Matt Barber (photo credit: Paige McAfee)

Matt Barber and Joel Doub are the owners of Tom Morgan Rodsmiths, a Bozeman-based fly rod company known for its unyielding commitment to quality, craftsmanship, and enduring performance. The duo purchased the company in early 2017 from Tom Morgan, a fly fishing legend who, along with his wife Gerri, built the company into one of the world’s most unique and renowned rod builders. Rather than focus on the latest fads or selling a high volume of products, Tom was dedicated solely to building the highest quality rod, one that could be passed on from generation to generation, decade after decade.

Joel Doub (photo credit: Paige McAfee)

You may be surprised to learn that Matt and Joel are not fishing industry veterans—their previous careers were in education and medical device sales, respectively. But when Tom Morgan decided to sell the company, Matt and Joel’s passion for fly fishing, their willingness to learn from the best, and their commitment to continuing the company’s legacy allowed them to stand out from the crowd of competing buyers. To everyone’s dismay, Tom passed away unexpectedly soon after the sale of the company, but only after imparting his wisdom, craftsmanship secrets, and high standards to Matt and Joel. Building on Tom and Gerri’s rock-solid foundation, the company is now entering its next phase, and the future has never looked brighter.

Matt and Joel were in Denver for the annual Fly Fishing Show, so we met up to chat about the company and their journey into fly fishing entrepreneurship. We talked at length about Tom and his laser-like focus on quality, and how he was willing to snap a rod in half if it did not meet his high standards. We chatted about the “secret” to making these rods, which mostly boils down to being willing to work harder than anyone else. We talk about Tom’s unique partnership with his wife Gerri, and how the couple went about transferring decades of knowledge and experience to Matt and Joel. We discuss the company’s unique business model, and how it flies in the face of most mainstream, MBA business theories. And as usual, we discuss favorite books, films, crazy outdoor experiences, and plenty more.

This was a very fun conversation, and I’m excited to watch the company continue to grow and thrive under Matt and Joel’s ownership. Be sure to check out the episode notes for everything we discuss, and follow Tom Morgan Rodsmiths on Instagram and other social media. Enjoy!

Hard at work in the shop (photo credit: Paige McAfee)

All photos courtesy of Paige McAfee


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Episode Notes

Topics Discussed:

3:00 – How Matt and Joel describe their work
3:25 – Their professional backgrounds
4:50 – Overview of Tom Morgan Rodsmiths
6:40 – How Tom and Gerri and began building rods
7:20 – Tom and Gerri’s first time building a rod
8:15 – Tom’s quest for a “perfect fly rod”
9:50 – Specifics on Tom Morgan custom rods
13:00 – Why the rods do not have fancy names
14:30 – The “secret” to Tom Morgan rods
17:40 – TMR’s business model
20:45 – Why they purchased an “unconventional” business
23:50 – How they’ve been received as the new owners
26:55 – How the Tom Morgan philosophy has carried over into other parts of life
29:15 – Their history as “makers”
32:30 – Thoughts on life in Bozeman
36:20 – The process of buying the business
40:00 – What Tom and Gerri like about Matt and Joel
42:30 – Tom’s unexpected passing
43:40 – Gerri’s influence on the company and Matt and Joel
46:15 – On being embraced by the industry after Tom’s death
48:00 – “The O’Dell,” Casting for Recovery, and Duke Beardsley
55:30 – Future of the business
1:00:30 – Favorite books
1:05:20 – Most powerful experience in the outdoors
1:08:10 – Favorite location in the West
1:10:00 – Best advice ever received
1:11:20 – Request of the listeners
1:13:15 – Matt asks Ed a question!
1:16:00 – Connect with Tom Morgan Rodsmiths
Information Referenced

Cate Havstad

Cate Havstad is a hat maker and farmer based in central Oregon whose abundant curiosity, creativity, and love of place have allowed her to transform her passions into a full-time and fulfilling career. As a hat maker, Cate’s unique style and unwavering commitment to quality have attracted customers ranging from music stars like Gillian Welch and Nikki Lane to hard-working ranchers and farmers throughout the American West. As a farmer, Cate and her partner are deeply committed to regenerative agriculture and the positive impact that their local efforts can have on a global scale. It’s safe to say she’s living a life guided by purpose and passion.

