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January 16, 2020
No one charges ahead so boldly as servicemen and women of the U.S. military, as our friend, former Navy SEAL, and up-and-coming NASCAR driver Taylor Canfield proves with every step along his badass journey.
What does Veterans Day mean to you?
I think every day should be “military gratitude” day. Too many times we take for granted our service members, past and present, especially the ones deployed, who keep evil far from our front doors. If you’ve ever enjoyed a lazy morning without thinking about how you’re going to escape tyranny, you can thank the military. So next time you get to grab a cup of coffee and relax on the couch, think about all the members of our military; heck, pick up the phone and thank a veteran or send a small care package overseas!
How do you spend your time on Veterans Day?
Generally I like to participate in some sort of homage paid to our vets, anything from ceremony to listening to war stories at a local VFW and shaking their hands. It doesn’t take much, and a simple handshake means a lot to our vets.
What's a common misconception about being a SEAL?
I don’t think people really understand what goes into being able to kill someone with your pinky. The strength conditioning needed to get that little guy in shape is tough work. Not to mention the constant grooming -- if your nail isn’t at just the right length, you could break it, and that would be a terrible disaster. It sucks not being able to sip tea with my pinky up ... people assume they’ve done something wrong (I just wanna fit in!).
We know your dog, Nico, is a living legend. Tell us about him and your relationship.
You mean the softie trying to lay in my lap as I go about this interview? Ha, he’s an absolutely amazing dog. He really kept me from some dark times mentally when I was in Afghanistan and he was always beside me no matter the circumstance. I was absolutely blessed and honored to be able to adopt him after he retired. His intensity motivates me everyday. Even if he could talk, I don’t think he would ever have a bad day, and he really inspires me to look past the little hiccups in life that are not worth your time or emotion. Save that and put it into something that betters and progresses you towards your goals!
What's the most challenging thing about pursuing NASCAR?
I’ll say, coming into the sport at 29-years-old definitely was the most challenging part. Most racers have years and years to work up to the part where I’m at, and can slowly metabolize the progression over the years. Right now, I’m drinking through a firehose so to speak -- I’ve jumped into the deep end with a weight vest on, and it’s sink or swim; but you already know, no failure allowed here! Just the way I like it, and I knew that coming in.
What does the phrase “Charge Ahead” mean to you?
While there are things in life that require finesse and delicacy, life as a whole does not. CHARGE AHEAD! Don’t go softly, get out there and just do it, whatever “it” may be for you. Have a healthy fear of failure, but DO NOT be afraid to make mistakes, because that’s how you’re going to learn! Failure isn’t simply being defeated at something you were trying -- you don’t actually fail until you quit! Get back up, dust yourself off, climb back on that horse and ride into the sunset! Don’t quit, charge ahead!
How has Elite Meet impacted your personal/professional life?
Elite Meet has been an absolutely amazing organization to be a part of. Simply put, Elite Meet gave me the push I needed to pursue NASCAR. Elite Meet was how I met Black Buffalo! The results coming from that program speak for themselves. I’m still active in Elite Meet and one day soon hope to repay them for all the ways in which they helped me.
Hot Seat! (Rapid-fire questions & real-honest answers)
In the battlefields of Afghanistan, on the racetracks of NASCAR, Taylor Canfield charges ahead in every avenue of life.
Pack a lip of your favorite flavor of Black Buffalo's tobacco alternative and charge ahead along your own path.
We know Taylor through our partners at Elite Meet - a non-profit dedicated to helping special operations forces transition into the private sector. In honor of Veterans Day, we're making another donation, so know that whenever you buy Black Buffalo, you're supporting their movement.
If you've got some tools or connections to help Taylor on his journey, please hit us up and/or follow him on Instagram @Taylor1Canfield and DM him. Tell him Black Buffalo sent you.