® A Day in the Life: Cabela's

Near the beginning of my almost 11 years in Kawasaki's dealer training department, I was added to the team that was tasked with transitioning about a dozen Cabela's stores into Kawasaki dealers. That is, these stores had dropped Polaris and picked up Kawasaki. It was a trial program. Kawasaki had set up odd little dealerships like this before, among the most notable a chain of Southern California surf shops as Jet Ski dealers. Same idea, except of course the Cabela's were to get Kawasaki's ATVs and Mule utility vehicles. I visited the Sidney Nebraska Cabela's store and headquarters, another store in the same state, and others in Minneapolis, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and all over. Great people, very customer oriented, very professional. My particular assignment was to "vet" their vehicle service depts., including training key tech people as needed.

It was interesting for this urban kid who had never hunted or fished to be immersed into the Cabela's outdoor culture. Each store explained to me their history, showed me the in-store museum and nature display, and pointed out their on-premises restaurant, all designed to make Cabelas a destination experience for the entire family. I got to shoot in the electronic shooting gallery, for example, which was a first for me.

At one of the stores, while having lunch with three dept. managers, whom I suspect had noticed my lack of enthusiasm in the shooting gallery, one or them turns to me and asks, "So what kind of hunting do you do?" Took me a minute, caught off guard, you know. But with a straight face I replied, "It's illegal to shoot animals in California. We shoot each other instead." Got a laugh, that did. But then one of the guys says, "But, what did they send YOU here for? Why not someone with a hunting background?" Well, the answer was obvious and it wouldn't have helped so I kept quiet.

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