Pathfinder Award Winner
Chris Clasby, 2011
Chris Clasby was born in 1972 in Conrad, Montana, and has two older and three younger siblings. He enjoyed the outdoors as a youngster: hunting varmints and joining relatives' and friends' hunts while awaiting legal hunting age. Camping, fishing, and hunting trips remain some of his favorite childhood memories.
He took his first deer at age 12 and whet his hunting appetite. He met his friend and mentor Dan Picchietti with whom he started rodeoing and enjoyed horseback mountain hunting. Rodeo, wrestling, hunting, and fishing became his passions. He moved to Helena for high school and met his lifelong girlfriend Mary Watne. He also met and began duck hunting with his friend Hank Emerson, a retired Army Lt. General. Chris continued rodeoing and wrestling through high school, activities that taught self-discipline and boosted mental tenacity.
Chris broke his neck returning from a rodeo in a highway accident that also killed his friend Danny Slayton. Chris awakened two months later, discovered himself paralyzed below the neck, and wondered how he would live and continue doing things he loves.
A chin-aimed gun mount gifted by Hank and friends like Dan and Mary have enabled him to continue hunting. He has since taken many deer, elk, and waterfowl from his wheelchair and healed spiritually from days in the field.
Chris has also earned a BA in English and a master's in Social Work, taught high school, and continues working fulltime for the University of Montana. He writes and publishes articles, and gives presentations.
As one of our two 2011 Pathfinder award winners, Chris will enjoy a 10-day, 10-species plains game safari with Jan Oelofse Hunting Safaris in Namibia.