The one thing that we all felt like made last year's event such a success, was the fact he brought along his vice and a bunch of materials and tied on-site at the event. People were fascinated by this 10 year old kid cranking out Clouser Minnows and Bend Backs like a robot. Even if they didn't purchase anything, they would stay and watch just to see the process.
In preparation for this year's market, he doubled his inventory, tying almost 70 flies in several different patterns to sell. To all of our surprise, this year was even better than last year, as he sold out of everything by 2pm. The highlight of the show for both of us however, was one specific customer that stood out heads and shoulders amongst the rest.
Around eleven o clock this morning, a young man about 8 or 9 years old stopped by the booth with his mom. He was immediately enthralled by all the colorful flies laid out on the table. His enthusiasm was palpable as he poured over the different patterns. He and Jackson got to talking about the process of tying, so Jackson offered to tie a Clouser Minnow for him, in the colors he chose, so he could see how the process was executed. As Jackson began tying in the eyes, the young man grabbed his mom's cell phone and proceeded to record the entire process.
At several points during the process, he would say "whoa!" and "this is so cool!!" As Jackson tied off the whip finish and applied some head cement the young man reached over the table and gave him a high five. As we bagged it up for him, he walked over and hugged me, then walked around the table and hugged Jackson. His excitement over having a custom tied fly to his specifications was simply infectious, and a reminder that there are still kids out there who have an innate love of this great sport, even though they may not have had the opportunity to recognize it just yet
Before leaving the booth, he and Jackson exchanged email addresses. It was really a wonderful moment, for as I am acutely aware, this is exactly how lives are changed, and the spark of a lifelong passion is ignited.
Hope you all have a great week,