Meet the Guides: Caleb Henley

caleb Although he’s from Nixa, Missouri and therefore familiar with the beautiful Ozark wilderness, Branson Zipline isn’t the only breathtaking location where Caleb has ziplined. Caleb first went ziplining six years ago when he was visiting Alaska. He’s also gone ziplining in Mexico. Because of his own experiences ziplining, Caleb says that he “enjoys helping other people get the absolute best out of their zipline experience, from start to finish” when they visit Wolfe Creek Preserve. We love his dedication to helping guests fully enjoy their world-class outdoor eco-adventure while visiting us! We asked Caleb a few questions to get to know more about him:

1. If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be? Great Giant Ginger.

2. Other than ziplining, what outdoor activities do you enjoy? Snowboarding, mountain biking, wakeboarding, and scuba diving.

3. What’s your favorite season to zip? The fall because it’s cool and beautiful.

4. What made you want to work for Branson Zipline? What’s cooler than working at a zipline?

5. Any fun facts about yourself? If I could live anywhere, it would be Lake Tahoe, NV.DSCN9614 (2)

Since Caleb expresses interest in so many outdoor sports and activities, it comes as no surprise that one of his favorite parts about working for Branson Zipline is “being in an outdoor environment.” He also shared that the unique experience provided to guests at Wolfe Creek Preserve is another reason he loves working here so much. In fact, he recommended that all guests “do the Blue Streak Fast Line and Free Fall Xpress” while visiting Wolfe Creek Preserve because of how special an opportunity the tour is. The Blue Streak Fast Line and Free Fall Xpress is our shortest and fastest tour. It includes a quarter-mile zipline and a 100-foot free fall simulation from our tallest tower! With statistics like that, it’s no wonder that Caleb encourages guests to take advantage of our world-class facility and enjoy a burst of adrenaline on our Blue Streak Tour! To learn more about the tours (and book one so you have the opportunity to meet Caleb in person) be sure to head on over to our website!

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Meet the Guides: Colin Wilhite

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Colin Wilhite is from Branson, which means he’s familiar with the astounding natural beauty that surrounds our property. Though he might’ve climbed trees in the area and spent time hiking outdoors while growing up in Branson, Colin had the opportunity to see Branson in a new way during his first time ziplining with us over one year ago! After going through training to become a guide and experiencing ziplining many more times over the year he’s been here, he’s come to appreciate the surrounding beauty of the area even more than he did before, especially because he gets to spend time outdoors with co-workers and fun guests! We asked Colin a few questions to get to know more about him:

1. What’s your favorite season to zip? Summer.

2. Any advice for people ziplining for the first time?  Don’t think about it too much.

3. If you could describe yourself in three words, what would they be? Funny, energetic,  sarcastic.

4. Other than being a zipline guide, what are some of your other interests? Soccer, martial arts, sports med, frisbee.

5. What’s your favorite part about working for Branson Zipline? The co-workers.DSCF8796

In addition to being an excellent guide and familiar to the Branson area, Colin has also completed classes in sports medicine. We love Colin’s desire to apply himself in helpful ways whenever he can, whether it’s as a guide on our world-renowned zipline course or as a sports medicine enthusiast able to help others! Be sure to come out to Wolfe Creek Preserve to meet Colin for yourself! He shared with us that his favorite tours are the night tours so visit the tours section of our website to sign up for a night tour this summer!

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Who is Wally Funk?

Recently our sales manager answered a ringing phone with his normal, “Branson Zipline, This is Wes, how can I help you?”. The reply was an enthusiastic, “Good morning, Good lookin’!” As Wes assisted this perspective zipper with making her reservation he quickly realized that the woman on the other end of the line was a real spit-fire. As it turned out, this woman was none other than Wally Funk and she was headed our way via a bus tour from Texas. As Wes completed the booking process he asked her for her email address. She replyed she did not have email but directed Wes to her website, Wallyfly.com. After this unusual and intriguing conversation Wes didn’t skip a beat up pulling up this website to find out just who is Wally Funk? It quickly became obvious that this may be Wally’s first Zipline experience but would not be her first flight – Wally is a celebrity in aviation and a pioneer in the field.

