Loma's Jack Cassidy honored with Safari Club International's North American Professional Hunter Award— a first for Colorado
After nearly 40 years in the outfitting business, big-game outfitter Jack Cassidy of Loma may have seen just about everything.
An original member and the first president of the Colorado Outfitters Association, Cassidy and his guides have hosted hunters from most states and many foreign countries and have pursued almost every huntable wildlife species in Colorado.
As one might expect, Cassidy has enough tales (ask him about riding a center pivot while archery hunting for elk) to fill more than one book.
But one story, and this is no tale, likely will top all the others.
On a mild February evening at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Cassidy was honored with Safari Club International’s North American Professional Hunter Award for 2015.
This award, and its counterpart, the Commercial Hunter Award, are highly coveted awards because the prize honors professional hunters acknowledged by both their peers and clients to be tops in their field.
This is the first time, Cassidy said, anyone from Colorado has been given this award, even though Colorado outfitters are among the best in the business.
“I’ve been doing this a long time but I never thought I’d see the day I would get this award,” Cassidy said during a recent conversation. “I didn’t think anyone from Colorado would win this award.”
It helps to have longevity in what is a difficult business, but so does involvement with the hunting community and Safari Club in particular.
Cassidy, owner and manager of Jack Cassidy Colorado Hunts, has been a longtime supporter of SCI at the international and local chapter levels, and was specially praised for this involvement in the SCI Sensory Safari, a program designed to allow disabled children experience the sights, sounds and sensations of wild game animals.
“The first time I participated was at the Safari Club convention in Detroit,” Cassidy recalled. “I was in charge of the elk (demonstration) and when those buses pulled up, here came the kids. Some were blind, some in wheelchairs, some being helped by sponsors and they brought the kids into the exhibit hall.
“Well, here comes a little girl wheeled up to me, she was running her hands all over that elk mount, feeling its ears and its nose and its hide.
“I was supposed to bugle, to let her know what an elk sounded like, but I was crying so hard I couldn’t make a sound,” Cassidy said. “I figured if that was the kind of outfit SCI was, I’d get involved for life. And I have.”
Cassidy says much has changed in the 35 years he’s been involved with outfitting business but the thrill of the hunt remains as strong as ever.
“I’m 78 and I’m slowing down a bit but I still love chasing wild animals,” he said. “I’d hate to be starting out in the business today, it’s so damn expensive, but I wouldn’t trade my time for anything.”