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Excerpt #3 from the Thunderstik History Book. The history book is available now!

Excerpt #3 from the Thunderstik History Book. The history book is available now!

October 14, 2021 by

Please email jane@thunderstik.com to order a book. The Early Years

Excited about a successful first season, Chuck, Harold and Bill always looked ahead for ways to improve and add to The Stik's program each successive year.


One of the first additions was to hire head chef, Kathy Jordan. In 1989, Kathy and her husband came from Billings, Montana to provide delicious meals for the guests during the three-month hunting season. Pheasant and wild rice, prime rib, steaks and signature desserts made Kathy a well-loved figure around the lodge.

The following year Kathy's daughter, Cheryl Jordan joined her in the kitchen as the morning chef. These two reigned over the kitchen for several years, much to the delight of staff and guests.

Nova and Randy continued to come up each hunting season, she to work indoors and he to guide. Marcy moved to Sioux Falls, but she didn't want give up her ties to Thunderstik. She often drove guests from the airport to the lodge, and Nova would call her from time to time to come out and bar tend on the weekends.

Marcy says, "I think I had to have been the worst bar tender in the world. I was horrible! People would drink the same thing pretty much, and at the end of the night I'd still have to ask them! I was so nervous - I knew nothing. I had a book, but it didn't help...so I had to be funny!"

Shenanigans at Thunderstik?

The news on the street was about some funny business going on at this new place on the hill outside of town. With leer jets and people coming in all the time...the townspeople of Chamberlain had heard of Thunderstik, but didn't know what went on out there. There were suspicious of shenanigans!

Cheryl Jordan said it helped the lodge to hire locals: "When they learned some of their local school teachers were working there (as wait staff), they eventually realized it was a legitimate establishment. We weren't running guns or a cult or anything!"

Marcy laughed when she said, "And no, we did NOT ever have strippers here! They thought we were just wild and crazy. We were crazy, but weren't as wild as people made us out to be."

Meanwhile, Behind the Scenes

In 1991, Skip Gage left Carlson and started Gage Marketing. One of the assets he took with him was Fishing Travel, including the marketing contract for Thunderstik. Fishing Travel eventually became Gage Outdoor Expeditions, Chuck became an employee of Gage, and Skip eventually came on as a partner with Thunderstik as well. 

While Gage had invested in wing hunting operations in Mexico and Argentina, too, they concentrated more and more on Thunderstik. Skip said, "It was one product we could control and deliver excellent service. We really put together a good package with good management, good guides. We committed more and more of Gage Outdoor resources to Thunderstik."

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