My career in the outdoors began at the age of 25. I had just gone through a divorce and the only thing I wanted to do was escape to the outdoors. I left a very lucrative career as a sales consultant for a fortune 100 company. I set a goal to spend three years trying to see if I could make ends meet in the outdoor world. I began as a guide, then soon guide and marketing manager for a ranch in Nebraska. Soon Cabela’s came calling. They wanted me to travel the world searching for new destinations to send their clients. Sounded to good to be true! So it began…
I really enjoyed working for the Cabela’s family. After four years, a few things began to change; one was my desire to leave Sidney, Nebraska. The second was the fact that the company was going public. I did not want to stay in Sidney, and I had no desire to continue a career working for a public company. With a heavy heart, I left Cabela’s.
Leaving was a blessing in disguise, as I was able to return to the field where I was truly the happiest. I have found that guiding clients gives me as much satisfaction as taking game myself. Soon, I was finding just the right amount of balance between guiding, outfitting, and arranging trips. My guiding took me all over the West and into Alaska.
Into the Wild Adventures and now Riley’s Outdoor Consulting LLC was born a short time after Cabela’s. The business started out as Riley’s Outdoor Consulting and evolved into Into the Wild Adventures, then back to Riley’s Outdoor Consulting LLC. I had some interesting strategic alliances along the way. I spent time selling big game hunts for The Detail Company of Houston, Texas and a couple other small agencies.
In 2011, I asked my nephew, Ben Riley, and friends, Jon Rosmann and Chris Clements, to join the business. They came onboard to assist with our Wild for the Cause program. Our first year was a major success, as we raised funds for numerous non-profit organizations, such as Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Mule Deer Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Safari Club International, Pheasants Forever, Boy Scouts of America, and a few others. The year 2011 turned out to be the best sales year for the company.
Always one to try and improve the business, I was excited when past college peer, successful businessman, and well-known international hunter Jay Link phoned and asked me to join him in a new venture. Thus, in September 2012, I took the reigns of Jay’s new hunting and fishing agency, aptly named Link’s Wild Safaris.