to wear gloves. He said, “I can’t wear gloves, they get in the way.” The kid caught like 10 times more snakes out of the trees than the National Geographic guys did.
It’s just something that comes naturally to him. Some kids sit down and they start playing the guitar and they end up being Eddie Van Halens. Some people grow up and they’re ballet dancers and they end up being prima ballerinas. Pierce from a very early age, there’s nothing that hops, crawls or walks that he’s not interested in learning more about. What’s cool about it is not that he just catches it and sticks it in a jar, he’s passionate about the conservation because it ties back into our faith. We’ve taught Pierce from a very early age that God put us to be stewards over the Earth. To be part of that is to help educate other people why is–Okay, there are times when you’re going to dispatch a snake in your yard, we get that. But why is a snake in your yard? Well, is it there because it’s a part of God’s plan to control the ecosystem? Because I’d rather have a snake in my yard that carries maybe one or two diseases than a rat which carries about 450 different diseases.
TANYA: I would like to say this, too, especially if you’re a mother listening, you’re thinking, “Okay, I must be crazy right now to let my child do all of this.” You have to let your children follow their dreams and do what they were created to do and even though Pierce is our child, I look at Pierce like a loan from God. I kind of look like at us as the ultimate babysitters in a way. So, yes, I have strict boundaries and rules in our home and all those things that I want him to be safe, but Pierce I knew, I can look at him and I can see all of these things inside of him and I don’t want to hold him back. So that’s why I foster these dreams in our home and that’s why we have now almost 40 snakes in our house. [laughs]
CHUCK: Okay, now, for the folks listening to the show, before people are listening and thinking, “This is just weird,” let’s go back to where we started because the interesting thing is so here we have a family, you quit your job to home-school. Is that correct?
TANYA: That’s right.
CHUCK: So Tanya quit her job to home-school Pierce. You were laid off but you had a dream, you weren’t sure where that was going and now some five years later in 2014, all of that has kind of come together in an interesting and unique way. Let’s go back to the early stages of Scaly adventures and let’s talk a little bit about how as parents did this whole thing kind of come together? Because it took a family to be able to make this work. One person’s passion and lack of fear, organization, salesmanship, and the vision to put it all together. Where did that come from?
TANYA: Yeah, you’re right. It truly is a melding of all our talents and all of our work together. It is a team effort 100% and collaboration. So what happened literally was in our home-school email loop, I saw that someone was having a backyard birthday party and they wanted some teenagers to maybe bring some snakes or reptiles because that’s what their child was interested in. I just shot them an email. I think Pierce was 10 because I said, “He’s not even a teenager, and we only have four or five.” I said, “Are you interested in that?” That’s when he got paid. Yeah, just little, simple snakes. So we got paid $25 for going in this little backyard and that’s when he said, “This is really cool. I can make some video game money,” he was saying.
Then you fast forward to 2012 when they were getting more snakes on the reptile shows. They went to see a veterinarian to talk about summer snake safety and how to keep your animals safe with snakes in your yard and Pierce turned to Rick at the veterinarian’s office and said, “We can do better than this.” Interestingly, that week when Rick came home, he had no cases to cover so no income was coming in. I say that because if you will look at your time and those lows and you will create during the lows, just watch out what God can do with it. Watch out, that can explode because that’s when he went downstairs and said, “Let’s have some fun,” and he created scalyadventures.com and he said, “This will just be for fun.” Then they went to the ZOO, paid to get in because he said, “You’re going to need some educational fun videos on there,” and they went and he stood in front of the cages, no behind-the-scenes access, nothing. They filmed little short two- and three-minute video clips in front of the ZOO about some animals that Pierce thought was cool. We put them on the Scaly Adventures website.
