Expert Guides. Working Hard And Having FUN!
At Wild West Whitewater Rafting we take our jobs seriously while providing a fun family atmosphere. Our team of certified professional rafting guides has been trained in all aspects of river safety and navigation. We have a long list of certifications and accreditations, including an official AAA approval rating. Your safety and enjoyment are our utmost concern!
Mike Barlow, Bus Driver, Photographer, Janitor:
Mike came from the sagebrush country of Wyoming to the Montana mountains in search of big rivers. His first love was fly fishing and being surrounded by wildlife. The Yellowstone River fulfilled both of these interests. Mike first began his rafting career on the Snake River in Jackson Hole. Later, a trip to East Africa gave him the opportunity to pioneer whitewater rafting on two rivers in Kenya, the Athi and Tana. In 1994 Mike brought his passion of whitewater rafting to the Yellowstone River, thus Wild West Rafting was born! He enjoys sharing the river with people from all over the world. Currently Mike continues his interests for wildlife with his bronze art sculpture www.mikebarlow.com. Above all, Mike is most proud of his three children, his "River Rats."
Tracy Barlow: Office Manager, Guide Psychoanalyst:
Chances are when you phone WWR, the Montana accent on the other line will be that of Tracy. A Billings, Montana native, she grew up riding the countryside on her horses. The outdoor life-style has always been foremost, culminating with recent trips to Africa and Cabo San Lucas where she landed a 180 pound striped marlin! She has instilled her love of the Montana rivers and mountains to her three children, who you may find helping customers at WWR this summer! You often hear Tracy saying "fascinating" as her mind spins in amazement as she ponders the never been done before goings-on of WWR guides. If you arrive at our office before 8:00 am you will find her turning up the AC/DC tunes while sipping her morning Mocha just amping WWR off to a good start.
Yardley Daigneau, Front Desk:
This is Yardley's second year of babysitting guides and cooling down a frantic Mike Barlow. Billings, Montana is her hometown and no, she doesn't ride horses to school. She's an aspiring writer who enjoys long boarding, dry-humor, tanning, jamming on the cello, Monster drinks and excessively coloring her hair. She will hop on a boat whenever possible to satisfy her river rat tendencies. She runs the office along with her mom, Tracy, and helps keep her two brothers in line. You'll find her marching to the beat of the Beatles around WWR this summer doing anything that isn't being done.
Carly Popovich, Front Desk:
Carly was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. She graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, North Carolina with a degree in Business Management. She will be living in North Carolina in the coming fall and returning to school to receive a Master's degree in Business. She loves traveling which got her started on her summer adventures in Montana as well as exploring the wild outdoors and meeting new people but, her true loves are bright colors, sparkly things, baseball and Oreos.
Introducing Our Guides
Kasara also known as "K-Rock" by the other guides, is a small town Iowa girl; fresh off the farm. She's the baby of the Wild West Family, with just 19 years of age, but don't let her age or feminine charm fool you. She keeps up with the boys, in more ways than one. K-rock enjoys being outdoors, a good tan line, and a nice nap in a hammock. Her future plans include a Bio-engineering degree from Montana State University in Bozeman, MT
Ben has lived in many states throughout his childhood but now considers North Carolina home. He is a graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds a degree in Environmental and Marine Sciences. Ben enjoys doing just about anything outside including backpacking, climbing, and water sports (of course), skiing, sleeping in hammocks, fly fishing, scuba diving, and general horseplay. He's got a dry sense of humor and is, for the most part, enjoyable to be around. This season will be Ben’s third as WWR guide and what he cherishes most about the summers in Montana are the amazing owners and staff at WWR and being immersed in the beautiful landscapes. He has been accepted to the graduate school at Appalachian State University back in NC, and will be pursuing a degree in Appropriate Technology in the fall. Ben hopes to lessen our collective impact on the environment by putting solar panels on everyones’roofs.
John Barlow Our youngest and most stable of the crew. This is John's first year guiding for Wild West. John grew up on the Yellowstone River in Paradise Valley and logged more hours on the river by age 5 than most locals do in a lifetime. He has traveled extensively for one so young with two trips to Tanzania under his belt." Yukon John" is also a cross country runner so he may give the paddlers a bit of an extra workout. John will be attending Wheaton University this fall.
Thomas was born in Maine, but calls Upstate, New York home. After graduating high school, he headed west to the great state of Montana to experience the Rocky Mountains. He now resides in Bozeman, MT and is a junior at Montana State University pursuing a degree in Business Marketing. Thomas will be starting his second year guiding for WWR and the season can’t come fast enough. When he's not on the river you can find him skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and attempting to catch a fish. Thomas absolutely loves the outdoors and can’t wait to spend a second season on the river. He is looking forward to carnage runs, spending time with the WWR crew, and making new friends on the river. See you out there!