Born and raised in northern California, Cate was a driven athlete in her youth, as evidenced by her desire to be the first woman to play in the NBA (that’s the NBA, not the WNBA). As a young woman, a fortuitous series of events landed her in a hat maker’s workshop, where she applied that same focus and drive toward learning the craft of hat making. After accumulating experience and confidence as an apprentice, she struck out on her own and now creates some of the most sought-after, stylish, and functional hats on the market today. Cate’s life and work are closely connected to the landscape of central Oregon, and her other job as an organic farmer has given her a deep understanding of the role that regenerative agriculture can play in conservation, community building, and reversing climate change.

As you’ll hear in our conversation, Cate is extremely curious, well-read, and and knowledgeable on a wide range of subjects. We talk about her journey as a hat maker, and how she cultivates creativity and consistent production in a world filled with an increasing number of distractions. We discuss regenerative agriculture and how many people, including well-meaning environmentalists, don’t fully understand the importance of farmers and ranchers in the conservation movement. Cate is a devoted meditator and runner, so we talk about how both of those practices have improved her creativity and outlook. We also chat about Wendell Berry, Michael Pollan, Steven Pressfield, and how those authors’ works have impacted her life. There’s a lot to learn in this episode.

This was a fun conversation that could have continued for hours.  Be sure the check the episode notes below for links to everything we discussed—it’s a long list! Hope you enjoy!

Cate Havstad art piece by (former podcast guest) Teal Blake

Header photo by Amanda Leigh Smith, others courtesy of Cate Havstad


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Episode Notes

Topics Discussed:

2:55 – How Cate describes her work
3:45 – How Cate began making hats
6:00 – Connection to music
6:50 – Cate’s childhood and early influences
8:20 – Leaving college to go on tour
10:25 – New influences of creative people
12:30 – Cate’s parents’ opinion of her taking a break from school
13:45 – Returning to school
15:00 – Goal of becoming a trail guide in Oregon
15:40 – Working as a hat making apprentice
17:40 – Cate’s decision to strike out on her own
20:50 – Advantages of working on simple equipment
22:10 – When Cate knew she could make a full-time career of hat making
24:40 – Havstad Hat Co fans, including Lyle Lovett
28:15 – Process oriented versus goal oriented
30:00 – Cate’s methods for cultivating creativity and her business
31:40 – Thoughts on Pressfield’s “War of Art”
33:45 – Cate’s meditation practice
40:00 – How teaching workshops has influenced her work
43:20 – How Central Oregon influences her work
45:20 – Experiences running in Central Oregon
47:00 – Cate’s experience farming
48:10  – Wendell Berry discussion
50:30 – Agricultural as a vital part of conservation
57:00 – Good books on connection to land
59:30 – Balancing social media and mindful living
1:07:40 – Favorite books
1:09:15 – Favorite documentaries
1:10:15 – Surprising activity
1:11:05 – Favorite location in the West
1:12:20 – Best advice ever received
1:13:20 – Request of the listeners
1:15:20 – Connect with Cate online
Information Referenced

(Note: In the spoken podcast intro, I mistakenly said that Lyle Lovett was a customer, when in fact he’s actually a big fan of Cate’s work. Cate’s customers include Gillian Welch, Nikki Lane, and a long list of other talented musicians and actors. Sorry for any confusion!)

Sarah King (photo credit: Roni Ziemba)

Sarah King is a rancher, conservationist, wife, and mother of two who lives and works on her family’s 55,000-acre cattle ranch in southern Arizona’s Altar Valley. The King’s Anvil Ranch was established in 1895 and has operated successfully within their family for generations, setting an example of how to run a financially viable agricultural business, while simultaneously protecting the long-term ecological health of their vast desert ranch. The Kings understand that in order for their business to thrive, the land must thrive, and they are leaders in pursuing a variety of outside-the-box land stewardship techniques, including the focused use of prescribed fires.

The King family spearheaded the creation of the Altar Valley Conservation Alliance, a cutting-edge land conservation organization that collaborates with a wide range of stakeholders, including private landowners, ranchers, government entities, conservation non-profits, and environmental advocacy groups. Thanks to focused, diligent efforts over the course of two decades, the AVCA has managed to bring together groups that have historically been at odds, allowing them to focus on shared goals and creative solutions to complicated challenges, rather than dwelling on their differences. As you’ll hear Sarah explain, AVCA understands that open, honest, face-to-face communication has been the key to tackling the Altar Valley’s complex challenges, and their success gives me hope that other organizations throughout the West can adopt their approach and enjoy the same success.

