Chris is one of ten children and grew up on a dairy farm in Cache Valley. His father was an Air Force pilot who retired to teach school and farm. His mother was a full-time homemaker who was recognized as the Utah Mother of the Year in 1996.
Chris and Evie both graduated from both Sky View High School and Utah State University, where Chris earned his degree in economics. Upon graduation, Chris joined the United States Air Force where he was a Distinguished Graduate in both Officer Training School and Undergraduate Pilot Training. He served for fourteen years as a pilot in the Air Force, flying both rescue helicopters and the B-1B bomber. On June 3, 1995, Chris and a flight of two B-1s set the world record for the fastest non-stop flight around the world.