“Before I had the Sequoia, I said [to my oldest son], ‘You get a full scholarship to college and I’ll buy you a brand new car.’ I bought him a Toyota FJ Cruiser. My wife and I were driving it home up on the first snow day up in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, driving on a six-lane freeway and the snow was just starting to come down,” he recalls. “A big old truck comes barreling down the mountain, slid over six lanes, head-on collision. Knocked me out, put us both in the hospital, but [the Toyota] saved our lives. So we bought another one for him, and ever since.”
2018 JEEP WRANGLER
Rating: 9 plus
Robertson gives his 2018 Jeep Wrangler a “9 plus” rating out of 10, for its function.
“That’s just stripped down to the bare minimum because I live in Boise, Idaho so I want to get up in the mountains and that little Wrangler does the trick,” he says. “I’ve had several Wranglers and I love them all.”
The Wrangler’s purpose is to get Robertson through Idaho winters, and at the same time enjoy driving through its inclement weather. “Here in Idaho, you have access to amazing trails and wintertime in Idaho you never know if you’re going to get snow or ice, or what have you. And it’s functional, it’s affordable, and it performs exactly the way you want it to perform with that four-wheel drive.”
The only reason Robertson didn’t give it a perfect 10 is because of its size. “I’m a big guy and it’s not as big and roomy as I like for a car, but heck, a Jeep Wrangler doesn’t need to be big and roomy, I just make it work,” he says.
With sons who are of driving age, Robertson bought a Ford F-150 for one son for college and he also has the FJ Cruiser for them to drive.
Robertson says he’s a big fan of MotorTrend : “I just want to tell you, I’ve always loved MotorTrend , I can’t deny I’m a big fan. I was like, ‘Wow, someone’s going actually read me in MotorTrend !'”
CAR HE LEARNED TO DRIVE IN
Robertson learned to drive on a manual 1947 Ford 8N tractor on his parents’ land just outside of Fort Worth, Texas. “That tractor would mow, it would work the field, [and] we even dug out some watering tanks with that little Ford 8N tractor,” he recalls.
Robertson started driving the tractor when he was 10 years old, pulling out barbed wire fences and working the land with his dad. “I knew how to drive on it before I ever had a car,” he says.
The first car Robertson drove after the tractor was a red two-tone 1982 Ford Bronco . “After I was able to drive that standard shift Ford 8N tractor, driving that Ford Bronco seemed like second nature,” he says. “My dad taught me how to drive the tractor and then after that I could pretty much drive anything, because it was a standard. So working the clutch, everything was easy after that.”
The Bronco was Robertson’s high school car, so he made a lot of memories driving. “That Bronco in high school was awesome. I had a ball in it, it had a lot of room, probably went places I shouldn’t have gone because that Ford Bronco would go anywhere. It was the first car I drove off, when I first got my license. I scored exactly a 70 on my driving test, so I got exactly what I needed to pass, because 69 would’ve failed me,” he says, laughing. “I had a lot of fun—going off trail, going to find old creeks, going out fishing at night, I probably stayed out a little bit later than I should, but had a lot of fun with the guys. Just a good all-around car.”
FIRST CAR BOUGHT
Robertson got a full academic scholarship to Texas Christian University, where he started tutoring to make money during his sophomore year. He tutored fellow students in organic chemistry, physics, genetics, and any other subjects that were science related.
By the end of college, Robertson made enough money to buy a used pearl white 1990 Nissan 300ZX. “It had those T tops on it, man that thing was a ball. I bought that right at the end of college,” he says. “It was a pretty wealthy school. The people who actually had to pay to send their kids there paid a lot of money, so I was able to charge $100 an hour to tutor and made a lot of money doing that, and I also worked part time over at the hospital as a surgical orderly.”
When Robertson saw the car, he just fell in love with it. “I saw it on a lot over by college and I couldn’t say no; the salesman knew he had a sucker,” he says. “It’s a complete luxury. The leather seats smelled awesome, the T-tops, the body was just amazing. It was the first year it had the new body style of the 300ZX and the pearl white, man, at night you could park that thing under the lights outside and that thing would just glow. It was beautiful.”
The 300ZX is the car Robertson says he never should have bought. “It had no function other than it was just awesome. It just pressed all my buttons, you couldn’t haul anything … you could barely get two people in it, but it was just an awesome car,” he says. “I’m lucky that car didn’t put me in jail because I drove it way too fast and had way too much fun in it.”