All this time we’re driving to Atlanta. So we live near Greenville, South Carolina also, we’re driving down and sacrificing our time twice a month to host Atlanta Live, which we love but it was a sacrifice because he was losing two days a month from any kind of work he could do. He became friends with the traffic manager and producers down there and he saw them, he was our friends and he knew about Pierce’s passion. He said, “These will fit perfectly in my children spot for EI, the Educational and Informative Television.” And we’re like, “Great!” We didn’t even time him a certain time, nothing. He started airing those as commercial spots in the children’s block and then in late October or so 2012 he said, “Have you ever thought about [38:00] a pilot? Maybe taking this to the next level? I’m doing a TV show.” I’m like, “No… Again, we have no idea how to do that.” He said, “You know what? The NRB, the National Religious Broadcasters Convention’s coming up in March of 2013 in Nashville. It’s a big thing, a lot of TV stations come there, networks. You should take that idea.” And that is literally how this has now more [38:20]. We had one camera, which we nicknamed the Beer Can, and if it’s in your hand, it just looks like a black beer can.
RICK: The one you can buy at Walmart, literally.
TANYA: You’ve got to stop saying, “Hit me the Beer Can,” when we’re on set because everybody always looks at us like, “You can’t drink now. It’s like 9 A.M.” [laughs]
CHUCK: You want some of our shoots?
[The Currens laugh]
TANYA: Anyway, Rick’s said, “We always have the Beer Can!” So we filmed Pierce in a swamp on this one camera, from one angle. Rick edited it, no music and it wasn’t even the right link. We like sampled him out, we made 40 copies, took it to the NRB in March of 201, gave it out to anyone and everyone who would listen and came home and within the next two weeks heard nothing. It was like crickets, and then it was like, “What if there wasn’t? Thanks a lot, God, like cool but for nothing.”
Then two weeks later I got an email from Russia. The CNL Network said, “We want to pay to translate this into Russian and Ukrainian languages. Sign a contract with you for the next three years. We’re not going to compensate you, but we won’t charge you for air time.” And we were just like, “Oh, my Gosh,” and it snowballed from there.
Network after network has continued to pick it up. Daystar is the biggest one. They air on six of seven continents every week and they are airing our show and they’ve been airing it Season 1 reruns since last year and they are going to air Season 2 starting in the fall of 2014, but that’s when the fun began because then we got acceptance. We had international distribution before we had a product. We were like, “Okay, that’s a miracle anyway because they have no idea we’re going to produce,” and I looked at Rick, “What are we going to produce? What are we going to do?” [laughs]
That’s when we created episodes. We decided where to film, who to film, how to feature. We make it up as we go so we call it ‘unscripted reality’. We get on set and we ask Pierce, “What do you think about this?” and we’re kind of all just saying, “What do you think about this and this?” We come home, we do our director’s cheer spots in our front yard. Rick edits everything. He taught himself how to do it all. We partnered with a band called Bone Prophet. They’re amazing guys, we had interviewed them one time on Atlanta Live, called Eddie. I said, “Eddie, I’ve met you one time. This is Tanya Curren. Listen, we have an opportunity to create a children’s show that’s going to go internationally, but I need music. I need a music video. I’m going to need clips, but I can’t pay you a dime.” And he said, “I’m in. I’m in.” It didn’t take him a second. He said, “If we can reach children around the world this positive message, I’m in.” We’ve shot a music video with them and they’ve given us all of this exclusive music. It’s been a powerful collaboration.
CHUCK: Well, okay. That is an incredible story and we’re running up against a break. This is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio. We’re going to come back in our last segment and we’re going to talk about more or talk more about how these whole processes unfolded because I think it’s fascinating to see Pierce who has a passion and you guys, Mom and Dad, who are sitting there saying, “Number one, I’m not going to hold my child back and I’m comfortable with the passion,” but realizing that the ministry, which is the term you use, reaches out literally across the globe to talk to young people and to do it in a positive way. This is Chuck Gallagher with Straight Talk Radio and when we get back in the next segment, we’re going to talk about more of the logistics what took place, how it took place, and how those transformations can take place in your life. Stick with us.
CHUCK: So here we are in the last segment of Straight Talk Radio with Chuck Gallagher. My guests are Rick, Tanya and Pierce Curren of Scaly Adventures and it’s scalyadventures.com, right?
CHUCK: So you all need to go to the website, okay? You get to see the family, you get to see information about this. If you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, “It’s just the weirdest thing,” go there and see how an idea and a passion can turn into reality because that same spark, that same idea that exist in your life can become passion and reality. We were at break and Rick started on a conversation which typically happens at break, and, Rick, I want you to kind of go back to that because I think that brings us back into where we are.
