A competitive shooter since he was a teenager, Mike Wirth began teaching responsible firearms operations during college. Between bouts of studying for his degree in mechanical engineering, he showed friends and classmates the firearms basics, such as marksmanship fundamentals, proper cleaning and storage, and how to smelt each bullet by hand.
Now teamed with business partner Aaron Goodfellow, Wirth continues training clients in responsible armed defense. On the outdoor ranges shared with Parma Rod and Gun Club, he and Goodfellow lead classes focused on handgun operations, teaching guests skills from swapping magazines to courteous behaviors when on the range.
Parker Arrien grew up rafting through whitewater rapids on the Snake and Salmon Rivers with his family, feeling the crash of waves and the force of the water pulling him forward. As an adult, he knew it would be impossible to ignore his desire to seek outdoor adventures, so he founded America's Rafting Company with his wife, Becky, to share this exhilarating experience with others. His adventures take people whitewater rafting down canyons, fishing for steelhead in the winter, backpacking in the immense wilderness of the Seven Devils Mountains, and making excursions on the Idaho rivers. Participants can expect enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides on all adventures.
On Wake Central Cable Park's manmade lake, riders wakeboard, wakeskate, and water ski without a boat. That's because two overhead, straight-line cable systems pull visitors across the watery obstacle course. The varied terrain accommodates riders of all ability levels and lets them progress at their own pace—open waters help beginners refine the basics, and jumps and rails challenge more experienced riders. In addition to supervising the lake, Wake Central's team possesses a stock of gear for sale, such as boards, boots, and helmets.
As its name implies, bows and arrows are the focus of Archery Central. The pro shop outfits visitors for archery adventures with products including custom Death Harp bowstrings and earthy scents that help hunters blend in with the surrounding woods and its impeccably perfumed sasquatches. The center's 16-lane indoor shooting range hosts group classes, individual instruction sessions, and leagues, and its open-shoot sessions invite visitors to bring their own bows or rent out equipment from the pro shop's inventory.
Sportations connects amateur adrenaline jockeys to certified professional adventurers, drawing from a nationwide network of aeronauts and speed demons to introduce habitual pedestrians to the wonders of skydiving, ballooning, hang gliding, and stock-car racing. Thrill seekers can zipline across a forest canopy, hollering like Tarzan or taunting nearby birds until they agree to race. Helicopter tours ferry patrons skyward over landmarks and cityscapes, whereas paragliding adventures get up close and personal with blue skies and clouds. For most sports, Sportations accommodates groups of any size, from physics classes empirically proving gravity's existence to solo ballooning supervillains declaring dominion over all they see.
As a law school graduate, self-taught photographer Jim Harmer understands how difficult it can be to take up a new hobby while juggling other responsibilities. That's why he founded Improve Photography, a website that offers 30-day online photography courses, allowing students to learn at their own pace and in the comforts of their own home. Along with fellow photographer Dustin Olsen, Harmer teaches students of all levels the skills to take great photos in 10-minute video lessons that can be viewed on smartphones, tablets, or the computer chip in your brain.
Their courses acquaint beginners with the basics, and also, for more advanced students, focus on more specific facets of the art including business of photography, portrait photography, and Photoshop. Though the classes are online, students bring their newly found skills to the real world through photo challenges, and receive constructive feedback on their photos from Harmer and Olsen.