 

Since the age of 6 Wally has been passionate about aviation. At this early age the desire to fly manifested itself with her jumping off the roof into a pile of hay while wearing her Superman Cape, hoping that if she tried enough she would eventually learn to fly.  At the age of 16 her aspirations became reality, she earned her pilot’s degree while attending Stephen’s College in Columbia, Missouri and graduated with an Associate of Arts degree. She was first in her class of 24 flyers. When she was only 20 years old she was 1 of 25 women selected to participate in Mercury 13, a program designed to send women into space. The first phase of the program consisted of 87 different tests preparing for the flight into space. These tests included very rigorous tasks; from swallowing three feet of rubber hose for a stomach test, to having 18 needles stuck into her head to record brain waves, to drinking a pint of radioactive water. Phase two of the testing process required the participants to endure being submerged in tank of water for an extended period of time to simulate the weightlessness of space. Wally set the record of being in the tank for 10 hours and 35 minutes without hallucinating.

 

Throughout her life she has continued to soar past the competition, being the first woman asked to undergo High Altitude Chamber Test and Martin Baker Ejection Test, the first woman to successfully complete FAA General Aviation Operations Academy course, the first woman to hold position of FAA SWAP (Systems Worthiness Analysis program) specialist, and the first female Air Safety Investigator with the National Transporter Safety Board. She has won a plethora of aviation awards, been featured in a countless amount of magazine articles and books on aviation, interviewed both on tv and radio, and held many different jobs in the field of aviation.

We couldn’t be more excited to have Wally, a living legend and role model for women worldwide, experience Branson Zipline. This coming Tuesday Wally will join us for our premier Tour, the Ozarks Xplorer Canopy Tour. We can’t wait to meet this remarkable woman in person!

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Meet the Guides: Reece Calton

Reece is the Branson Zipline’s self proclaimed ropes aficionado. Reece is an avid rock climber. He says he’s “hooked on rock climbing, no pun intended.” Reece has a great sense of humor. He can constantly be found learning to tie different knots or trying to lasso a chair or co-worker. “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for” is one of Reece’s favorite quotes; and we believe it is applicable to ziplining. Ziplining is an adventurous activity that not everyone has had the pleasure of participating in. We believe that adventure should be a part of everyone’s life and ziplining is just the ticket. Reece is an adventure junkie. He rock climbs in Horseshoe Canyon, about an hour south in Arkansas. He loves adventure of any type. He participates in Adventure Races, such as the Tough Mudder, which is a hardcore obstacle course that raises money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

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Do you have any advice for people ziplining for the first time?

-Just go for it! You’ll have a blast, I promise!

Any fun facts about yourself?

-I can totally ride a unicycle

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Reece is definitely a people person. He says that one of his favorite parts about working for Branson Zipline is all the new and different people he gets to meet. Reece has had the opportunity to meet some really awesome people from all around the country and says he can’t wait to meet many more. He suggests coming out in the early morning. Reece’s favorite time of the day to zipline is in the morning. He loves opening the course first thing in the morning. He says it so peaceful and quiet and the temperature is absolute perfect.

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Meet Wes Stoner: Sales Manager

Whether your group is experiencing one of our world class Zipline canopy tours or engaging in any of our other activities on site, such as our Wolfe Creek Photo Safari with Safari Dan, panning for gemstones in our Wolfe Creek Mining Station, or enjoying a catered lunch in our beautiful Amish-Made Pavillion, we guarantee you will have a great time, and Wes Stoner is just the guy to make sure your experience is unforgettable. Wes Stoner has been our Sales Manager since April 2012, and we are so elated to have him as a part of our world class staff. Wes’s duties here at the zipline encompass a variety of tasks. Not only does he ensure all of our groups have a great time, he also attends trade shows, acts as liaison between ourselves and different companies in Branson and nationwide, as well as hosting site tours of our property. With so many activities to do around Branson we know that everyone is trying to pack as much excitement into their vacations as possible. We want more than anything to make sure Branson Zipline is apart of those memories. Wes is constantly out and about running around Branson and the surrounding areas putting our best foot forward, and making sure everyone visiting Branson finds their way to Wolfe Creek Preserve.wesdan

To get to know Wes a little better we asked him about his interests and life outside of work. Wes is originally from Cheyenne, WY but has lived all over the MidWest. He loves being outdoors and engaging in all sort of activities: soccer, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and hunting.  When we interview our employees for the Meet the Guides section of our blog we always ask their favorite quote. The majority of the time each guide’s favorite quote has something to do with adventure, and it wasn’t any different in Wes’ case. Wes identifies with the quote, “Live everyday as if it were your last.” Ziplining is very often referred to as being an item on everyone’s “Bucket List.” Wes believes that ziplining is an adventure that is accessible to everyone, and it is his goal to make sure as many people get to experience it as possible.wes zippin

Here at the Branson Zipline we have tons of different groups come zip with us, from high school marching bands to boy scout troops, company weekend getaways to family reunions.  Wes is constantly searching for opportunities to get each and every group he meets out to zip with us. We asked Wes what made him want to work at the Branson Zipline. He spoke of how just the idea of working at the Branson Zipline sounded amazing, but after seeing our facility and hearing the vision of the company he knew that being here would be a perfect fit for his skill set and passions. After working here for a year and a half, he said that one of his favorite parts of working here is seeing people walk through the door and be in awe of all we have to offer here.