This was a very enlightening episode for me, because I personally just don’t know enough about the landscapes and heritage of the deep southwest. We dig into many of the details of the King’s Anvil Ranch and its operation, including the unique climate and ecology of the Arizona desert. Sarah explains how the AVCA came to be, and offers some insights into exactly what they do and how they’ve managed to have such success. We discuss Sarah’s personal background, specifically how an east coast native ended up on an expansive cattle ranch in Arizona. We talk about the benefits of raising children on a ranch, and the lessons she hopes to impart as they grow up closely connected to the land. Given that the ranch is located less than 40 miles from the Mexico border, we discuss how illegal border crossings have a significant effect on the ranch’s operations. And, of course, we discuss favorite books and documentaries, with links to everything in the episode notes.

I had such a great time chatting with Sarah, and I walked away from the conversation with a much deeper understanding of ranching, conservation, and life in the American southwest. She and her colleagues at AVCA are doing important, groundbreaking conservation work, so I encourage you to follow them and learn from their efforts. Also, be sure to follow Sarah on Instagram—on top of everything else, she’s a talented photographer, too. Enjoy!

Header photo courtesy of Sarah King, other courtesy of Roni Ziemba


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Episode Notes

Topics Discussed:

3:30 – How Sarah describes her work
4:10 – King’s Anvil Ranch
5:20 – History of the ranch
7:10 – Details on the ranching operation
10:30 – History of Altar Valley Conservation Alliance
13:15 – Events leading to the Alliance’s formation
16:30 – Importance of fire in the Altar Valley
20:00 – Examples of AVCA collaborative projects
25:20 – Why has AVCA been able to be successful where others have not?
28:45 – Specific reasons for AVCA’s success
31:15 – The importance of private land in the West
35:30 – How Sarah ended up in the west, working in ranching
39:00 – Sarah’s college thesis on women dude ranchers
41:15 – Realities of moving West from the east coast
42:30 – Benefits of raising children on a ranch
45:30 – Sarah’s photography
47:15 – Illegal immigration and its effects on the King’s ranch
55:50 – Favorite books
57:55 – Favorite documentaries
59:35 – Surprising activities
1:00:30 – Most powerful experience in the outdoors
1:03:30 – Best advice ever received
1:05:00 – Sarah’s request of the listeners
1:06:00 – Connect with Sarah online
Information Referenced

Charles Post (Photo Credit: Rachel Pohl)

Charles Post is an academically trained ecologist with a gift for communicating complex and sometimes emotionally charged issues in a thoughtful manner to diverse audiences. Whether he’s discussing the intricacies of ranch management, the ecological implications of ethical hunting, or controversies surrounding the BLM’s wild mustang program, Charles has honed his ability to consider all sides of issues, then educate the public in a style that is positive, comprehensive, and intellectually honest. His academic credentials, combined with his photography, writing, filmmaking, and popular social media channels have made Charles a rising star in the world of conservation.  

Born and raised in northern California, Charles has enjoyed a deep connection with Western landscapes for as long as he can remember. He grew up hunting, fishing, and exploring the seascapes and mountain ranges of the West Coast, then earned both a Bachelors and Masters in ecology from UC Berkeley. After considering pursuing a PhD followed by a career in academia, Charles changed course and pursued a less traditional track that melded his two passions of science and storytelling. Since then, he has settled in Bozeman, Montana where he works on a wide range of projects that all tie back into conservation and stewardship in the American West.

Charles and I talked for well over an hour, and could’ve easily continued for several more. We discuss his recent work for Filson covering Ranchlands, a progressive, forward-thinking ranching operation in southern Colorado. We also chat about the ecological importance of ranching for Western landscapes and the progress that Charles has made trying to change some of the unfounded negative impressions of ranching and livestock. We talk about his recent elk hunt, and how that adventure was one of the richest, most meaningful experiences of his life. Charles speaks fondly about his relationship with Ben Masters, who helped him break into the filmmaking world.  It also turns out that we have a shared love of the American Dipper (which is a bird, for those of you out of the loop), and we nerd out on that subject for a few minutes. As usual, we discuss favorite books, films, and the best advice he’s ever received.

If you’re a long-time listener, you will love this episode… and if you’re brand new, I hope you will, too! Be sure to check out Charles on Instagram at @charles_post and check the episode notes for everything we discuss. Enjoy!

