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About Us

Ryan and Amy of Wisconsin Canoe CompanyWhat started out as a new business with 10 canoes run by a couple of college kids trying to avoid the real world (or staying in it?) has evolved to include a husband and wife team (yeah, two of those college kids) now operating over 150 canoes and kayaks from Sauk City to Spring Green putting over 5,000 friendly people on the water every season.

We’ve been instructing and guiding all kinds of outdoor trips through various organizations for nearly 10 years, most notably backpacking, canoeing, rock climbing, and mountain biking.  Then we started offering canoe rentals in the Spring of 2010 after buying ten canoes and a trailer.  Since the purchase of those first ten canoes, weekend canoe trips on the Wisconsin River have booked up weeks in advance and have spurred us into building the business and growing the fleet year after year.

Our many new and repeat customers have directly attributed our success to the quality and all around awesomeness of our guides/drivers/customer service and many a late night email answered.  In addition, the development of our online reservation system and realtime website features like current river conditions have made a tremendous impact in the ease of access to information for people interested in paddling the river.  There was also that time we gave out free t-shirts….people loved those.

As we continue to build the business and improve our offerings, we’re looking forward to exploring other ideas for Spring Green and Southwest Wisconsin – things like bike rentals, trail development, and improved access to other adventure sports in the river valley.

Staff Bios:

Eric Luckey Eric Luckey is man unbound by the constraints of traditional website biography. At different junctures in his life, Eric has doggedly pursued theological truth, the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, preferred substitute teacher status, gray wolves, a sacrament of narrative, a Mongolian critical pedagogy, the ‘mundacity’ of nature and peace like a river. He has hitchhiked on three different continents, lived in a yurt, and is currently working towards his master’s degree in Education Policy Studies. Eric aspires to own a root cellar and fill it with his own potatoes and cabbage.
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Matt “The Navigator” Kaufmann – Give this man a shovel and a five gallon bucket and he will build a trail like nobody’s business.  Matt is a driving force in the Ice Age Trail trail building community operating as a crew leader for Wisconsin’s very own National Scenic Trail.  And now that he’s just finished up his Geography degree from UW-Madison, he’ll probably finish the remaining few hundred miles single handedly while pointing to spots in the night sky with his other hand proclaiming Iridium Flare there in 30 seconds (and there will be).

Update: Navs has become a full time employee of the Ice Age Trail Alliance in Cross Plains, WI.

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Amy “Amy Cakes” Schmudlach – Baking extraordinaire and the nicest person you will ever meet in your life.  Plus she speaks French.  When not collecting life jackets or greeting customers, Amy got a degree in Rehabilitiation Psychology at UW-Madison, but more important than that, she has the uncanny ability to put up with Ryan for months years on end.

Update: Continues to play a large role in the business and fights the perpetual battle against sand in the house.

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Colleen “Miss Universe” Anderson – Also with a degree (in Zoology, Biological Aspects of Conservation, and a certifcate in Environmental Studies) from UW-Madison, Colleen is probably the most reliable and committed of us all.  If you need something and she can help, she’s there (which probably has something to do with her being a part of the Army National Guard).  You can usually find her doing something sweet like kayaking, rock climbing, biking, or cleaning microscopes in the lab.

Update: Colleen is currently serving overseas in Afghanistan.  Hopefully she'll be back behind the wheel of the bus for the 2013 season.

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Ryan “Schmud” Schmudlach – Given his degree in Economics from UW-Madison, it was inevitable that Ryan would be put to use on the business side of the canoe operation.  Doing fancy things with spreadsheets is a secret passion for someone that is more often found miles from civilization.

Update: Still not wearing shoes, still playing with spreadsheets.