Shannon Long's path to the American dream went in the opposite direction than that of most people. While many work in retail to support their dreams of becoming artists, Shannon molded clay over steel substructures, sculpting half-scale abstract figurative art while dreaming about starting a fly-fishing business. As a boy growing up in popular Lake Havasu, he frequented a small Western-themed shop where the owner was always chatting with customers who shared his fascination with the independent spirit of the American West. In a turn of serendipity, Shannon got married and happily followed his wife to her native Colorado. Sometime after, he opened the fly-fishing shop he had always dreamed of, and found himself becoming the shopkeeper chatting with and educating customers in their shared interests.
Today, Shannon oversees a guide service manned by a staff of veteran fly-fishing experts. On full-day and half-day fly-fishing trips, guides lead anglers for the grand slam: rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brown trout, and brook trout all caught in a single trip. The Rocky Mountain landscapes surround fishermen in dramatic scenery, including towering pine trees, giant red rocks, and bright-blue skies as the sounds of colliding bighorn sheep occasionally ring out over the water. In addition to guided trips, the staff also leads classes, including courses designed for women and families, that cater to both beginner and advanced anglers.
SwimLabs Swim School’s instructors have two priorities: teaching kids and adults how to swim and helping competitive swimmers optimize their strokes. In addition to CPR and first-aid certifications backed by years of experience, the instructors are aided by swimming-pool technology. Their private and small-group lessons take place in SwimLabs Pools with adjustable currents, each about 10’x16’ and heated to 90–92 degrees to prevent polar-bear infestations. The custom currents can give beginner students a boost or challenge advanced swimmers with more forceful resistance waves. As swimmers paddle against the current, the staff records their strokes with Dartfish video technology. They then analyze the results together, comparing the swimmer’s form to a video of proper technique.
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