All images courtesy of Rachel Pohl


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Episode Notes

Topics Discussed:

3:00 – Charles’s intro to Ben Masters
5:10 – How Charles describes his work
6:30 – Why Charles identifies as an ecologist
8:50 – Science versus communicating to the mainstream
10:30 – Charles experience with Ranchlands and thoughts on ranching
17:45 – How Charles tells the ranching story
20:45 – Resources for learning more about ranching
21:55 – Discussion about wolves’ effects on Yellowstone
24:35 – Where Charles grew up
25:50 – Charles’ connection to Gifford Pinchot
29:40 – Hunting from a conservation perspective
32:25 – Modern Huntsman
35:15 – Interplay between public and private land
41:40 – How science shaped his ability to be objective
43:40 – His approach to social media
49:45 – The importance of Charles’s sponsors and supporters
54:30 – Charles’s personal history with hunting
1:01:40 – Favorite books
1:08:10 – Weird habits and quirks
1:09:30 – American Dipper nerd-fest
1:12:20 – Most powerful experience in the outdoors
1:16:00 – Best advice he’s ever received
1:19:25 – Charles’s request of the listeners
1:20:50 – Connect with Charles online
Information Referenced

Mark Maggiori

Mark Maggiori has taken the western art scene by storm with his dramatically realistic paintings of cowboys, horses, landscapes, and scenes from the American West. But painting is only a small part of Mark’s journey as a professional artist—he is also an accomplished director, filmmaker, drawer, photographer, and musician, working for companies like Disney as an illustrator and fronting a major-record-label rock band. To make his story even more interesting, Mark was born and raised in France, and is a relative newcomer to the western United States.

When he was 15, Mark took a road trip across America with his adventurous uncle, igniting his passion for Western landscapes and planting the seed of his western art career that would flourish two decades later. Between then and now, he has demonstrated an uncanny ability to dive headfirst into a wide array of artistic endeavors with single-minded focus and work ethic, enjoying success at every level.  At little over three years ago, at age 36, all of Mark’s talents and experiences melded together when he decided to try and paint his first cowboy. In what he describes as an epiphany, Mark immediately knew he had found his true identity as an artist.

Mark and I had a fun conversation. We talk about all the stages of his prolific career as an artist, and how he has approached each one with a laser-like focus and uncompromising work ethic. Mark explains how he discovered his talent for drawing—a talent that he had no idea he possessed until after he had enrolled in art school. We also chat about how being new to America has afforded him a fresh perspective on the people and landscapes of the American West, a perspective that shines through in his paintings. He gives details on his workman-like approach to painting and ensuring the historical accuracy of his work, and how exercise helps to fuel his creativity and work ethic.  As usual, we cover favorite books, documentaries, and the craziest thing that’s ever happened to him in the outdoors, which is a ridiculous and pretty damn scary story!

Be sure to check out the webpage for links to all of Mark’s work, his upcoming solo show, and everything we discuss in this episode. Hope you enjoy!

All images courtesy of Mark Maggiori


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Episode Notes

Topics Discussed:

3:00 – How Mark describes his work
5:11 – Growing up in France
6:30 – Road trip across America
11:20 – Mark’s interests as a teenager
12:40 – The attraction to art school
15:40 – Discovering his talent for art
18:45 – Learning work ethic
20:30 – Working for Disney
22:45 – Working in music videos
23:45 – Performing music and creating art
24:30 – Mark’s time with Pleymo
27:25 – Leaving music
32:00 – Coming to America to make a film
35:40 – Demolition derbies and rodeos
36:50 – Starting to paint cowboys
41:00 – Building his following through Instagram and networking
44:00 – Expanding to new galleries
45:00 – Secret of painting clouds
47:55 – Keeping his work accurate
50:00 – Starting to paint Native Americans
54:30 – Mark’s daily routine
58:45 – Favorite books
1:01:00 – Favorite documentaries
1:02:30 – Favorite place in the West
1:03:50 – Most powerful experience in the outdoors
1:05:30 – Getting chased by crazy people in Louisiana
1:10:15 – Mark’s request of the listeners
1:12:50 – Connect with Mark online and learn about his upcoming art show
Information Referenced

Tyler Sharp, Part II – Modern Huntsman

Tyler Sharp, Part II – Modern Huntsman


Tyler Sharp

If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, then surely you’ll remember Tyler Sharp. He’s the creative director, photographer, and writer who has explored everywhere from east Africa to Montana’s Paradise Valley and has the stories and images to prove it. He currently works with some of the biggest brands in the outdoor industry, such as Filson and Yeti, helping them to tell authentic and engaging stories. Tyler’s first podcast episode has been one of my most popular—we went deep, covering everything from big-game hunting to kung fu to conservation—so I wanted to have him back to continue the conversation and discuss his latest project, Modern Huntsman.

