By Mike Peterson
Photos by Laurie Lane
“I typically have more self-control than I did today,” said Kristie Ruttenbur, a 28-year Army Veteran and construction engineer originally from the Deer Lodge valley. What’s she talking about??
Her husband owns Second Set Bistro in Missoula. Four women were in the restaurant one night. One of them was WestSlope Chapter Trout Unlimited (WSCTU) board member, Kate Hasterlik, the driving force behind Missoula Fly Gals. Kristie fell in love with this women’s fly fishing group. She bought a sweepstakes ticket to support them. What was the sweepstakes?
About two decades ago (in COVID time), our WSCTU board decided to support our local fly shops during the pandemic and give back to those who have given to us. We sent them each $1,000 to buy store credit.
John Herzer, from Blackfoot River Outfitters (BRO), was quickly on the phone. “I won’t take the money, but let’s put something together,” he said. Thus came our first online sweepstakes: a Euro-Nymphing fishing package complete with a day of instruction on Rock Creek with Josh McKown, manager of their Philipsburg store, Flint Creek Outdoors.
Kristie had been looking for a raft for about a year. Not just ANY raft, but a blue Blackfoot Strike, with a Leo Larsen Montana Raft Frames customized frame.
Guess who won the sweepstakes?!? Yep, Kristie did!! So, when I met her today at BRO to give her the Euro-Nymphing package, I found she had been busy. The first thing she saw was, you guessed it, a blue Blackfoot Strike raft sitting in the store!
Matthew Churchman, shop manager, was quick on the draw! Kristie walked out of the store with the Euro-Nymphing package AND a raft, frame, oars, dry box, cooler, raft trailer, and even a raft cover!
Such is the power of a sweepstakes! Even better, it was for a great cause, WestSlope Chapter of Trout Unlimited!
Next up?? The Kelly Galloup Streamer package…..it may, or may not, come with a raft!