This interview is part of a series of interviews in which we help you get to know these amazing and passionate people who help to make Cherokee Rafting what it is.
Ryan grew up in nearby Cleveland, TN and was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with family hiking and camping in the Cherokee National Forest surrounded by the Ocoee River. Immediately after graduating high school, he knew that working on the Ocoee as a river guide was the perfect fit for him. He is currently attending college at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and majoring in Environmental Science. He is also active in the ROTC program with the intention of joining the U.S. Army upon graduation. The Ocoee River is his favorite place in the world, and he loves showing others what it’s all about! His favorite part about being a river guide is the memories created with friends and family that will last a lifetime. Come rafting with Ryan!
What is the best part of your job?
I don’t think I could pick just one, but being outdoors, working with a great group of guides, having fun rafting, and getting to show people the sport and the Ocoee River are a few of the big ones.
Why do you think people should choose to do a rafting trip?
Rafting can build teamwork, be a lot of fun, and is a great way to see a river in an entirely different way.
Why would I want you as a guide?
One thing that really takes a while to develop as a guide is the ability to read a group of people, assess what they want out of their trip, and be able to adapt as a guide and give them that unique experience from group to group. It’s always a work in progress but I like to think I do a good job at it.
Why did you start working at Cherokee Rafting?
I knew before graduating high school that I wanted to work on the Ocoee the following summer, so I got with some friends and went for it!
What is your nickname and how did you get it?
LT Dangle. Reno 911, ROTC, and short-shorts came together and the nickname was unescapable.
What are some crazy and adventurous things you’ve done?
One time I unplugged my flash drive from my computer BEFORE hitting eject!
What do you love about Cherokee Rafting?
Over the years, I’ve been able to bring in some of my closest friends to work at Cherokee with me, including my brother. Working with my friends is a blast.
What makes you unique as a guide and why would I request you?
I’m 3/4 of the way through the Army ROTC program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and it gives me a really unique perspective as a guide and allows me to constantly use leadership and communications skills in a way that not a lot of guides have.
Do you have anything to tell first-time rafters?
Just relax, listen to your guide, and you’ll be having fun in no time!
Where did you grow up?
I’ve always lived in the Chattanooga area, and I can’t imagine a more beautiful part of the world.
What does your off season look like?
I am a full time student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga studying Environmental Science, and I am pretty involved in the Army ROTC program on campus.
What are your hobbies?
Whitewater kayaking, camping, hiking, and pretty much anything that gets me outside.