When he bought the 300ZX, Robertson was just about to graduate and get a big job in the corporate world as a CPA. “I was hired by Ernst & Young and had a little extra money in my pocket and couldn’t say ‘no,'” he says.
FAVORITE ROAD TRIP
Robertson’s favorite road trip is the 11-hour drive from Fort Worth, Texas to Red River, New Mexico.
“It’s where I went as a kid, you travel up through the panhandle of Texas, up across the plains of New Mexico and it crosses the old Route 66 in some of those places. You drive through Quanah, Texas, where Quanah Parker the Native American was up across north Texas. You drive through the old cowboy and [American] Indian plains, and just had so much history,” he recalls. “You’d stop and eat at the big Texan steakhouse in Amarillo and try to eat that massive steak in an hour otherwise you’ve got to pay for it.”
He’ll always have a lot of great memories because it was their family vacation route. “When I was a kid, our vacation spot was up in the mountains of New Mexico, it was in a little town called Red River, just north of Taos, and every summer we looked forward to it all year long, going up to Red River, New Mexico,” he says. “In fact, later in life, my brother and I ended up buying a ski lodge up there. Now he owns it by himself. But I just love that town, love that stretch, anytime, even now. I live in Idaho, if I get an opportunity to fly down to Texas and make that drive up to Red River, I’ll do it.”
Robertson also loves that drive because of the nostalgia it conjures. “You’re driving through history up that trail, you go up through Wichita Falls, Texas, you go through Quanah, Texas, it takes you on up to Amarillo, up through the big old canyon lands of the panhandle of Texas,” he says. “You make it up to Clayton, New Mexico, where you start smelling the pinyon pines burning in the air. … You see the old Carson National Forest; it’s an amazing historical old Western trip.”
As a kid, he loved stopping at all the old places for candy, popcorn, and a Coke. “As a kid there’s a lot of anticipation, making your trip through the mountains, stopping at the old log up between Eagle Nest and Red River, where you stopped and drank out of the old log where there’s running spring water out of the side of the mountain. Everything about that trip is just an amazing trip.”
Roberson especially enjoyed drinking from the old log that was a tourist attraction. “For a long time there was an old fallen tree that was preserved, and the water would run through that log out of the side of the mountain, where the water was coming out of the stream,” he recalls. “After driving for several hours, you get out of the car and drink out of that old log. That’s up right around Eagle Nest Lake in northern, New Mexico.”
Robertson only realized this as an adult, but that road trip taught him a lot about life.
“I figured this out in life in general—it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. The fun comes come from the anticipation of the journey,” he says. “When you get to the destination, you’re kind of living out what you thought you were going to live out anyway. I didn’t realize it at the time, because I was always wondering whether we were there yet.”
BOISE BOYS ON HGTV WEDNESDAYS 11 P.M. ET
Boise Boys isn’t Robertson’s first time on TV. Robertson was a finalist on NBC’s The Apprentice .
“I always wanted to be on that show competing because I thought I could beat out anybody else … [I] made it all the way as a finalist,” he says. “A few years later, I was here in Idaho, I’m a can-do, make-it happen—I’m an attorney, a CPA, a real estate broker. And I’ve always been intrigued by real estate, I like doing things with my hands. I met a guy here in Boise who was doing a couple of house flips. I was doing a ton of real estate in Texas before we moved up to Idaho.”
The guy was Luke Caldwell, who he calls his “partner in crime” now in Boise. “HGTV was looking for an odd couple and they found information about us. One thing lead to the other, now we’re in the middle of our second season, filming 13 episodes and we’re told our numbers just knocked the tops out of Season One, so they gave us a maximum order of 13 episodes.”
Robertson says they’re like a real life Bert and Ernie. “We’re basically the same characters as Bert and Ernie. Luke is the Bert character right down to the hairdo and I’m the fun loving Ernie character,” he says. “If you want to laugh out loud and see a couple guys who you’d never think would be working together … and making beautiful home renovations, then tune in to Boise Boys on Wednesday nights.” Now, when they go to speak at home shows, they’re speaking to standing-room only crowds. “We were in Detroit and Houston and they packed out of people wanting to know more about our show,” he says. “They want to know about our families. Luke and I have big families, they want to know about how two guys who are so diametrically opposite can work together and make such beautiful stuff. It couldn’t be more apparent, we are so opposite.”