Mark Madson -
The “Wisconsin Mad Man”
I had two fathers, my “Genetic Father” and my “Physical Father” and I learned a lot from each one of them in different ways. My “genetic Father” Jack Madson was pretty cool, and definitely way ahead of his time. Jack was a very interesting and Innovative “Metal Sculptor”, Abstract Artist” and he loved “Japanese Culture and Art”. When I was in third grade he decided to go to Japan and send for the wife and kids later. Some how he forgot… Go figure… I was really upset that my Dad had left me, because I felt that there was so much that he could have taught me.
Money was kind of tight after my Dad had left to go to Japan, so if I was a good little boy, my Mom would take me to rummage through the County Dump to see what I could find. For me it was a great adventure, because I never knew what I would find, and for a kid with an imagination like I had, it sure beats shopping at Wal-Mart! Which wasn’t even on the planet at the time.
We ended up living in a two room shack with no indoor plumbing, but it was always clean, and it really made me appreciate going to school, especially in the winter time! When we would run out of toothpaste, I would use a bar of soap and make believe it was just as good. Living with my Mom, Lorraine, was great, because she would believe everything I would tell her! Even though she didn’t understand all the “CRAZY PROJECTS” that I was building, she always supported me, like only a mother can.
Hap Little is my “PHYSICAL FATHER”, he married my Mom in 1966, just when I started high school, so he got a lot more than he expected in the “PACKAGE DEAL”! The first thing I remember that he taught me how to use, was a cutting torch… Boy was that a big mistake! The next thing he taught me how to use was a welder! That really meant a lot to me, because up to that point in time, the only thing I really knew how to use was a HAMMER! He let me learn by making my own mistakes, even though he knew that what I was doing was not going to work. Although after I put a 16″ tire on a 15″ rim, he realized my ability to “THINK OUTSIDE OF THE BOX” and that there really was not much that I could not do.
BACK IN THE DAY WHEN WE WERE KIDS AND LIFE WAS GREAT!
It seemed like everything that we built had to have an engine on it. We were only in seventh grade, we had no money, and we had no cares. We built everything from motorized skateboards to three wheeled go-karts made out of wood. But the best thing that we ever built was our motorcycles. It gave us the freedom to be like Tom Sawyer and Huckle Berry Finn.
1966 TO 1970 HIGH SCHOOL WAS GREAT
I majored in shop class with a close second in sports. I was starting right tackle on the football team at 135 pounds, and led the wrestling team in take downs. With the help of my best friend Ron Splan we completely rebuilt my “Model A Coupe” with a 430 cubic inch Mercury Super Marauder Engine, with my home made tuned tunnel ram manifold and tuned exhaust headers that we built in shop class. The first week we got it running we blew first and second gear out of the tranny. It had so much horsepower for what it weighed that we drove it to Graduation in third gear. It was like the song “HOT ROD LINCOLN”.
1994 HOT ROD HEAVEN’S TREE HOUSE
When I converted my 1959 Chevy Fleetside Pick Up Truck into a tree house I had no idea that it would be this popular and get over a million dollars in low cost advertising. If you doubt my figures, you haven’t checked any of the multimedia advertising rates lately. The best part is that most of the people don’t even know what they have bought. It’s been featured on T.V., Radio, magazines, and newspapers all over the world! People stop everyday to take pictures and tell their friends. It has now become a symbol of “HOT ROD HEAVEN”. In 1996 when the tornado came through Clinton with 60 mph winds and blew the roof off our shed, I was up in the tree house, and it was one hell of a ride! That old truck was really “Rocking and Rolling”, even if it would have came crashing down, I don’t think it would have killed me anyways. I can still remember the day when I was walking to work and I looked at my truck and at my tree at the same time. It was like a “Light From Heaven”, it was a “Perfect Fit”. They were just meant to be together in “HOT ROD HEAVEN”.
2000 – THE RESTORATION OF A 1952 MADSON – THAT’S ME, OF COURSE!
I used to restore old cars into high performance vehicles for about $30,000,00 by putting in a bigger engine, beefing up the suspension, and giving it a new paint job. So this year I decided to restore myself. I read the “BODY FOR LIFE” book, and did the 12 “Week Transformation”. I wrote down a plan, and then I actually followed that well-balanced plan of “Proper Nutrition”, “Supplementation”, and “Challenging Workout”. The “Secret” is to consistently follow the workout and to change your eating habits. As you can see in the untouched photos at the right my body changed at a geometric rate! And so will your’s! So now I have the experience of a 62 year-old, the body of a 24 year-old, and the imagination of a 16 year-old that hasn’t realized the boundaries of reality!
I developed the “MADSON BIRTHDAY CHALLENGE” to give the younger athletes a chance to compete with us “OLD GUYS”. It is based on your age, and five “body weight” related exercises that must be completed within 25 minutes. They are; your age in pull-ups, I’m 62. Your age in dips, I’m still 62. Twice your age in push-ups, that’s 124 for me. Climb a 16-foot pegboard twice in a row, and a true one-handed pull-up, with each hand. I also developed the 20-minute workout that consists of simply doing as many pull-ups, push-ups, and dips as you can in 20 minutes. I did 190 pull-ups, 190 dips, and 380 push-ups. I do them in sets of 10 pull-ups, 10 dips, and 20 push-up, almost every minute. If you have the guts to actually try this, you will think it is impossible… It’s not! And yes, I do have the video! And no, I won’t believe you have done it either, unless you put it on video too!
THE LITTLEST LIMESTONE COMPANY IN THE WORLD!
Perhaps my biggest accomplishment has been “The Little Limestone Company”, of course, everybody knows that “Hap” did most of the work before I got here. Hap started his first quarry with Bill Dunn in 1952 and then moved to the Milner Farm in 1965. Crushing limestone “Back In The Day” was a lot more work than it is now. They used to feed the crusher with an old “Steam Shovel” looking piece of equipment that had an old flat head six banger gas engine. Well, as soon as I became in charge of the machinery, I tore out the six bangers, and put in a “Small Block Chevy”, the governor never worked very well, but it had so much power it really didn’t need one. Hap always wanted to make the best aglime which is why he bought a “Hammer Mill” instead of a “Jaw” like everyone else did. Actually Hap taught me how to do everything pretty much the opposite of what every one else in the limestone business was doing. Maybe that is how I learned that “Upside Down and Backwords, is actually Frontwords”.
Most other companies are trying to expand and get more quarries and more customers. We only have one quarry and that is all we will ever have, and plan to keep the customers that we do have, happy. And the “Best Part” is that we are having more “Fun”! The best part for me was that we had a really great shop with lots of tools and an overhead crane. Hap would let me build just about anything that I would think of. He laughed a lot the day I tried to cut a camshaft in half with a hand held hacksaw. I used up a lot of his hacksaw blades, but he thought it was worth a laugh. Another great part of owning a quarry is that we got to blow stuff up! It’s a pretty great feeling when you push the handle down on the “Boom Box” and see 15,000 tons of solid rock instantly move in just a few seconds.
I figured that I learned more from doing that then I did in all the dumb classes I had to take at high school. I did have some good classes like shop, drafting, electronics, and woodworking.
Now that you’ve read a little bit about me, I encourage you to find out more about my creative projects and innovations. CLICK HERE to read about my book:
It’s full of details, photos, and media clippings that really bring you inside my creative mind… what drives me and other creative people as well!