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  • Kevin Raichl

“A big extra, at no extra charge”

Updated: Feb 2, 2022

The 2000’s were heady times for Visual Thinking Northwest. We had a half-hour show on local cable called “Inside Deschutes County”. While staying at Black Butte Ranch, a Lincoln County Commissioner saw it and soon we had “Inside Lincoln County” playing on Newport Cable. We were doing virtually all The Les Schwab Tire Company’s production- Yep, we did a lot of “Free Beef” spots, Grand Openings and Fall Tire Sales. As sailors with outstanding equipment, we pitched Hunter Marine, a large sailboat manufacturer, on a travel series, and Trailer Sailor was born. We were getting paid to sail all over the country, and the term “a labor of love” was never more apt. That led to a hunting and fishing show for Outdoor Channel and the quality of our work led them to approach us about going HD. With a multi-episode contract in hand, we took a very deep breath, a shot of Jack Daniel’s and spent $85,000 on a Panasonic Varicam- the first broadcast HD cam in Central Oregon, and one of the first in the state! When that project ultimately went south due to a sleazy partner, we rebounded with 18 HD episodes on national TV for the US Olympic Shooting team. Coming back from an international shooting competition in Belgrade, Serbia- we realized this Bend Video Production company was now an international HD camera crew. It was an unbelievable series, and most people still don’t know the Olympic Shooting Team is one of the biggest medal winners each Olympics- behind only Swimming, Track & Field, and Gymnastics. It was the fulfillment of our wildest dreams. Then, in 2008, Les passed, the mortgage crisis ravaged the country and the bottom fell out.

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