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The Changing of the Autumn Leaves

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus

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How true this statement is. Time after time when our guides are asked what their favorite season to zip in is, they answer “autumn.” The fall is notoriously beautiful in the Ozarks. Each October tourists make their way to Branson with the changing of the leaves as top billing. Not everywhere in the US can you find as beautiful a scenery as the leaves changing colors in Branson. Autumn is such a great time to come out to zipline because it is a rare chance to be able to zip right through the changing leaves. The first zip on both of our canopy tours, the Ozarks Xplorer and Flying Prospector, land you on Lookout Tower and Compass Tower, respectively. These towers grant you with a perfect view over the entire property and all the changing leaves. Then you drop down into the tree canopy, zipping right through the leaves. When you return from your tour to view your tour photos, you’re greeted with stunning a background for your pictures.

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This time of the year all of our guests rave over how truly beautiful zipping through the changing leaves is. Karen and Bill from Peoria, IL filled out an experience form after their tour saying, “Wonderful first-time experience. I’ve passed up a few opportunities to zipline before. So glad I didn’t this time! It was a perfect fall day to zip through the colorful treetops and the staff was great! A very enjoyable experience from a different view!”

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Also Michael and Shelly from League City, TX commented saying, “Fun and exciting experience. We wish we had done this sooner. The scenery while flying through the air is beautiful There is actually history of each flight that is educational. All young people need to try this instead of waiting til they are in their 50’s like us! Loved it!”

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Don’t miss your opportunity to experience this unique, beautiful time the year. Tours are booking up quick, head over to our website and reserve your spots today!

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Edina HS Marching Band

Thursday, October 17th, 2013 was a noteworthy day for Branson Zipline. We hosted a group of 275+ marching band members and chaperones from Edina High School, in Edina, Minnesota. Our Sales Manager, Wes Stoner works tirelessly to find new opportunities to bring all different types of groups to the zipline. We have variety of meeting/party spaces giving us the ability to host all types of groups. Our world class facility is specifically designed to handle any type of group, from your immediate family celebration to large corporate group outings. When Peter and Serena Simon of Simon and Simon Travel contacted us with this opportunity  we were ecstatic to showcase Wolfe Creek Preserve to a group this size and quickly began the planning.Photo Oct 17, 12 36 35 PM

The Edina HS Marching Band made their way to Branson, Missouri on their annual performance trip for a few different reasons. On Saturday the 19th they marched and performed in the Missouri State University Homecoming parade. They also performed at the Branson Landing right after leaving the zipline on Thursday. While in Branson they saw a few different shows such as, The Haygoods and The Acrobats of China, they visited Silver Dollar City and attended dinner aboard the Showboat Branson Belle.

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A majority of the students had never been to Missouri, let alone Branson and they kicked off their visit by coming to Wolf Creek Preserve, home of Branson Zipline Canopy Tours. Their experience included a guided hike up the Wolfe Mountain, zipping down the mountain via our Flying Prospector Canopy tour, shopping in our gift shop, roasting marshmallows at dual fire pits, and participating in team building activities. Photo Oct 17, 11 20 09 AM

After arriving in five motorcoaches we split up into ten different groups and began a different stations for the rotations throughout the morning. Some groups began hiking up the trail to begin their zipping adventure, some started shopping, others began roasting marshmallows, and the rest began their experience participating in team building activities.Photo Oct 17, 11 18 25 AM

After each student made the rounds through each station we had a grand finale planned. There was a group of 10 bus drivers, chaperones and band directors that zipped our Blue Streak Fastline. If you’ve zipped our Blue Streak you know how exhilarating it truly is to zip a quarter of a mile into a 100ft tower where you’re only option of from there is our 100ft Powerfan Freefall. Now imagine if you will, doing all of that with an audience of 275+ students there to watch you take the plunge and cheer you on. Standing in the parking lot amongst all the students and hearing their cheers for their chaperones was almost overwhelming, but truly exciting.Photo Oct 17, 12 38 49 PM

We definitely had a fun-filled, action packed morning. The motorcoaches filled with happy zipliners pulled out of the parking lot around lunch time to make it to their next event. When all was said and done it was an experience we here at the Branson Zipline will never forget.IMG_7361

