Legend has it that Dave dated Janice Joplin’s sister, came up with the idea for the minivan, and has been at Branson Zipline since the beginning of time. That last tidbit isn’t too far off the mark; Dave’s been working here at Wolfe Creek Preserve since before the first zip line was even open. In fact, he was a crucial member of the excavation team that built the parking lot and created the corridor on Wolfe Mountain between Lookout and Crow’s nest. Though Dave could be best known for his contributions to the excavation of this property and maintenance of our current world class facility, he’s often better known for his wild stories and life adventures that might be just as exciting as our thrilling zip line course.
Whether he’s completing work on the property as a master craftsman, steering raccoons away from guests, or fixing a drain somewhere on the property, Dave’s always doing something to improve our beautiful facility. However, the actual maintenance work and construction projects are not why Dave loves his job here. When I asked him why he loves working at Wolfe Creek Preserve, Dave explained his background in construction work.
“I worked construction jobs for a large part of my life,” Dave said. “It gets hard to work construction because you’re always on the wrong side of the fence. You know which fence I’m talking about? It’s the one that says DO NOT ENTER. That’s the fence I always worked behind because I was always doing the construction stuff, the dangerous stuff. I love working here because I’m finally on the right side of the fence. I get to be on the side of the fence where everyone else is and I love the people here.”
Dave’s enthusiasm for interacting with guests and fellow Branson Zip line employees make him not only valuable to the upkeep of this incredible facility, but to the people who work here as well. His vibrant personality makes him easy to talk to and all of the guides know some story or another about Dave (whether the stories are true or not remains unclear). When I asked some of the guides to tell me their favorite stories about Dave they all smiled or laughed and shook their heads, as if to say that there were too many to tell.
Despite my inability to learn stories about Dave from the guides’ perspectives, Dave was an open book when I talked to him. He told me about how much he treasures his two children and five grandchildren, and also told me many incredible stories about his life. While the myths about Dave inventing minivans and motorbikes are intriguing, it seems that his actual life experiences are just as entertaining as the stories others tell about him.
When I talked to Dave, he began with tales of outdoor adventure early on in his life. He said that when he was young, he lived in New Mexico for a while and used to pack a canteen and a meal to bring with him when he’d explore outdoors. Him and his brother used to walk until they were miles and miles away from home, only turning back to reach the house before darkness fell. Dave’s penchant for adventure in his youth has characterized his life; he’s moved too many times to count and traveled all over the United States in pursuit of stunning natural landscapes, adrenaline-inducing activities, and unforgettable memories.
Dave has snowmobiled through the mountains of Michigan (and holds a record among friends for jumping over two full-sized hills in his snowmobile), trained greyhounds to win prestigious competitions, worked as a goat farmer (and still does in his spare time), watched the northern lights from a remote campsite in Michigan, and has countless other stories to tell anyone who cares to sit and ask him about his incredible life. Dave’s authentic sense of adventure, love of the natural wonders of the world, and genuine interactions with co-workers and guests are only some of the reasons that Dave is such an asset to Wolfe Creek Preserve; his traits perfectly parallel the standards of travel, adventure, and genuine exploration of the outdoors that we seek to facilitate here. His impressive travel resume, exceptional character, and dedication to ensuring Wolfe Creek Preserve remains a world class facility are only some of the reasons that he’s known as the man who’s been here since the beginning of time.