Have you ever wondered about the people behind the counter at your local gun shop? Here at the Santa Cruz Armory, we are very proud of our team and they are proud to be part of this community. Take a few minutes to get to know us online, then stop in and talk to us in person.
Robert “Rocky” De Forge is the owner of Santa Cruz Armory. A life long Santa Cruz county resident, he grew up and went to school in Scotts Valley. His family still lives in the same home in Scotts Valley they have owned for over 50 years. Rocky grew up hunting deer & pheasant and always had affection for firearms and 60’s muscle cars.
Rocky began shooting at about age five and carried a BB gun in the Sierra Mountains while hunting deer with his dad. He took his Hunter’s Safety Course at age eight at the old Scotts Valley Police building across from Sky Park, now the Senior Center. He got his first deer tags at 12 and carried at Remington Model 8, .35 as his first hunting rifle. He later got a Remington 760 pump .270. Both rifles he still owns.
Rocky initially pursued a career in law enforcement and completed the Reserve Officer Training Academy and special weapons training, but in the end accepted a position with PG&E. He started with PG&E in 1997 and has been there ever since.
Rocky joined the Ben Lomond Fire Department in 1992 and moved through the ranks from fire fighter / EMT, Engineer, Captain, Battalion Chief and Acting Chief. He is a member of the Scotts Valley Sportsmen’s Club and was a member at the old Eagle Rock Gun Club. His is also a member of the NRA, Ducks Unlimited, California State Firefighters Association and the IBEW.
Rocky married Jill Peterson in 1997 and have two awesome little girls, eight and three, who attend local schools. Jill is the co-owner of Santa Cruz Armory.
Rocky had been thinking about opening a gun shop for about 15 years before he founded the Santa Cruz Armory. The high costs of transfer fees and the attitudes he found at other gun shops finally convinced him to open the gun shop “without the gun shop attitude”.
After four years in a garage space, Rocky decided to move the Santa Cruz Armory to a retail location in historic Camp Evers in Scotts Valley, nearly tripling the size of the shop and adding to the team of professionals working there.
Everyone at Santa Cruz Armory is very happy to be part of the community here. We invite you to stop in and let us know what we can do for you.
Bob is Santa Cruz Armory’s General Manager. Originally from Vermont, he’s made his home in Scotts Valley for the past 15 years. Bob is a former Vermont law enforcement officer. Prior to this he served as a medic in Texas. Since moving to California he has worked for high tech companies in Silicon Valley and still does IT consultant work. He is also an instructor for NorCal MedTac, Santa Cruz Armory’s training partner. He is married to his much better half Denise and have two spoiled black labs.
Bob grew up in a military family, eventually settling in Vermont. Here he learned the fundamentals of marksmanship and responsible firearm ownership. He has hunted deer in Vermont and Kudu in South Africa. His first firearms purchase was a Ruger 10/22 he bought when he was 18. He gave this to his son after he was 18.
Bob’s current certifications include: NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor in Handgun & Shotgun, SureFire Institute Low-Light Instructor, Simunitions Scenario Instructor, Range Safety Officer (RSO) and Range Technical Team Advisor (RTTA). He is also a SABRE Personal Safety Academy instructor, Taser Certified Civilian Trainer, LASR Instructor, California Firearms Safety Certificate Instructor and Glock Certified Armorer. He holds an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice, a Bachelor’s in Business and a MBA. He is a member of the NRA, CRPA and Ducks Unlimited. He’s also been known to bake cookies.
A long time customer of the Santa Cruz Armory, when given the chance to be part of the team, he jumped on it.
In Bob’s own words – “Rocky’s gun shop without the “gun shop attitude” is why I’m here. It’s the type of gun shop I enjoyed doing business with. It’s non-threating and welcoming to customers of any level of experience. Rocky has brought together a great team with a wide range of experience. If I don’t learn something new from my colleagues or customers that I can pass on every day, then I’m not doing my job. We all truly enjoy what we do here. Stop in and I think you’ll see the difference this makes.”
Brannon Schell joined the Santa Cruz Armory team as expansion was on the horizon and he saw an opportunity to interact and positively impact the Second Amendment customers in the area. A native to Santa Cruz, Brannon has spent over a decade as a First Responder and Paramedic. Brannon’s duties have included Paramedic, Seasonal Wildland Firefighter, Paid-Call Firefighter, and Field Training Officer. As a Paramedic he has also served on AMR’s Disaster Response Team and had team deployments to Hurricane Katrina, the BART Verdict Riots and the Oceana Airlines crash.
Brannon is also the owner of Santa Cruz Armory’s training partner, NorCal MedTac. Here Armory customers can find training in most areas related to firearms, medical, disaster, and safety training. Brannon’s firearms and tactical background include multiple NRA instructor ratings, Chief Range Safety Officer (CRSO) and he currently serves as the Range Master for the Scotts Valley Sportsmen’s Club. Brannon has completed the CA EMSA and CA POST Accredited SWAT Medic Program and works with his county tactical medicine development group bringing medical care to law enforcement agencies in his area. Brannon’s credentials include CA Firearms Safety Certification instructor, SABRE Personal Safety Academy Instructor, Taser Certified Civilian Trainer, Simunitions Law Enforcement Instructor and a Glock Certified Armorer. Brannon competes in GSSF and IDPA matches locally, regionally and in the western states.
