RC Nation Sales and Entertainment Ltd. is the brainchild of Lenn Korobanik and Dustin Torgerson, though the pair are often referred to as “Lenno” and “Dogbone.”
Last November, Dustin introduced Lenn to RC crawling. At the remote control of the borrowed Redcat GEN8 crawler, (small, 1/10th scale, big wheel 4x4 monster truck), Lenn made his way along a creekside trail, a crawling course built and maintained by local RC enthusiasts.
He was absolutely amazed at the responsiveness of the electric motor, the durability and the climbing capability of the miniature vehicle as it crawled over logs and rocks and through water, snow and mud.
Measuring less than two feet in length and weighing approximately 10 pounds, this little four-wheel drive had realistic scale suspension with oil-filled shocks, steering geometry and drivetrain designed to manoeuvre, respond and succeed or fail the same as its full-size, 1:1 scale big brothers.
This means that the same deliberate, precise techniques used by professional off-road drivers to drive a full-sized 4x4 up and over a seemingly unclimbable obstacle are used by the RC crawler driver in the same fashion. This makes for an experience that is challenging, satisfying and remarkably fun to share — and no one gets hurt in a rollover.
A few days later, Lenn bought his first RC, a Traxxas TRX4 crawler of his own. Responsible social distancing was easy for the two friends as Kamloops’ great outdoors provides many spectacular rock formations for crawling, endless mountain trails to explore and countless muddy, rocky creek beds in which to splash around.
“For the RC enthusiast in Kamloops,” Lenn said, “we have some of the most remarkable and varied natural terrains in the world.”
Another very popular type of RC vehicle is known as a basher. Propelled by powerful electric motors, bashers are fast and super durable.
“Check out the YouTube videos on the Traxxas X-Maxx or Corally Dementor. Their gangly suspensions eat up the bumps at 80 kilometres per hour and they fly off jumps two or four metres in the air,” Lenn said with a smile. “Yup, bashers are pretty fun.”
A few months later, the pair was at the outdoor, off-road racetrack beside Valleyview Arena, piloting their new RC race trucks over jumps and around banked corners, jostling for position on the track, crashing and laughing together. After breaking a small, but common part, one of them wished out loud for a hobby shop that was open after 5 p.m. and on weekends.
“That’s where the idea was born,” Dustin said.
But RC Nation isn’t your traditional hobby shop. In fact, Lenno and Dogbone wanted to turn that concept on its head.
First, RC Nation is a hobby shop dedicated to only remote-controlled electric vehicles.
“If it rolls, floats or flies and you run it by remote control, RC Nation is your destination,” Lenn said.
Second, unlike traditional hobby shops, you won’t find boxes piled from the floor to the sky. At RC Nation they have more than 60 RCs, out of box and on display for you in their bright, clean, wheelchair-accessible showroom. The showroom focuses on the kinds of vehicles commonly used in our area: crawlers, bashers, racetrack trucks, boats, planes and drones.
And a particularly unique feature, opening soon, is their indoor Experience Centre and Racetrack, where you can experience RCing with a test drive before you buy or bring your up-to-12-person-bubble-group to rent a private, fully immersive, RC racetrack experience.
“I think we’re the only one in Western Canada,” Lenn said.
Each person in your bubble group receives a sanitized remote control, a personal race car and operation and safety instruction hosted by an official race announcer and a racetrack marshal. “Helmets are not required, but you can wear one if you want,” Lenn quipped.
The partners say RC Nation is about community and they want to make RCs accessible to everyone. “RCs provide socially distanced entertainment and a little friendly competition” Lenn said. “You can get out of the house with your social bubble and have a good time while remaining safe amid the pandemic. Life isn’t what it was and we’re all looking for something to do with the people we like.”
With nearly 20 years of RC service experience and a huge selection of high quality parts, head RC technician Dustin said with a smile: “Bring that sad, broken RC down off the shelf and I’ll get it running for you quickly and affordably so you can go have fun.”
Check out the RC Nation Sales and Entertainment Ltd. Facebook page for updates on events at the store. The company’s website, rcnation.ca, will launch soon and will be an online place where you can book your private Experience Centre Racetrack event or shop for nearly 50,000 RCs, parts and specialty RC Nation brand accessories. You can buy online for convenient curbside or home delivery anywhere in Canada.
When asked about the challenges of starting a new business during a pandemic, Lenn replied: “Venture Kamloops supports RC Nation and Kamloops entrepreneurs and we wouldn't be where we are without them. Another of the wonderful partners we aligned with is Tint Ninja. Tint Ninja provided the highest-quality laminated windshield glass for your in-showroom COVID-19 protection. It’s easy to clean, won't haze and doesn’t look flimsy or goofy. We appreciate the people that support us.”
For Lenno and Dogbone, it’s all about making it easier for people to play. Mention this Kamloops This Week article for a 50 per cent discount on a stylin’ RC Nation T-shirt.
RC Nation is open Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.