The Orvis Guide Rendezvous
Every year about this time, Orvis hosts fly fishing guides from across the country at their annual Orvis Guide Rendezvous. This year was open to all and it was their biggest event ever. There were 9 of us from Angler's Covey attending this year.
We began the Rendezvous by going to dinner with our longtime rep and friend, Mike Clough, as well as Bill Reed, Director of Wholesale, Rod & Tackle, and Jim Logan, VP of Manufacturing. it was a great time to share what's been going on with Anglers Covey and share ideas.
The next couple of days we had a full schedule. We began by hearing what Orvis has been doing to improve itself and it's brand. It's great to partner with a company that is always looking to improve and provide better products, service and experiences to it customers and dealers. As an Orvis Endorsed Outfitter, there are numerous ways we can partner with Orvis to provide more for you, our customer. Much of this we were already doing, but we learned some new ways we can enhance the relationship.
We were impressed anew by the tremendous focus Orvis has on conservation and they put their money where their mouth is. Orvis has given over 15 million dollars to protecting nature over the last 25 years. Their work continues this year and one example is their Trout Unlimited partnership in the 1,000 Miles Campaign. If you don't now what this is, check out their video.
They talked about new and improved products, the field testing they all go through, and even demonstrated the strength of their rods by putting a couple of them on a machine that bends a strung rod practically double to see at what point it will break! I must say that was impressive. Years ago, David and I toured their rod building operation in Manchester, Vermont, and we were amazed by the personal attention each and every rod receives and the quality controls they have in place. There's something to be said for products made in the good old USA!
They had a series of workshops for guides on teaching casting, outdoor photography, water safety, and first aid (given by our own Neil Luehring). And some of us participated in focus groups on new product design. They even had a session on wing shooting!
Then, Friday night was the annual awards banquet. For more than twenty years, the Orvis Company has been recognizing excellence in sporting experiences through its Endorsed Lodges, Outfitters, and Guides Program.
Each year representatives from each of these categories are nominated and ultimately one is chosen for the best of the year. These awards are based on a number of criteria, the most important being the voice of the customer; the feedback they receive on these operations from the customers who have experienced them for that is the ultimate arbiter of success. Angler's Covey won Outfitter of the Year 2012 and with your help hope to get back on the podium in 2015.
Patrick Fulkrod Bristol, Virginia
The Rendezvous wrapped up with their Guide Olympics - various guide-related competitions- followed by a fun Down the Hatch event, open to the local community, and then a fly fishing film fest at a local theatre. The guest host for that event was the one and only Hank Patterson. If you haven't seen any of his videos, you really should treat yourself to some- you're sure to laugh all the way through!
Overall, we had a great time and learned a lot at this year's Rendezvous, not to mention making some great connections with others in the industry. Another nice job, Orvis!
Orvis 101 Introduction to Fly Fishing
Orvis 201 Streamside