Today is our 10th Anniversary
John, Julie, and Mark thank you deeply for supporting us through the first 10 years. Today is our 10th Anniversary. April 4th 2008 is when we opened our doors for the first time.
A great ride.
Thanks to all that graced us with your dollar that first year. Even your visit was important to us in the early years, certainly the first. Still is. We didn’t have too much hanging on the walls. SIMMS opened us straight away and we were so proud and excited for that strong showing of support by SIMMS in 2008. Loomis, Ross Worldwide, Buff, Airflo, Anglers Accessories, Dr. Slick, the fly companies, other fly shop owners, and the initial help from product reps was huge.
Carroll and Margaret Jenkins were a big help. They still are. Our landlords and long time friends were with us from day 1. The Craig Trout Camp helped us gain immediate credibility with a local lodging connection in downtown Craig.
A couple reps, many locals, neighboring fly shops John and I worked with for years prior to opening Headhunters shunned us in those early years. And that is OK. Why be supportive or friendly to anyone who is taking a chance? That wouldn’t fall into the American model now would it? I must confess they did not give us much
Kinda tells you what they know…
We don’t hold anything against that clan. Nope. Never have, never will. We are still attempting to create a positive fly fishing business community that includes referral’s, sharing, professionalism, rising the tide amongst us. We are all in this together. So we encourage moving forward towards a professional balance in our Missouri River fishing world.
We’ve succeeded by providing Entertainment, Information, Education, and Customer Service. Headhunters has always been the teaching fly shop. We love to share information while making friends along the way.
John and I knew that we could compete in the local, Missouri River market by providing a high level of customer service. We were right. We really just wanted to outfit, guide, and sella. few fishing items to our guests. Then take the winters off and fish in the FLA Keys.
That didn’t work.
The first winter we were open occasionally. The second a bit more. By the fourth winter we were just open all the time. Still true today. Open everyday except for Christmas, and when it is too cold to travel, meaning below zero.
We’d like to thank a few of the fly shop anchors that mean so much to our operation here in Craig.
Julie is the glue that holds the entire operation together. We could not have survived without Julie. I remember a short story from year one…
We had just returned from a Steelhead Trip to the Snake and Grande Ronde with the original staff and guides. John, Julie, Mark, Ben, Andrew, guide Mike Kuhnert and his GF. Use rented a cool house and stayed for almost ten days. Steelhead, drinking, laughing, playing cards, cooking, and steelheading! Good times. We came home and the first thing Julie said to John and I was “Hey, I need you two to each write me a check. We need funds to get through the winter from now until we open the shop again in April 2009.” John and I calmly said shaking our heads “Oh no Julie, we own the place.” She calmly said back “Yeah, I know. That’s why I’m asking you two guys!”
John and I cannot thank her enough for the hard diligent work and get it done attitude that has allowed for John and I to focus on additional parts of the business. Thanks Julie. Can’t thank you enough!
Andrew and Ben were our first shop employees. Andrew made it into year 3 before departing while Ben Hardy is our Lead Guide and has been for years. Thanks Ben. We appreciate everything you have done for us. Ben is a talented individual. He has sold fly rods, tied flies, fixed lawnmowers, remodeled the shop, built sheds, driven the shuttle rig, raked gravel, kept us entertained through his quick wit and humor, and has been guiding some of our long time Headhunters fishing guests for a long time. Ben is now married to a local gal Christa Sprout, owns a house in Cascade, owns a contracting business, and has two beautiful children Clara and Henry. Thanks Ben. Couldn’t have done it without you these last ten years.
Ben McNinch and Sara Roholt. The backbone of our fly shop. John and I cannot say enough good things about these two. Sara came to us year two. She worked through the summers for two years, before making the Missouri River her home. She handles all kinds of things for us including purchasing, HR, not killing the young fresh shop kids every year, booking, and customer service. Let’s not forget that she is an accomplished angler. She loves to run her dogs, and may like hunting upland birds more than anything. Thanks Sara. Thanks for roaming through Montana so we could meet you in 2008. Sara has been with Headhunters since 2009. She is a rock.
Ben arrived year three. John called me up when I was out of town and said he had a fellow in the shop we may want to hire. At that time, we did not need another shop employee. John said this guy might fit well in Craig. John hired him. He was right. Ninch has developed into our full time fly procurement expert and handles the accessories as well. He fishes his ass off. Both he and Sara are accomplished two handed anglers. They each have their own drifters and love to fish…when the conditions are right. If you live on the river, you really don’t have to fish in the worst of conditions. Unless, the fish are eating streamers! Ninch’s quick mind keeps us on or toes. It only took us 5 years to figure out his often dark humor! Thanks Ben McNinch. You are a strong. We thank you. Ben has been with Headhunters since 2010.
Jim, Dewey, Nichole, Braden, Marty…and many more have helped immeasurably. Thanks to you all!
Headhunters has survived. We are still here amidst the constant change, turmoil, dusty roads, unpredictable Mother Nature, and rampant small town rumors about anything and everything that rarely hold a shred of truth.
Headhunters has risen above the local politics while becoming the community leader in giving, support, and volunteerism. Our financial support of veterans, women, children, and conservation efforts separates us from the rest. Our continued deep support of the Craig Fire Department, the Craig Caddis Festival, UMOWA, and statewide conservation programs will continue. Giving back is a big part of Headhunters of Craig.
We have proven that it is the people, the personalities, the customer service, the friendly smile and greetings, the free BBQ’s, the devotion of providing blogging content and fishing reports like no other as well as sharing beers with you our fishing friends that get us through each and every day.
We finally that you the Headhunters customer, guest, and friend. We thank you for supporting us from day 1. And if you arrived on day 2, that’s cool too. We love you all.
Ten more years ahead of us?
Yep, we’re not done yet.