Northwest Riders 2007 Summer Clinic Tour - Montana “Part II”


Posted on Monday, August 27th, 2007 by Bryan Myss | Posted under General, Riders

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NORTHWEST RIDERS SUMMER TOUR
MONTANA: “PART II”

By Greg Young

It brings a tear to my eye knowing that this is the last article summing up this summers’ adventures on Tour. It’s been another great Northwest summer, with lots of time spent on the road and in dozens of lakes and rivers across the region. This being “Part II” of our story across Big Sky country, you probably guessed that there was a “Part I.” For those of you who haven’t read that riveting article, I will begin this tantalizing tale where I last left off: Great Falls, Montana.

As I previously mentioned, clinics with Missouri River Marine went extremely well. The sun was out both days (albeit occasionally thru a smoky haze from nearby forest fires), the people were friendly and learning new tricks left and right, and the water was a solid sheet of glass for 3 straight days. What I didn’t mention was where we were able to stay. Larry and Marva Houck, the owners of the dealership, own a beautiful resort right down the road called Boulder Ridge. They were generous enough to let Sean, Brent, Ben, and I have full access to the conference center, its adjoining suite, and the private trout pond seen pictured in the first article. I can’t begin to explain how nice it was to have hot showers, a kitchen, and our own beautifully landscaped backyard all to ourselves. I can’t do the place any justice, so you have to check out the website at www.boulderridgemontana.com to see some pictures of where we were staying.

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The last stop of the year was at one of our favorite places in the world: Lake Blaine, Montana. We have been there for each of the past three summers and have quickly become friends with Dru and Ann Gunderson who own the property where we put on the clinic. We left Great Falls on Thursday morning, and drove an hour north to Conrad to meet up with Dru and a gang of kids who’d be riding in the clinic the following day. We had a four car caravan with two Malibu’s in tow for the three and a half hour journey that wound its way around the border of Glacier National Park. That drive alone is worth the trip to Montana. It’s mountains and rivers in every direction you look. We finally arrived at our destination, a 75 year old cabin standing atop a private island in the middle of Lake Blaine, with plenty of time to put the boats in and take everyone for a set. Unfortunately for all of us, Ann wasn’t able to make the trip because of a mass migration of yellowjackets to the Kalispell area. She had learned her lesson the hard way on a trip to the cabin the week before.

After an afternoon of riding, which included a set of Sean Kilgus-sized triple-ups for myself, we had just enough time to drive into downtown Kalispell and visit one of the best restaurants on the planet: Moose’s. I think I’ve written about the place in years past, but it’s a poorly lit pizza joint where sawdust covers the floor, beer flows like water, and it’s considered rude not to carve your name into the table, chair, or wall before you leave. It’s become a tradition when we roll thru town, and because it was our next to last night in town it was a great excuse to make some toasts, eat too much, and kick back some cold ones.

The clinic the following day was awesome. Most of the people riding in it camped out on the island with us, so rather than starting at nine and having time slots, it was more like whoever’s up first rides first. Brent and I pulled the first rider, Brad, starting at about eight and within the first five minutes we had seen the worst series of crashes, the first bloody nose, and the biggest smile of the summer. One family from Canada drove down and we got to teach some wakesurfing lessons to their two daughters. We loaded the Wakesetter full of people and ballast and had one of the biggest wakes I’ve ever seen behind that boat. Both girls ran out of time before they’d ridden away with a 360, but they were so close we were all on the edge of our seats screaming every time they’d look like they were about to pull it off. Since nobody had anywhere to be, we rode all day and all evening, stopping every once in awhile to eat a sandwich, hang out on the deck, watch some footage from Sean’s new movie Drive, and to eat some of Dru’s Beer Barons (a sausage/bratwurst hybrid roughly the size of a brontosaurus neck). Brent made the most of the dead calm water by taking 3 or 4 sets throughout the day, much to the chagrin of everyone in the boat and on shore.

A better way couldn’t have been found to spend our last night on the road than a little bit of fishing as the sun set over the mountains. Sean and Ben had to jam out early, so Brent and I grabbed the WalMart rod and spent an hour or two pulling perch out of the lakes by the dozen. We were just about to call it a night, when a kid named Luke pointed in the water at what he thought was a massive fish. I said it looked more like a turtle and as soon as I said so, another kid immediately catapulted himself off of the dock and burst out of the water with a turtle in his hands. What made this turtle different was that it was hissing and had a pretty big chomper. That’s right, it was a snapping turtle. I sent Brent to the camper to get the camera while everyone else held the turtle down and dried off its shell so I could put a sticker on it. Just as Brent was walking onto the dock with the camera, and just as I was applying the last corner of the sticker, the turtle took a chunk out of a kid named Austin’s finger and leaped into the water. We weren’t able to capture any photographical proof of the turtle’s existence, but as it swam off into the murky depths below, all of us could see a hot pink Northwest Riders tree logo disappearing into the deep. It was a symbolic moment for all of us, for just as our logo faded away with our angry turtle friend, so did another fun-filled summer on the Northwest Riders Summer Tour.

Special thanks to everyone who helped out with and attended our Clinics near Kalispell: Dru and Ann Gunderson, the staff from Kalispell Marine, Austin, Joe, Brad, Garret, Cale, Katie, and everyone else. We really had an awesome time. We would like to thank all of our sponsors who allow us to have the most fun jobs any of us could imagine. Thanks to Malibu Boats for our beautiful Wakesetter 23 LSV, Extreme Trailers for a great way to tow it, Titan Wake Accessories for some rocking Alpha 1 speakers and the super-handy swivel board racks, Westwinds Tower Accessories for our ultra bright aimable tower lights, Slingshot & Hyperlite for a truckload of demo gear, Bill Baker and the Staff at Bakes Marine, BFY Productions, DieCutStickers.com, Northwest Riders Clothing, and of course Wakeboardnorthwest.com for following the action.

WE WILL BE BACK NEXT YEAR WITH AN EVEN MORE EXTENSIVE SCHEDULE, AS WELL AS A FEW OTHER EVENTS STILL IN THE WORKS. STAY TUNED TO WAKEBOARDNORTHWEST.COM FOR ALL OF THE DETAILS. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO CAME OUT TO THE CLINICS THIS YEAR, WE HAD A BLAST. SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!

To read other Northwest Riders 2007 Summer Clinic Tour recaps, click on the links below :

Northwest Riders Summer Clinic Tour - “Take 1?

Northwest Riders Summer Clinic Tour - “Take 2?

Northwest Riders 2007 Summer Clinic Tour - Madras, OR Recap

Northwest Riders 2007 Summer Clinic Tour - Montana “Part I”

The Northwest Riders 2007 Summer Clinic Tour is Sponsored by : Malibu Boats, BAKES Board & Ski, Northwest Riders Clothing, Hyperlite, Westwinds, Titan, BFY Productions, DiecutStickers.com, Slingshot, WakeboardNorthwest.com

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