HARTINGTON - Another evolution is happening at Gary Howey’s Outdoorsmen Adventures. Howey has built his business from tour guiding hunts and fishing, to writing for publications, to television shows that span over five states, and now he is looking to begin to step towards retirement.
Josh Anderson and Mitchell Sudbeck will be buying Outdoorsmen Adventures from Howey for an undisclosed amount, as Howey looks to spend more time with his family. Anderson and Sudbeck put half down in January, but their shows won’t be airing until July 1.
In the mean time, Howey looks to help the two make a name for themselves to earn sponsorships, while also being able to spend more time at home with his family.
“I’m going to help Josh and Mitchell to build an identity for them to be known,” said Howey. “I got mine from going to fishing tournaments and being a hunting and fishing guide. Then I got associated with the outdoors writing groups, and got to know the right people and so on.”
Anderson has worked with Howey since 2015, and has dove right into the production side of the film projects, as Howey will continue to write for newspapers in Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas along with a radio show that he co-hosts five days a week.
Anderson and Sudbeck both are more anxious about the multimedia aspect, and the expansion that can come through proper marketing on the internet through social media and other avenues. Anderson’s first filmed hunt with Howey was a pheasant hunt in January of 2015, and he said he was hooked instantly to the business.
“That was the first time i had filmed any of my hunts,” said Anderson. “It was addicting. The weather sucked, but being behind the camera was a different perspective because I’ve hunted my whole life, but seeing it from behind a lense was a whole new perspective.”
Sudbeck was one of the initial people that Anderson talked to about going into business with, but Sudbeck was not immediately on board.
“In 2016, after a year of filming I really had intentions of buying it, and then last year [Howey and I] really started talking,” said Anderson. “Then I went and talked to Mitchell Sudbeck, and he kind of called me crazy. So I asked him about a sponsorship from his construction business, and he called me crazy again.”
A few weeks later, Anderson and Sudbeck talked again, and it went differently.
“I didn’t change my opinion. I knew it was crazy, it still is crazy, but I’m just crazy. So that’s what it was,” said Sudbeck. He later continued, saying “I just thought about how we do enough hunting anyways. We do plenty of it together, neither of us have any kids. I mean if we were going to try something like this we were going to do it right now or never basically.”
This is a big step for Howey, who has built this since he came back from serving in Vitnam.
“I moved her in ’71 after coming back from the Service in Vietnam, and I wanted to start a sportsmen’s club. There was nothing around the area as far as news of what was going on, and I knew there were people around that hunted and fished. So, I just got the idea that we could start up a sportsmen’s club.”
Howey initially was given the idea to sell his publications, and his articles began to gain a following. Howey quickly began to meet more and more in the business, and quickly started to expand his hunts, fishes, and ideas.
“I started the Northeast Nebraska Outdoorsmen, which eventually rolled into the Nebraska Outdoorsmen, which rolled into the Outdoorsmen Magazine,” said Howey. “Then, I guided hunters and fishermen before I got into fish tournaments and everything. That turned into radio, and ultimately into television. Some of the sponsors I knew suggested I go into television, and I did.”
No matter what it was though, Howey made sure to spell it “Outdoorsmen” and it was for a specific reason. He knew that he wasn’t doing this alone. Whether it was people hunting with him, or at sporting shows with him, or wherever, Howey knew he was a part of a special community.
“One thing, when I started it, it wasn’t about me,” said Howey. “That’s why it was spelled m-e-n. I knew it was going to take more than just me to do it. It’s always been Outdoorsmen because I knew I couldn’t do it by myself. I’ve always had some outstanding team members.”
Howey brought Outdoorsmen Adventures a long way from his initial goal in 1980 when he started it. He laughed while saying how his initial goal was to make enough money from the club that would buy his hunting and fishing licenses plus ammunition, but it had grown far beyond his expectations.
With this growth came amazing opportunities. Opportunities that led to Howey’s induction in the 2017 Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. Howey was nominated by a friend of his in Kansas City for his dedication and passion to the outdoors.
Howey was honored by the recognition, but his thoughts quickly came back to the strength of his family that has allowed him to take Outdoorsmen’s beyond his wildest dreams.
“Without my family’s support there is no way we could ever have gotten this done,” said Howey. “I remember I have a picture of me sitting by the typewriter and my daughter is behind me stuffing envelopes, and my wife is helping me set it up so we can mail it. Like I said, I am on the road a lot, and there are a lot of times that I wasn’t there when I should have been there. I tried to make most of them, but it is like everything. When it is happening you have to do it.”
Howey certainly did it, but now he would like to ditch the cameras and share some of those memories with his family, being closer to home more often. Howey will still be helping Anderson and Sudbeck with the transition as the two look to make a name in a community that Howey triumphed in.
The industry has evolved so much while Howey has built his name, and he told Anderson and Sudbeck that it is always growing with something new. Anderson says he knows the key to success from watching Howey is relentless motivation, a go-getter attitude, and a true love for the sport.
“The challenge though; that is what I love. Getting up close and personal with a mature deer and try to killing them on camera. That’s what I enjoy doing the most.”