RICK: Sure. In the last segment, one of the things that I just kept thinking about that really resonates in our lives, we operate off the premise that none of the gifts that God gave you are for you. They’re for somebody else. It’s truly only that you blossom as a human being when you share them with the world.
Pierce absolutely loves snakes and I have watched this kid educate people from 2 years old to almost 100 years old on snakes and how to it, but it’s his gift and a love for snakes, but it’s in his sharing that it blossoms and the same thing comes from everything we do. If you’re sitting at home and you’re going, “I love doing this, I love doing that,” chances are God put that in you, but the only way you’re really going to experience it is when you give it away. There has not been one part of this entire process, this building upon building upon building, that hasn’t sculpted the show. I look at everything we’ve done. Tanya and I were hosting Tele Christian television twice a month for free, but we would make the sacrifice, like Tanya said, driving down to Atlanta, sitting on a couch, interviewing people and then driving home, getting home at midnight so I can get up the next morning at 5.30 to go to a surgical case. But in that, I learned how to read Tanya when we were sitting on a couch; I’d know exactly when she was going to finish her sentences, exactly what she was going to say and the same was true with me.
The other day, for example, I said to Pierce, “We need to film a one-minute commercial spot for Scaly Adventures.” We didn’t have a timer on us. We just said, “Go for it, see what you get.” The kid nailed it in 59 seconds exactly and the reason is because all these experiences that we have experienced going through building a show, and even the things before the show, have given us the skill set to be so much more effective at what we do. So, if you’re in a place in life where you don’t understand why God has you doing what you’re doing, whether it’s being in sales or mopping floors, some day you’ll look back on another point in your life if you’re following God’s path and you’ll say, “That’s why you had me doing it.”
TANYA: Yeah, and I want to say this, too. Rick and I want to thank you, Chuck. We truly want to thank you for your friendship and your speaking of positive encouragement into our life. You were very encouraging to us in a place where it was kind of a low because it sounds the story, especially if you’re just kind of getting in a low capsule, it just sounds like someone just rocketed. It has been fast if you look at the time frame, but when you’re going from day to day, you create, create, and create, you give, and give, and give, and you’re not getting compensated for, you go through these lows. You remember coming into our house and you saw that poster of Pierce and you were just like, “This is amazing, this is incredible,” and we needed that spark so thank you. First of all, we want to say thank you to that and we also want to encourage the listeners, find the Chuck in your life. Find somebody who will speak positive into your life and encourage you to keep going and even if something isn’t popping yet, it’s not paying you financially, look at all the other great things that are coming, because like you just said, “Rick, we read each other so well now. Pierce is learning invaluable skills because we’ve done all this without a teleprompter, we’ve done it without a budget.” He’s learning and learning and learning so let’s just let that build on each other.
CHUCK: I sit back and I have to say when I was visiting with you in the house and I saw the poster, I thought about, and I’m trying to remember the guy’s name and now it completely slips me, when you’re 57, stuff just goes in your head..
TANYA: [laughs] It happens when you’re 40.
CHUCK: God bless you [chuckles] because now it happens so often and I’m like, “You just need a little more memory there.” But the Crocodile Guy–
RICK: Steve Irwin.
CHUCK: Steve Irwin, I’m seeing a young Steve Irwin. So go to scalyadventures.com and see Pierce and look at it because what you see is someone who has a passion, who starts so young and at some point in time, dude, you’re going to be an international star. I mean, people will be [46:19].
RICK: An amazing fact about Pierce, he is currently on record the youngest animal ambassador in the world with his own internationally-distributed TV show. There is no one else in this world right now at 13 years old who can be seen on six of seven continents holding animals and educating the public.
CHUCK: I’m sitting here as Dad is saying that looking at Pierce and I don’t know if it’s just growth and age, but I think his head got two inches bigger.
PIERCE: I didn’t even know that!
RICK: It’s true.
TANYA: Yeah, it’s true.
