Category: Podcasting

Wes grew up on a working Cattle Ranch outside Cody, Wyoming. Currently the principal at the outdoor retail shop Sunlight Sports, Co-Founder of the Argot Agency and former president of Grassroots Outdoor Alliance

"They want to be able to tell a story that local Outdoor Retail customers will relate to. That's the whole concept behind the Argo Agency"

Find out more about Sunlight Sports and the Argot Agency here:
Sunlight SportsArgot Agency

view of the Grand Tetons at sunrise
Photographer: Jesse Gardner | Source: Unsplash

You have a wide range of experience in the outdoor retail space. Tell us about a little bit about your background.

I do have a wide range of experience. My first formal job in the outdoor industry was here at Sunlight Sports. Cody was the nearest big town to the ranch. After I graduated from college, I came in for an outdoor retail summer job because I had purchased stuff here before. I wound up staying and then, a year later or so the woman who owned Sunlight with her husband . . . her much younger sister came back from college in New Zealand and I wound up getting married to her. So yeah, I kinda got into the family that way.

How did the Argot Agency come about?

Argo is something that's a little bit newer. Argo agency is a specialty agency that works on building out bespoke marketing programs between Outdoor Retailers and brands. These retailers have been identified as key outdoor retail specialty accounts by the brands. And obviously, from my background, I really believe in the power of specialty outdoor retail.

We've worked with quite a few brands in the outdoor industry. When people go into a specialty outdoor retail shop, there's kind of this ambiance and Summit Hut is a great example. You go in there and it is definitely an Arizona outdoor store and they sell snake gaiters and they've got cactus on the wall. It's not, you know, it's not a Pacific Northwest outdoor retail store. And you know, brands want to tell great stories that resonate with customers. They want to be able to tell a story that local Outdoor Retail customers will relate to. That's the whole concept behind Argo.

Tell our listeners how Argo works with outdoor retail brands and stores to execute these campaigns.

So we go in and we actually customize it for every single outdoor retail shop. The vast majority of retailers that we work with, we do a photoshoot with the brand. Then we create brand signage and pop and everything in the store for the brand. So for example with Summit Hut, when we did the signs it was pictures of people in the mountains right outside of Tucson. The fonts and the colors and everything was localized but it was very much a Nemo branded campaign.

view of an Arizona Sunset
Photographer: Emily Campbell | Source: Unsplash

What suggestions or advice do you have for folks wanting to get into the outdoor retail biz? Or grow their career if they're already in the biz.

I think that the outdoor retail industry, even though it's gotten bigger and there are big multinational corporations involved, it is a passion industry. Very few people are in the outdoor industry because this is the only job they can find right? They're here because they care about it. And I think my one suggestion I would give to people is I'd wear your passions on your sleeve a little bit more, whether it's for your job or for the outdoor activities that you enjoy. I think we all respond to that and find it a positive thing. And we like being around people who are passionate about something. I think in your career if you can be passionate about your job and passionate about your activities, other people in the outdoor industry are more inclined to help you with your career.

Things We Talked About

Sunlight Sports

Argot Agency

Summit Hut

Nemo Equipment

Grassroots Outdoor Alliance

Cody, Wyoming


Favorite Outdoor Gear Under $100

Dana Design Bangtail hip pack

Espro Coffee


Outdoor Retailer Banner

Do your job well and understand where it fits in the big picture of the industry

Connect with Wes- Argo Agency, Linkedin

Published with StoryChief

Welcome to episode 209 of The Outdoor Biz Podcast. Today I'm talking about Fly Fishing, Podcasting, Stewardship and more with Nico Sunseri and Ben King of the BearFish Alliance. Nico and Ben believe that by enabling multilevel stewardship via unified communication channels, it is possible to preserve the integrity, legacy, and future of the Truckee River as a wild rainbow and Brown trout fishery for the community to enjoy and generations to come.

"So here's a little thing about the Truckee River. We've given it a nickname, The Big Two Faced River"

Find out more about the Bear Fish Alliance here:

What are some of the stewardship activities that you guys are working on right now?

Nico- "In early June, and we're having a River Clean-Up in cooperation with Trout Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy".

underwater view of a golden trout
Fly Fishing for Golden Trout, Highway 108

How did you get introduced to Fly Fishing and the outdoors?

Ben-"I surfed my whole life. That includes many trips down to Mexico. My grandpa's the real true outdoors and my dad has same passion. Growing up camping and in the boy Scouts we did a lot of backpacking, hiking, and I just most connected to the Outdoors in so many different ways."

Nico- "I was more of an inland kid growing up in San Dimas, California and started fishing probably about five years old. From the time I could ride a bike after school or before school or in summers I went fishing. A trip to Lake Powell really got me hooked into fishing and it just kinda carried on. The transition to fly fishing didn't really happen, Oh my gosh, I mean maybe about seven years ago."

When Was the first time you went Fishing together?

I introduced Ben to Fly Fishing and to his credit he pays attention. He picked up on some things. I would say within a month of us going out constantly, one day he just geared up and hopped in his car. After a bit, he gives me a call and says "I'm fishing on my own". An hour later he sends me a picture. Probably it was a little Rainbow or Brown or something, but he started Fishing by himself.

Tell our listeners about the bear fish Alliance. How did you, what inspired you to create that?

It kinda came from number one- being self-taught on the river. It’s kind of an enduring hardship, you know, getting into the sport of fly fishing. You go out and see all these people doing it, you're watching all these YouTube videos reading books, and seeing people being successful and that's a lot.

This river is not easy, you basically learn through trial and error. So I was thinking there has to be a way for us to collectively get all this information together and available to people that want to get into the sport. And for people from out of the area. There isn't one single collective place that you can go to in this region to find information on the Truckee River.

There are a few different groups here like trout unlimited, they have a great presence. Nature Conservancy's done a phenomenal job on the Eastern Truckee doing restoration work and a couple of few other groups doing good work. But the challenge was everyone had their own little stake and they have their own communication channels. So I thought well, maybe we could just step in and fill that void.

We came up with the name BearFish Alliance, which gives a historical nod to the Truckee River. During the time of the settlers, the California grizzly was common in this area and the Lahontan Cutthroat trout ran freely between Pyramid Lake and the Truckee River. The Truckee does maintain the propensity to grow very large Brown and Rainbow Trout.

Aerial view of a burrito with salsa.
Photographer: Bret Kavanaugh | Source: Unsplash

So what’s with the burrito part of a fly fishing show?

We like our guests to be comfortable, you know? If you can get in their environment, it relaxes them. Ben and I both were born and raised in Southern California. And you have two main types of burritos, Carnitas and Carne Asada. We also have a Jurassic park scale we use, you must get close to legitimate food poisoning to be considered a real burrito. The only other requirement is the horchata, you know if they have the machine they're legit, if they have the jar, that’s next level. Locally here in the Eastern Sierra up in June Lake near June Lake brewing there's a trailer called Ohanas. It's absolutely the Best burrito in the Sierra. They use pork in that Jurassic Park burrito shell and Wow! It's just an experience. Like everything's wrong about it and you want somebody to drive you home cuz you're going to have a food coma.

Things We Talked About

BearFish Alliance

Burritos, Breaks, and Flies– Podcast

Reno Fly Shop, Reno

Sportsmans Warehouse Reno

Trout Unlimted

The Nature Conservancy

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout

Ohanas 395 June Lake

Favorite Podcasts

Favorite Outdoor Gear Under $100

Ben-Magnetic Net Keeper

Nico- Quick Silver Sun Hat

Connect with Nico and Ben- BearFish Alliance

Published with StoryChief

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