Brannon’s goal at Santa Cruz Armory is to take the time to not just sell firearms, but to sell the right firearm to the right person, as well as the appropriate accessories for their needs. He strongly believes in training with an emphasis on actual application to real life, world and duty. Brannon brings to the Armory team his extensive real world professional background in medical, disaster and tactical training to help match the customer to their needs.
In the little spare time he has, Brannon can be found at the range training as the eternal student or actively involved in working to restore gun rights in California.
Chris is a former 8404 Navy Corpsman and all around gun enthusiast. He has been handling firearms for as long as he can remember and received his first long gun when he was 7 years old (He still religiously shoots that Ruger 10/22 whenever the opportunity arrives and 22LR is available of course.) Since then he has been in constant contact with all things firearm related. His six years in the military were spent mostly around Marines with which he strove to handle and learn as much as he could about any weapon he had the pleasure of coming in contact with.
As a Corpsman he also became an EMT-B and continues to hold that certification to this day. Along with working in the shop Chris is a full time Apprentice Electrician with the IBEW 332 San Jose. He is extremely passionate about sharing his experience and supporting our second amendment rights as citizens of the best country in the world.
Chris is married to his wonderfully understanding wife Brooke and when he isn’t busy working one of his multiple jobs he is hanging out with his baby boy Wyatt (Yes named after the great Wyatt Earp.)
His knowledge of firearms is not limited to one category, so feel free to ask and if he doesn’t know I am sure he will find out as much as he can about it for you.
Isaac Eryavec was born and raised right here in the San Lorenzo Valley. He owns a home in Ben Lomond where he lives with his wife and is expecting his first child any day now.
In his early years, he participated in scouting and earned the rank of Eagle Scout and was trained as a BSA Lifeguard. He has been a volunteer with the Ben Lomond Fire Department for the past ten years as an EMT / Firefighter-Engineer. Isaac has been a member of the California National Guard since 2009. He Commissioned as an Officer in 2011 and Branched Quartermaster Corp. His first assignments was as a platoon leader with a Supply Platoon. Was assigned Logistics Officer for an Advisory Team with the Afghan National Police 2012 but was off ramped in premob. He is currently the Operations Officer for a distribution support Company in the Cal Guard. He was promoted to First Lieutenant in 2013. He supported the wildland fire hand-crew mission to northern California in 2014. He is qualified expert on M16A2 and M9. He also holds a commercial helicopter license.
Isaac enjoys investing in local youth through coaching and youth ministries. He has coached Scotts Valley Middle School Wrestling and San Lorenzo Valley High Football. He is currently the Youth Director for the Felton Bible Church. Isaac holds an Associated of Science degree from Cabrillo College and BS Business communication from University of Phoenix.
While serving in the U.S. Navy, Mark earned the expert marksmanship ribbon for pistol with a 1911 .45 Colt. He was tops in his graduating class with the Texas Dept of Corrections with a .38 revolver and 2nd with the AR-15. Mark then went on to graduate from the University of North Texas with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and later an MBA from Santa Clara. Mark worked in the high tech area for 20 years for such companies as Hewlett-Packard and Agilent. For the last 10 years, Mark has been, and remains, a Realtor, helping people with buying and selling homes in Santa Cruz County and managing their real estate investments. His other passions include scuba diving, backpacking and motorcycles. He is a founding member of the Santa Cruz chapter of Bikers Against Child Abuse (B.A.C.A.) and continues to serve as a member of the executive board. He is also a member of the Scotts Valley Sportsman Club.
Father of four, Mark currently spends time with his youngest, Jack, helping him develop proficiency with, and respect for, firearms.Mark’s opinion on the Santa Cruz Armory? “I love having the opportunity to work here; awesome shop, great people, and the chance to grow my knowledge and passion for firearms. Not only can I help with the community’s firearm needs, I can help them buy a home that contains that safe that contains the firearms of their choice. It doesn’t get better than that!”
Cotton Tichy is the newest member of the team here at Santa Cruz Armory. Cotton was born and raised in Gridley CA where he enjoyed hunting, fishing, and competing in the local destruction derby. After high school Cotton attended Butte College’s Fire Academy. He worked on a mobile shower unit doing wildland fire support for one season, then two more seasons as a CDF Firefighter. Cotton was also a member of the Gridley Volunteer Fire Department. Cotton then switched gears and applied for the California Highway Patrol Academy. He was accepted and began training in June of 2009. After graduating, Cotton was assigned to the Redwood City Office, and later transferred to the Fort Bragg Resident Post.
In 2014, prayers were answered, when Cotton’s wife Eva became pregnant with their first child. Cotton was thrilled to begin this new chapter of his life, and resigned from the Highway Patrol to be a full time stay at home dad. Cotton and Eva bought a small home in Ben Lomond close to where Eva lived as a child, and got moved in just in time to welcome their new baby girl into the world. A few months have passed and things have settled down a bit. Cotton is excited for the opportunity to meet new people, and share his love of firearms with the public.
Born and raised right here in Santa Cruz, he has ridden horses since he was four years old. For the past 16 years he’s worked for a local non-profit. He continues to be very active in the local horse community in the Santa Cruz area and the local equestrian rescue team. He is also has some serious photography skills.
Nolan has been an avid recreational shooter for the past eight years and brings a lot of great, practical experience to the shop. We think you’re going to like Nolan as much as we like having him join us.