Few may know this about me (Anthony) but I use to be quite the hunter back in my day. Yes, I was a rifleman who enjoyed a good game hunt, more than anyone. I remember waking up early, rubbing the ol’ sleep out of my eyes, grabbing my weapon and heading downstairs to shoot some wild beasts. The rush of pulling the trigger and hearing the “pop pop pop” of the gun going off just as the animals began to flee created a jolt of adrenaline I couldn’t get enough of! Where exactly did I hunt? Nevada? Montana? Colorado? Nope, my tag was for the comfort of my own living room…actually I think I still have a picture of my time!
This week’s profile is on a man who is no stranger to the outdoors, Mr. Andy Bell. We’ll talk more about his passions and business as a wilderness man; however, Andy’s story actually starts not with deerskin, but with pigskin! “I was born in Ely, Nevada. We lived on a ranch but we moved over here (Elko) when I was two because my dad got a job at concrete company. My ended up getting a divorce when I was six. It was a pretty nasty custody battle, back and forth. That lasted until I was about eight. When I was twelve I moved over to Carlin and lived with my dad and did Jr. High over there. And in my eighth grade year my dad really wanted to get out of Carlin because people were just building houses on top of us. And so, he asked me, because I was big into football and wrestling and I wanted a scholarship, if I could choose anywhere in Elko county to go for school to get more exposure at a “bigger” school. So, I ended up settling on Spring Creek because I went to a football camp there and already knew some people over there. I played high school JV football as a freshman and wrestled varsity. However, because of a failing Spanish grade, I wasn’t able to go to State; the first year Spring Creek ever made it. And then I just got an “I’m going to do my own thing” attitude and got into rodeo my Sophomore year. I started riding bare back (bucking horses). And then, in my Jr. year, I got into riding saddle bronco. And around the third week of doing that, we went to Carson City to compete. I ended up going over the front of the saddle bronc horse I was riding; I had busted my hand earlier in that day and I had no grip in my right hand so I swapped hands but I could’t get my left hand up fast enough and I broke my neck right about where your head meets your shoulders…and I remember it. I was life flighted to Washoe Medical Center in Reno (now Renown Hospital) and I spent a month in ICU over there and even quite breathing on my dad once. I got strep throat,pneumonia, I was on a breathing machine. But eventually I started getting a little better and moved to Shriners Hospital in Sacramento where they specialized in spinal cords and burn injuries. (Fast forward) I ended up living with my dad until I was 21 and then moved out on my own. I started working with mentally disabled adults and then worked for my dad selling fire extinguishers. But after taking some time out from being really sick for five months, I got back into the work force with American Home Companion helping care for individuals with higher functioning autism.”
Andy has been on quite the journey! He’s had to overcome a lot…but would this week him down? Nope! “In July of this year I actually opened a business. I’ve always wanted to open a business. I went and took some college classes, and I had this huge, elaborate plan for about two years but I downsized it into something manageable.” His business? DCB Outdoors (Disabled Country Boy Outdoors). A link to his Facebook page will be posted at this end of this blog. “The mission statement is to assist in the growth and promotion of hunting and disabled hunting. And we do this by introducing disabled people (or reintroducing them) back into the outdoors. So, if someone’s never hunted before or if they hunted before they got hurt and haven’t since, we do that. We do this through motivational hunting videos, disabled hunting education, tips, blogs, stuff like that.”
What a great idea…something most people would never even think of in a million years. But, it’s an important need, especially in our community. What is Andy looking forward to in this venture? “I’m looking forward to getting the word out there and being an inspiration to people. I’ve been told before that I’m an inspiration so I figured that God has given that gift and I can just use that. I think I’ve found my calling. Just because you have an injury or disability you can know that there is life out there. You don’t have to sit around and just exist. You can have a full life.”
Now, it’s no secret that the Elko area is great for its outdoor recreation. How does Andy feel about an Elkoean outdoor man? “Elko is so outdoor! There’s a lot of people here that share that same passion I do. I’ve just found that people are so supportive here. I love it! I want the people of our area to remember that no matter what your disability is or what you’re going through…there is life out there.”
I’m glad Andy recognizes that one of his callings is to inspire people…because he certainly does a good job at it. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us, Andy! You really are an important member of our community. If you would like to learn more about Andy’s business, DCB Outdoors, simply follow the link here: https://www.facebook.com/worldofdcbhunting/?ref=br_rs
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See you outside, Elko!