Modern Huntsman is a biannual publication and online forum for conservationists, creatives, and outdoor enthusiasts. If you enjoy this podcast and my guests’ depth of thinking on topics related to the natural world, then you’re going to love Modern Huntsman. Through thoughtful writing, captivating photography, and elegant design, Tyler and his all-star team intend to improve the perception of hunting in our society by highlighting its thoughtful and conservation-focused aspects, which are often ignored by established media.

I like to hunt, although I’m not obsessed with it like I am with endurance sports. But my work in conservation and deep reading of natural history have given me a firsthand appreciation for the importance of hunting, and the vital role it plays in conserving landscapes and species around the world. Without the efforts of visionary hunters like Theodore Roosevelt, the healthy wildlife populations we enjoy here in the American West would be a mere fraction of what they are today, if they existed at all. Thanks to their deep respect for wildlife born from their love of the sport of hunting, TR and his contemporaries set in motion a conservation ethic that continues to grow and evolve. Now, over 100 years later, Modern Huntsman will carry that ethic forward.

Once again, Tyler and I had a wonderful conversation, and I was incredibly impressed with his ability to discuss complex, sometimes emotionally charged issues in a respectful, intelligent, and non-arrogant tone. Of course we discussed the details of Modern Huntsman, its origins, and why there is a need for such a publication. We chatted about Modern Huntsman’s current Kickstarter campaign, which I highly recommend you support—links are in the notes. We also talked in depth about some of the misconceptions around hunting and specifics about why hunting is so important for conservation throughout the world. And just like last time, Tyler had some excellent book recommendations.

This was a fun and enlightening conversation, so I hope you enjoy. Check out the episode notes for links to everything, and be sure the check out the Modern Huntsman Kickstarter page, watch the film, and support the project.

All images courtesy of Tyler Sharp & Modern Huntsman


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Episode Notes

Topics Discussed:

3:30 – How Tyler describes his work
6:10 – Modern Huntsman overview
8:40 – Improving hunting’s image
10:00 – Modern Huntsman as “new media”
12:00 – Tyler’s relationship with Simon Roosevelt
14:30 – Modern Huntsman’s target audience
16:30 – Misunderstandings surrounding hunting
20:30 – Modern Huntsman’s strategy for telling the correct story
22:00 – Importance of having a woman’s perspective
23:20 – Engaging with non-hunters
26:15 – Esthetics of the magazine
31:00 – List of the editors and contributors
34:50 – History of hunting and conservation
39:00 – Tools for connecting conservation and hunting
43:00 – How safari companies contribute to conservation in Africa
47:50 – The Kickstarter film
50:15 – Tyler’s favorite hunting books
58:10 – Best advice Tyler’s ever received
59:30 – Connect with Modern Huntsman online

Information Referenced

 

Scott Slusher – The Cowboys’ Cowboy Photographer

Scott Slusher – The Cowboys’ Cowboy Photographer


Scott Slusher

Scott Slusher is an Oklahoma native and Texas-based photographer who is best known for his stunning images of cowboys and life on working ranches. After seeing Scott’s work, it is crystal clear that he has a deep understanding of the ranching lifestyle and has invested more than his share of time out in the heat and dust, on horseback or in the branding pen. Given his immersion in the tough, hard-nosed world of ranching, you may be surprised to learn that Scott was trained as a fashion photographer and still works with a variety of big-name companies on their fashion and clothing line spreads.

So what allows Scott to have success in two worlds as diametrically opposed as ranching and fashion? Well, as you’ll hear in this interview, Scott has a habit of pursuing his interests with a single-minded intensity and curiosity, unafraid of getting in over his head, venturing outside his comfort zone, or working harder than expected. Combine those traits with endless energy and a knack for making friends with everyone he meets, and you’ll understand how Scott has managed to work his way onto iconic ranches, riding alongside and photographing some of the best ranch hands in the business.

