July 31, 2013 - "It's like it was fate."
Oxford resident Alan Veach poses with one of the trout he caught during a recent trip to Montana. Photos submitted. (click for larger version)
That's how Alan Veach described his big win.
On the same day the Oxford resident was watching "A River Runs Through It," a classic 1992 film about flying fishing in Montana, he won a trip to the trout fisherman's mecca.
Thanks to a raffle held by Montana's Rib & Chop House in Oxford, Alan, his wife Sandy and his son Jordan spent a week in early July enjoying Big Sky Country.
He had purchased three raffle tickets as part of a fund-raiser to help pay off the private debt for the artificial blue turf that blankets the Oxford High School football field.
Jordan Veach with a nice rainbow trout. (click for larger version)
As part of the trip, Alan and Jordan, an OHS sophomore, took an 11-mile float trip along the Yellowstone River where they caught 22 brown and rainbow trout.
"We'd never been fly fishing before," Alan said. "That was a totally new experience for me."
Their guide, Craig Boyd, gave the father-son team a crash course in this artful form of fishing supposedly invented by the ancient Macedonians. They learned everything from casting techniques to the proper way to set the hook.
"The fishing was top-notch," Alan said. "We caught a couple rainbow (trout) up to 18 inches. It was just a fantastic day on the water."
"My son actually out-fished me," he added. "He caught like 15 and I caught seven. Of course, I was fishing out of the back of the boat – that was my excuse."
About halfway through the trip, they pulled off the river and the guide provided an excellent meal.
"It was just so neat sitting by the river's edge and having lunch," Alan said.
Alan called Boyd a "fantastic" and "knowledgable" guide.
"If I ever went out there again, I'd look him up and take another trip with him," he said. "Everybody seems to know him."
On his own, Alan did some angling on the Lamar and Gibbon rivers.
"I spent a couple hours fishing in both," he said, noting he caught a 17-18-inch rainbow trout and a 13-14-inch brown trout. "It was just spectacular."
One of the highlights of the trip was eating at the original Montana's Rib & Chop House in Livingston. It opened in May 2001.
"All the people out there know about it and they rave about how good the food is," Alan said. "It's kind of like a hangout. You'll see all the fishing guides show up there after taking people out on the river. It's a really neat place."
Alan couldn't say enough about how well each aspect of the trip, which had a value of $2,500 to $3,000, was orchestrated.
"They took care of everything," he said.
Alan and his family wished to thank all the people who made it happen including Charlie Bish, owner of Montana's Rib & Chop House in Oxford; Ryan Sones, general manager of the Livingston location; and HR Director Megan Pratt, who made all the arrangements.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.