RICK: It is absolutely true, and really it’s cool to see, because if there’s one thing any parent wants, it’s you want your child to grow up and be a contribution to the world, to the society. Your goal is not that he grows up and becomes an axe murderer but rather that he actually becomes somebody that contributes to his generation and generations beyond. It doesn’t have to be curing cancer, it doesn’t have to be coming up with the first engine that runs on water. It can be something that inspires people to reach for a dream or do something that God has put in them, no matter how crazy it sounds, no matter how many other people in the world are doing it. If you’re doing it and you know God put it in your heart, then you owe it to yourself and you owe it to God to pursue that.
TANYA: I would love to say this, this show isn’t just about snakes. So snakes freak you out, reptiles freak you out, please tune in because we have all kinds of animals: parrots–
PIERCE: Amphibians, too.
TANYA: And we’ve got turtles and parrots and monkeys and all kinds of cool animals but this show truly, truly is this. And every episode, the underlying message is we teach children to overcome their fears, do what they were created to do and live a life of passion and purpose. We show a functional, healthy family having fun, so even if your family doesn’t look like ours and you live with your grandmother or you have a single parent, it doesn’t matter. We’re teaching you to have fun and create your own adventures so that’s the heart of our show.
CHUCK: You know, here on Straight Talk Radio we talk with all kinds of people. We have some very interesting guests. You guys are, but I have to say, when you think about functioning in life with passion and purpose, probably that is– If there is a message that comes out of this particular show, this is an example of how that works, and I have to say this to you, you gave a thanks and a shout out to me and I appreciate that, but I also have to say on the flipside, I talk with a lot of people who live in the ‘I world’, the ego world. And here’s a reality check; the reality is as sometimes we are going to make some choices in life and some of those choices can be wonderful and incredibly empowering and some of them can be well, I won’t say they took me nowhere, they just took me to federal prison, which is a little different path, you know?
TANYA: Oh, yeah, I know.
CHUCK: Not the most exciting place in the world, but probably one of the best experiences that I’ve had because it stripped that ego at least to the point of being able to find out what it is that I bring to the world and I think you guys, Pierce knows, but he knew, your commitment was to your family and to your son so you stepped away because Rick had the income to be able to support the family. You knew that you had a passion, you weren’t sure how to get there until you asked, “Show me definitively,” to which the next day you got the definitive answer.
RICK: The next day.
CHUCK: And from that point then it became living a life of faith with passion and purpose. A lot of people could get on the whambulance and while the days away wondering what could have been because the box was removed.
TANYA: Yes, that’s right.
CHUCK: The comfort of income and car and cell phone and all of the trappings of what we think are success, yet you guys are finding a unique level of success in a way that reaches out across the globe to touch people. Tanya, when you say, “We show an example of how a family can interact healthily together with passion and purpose,” if there is anything, I think that’s probably it.
I want to encourage the people that are listening to the show, we’ve got to wrap up, we’re running out of time, but I want to encourage people to go to scalyadventures.com. I want you to go look at some of the things that are there. You’ll get an opportunity to see Pierce with his passion, I am sure doing things that you won’t find Chuck doing often.
CHUCK: All right, I hear that. But I’ll say this, it’s been a fascinating experience to talk with you and I hope that the people who are listening the show have an opportunity here on Straight Talk Radio to hear straight talk about how to follow your passion and purpose in life and make a difference. You guys have and I want to say thank you very much for being on the show. Pierce, we’re going to end it with you. Any last words you want to say?
PIERCE: Oh, dear. Well, for one, I just want to say that my parents have sacrificed everything for this and they’d do it again and again if they had to. TV show or no TV show, I will find a way to teach everybody about reptiles and animals. I don’t need this to continue what I’m doing. Sure, it’s a great way to get it across, but passion will go through anything. Media is just one outlet that I can use and I will always find a way to continue to do what I love doing.
CHUCK: Folks, you heard it from his mouth and that’s what passion is really about. This is Chuck Gallagher on Straight Talk Radio. Join us again next week. Thanks.
You’ve been listening to Straight Talk with Chuck Gallagher. Tune in each week on transformationtalkradio.com, each Monday at 2 p.m. Pacific, 5 p.m. Eastern, as Chuck Gallagher, international speaker and author, cuts through the noise to share truth through transparency. Nationally-known guests talk about what’s important to you – your life, your concerns, and your success. Visit chuckgallagher.com for more information and turn on to Straight Talk with Chuck Gallagher.