The ATG Quote 2 Cast Summit has offered many of its attendees the opportunity to experience a piece of the Montana culture with guided fly fishing on the first day of the conference, Wednesday, August 9th.
Below is the tentative timeline and likely scenario for those fortunate folks that will spend some of their day on one of Missoula’s rivers.
You get up way too early, but today’s the big day. Fly fishing, sunshine, scenery, and an opportunity to network with some of the titans of Quote to Cash. You are a warrior, and warriors come prepared. Time to jump in the shower.
You are dressed and ready to go. Vulcanized rubber chest-high waders, your favorite college t-shirt with the sleeves cut off, and a woefully floppy hat. Warrior.
You spend the next three hours in front of the bathroom mirror alternately practicing your fly casting sans rod or reel and your meet and greet skills. Nine cups of coffee later, it’s go-time.
People begin gathering in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Downtown Missoula. You realize you’ll be on a boat and your waders won’t be necessary. You scurry back to your room and throw on some shorts and the only shoes you brought – black wing tips. You look ridiculous.
When you return, you spot Godard Abel. Time to practice the magic. You boldly walk right up to him, give him a Trumpian handshake, and regale him with tales of your company’s successes. When you finally take a breath, your pseudo-Abel reveals he’s the bellman and asks if you have any need for a recent Liberal Arts grad at your company. You mumble incoherently and walk away.
Finally, you’re introduced to your fishing guide and fishing buddy (common Montana vernacular for friendly fellow anglers).
You’re blindfolded and driven to the Guide’s secret fishing spot. You don’t understand why they felt the need to pistol whip you after your eyes were covered but you play along because you heard they do things a little differently up here in Montana.
You immediately wish you hadn’t had so much coffee this morning, or that you had kept the waders on. Coffee. Hmm. That Peter Coffee is a handsome fellow. I wonder if that’s his real name or he changed it because, you know, ‘Coffee Talk?’
You execute your first cast. Feels good, feels right.
You help your erstwhile fishing buddy get your fly out of his thigh as you apologize profusely on behalf of your company and your ancestors.
Your arm is tired from casting. You take a break and drink a beer.
You drink another beer. The song Proud Mary gets stuck in your head. The Tina Turner version. Your mouth forms a snarl. That’s right, you’re “Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river.”
[Full lyrics here].
You ponder whether you can return the 3 lbs. of live worms you bought at the airport last night.
You eat your lunch and, ninja-like, part of the guide’s lunch. “Fishing sure makes me hungry,” you rationalize.
You’re still mumble-singing Proud Mary. You still don’t know most of the lyrics.
You gaze around at your surroundings. Not a single sign of modern civilization is visible from your vantage point. You noodle on whether Lewis & Clark had this same view when they first passed through these parts.
You think, “I’ll ask Tom Stergios when we get back. He’ll probably remember.”
You reason that the fish are probably awake and moving around by now, so you begin tossing your line in the water again. It’s game-on.
You’ve settled into a nice rhythm and have become one with the elements. “I AM haunted by waters. And a river DOES run through it.” You’re sure you get it now. (You don’t.)[Book passage here.]
You wonder if there are pirates on these waters. If not, why not? You could be a river pirate. Probably.
Finally, you get a bite. After an epic 4-minute struggle, you catch your first fish. Somebody take a picture of this! Sure, he’s a bit small, but you can tell he’s pretty athletic and was probably very active in his community. Mission accomplished.
The guide and your erstwhile fishing buddy have stopped laughing at your catch, and you’ve lost track of the number of fish your erstwhile fishing buddy has caught – all of which are bigger than your ‘trophy.’ You realize how much you currently resent your erstwhile fishing buddy. All tall and tan and fishery. You begin to resent the company he works for. And Tom Stergios, too – all short and tan and fishery.
The fishing guide announces that it’s time to wrap it up and head for shore just as you finish up the last of your erstwhile fishing buddy’s beers. Despite your lack of fly fishing prowess, it’s been a good day after all, you reflect. It’s Wednesday afternoon, and you just spent half a day basking in this unspoiled, resplendent place, devoid of typical urban distractions, ruminating on life, and love, and pirates, and beer, as you were gently Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ down the river. Crap!
You make it back to the Holiday Inn. There’s just enough time for you to check your email, take a quick power nap, shower and head down to the ATG Quote 2 Cast Welcome Happy Hour at 6:00. You remember that food and libations will be provided and wonder to yourself if this wasn’t at least a little bit like the early settlers lived.
Right on time, you walk into the Q2Cast Welcome Happy Hour on the patio of the hotel bar, feeling invigorated and alive. Time to rub elbows with a bunch of important people that will help me deliver my project successfully.
“Activate warrior,” you whisper.
But you’re still wearing shorts, sleeveless t-shirt, and dress shoes. And you look ridiculous.
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Jay Allen is a five-tool employee at Advanced Technology Group. He writes, he designs, he sings, he dances, and he loves (probably more than he should). Each are indispensable qualities in the day-to-day life of a senior marketing coordinator at ATG.
In his spare time, Jay enjoys not being outdoors.