Jim Laughery founded Eastslope Outfitters on the Bighorn River in 1985 and after 30 years, he's still owner and lead-guide for the family operation.
Originally from Moses Lake, Washington, Jim took the eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980 as a sign that it was time to escape the ash and move to greener pastures. He headed down the eastslope of the Rockies and landed in Montana, where he guided on the Bighorn River for several years, working for area fly shops. It didn't take long to realize he had found his life's work, so in 1985 he started his own small flyfishing company on the Bighorn River and named it Eastslope Outfitters.
Jim, nicknamed "Stretch" because of his height and long-arm reach, was confident that what he couldn't offer in size of operation, he could make up in extra effort and personal service.
In 1998, he was juggling single-parenthood (daughter Jena Mae), his fishing business and was just beginning the expansion into hunting, as well, when he met Joyce.
She was a cowgirl, born and raised on a cattle ranch in the Sandhills of Nebraska, with a career in marketing and management. They shared a love of the outdoors and a kindred spirit for hard work. They were married in January 2000, and Joyce joined the business full-time a few years later.
Jim (a.k.a. Stretch) is pictured at right with dog Cicada, in the Bighorn River.
Cada, age 12, is Gracie's daughter and carries the lineage of champion British Lab stock (see "In Memory" at right). Her father, Duke, was an American Lab owned by Dennis & Ann Fischer. Cada weighs 58 pounds and excels at waterfowl retrieval from both river and field. She inherited her mother's focus and her father's gentle disposition. An elegant dog, her personality is quiet, regal and intent.
Red is Cada's sister and Gracie's daughter, thus she is also half British lab/half American. She was an early bloomer. She made her first water retrieval at just 7 weeks old and hit the ground hunting with clients before she was 15 months old. Now 12, she's the smallest of our labs, weighing 48 pounds. She is focused, eager and affectionate, and exhibits her mother's fierce intensity.
Photo courtesy of Clayton Vandergriff.
In Loving Memory
GRACIE ALLEN was a full-blood British Lab from world-champion stock, a direct daughter of Conneywarren Jason (BritishLabradors.com). Gracie was smart, funny, athletic and blessed with incredible fire. Photo courtesy of Randy Saiki
CHLOE was a full-blood British Lab, also a direct daughter of Conneywarren Jason (BritishLabradors.com).
Chloe was fearless, tireless and supremely talented. In western jargon, Chloe "had heart."
"The Wonder Dog"
"The Golden Gift"
Savvy joined the family in 2015, a pup from Clint & Steph Krumm of River Ready Kennels in Wyoming. She is an American lab from working parents and was retrieving bird wings at 7 weeks old. Savvy is tall, racy and athletic. At age 4, she is a lean and leggy 60 pounds. Her personality is sensitive, attentive, playful and (you got it) savvy.