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Meet the Guides: Cory Brown

  DSCN3016Cory would describe himself as fearless, funny and composed. We agree with him and are so excited to have him here on staff. We strive to find the best of the best when it comes to our guides. We look for guides that will keep you calm when soaring through the trees, entertain you with the Legend of the Wolfe family, and safely guide you through the course to have a bird’s eye view of the Wolfe Creek Preserve. Cory surpasses everything you could ever want in a guide. Cory has grown up right here in the Ozarks, in Forsyth, Missouri. Although his first time ziplining was during his second interview here at the Branson Zipline, he has been leading a pretty adventurous life. Cory enjoys hunting, fishing and riding dirt bikes. He actually used to race sprint cars for 4 years. He is also interested in rugby and MMA fighting. As all of our guides do, Cory loves the outdoors, as well as meeting new people. With those interests, Cory is a perfect fit for our World Class Experience.CORYB

What’s your favorite season to zip and why?

Summer is the only season I’ve zipped in, but I have loved every second of it

Any advice for people ziplining for the first time?

Don’t hesitate!

What’s your favorite part of working at Branson Zipline?

Blue Streak and getting to work with Safari Dan!

We asked Cory what his favorite quote was. He quotes the movie, The Other Guys, “I’m a peacock, Captain! You gotta let me fly!” And that is exactly what Cory does, fly through the tree tops!

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One of our views on Trip Advisor says “Cory and Chelsey were simply the Best and most fun people to hang with. They made her feel so comfortable. Their safety and equipment was top notch.” We love to hear from our guests, especially love to hear that their guides made their time so enjoyable!

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2013 End of Summer Employee Bash

Top-notch, world class, best of the best – these are just a few of the adjectives used to describe our employees at Branson Zipline and we couldn’t agree more! All of our employees work tirelessly to make sure that our guests are safest and most enjoyable experience possible. When we hire employees we tell them this will be one of most physically taxing jobs they will probably have, but one of the most rewarding because of the wonderful people they will meet. We have a wonderful team who make our day to day operation special for each and every guest; from office staff to pinzgauer drivers to photo safari guides to zipline guides. Every employee here is working their hardest to make sure everything runs smoothly and safely. A lot of our employees are college students and return to school in the fall. Each year after Labor Day weekend, we have a company dinner and take time to celebrate our employees. There are no words to describe how much we appreciate each and every one of them. We cater a meal at our Pavillion and just kick back and enjoy some time to relax. We also give out employee recognition awards.

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With the entertaining group of individuals that we hire each year there are bound to be hilarious stories throughout the summer. Most of our awards reflect those good times. Chelsey Hadly, as well as Shelby Garton received the “Donuts Make Me Go Nuts” Awards because each week one or the other would bring in donuts to work. It became a delicious tradition. So far 2013 has been an amazing year. Our employees are such an integral part of our world class experience and we want to thank them again for providing a world class experience to our guests and also creating memories that will last a lifetime among staff.sjc

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Meet the Guides: Patrick Wilder

Patrick first danced his way into our hearts at the beginning of this summer. In fact, Patrick has been dancing since age 6. He has tried all different types of dance and finally settled on hip hop. He even taught hip hop dance for about 4 years. Patrick is originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida but has lived all over the country from Washington D.C. to Kansas City, Kansas to Hot Springs, Arkansas. We are so glad Patrick finally ended up here at the Branson Zipline. He is the epitome of a World Class guide. He definitely puts his guests at ease while on the course. His advice is “When in doubt Dynamite!” Here’s a picture of Patrick ‘dynamiting.’ DSCN0241 When we asked if he had any special zipline memories, he spoke of a couple that he took on tour that was celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. He said it was great to see a couple that was still trying new activities together after all those years!

What made you want to work at the Branson Zipline?

-Driving down Highway 65 I saw Safari Dan’s Billboard!

When and where was your first Zipline experience?

-At Miami Beach, I ziplined off a pier into the ocean.

If you could describe yourself in 3 words what would they be?

-Fun, exciting, and awesome

Aside from dance, Patrick also enjoys hiking, parasailing, baseball and volleyball. Although Patrick hasn’t zipped with us in the fall yet, he says he can’t wait to be able to see the leaves change colors from the Towers at Branson Zipline. Patrick has started classes, majoring in business and minoring in choreography. Hopefully you can catch him zipping through the trees between classes. To make your reservation to Zipline with any of our world class guides go to www.bransonzipline.com Also check us out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.DSCF6635

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