Scott’s enthusiasm and love of people really come through in our conversation, so I know you’ll enjoy it. We talk about his childhood in Oklahoma and how his father’s work as a veterinarian and horse breeder shaped his outlook. We chat about his time as a photography intern and how he chose to dive head first into no-fun chores (like mopping the floor), and how that optimistic, high-energy approach has paid off time and again throughout his career. We also discuss how he broke into photographing cowboys, and how his respectful approach has allowed him to be accepted by ranch hands throughout the West. We cover a ton, so check out the episode notes for a full list of topics and links.

If you don’t already, be sure to follow Scott on Instagram at @slusherphoto—if you love the West and the ranching lifestyle, I can guarantee you’ll love his work. Hope you enjoy this episode.

All images courtesy of Scott Slusher


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Episode Notes

Topics Discussed:
2:45 – How Scott describes his work
4:50 – Where Scott grew up
8:30 – Time working at a vet clinic
12:00 – Applying to art school in Dallas
14:00 – Finding focus in art school
18:00 – Work ethic during his first internship
22:30 – First time taking photos of cowboys
26:00 – Making folks feel comfortable during photo shoots
27:20 – How he broke into the cowboy culture
33:00 – Working at the Four 6s Ranch
36:15 – Importance of networking
40:00 – Close calls during ranch photography
44:45 – Close call during a rodeo
49:30 – Importance of social media in Scott’s career
1:04:00 – Important books
1:09:00 – Favorite films
1:14:00 – Words of advice to the listeners
1:15:00 – Connect with Scott online

Information Referenced

Duke Beardsley – Art in the Big, Bold American West

Duke Beardsley – Art in the Big, Bold American West


Duke Beardsley

Duke Beardsley was well on his way to a career in medicine, when, just before med school, he took a hard turn onto a new path when he decided to pursue art as a full-time vocation. Since then, he has become one of the West’s most revered artists, producing paintings of cowboys, anglers, and the Western way of life in a style that is uniquely his own. His work is big, bold, and completely original, and it continues to grow and evolve in ways that surprise even Duke himself.

Thanks to a childhood spent between Denver and his family’s eastern Colorado ranch, Duke has been immersed in cowboy culture for as long as he can remember. He has been drawing non-stop since he could hold a crayon, and as a child (sometimes to the dismay of his parents) he demonstrated a proclivity for sketching western scenes on the walls of his family’s home. Duke is also a committed conservationist with a deep devotion to preserving the West’s landscapes and heritage. This eclectic mix of experiences and interests, combined with a formal art education, allows Duke to produce works that are ambitious, inspiring, and engaging.

I stopped by Duke’s Denver studio earlier this week, where we had a fun and wide-ranging conversation. We chat about his decision to change his career goal from medicine to art, and the value he gleaned from a formal art education.  He explains that life-long obsession with drawing on walls, and he tells some stories about how, as an adult, drawing on walls has led to surprising professional opportunities. We talk about his artistic process, his meditation practice, and how he managed his extroverted personality in the solitary world of creating art. He also discusses why land conservation is an issue that is so near and dear to his heart, and offers up some excellent book recommendations.

This was a lot of fun and I really appreciate Duke inviting me into his studio. Be sure to check the episode notes for links to everything we discuss, and check out Duke on Instagram, Facebook, and his website.

All images courtesy of Duke Beardsley


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Episode Notes

Topics Discussed:

2:40 – How Duke describes his work
3:30 – Growing up between Denver and eastern Colorado
5:15 – Artistic energy in Duke’s family
6:30 – Duke’s early path toward medicine
8:30 – Transition to art school
9:40 – Biggest lesson learned from art school
12:20 – Focusing his art on horses and the West
14:20 – Life post-art school
15:30 – How Duke’s art is different now from 20 years ago
18:30 – Drawing on the wall
20:20 – Why Duke paints big pieces
21:31 – Story behind Duke’s line ups
24:45 – Getting in “the zone” while painting line ups
26:40 – Working on multiple pieces at once
27:50 – Working with galleries
29:00 – Process for commissioned paintings
31:45 – Extrovert or Introvert?
34:30 – Duke’s artistic process
38:00 – Duke’s meditation practice
41:00 – Drawing on the wall at Las Pampas Lodge
44:00 – Working with Fishpond
45:50 – Passion for land conservation
49:30 – Favorite books
52:34 – Favorite films
54:00 – Surprising activities
54:45 – Most powerful outdoor experience
57:00 – Favorite place in the West
58:40 – Best peice of advice ever recieved
59:45 – Duke’s request of the listeners
1:00:30 – Connect with Duke online

Information Referenced

Innovators of the American West Book List

Innovators of the American West Book List


Over the past year and a half, I’ve interviewed dozens of innovators who are shaping the future of the American West—writers and ranchers, athletes and artists, conservationists and entrepreneurs, to name a few. While their vocations and backgrounds vary widely, they’re all connected by a shared love of books. All of my guests read widely and deeply, and they credit books with shaping their outlooks, work, and lives.

