Staff Picks: Holiday Gift Guide: Julie

In continuing with our Holiday Staff Picks our next featured staff is Julie. Julie has been here since we opened in May 2010. She has worked her way up and is currently one of our Co – Managers. She is also the mother of an adorable 4 year old, Kayna. Julie definitely picked some of the most unique items we have available in our gift shop. First she chose these baabaazuzu mittens. These mittens are made from 100% vintage reclaimed wool. No two mittens are alike, and each is handcrafted. We also have a collection of hats, purses, scarves, and tablet cases made by baabaazuzu.

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Secondly she would love this Bunbury Board($49.95). It is a cutting board like no other. By visiting the Bunbury Board website each board can be traced back to the exact tree it came from. These boards are from County Carlow, Ireland. Each one comes with a tree report and a picture detailing the trees location.

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Tis the season for hot chocolate. This camping inspired mug ($5.99) was a top choice of Julie’s. Being outside is one of the best parts of working at the zipline, but most morning are accompanied with coffee or hot chocolate!

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This next item is a Boho Bandeau($11.95). This wrap can be used in a multitude of ways. It can be used as a headband, head scarf, neck protector, ponytail holder, and the list goes on and on. These come in a variety of colors.

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Lastly Julie chose a “KnobStopper.” ($39.95) These cute items are stoppers for leftover wine. These items are handcrafted from antique door knobs and each piece is unique.

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Staff Picks: Holiday Gift Guide: Ciara

Our gift shop here at Wolfe Creek Preserve has a wide variety of items for purchase. With Christmas just around the corner, we decided to do a “Staff Picks” Gift Guide. We asked a few members of our staff to choose their “Top 5 Gifts” from our store. With such a unique and wide variety of items it was hard for most of our staff to choose which gifts they would most want.

Our first featured staff member is Ciara. Ciara has been with us since the beginning of this year. Ciara is a recent graduate of the Art Institute of Houston with a Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Management. Ciara is a true chef at heart and her gift choices definitely reflected her love of cooking and food.

Ciara’s first choice was this Grainron Wesco antique wood burning stove. She lists this as her “wishful thinking” gift. This mint condition stove/oven combo is listed for $600 and would be the perfect addition to any great chef’s home.

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Ciara is constantly trying new and different recipes. She chose this unique Earth to Table Cookbook ($34.95) that specializes in organic cooking. The perfect gift for a health conscious foodie in your life.

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Her next item of choice was this candy mold, listed in store for $1.99

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and these Pot Pie Shields($16.95). This is a unique item that you palce over the edges of your pot pies to keep the crusts from burning while cooking. a very helpful gadget that even cook needs.

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Lastly she couldn’t resist some of our Amish Feast. Pickled Okra and Apple Butter are two of Ciara’s favorites from our collection of different jams, jellies and pickled goodies.Most of these Amish Feast jars are priced at $5.99, but a deal we have going on is “Buy 5 jars and get the 6th jar free!”

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All of these items are available in the Wolfe Creek Station Gift Shop. If there is any item that catches your eye, feel free to give us a call at 417-561-0699 and we can ship it to you!

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Meet Dave: Maintenance Manager

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Legend has it that Dave dated Janice Joplin’s sister, came up with the idea for the minivan, and has been at Branson Zipline since the beginning of time. That last tidbit isn’t too far off the mark; Dave’s been working here at Wolfe Creek Preserve since before the first zip line was even open. In fact, he was a crucial member of the excavation team that built the parking lot and created the corridor on Wolfe Mountain between Lookout and Crow’s nest. Though Dave could be best known for his contributions to the excavation of this property and maintenance of our current world class facility, he’s often better known for his wild stories and life adventures that might be just as exciting as our thrilling zip line course.

Whether he’s completing work on the property as a master craftsman, steering raccoons away from guests, or fixing a drain somewhere on the property, Dave’s always doing something to improve our beautiful facility. However, the actual maintenance work and construction projects are not why Dave loves his job here. When I asked him why he loves working at Wolfe Creek Preserve, Dave explained his background in construction work.

“I worked construction jobs for a large part of my life,” Dave said. “It gets hard to work construction because you’re always on the wrong side of the fence. You know which fence I’m talking about? It’s the one that says DO NOT ENTER. That’s the fence I always worked behind because I was always doing the construction stuff, the dangerous stuff. I love working here because I’m finally on the right side of the fence. I get to be on the side of the fence where everyone else is and I love the people here.”

Dave’s enthusiasm for interacting with guests and fellow Branson Zip line employees make him not only valuable to the upkeep of this incredible facility, but to the people who work here as well. His vibrant personality makes him easy to talk to and all of the guides know some story or another about Dave (whether the stories are true or not remains unclear). When I asked some of the guides to tell me their favorite stories about Dave they all smiled or laughed and shook their heads, as if to say that there were too many to tell.

Despite my inability to learn stories about Dave from the guides’ perspectives, Dave was an open book when I talked to him. He told me about how much he treasures his two children and five grandchildren, and also told me many incredible stories about his life. While the myths about Dave inventing minivans and motorbikes are intriguing, it seems that his actual life experiences are just as entertaining as the stories others tell about him.

When I talked to Dave, he began with tales of outdoor adventure early on in his life. He said that when he was young, he lived in New Mexico for a while and used to pack a canteen and a meal to bring with him when he’d explore outdoors. Him and his brother used to walk until they were miles and miles away from home, only turning back to reach the house before darkness fell. Dave’s penchant for adventure in his youth has characterized his life; he’s moved too many times to count and traveled all over the United States in pursuit of stunning natural landscapes, adrenaline-inducing activities, and unforgettable memories.

Dave has snowmobiled through the mountains of Michigan (and holds a record among friends for jumping over two full-sized hills in his snowmobile), trained greyhounds to win prestigious competitions, worked as a goat farmer (and still does in his spare time), watched the northern lights from a remote campsite in Michigan, and has countless other stories to tell anyone who cares to sit and ask him about his incredible life. Dave’s authentic sense of adventure, love of the natural wonders of the world, and genuine interactions with co-workers and guests are only some of the reasons that Dave is such an asset to Wolfe Creek Preserve; his traits perfectly parallel the standards of travel, adventure, and genuine exploration of the outdoors that we seek to facilitate here. His impressive travel resume, exceptional character, and dedication to ensuring Wolfe Creek Preserve remains a world class facility are only some of the reasons that he’s known as the man who’s been here since the beginning of time.

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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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