At first it was just a bunch of buddies hanging around filming themselves doing dumb stuff à la Jackass. They started making homemade t-shirts that were spray painted and designs they made on the computer and would rock them to parties.
After wearing them for a while, they started to get great feedback so instead of making the shirts in their moms’ basements, they took their ideas to a local screen printing shop in Kenora, Ontario, Canada and started selling their merchandise out of the living room of Jeff Bowen’s mom’s house.
Jeff Bowen is the owner of Rednex Rebellion – a growing, independent clothing company that has seen its way out of his mom’s living room to a store located in downtown Kenora, Ontario on the scenic Lake of the Woods.
Flyers fans may be familiar with Rednex Rebellion. Remember the hats Mike Richards used to wear post-game?
Like Bowen, Richards lives in Kenora near the Lake of the Woods – a part of Canada that is known for its amazing fishing in the summer and skiing and ice fishing in the winter.
“The summer tends to be a fair bit busier because of the tourists,” Bowen told It’s Always Icy. “There is always something to do in the summer. The winters are also fun. There is always a game of shinny hockey going on somewhere at a homemade rink on the lake.”
Bowen knows a little something about hockey. From playing AAA Midget in Kenora to lacing up for the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Bowen has hockey embedded in him. He is currently in the process of taking his Kenora AAA Senior Thistles to the Allan Cup and helps coach the local AAA Midget hockey team.
Growing up in a small town with a population of about 15,000, everybody knows each other. So it was just a matter of time before Bowen crossed paths with Mike Richards. Bowen is good friends with Mike’s cousin, Jeff Richards, and they ended up playing pick-up hockey and tournaments in the summer. Their relationship grew and now they spend their summers hanging out on the Lake of the Woods.
Like most hockey fans, Bowen was absolutely shocked when he heard that Richards and Jeff Carter were traded from the Flyers.
“I was actually way down the lake so I had no cell service. As soon as I entered cell range my phone started to blow up,” Bowen said. “Everyone was asking me if it was true that Mike had been traded and I had no idea. So as soon as I could I sent Mike a text to find out what was going on.”
It was no surprise that Richards and Carter were just as shocked as the rest of the hockey world, but Bowen says they have moved forward and put it behind them.
“Both Mike and Jeff were totally surprised and had not expected that to happen especially after they both signed such long term deals, but they both came to realize that the NHL is a business,” Bowen said.
Bowen sees a side of Richards that not many see. Other than his skills on the ice, fans don’t know much about Richards. If you are one of his 30,000 Twitter followers, you know that he is an avid fisher and loves Christmas, but that’s about the extent of it.
Even though fans don’t know much about him, Bowen says that he may be more familiar than you think.
“Mike off the ice is no different than the guy next to you,” Bowen said. “He is constantly going out of his way to make sure that people around him are comfortable. He never puts himself above anyone else. Mike is fun to be around, quiet at times. He does not like to be the center of attention. He is just a solid guy all around.”
Richards is going out of his way to help Rednex Rebellion and it seems to be working.
“I am hoping that we can just keep the ball rolling and eventually be a fairly successful company,” Bowen said. “We have a few things in the works with Rednex. I am going to keep them quiet until I know for sure if they are going to happen – don’t want to jinx them.”
Spoken like a true hockey player.