Steven grew up in Laurel, Montana spending my time hunting, fishing and camping with his dad and brothers. After high school He joined the Marine Corps and did 4 years active duty as a Scout sniper. After receiving his honorable discharge he returned to live in billings and started school at MSU where He is currently pursuing a degree in outdoor adventure and leadership. Steven's true passions are snowboarding and rock climbing. He loves being on the river and outdoors in general and is looking forward to enjoying the summer and meeting new people.
Kristen sometimes wishes she'd never come to Wild West, because she doesn't want to work anywhere else! A native hillbilly from the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, she idolizes Dolly Parton, and exclusively sings her greatest hits at karaoke bars. Her love affair with the outdoors and passion for social work took her to rural Nepal, where the "hills" are 10,000 feet and where she works as a project coordinator for a public health research program. Currently on leave from her "big girl" job there, Kristen is returning to Wild West for one more summer of river wrangling and double checking life-jackets. Although she likes to walk around barefoot and wear cut-off shorts, Kristen also enjoys such high-brow hobbies as dancing Cuban salsa, giggling at potty jokes, playing dress-up, taking no prisoners, and pretending she's a pirate. Kristen has no capacity for shame, social mores, or darts.
Matt’s younger years were spent in Pennsyltucky chasing adventure in the Appalachian Mtns and along many of its iconic waters. After college in Indiana he determined the Midwest was no place for him. He went on a solo jaunt to Central Africa for 2 months. His humanitarian efforts have since taken him to Cameroon, Chad, Congo, Central Africa, Papua New Guinea, Jamaica and Haiti. He always finds time for his truest passion, fly fishing, whether it's tiger fish in Africa or trout in New Zealand. The past few summers he has worked at Olympic National Park as a Backcountry Ranger and winter in Mammoth Lakes, CA working with Ski Patrol. These days Matt can be found skiing Mammoth Mtn, tempting a trout to rise on a dry fly, soaking in the natural hot springs, or climbing one of the eastern sierras many routes. Matt considers any river his home and always looks forward to the next trip.
After high school Tucker moved back to his native state of Montana to attend Montana State University. He is going to be a junior studying secondary education. Tucker is very passionate about the outdoors, and in his spare time he enjoys exercising, skiing, hunting and fishing and hanging out with friends. He can't wait to share his love for the outdoors with rafters this summer.
Don't let the “Raft Guide” title fool you; Julie's most important role at Wild West (and life aspiration in general) is to be a School Bus Driver. Born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia she is no stranger to mountains, rivers and gravel roads and likes to spend her free time exploring them. She also enjoys reading, eating, making music and talking about herself in the third person. Last May she graduated from The College of William and Mary with a BA in World Religion Studies. In the fall she moved to Qinhuangdao, China to teach English at a university. After 4 months of teaching she left northern China to travel in the warmer climes of Southeast Asia. There she ate a lot of spicy noodles, Eskimo kissed a rhinoceros, explored karst caves, jumped/fell out of a long tail boat and warred with a mosquito (the mosquito won). After much adventuring, Julie is so excited to be returning to Montana for more fun this summer. This will be her third season behind the oars on the mighty Yellowstone River and if you're lucky you might get to see her flaunt her now expert-level skills at backing up trailers, belly flops, driving short distances and washing river booties!
Born and raised in beautiful New Zealand Taygen loves the outdoors, rugby and marmite, but nothing beats her favorite pastime - escaping on hunting adventures at home and abroad with her Dad.
Between hunting trips and other hobbies Taygen graduated from Canterbury University with a degree in Commerce majoring in Marketing. After an exciting year of working in a corporate environment Taygen got itchy feet and decided to take a five year break from her career to explore the world and embark on some crazy adventures.
Thor calls Kodiak, Alaska home but has attended Montana State University in Bozeman for the last 4 years (a diehard Bobcat fan). He will receive his degree in elementary education in December after completing student teaching in New Zealand this fall. When he is not rafting or in school he loves to play ultimate Frisbee, snowboard and play with his 10 year old yellow lab, Bubba. This will be his third year on the river with WWR and more are sure to follow.
Evan grew up in Central Wisconsin fishing, hiking, camping and boating. He enjoys being outdoors and meeting new people. He currently lives in Billings, MT and goes to MSU in pursuit of a Bachelorâ€™s Degree in Outdoor Adventure leadership. He likes explosions, tacos, meat on a stick, mullets, and Led Zeppelin. His biggest fears are losing his shorts while rafting and waking up with only one kidney. He hopes to see you on the water this summer!
Ford is a Gardiner local who grew up on the banks of the
Yellowstone River. There is nothing he loves more than raging
rivers. He is an enthusiastic whitewater kayaker who has
spent the past five years either kayaking or desperately
wishing he was kayaking. Ford recently graduated from
Williams College where he ran track and cross country. If you
want to know the best running trails or rivers to kayak, make
sure to ask.