On each episode’s webpage, the exhaustive “episode notes” link to all books, authors, and other pertinent information discussed in the interview. So in an effort to consolidate all of this valuable information in one easy-to-access location, I compiled every book mentioned by each of my guests into this single comprehensive super-mega-list—the Innovators of the American West Book List. I’ve tried my best to organize them into logical categories, taking into account that many of the books span several genres.

As you’ll see, the books are as diverse as the guests, with topics ranging from the obvious western history and biographies, to more esoteric subjects such as military history, religion, and philosophy. Each book has played an important role in at least one of my guests’ fascinating lives, so it’s safe to say these books have been vetted and come highly recommended. rrr curious readers who love the American West, this list is a treasure trove.

I will continue to update this list after each new episode (last update: 1-5-18), adding newly mentioned books or authors to their respective categories. I hope this list directs you to some books that you would not have otherwise discovered and that you will continue to check back as the list grows. Enjoy!


Western History

Biographies & Memoirs

Western Issues

Adventure

Native American History

Land Management & Agriculture

General History & Natural History

Athletics

Personal Development

Fiction

Philosophy & Essays

Specifically Mentioned Authors

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Dan Flores

Dan Flores is a writer, historian, and former professor whose work explores the connections between people and the natural world in the American West. His most recent books—Coyote America and American Serengeti—are two of the most enlightening and informative books on the West’s natural history that I have ever read. The former is a biography of the coyote, a surprisingly fascinating animal with a rich and severely misunderstood history. The latter explores the last big mammals of the great plains—pronghorn, coyotes, horses, grizzlies, bison, and wolves—and also gives a great overview of North American big history.

It’s clear that Dan was a wonderful professor, because as you’ll hear in this episode, he has a real knack for explaining complicated subjects in a way that’s understandable, engaging, and exciting. This conversation gave me a glimpse into what it must have been like to be a student in Dan’s class at the University of Montana—I walked away from it full of new knowledge, and it whet my appetite to dig deeper into the many subjects we covered.

I could’ve asked Dan questions for hours and hours, but in our relatively short time together we managed to cover a lot. We start by discussing the coyote—how and why the animal has been so misunderstood, its similarities to humans, how it has managed to thrive despite efforts to totally eradicate the species, and the varying pronunciations of the word coyote. Then we discuss horses—the misconception that they are a non-native species in North America, their evolutionary history around the world, and some modern-day challenges facing the West’s few remaining wild horses. We also talk about Dan’s childhood in Louisiana, his current home in New Mexico, his favorite books on the American West, and much, much more.

This is an excellent episode and I’m excited for you to listen. If you haven’t already, buy Coyote America and American Serengeti—I can promise you’ll love them both.


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Episode Notes

Topics Discussed

3:00 – How Dan describes his work
4:10 – History of the pronunciation of “coyote”
7:30 – Coyote’s historical reputation
11:00 – Coyote’s status in Native American lore
12:30 – Mark Twain’s influence on the coyotes’ image
14:05 – Coyotes as humans’ avatars
16:15 – Fission and fusion in coyotes
18:00 – Coyotes’ ability to control their reproduction
22:20 – Dan’s thoughts on the current attempted Federal Land grab
28:45 – Misconception that horses are non-native
34:30 – Current issues with horses in the United States
37:55 – Dan’s thoughts on the BLM Wild Mustang Program
40:15 – Dan’s early years in Louisiana
43:00 – First trip to Carlsbad Caverns
45:20 – Dan’s passionate love of desert
48:55 – Living in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley
51:00 – Changes in Montana during Dan’s time there
55:00 – “In Defense of the Ranchette” article
1:01:45 – Favorite books about the American West
1:08:00 – Most powerful experience outdoors
1:09:20 – Favorite place in the West
1:11:30 – Dan’s request of the listeners
1:15:45 – Connect with Dan

Information Referenced