Jason Aldean & Train Hard. Hunt Easy. in Salt Lake City

Denver or Salt Lake….where did I want to go see Jason Aldean in concert? Through fellow Under Armour athlete and my elk hunting buddy from this past season, Adam LaRoche of Buck Commanders and the Washington Nationals, Jason A. said he’d give me tickets and passes to whichever show I wanted to attend. Beings I had already done my Train Hard. Hunt Easy run in Denver just before elk season, I decided on Salt Lake. Besides, I’ve always loved the town….a bowhunting Mecca if there ever was one and my Train Hard. Hunt Easy tour needed to add another city to the schedule, which so far has included Los Angeles, Boise, Eugene and the aforementioned Denver, in 2011.

This was supposed to be a relaxing vacation (albeit a very short one) for me and my wife, Tracey. The plan was we’d get out of the house together, let the kids fend for themselves for a night and enjoy watching Jason doing what he does best… entertain the country-music-loving masses. However, when a Salt Lake archery pro-shop, Wilde Arrow Archery, saw on Facebook that I’d be in town, they asked if I’d have time to swing by the store, even if it would just be for a minute or two? I thought well, heck, if I am going to do that we might as well get together and run in the name of BOWHUNTING!!! Looking at me and Trace’s schedule we did have an hour or two extra to do “nothing”. I am not used to doing nothing so I penciled in the get together.

We landed in SLC Saturday at about 1:15 p.m., rented a car, burned to the hotel, changed and drove to Wilde Arrow where I checked out the operation. Man, that is a sweet pro-shop. It reminded me of my home town shop, The Bow Rack. Clean, well stocked, full of passionate bowhunters and a friendly, experienced staff. I asked the guys who helped me set up the appearance, Jeremiah Plyer and Jon Tucker, where we were running? They asked, “Well, do you want to run on the bike path along the freeway or up the mountain? It’s a pretty tough climb straight up.” It took me about half a second to decide….let’s run the hill!

There were a handful of bowhunters on hand decked out in their running gear…we quickly assembled the convoy and headed to the trailhead. The run itself was awesome….beautiful scenery, great company and thin, mountain air. Perfect. Not sure how far we ran but it was all up and beings Trace and I came essentially straight from the airport after a super early morning wake up and had only consumed a Krispy Kreme donut and coffee… seemed like a forty-five minute mountain run would suffice. There were some dang good runners in the group….I was pushing hard and loved it! I snapped a photo with my phone as I was gasping for air near the top of the hill….up above the rifle hunters (it was opening of rifle deer season). Tracey said she wondered to herself, as she hammered up the hill at 6,000' elevation, “Why is it so hard to breath?” I’ve often wondered the same thing in the elk mountains….living at 300’ elevation has its drawbacks.

More than anything our get together at Wilde Arrow and the Train Hard. Hunt Easy. run served the purpose… collectively, we were a group of guys getting together and doing something to help make us better, more prepared, backcountry bowhunters. If I could do that every single day of the year with people who loved the challenge of bowhunting as much as I do I’d be a happy man.

After the run, we grabbed some Arctic Circle (one of the worst eating days I think I’ve ever had, but we were on vacation remember), got ready and headed to the Aldean concert. What an event. Jason is a super nice guy (we talked elk hunting and I gave him a UA Always Lethal Survival Strap), seemed as genuine as they come and put on a show that gave me goose bumps. As the #1 act in country music I’d guess he gave everyone goose bumps…the atmosphere in the stadium was electric and the crowd was in frenzy. It’s as good of concert as I’ve ever been to. BTW, I am never washing my autographed hand..ha, ha. What an awesome, memorable, jam-packed with fun, Saturday in Salt Lake City.

Thanks to Wilde Arrow Archery, all the guys at the shop, and those who joined me on the run. And finally, thank you so much Adam LaRoche and Jason Aldean for giving me and Trace a chance to share a weekend we’ll never forget.

Train Hard. Hunt Easy.

Where we going to get together next guys? I am definitely thinking the 2012 Train Hard. Hunt Easy. tour should kick off in Las Vegas to celebrate RMEF’s Elk Camp…bring your running shoes and plan on training hard with me to make even the toughest of hunts seem easy.

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