If you’re fishing on the Henry’s Fork in Idaho this weekend, don’t be surprised if something large and startling appears from upstream. No, it’s not the world’s biggest strike indicator. It’s a first-of-its-kind hot-pink RO drift boat, representing Rowing for the Cure, that’s sure to stand out from the other watercraft on the river. The project is the brainchild of a group of fly-fishing-industry professionals whose goal was to come up with a new way to raise awareness and money to support breast-cancer research.
Rance Rathie and Travis Smith, owners of Patagonia River Guides, developed the original the concept for the pink boat, and Robert Eddins, owner of RO drift boats, donated his time and facility to make the idea a reality. The fishing and PR campaign was put together by Ian Davis, co-owner of Bozeman-based Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures (his mother, Judy, died of breast cancer, which is why “Judy” is imprinted on the back of the boat in her honor) and Whitney McDowell, an avid angler and marketing professional, whose mother is a two-time breast cancer survivor.
The boat will travel around the West, being handed from guide to guide. On the water, the guides will accept donations from clients, other guides and anglers, or anyone else who wants to help. So far this month, the Pink Boat has made appearances at the Jackson Hole One Fly and the second-annual Stripping for a Cure event on the South Fork of the Snake.
All funds will go directly to the Montana Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the guides who raise the most money will be recognized for their achievements. So if you happen to be on a Western river this fall, consider carrying your checkbook in your vest. For more information, check out Rowing for the Cure on facebook, or visit the Montana Susan G. Komen for a Cure Web site.