UGLY BUGS AND CRAZY LADIES
LET US TELL YOU A LITTLE ABOUT WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO:
In order to get the full story, we must flash back to early April. We were sitting in the back office mulling over a few conversations that we recently had with local women. We were approached by a small group of ladies asking if we offered any classes that were women’s specific, partially to take a much needed break from being taught by their husbands, but also to learn in an environment that mitigated the anxieties that often come along with women entering into the sport. We came to realize the unique position that we were in: we had the ability to cater to a niche community that has otherwise been overlooked, especially in our area. Being well versed in the Orvis 50/50 initiative, we felt it was time to decide what role we would play within that foundation: how do we become more than a hashtag? And that was it. Ugly Bugs and Crazy Ladies was born.
We decided to make it a three part event: night one would be rod set up and casting, night two would be entomology and fly tying, and day three would be a full day guided trip on the Grey Reef section of the North Platte through our guide service, all following the Orvis 101 through 301 curriculum one fell swoop. We assigned 8 boats to the event, but to be quite frank, we were a little nervous it wouldn’t fill up. Anyways, to make a long story short, we booked out in less than four hours. From there, we opened another. Then another. Then one more for good measure. Let us break it down even more: We brought in 64 women from far and wide, booked 32 boats, with 16 girls per week, utilizing 8 guides, over a 4 week period, all trail blazed by 2 women who were simply having 1 hell of a time. And if you’re really into the number game, you may like to know that the cumulative booking process for all four events was less than 24 hours.
It is worth mentioning the state of the world while this was being put into motion. We were all simply living in the midst of unprecedented times. Businesses were closing their doors, and members of the community were becoming stir crazy. As we were all struggling to understand living through a global pandemic, emotions were heightened as an innately outdoor based community was suddenly asked to stay inside. Not only we were able to further our personal mission of getting more women on the water, but we were also able to give the women in our community an emotional and physical outlet where they may have not received one elsewhere.
It is also worth mentioning the village it took to put this event together. Blake Jackson, our owner, has been intricate in the process and remains our biggest supporter and advocate throughout. The Ugly Bug Fly Shop and Crazy Rainbow Fly Fishing has always supported women in the industry. Infact, Ugly Bug Fly Shop and Crazy Rainbow Fly Fishing has always had at least one woman on staff, which speaks volumes about its ownership and management. Along with that, the shop crew and guide staff has stood behind us the entire time. We’ve also had a slu of donors step in to aid in the process, both industry related and elsewhere. We would like to give a big thanks to Dun Magazine, Cliff Outdoors, Melvin Brewing, Modobi Fly Fishing Products, Lilacs and Lavender Tea Room, Nix Signs, Vance Oracion, Hallie O’Donnell, and Sara Thronburg.
We now plan on making Ugly Bugs and Crazy Ladies an annual event. Next year’s dates are already in place for our beginner level course, and we also locked down dates for an advanced level course. We have no restrictions, every woman is welcome. For more information, check out the Ugly Bug Fly Shop’s social feeds, as well as the articles linked below.
Also find us in the latest release of The Drake Magazine
Addie and CiCi