Cabela’s in Reno, April 7, 2017


On April 3, Kathy and I flew into Reno, and rented a car for the drive uphill to Tahoe Donner, a subdivision of expensive vacation homes where Kathy’s daughter Laina and family were spending Spring Break at their rented “ski house”. We skied at Alpine Meadows and Sugar Bowl, having a delightful time with the grandkids – Kara and Benet -and Laina and her husband Matt. On the 7th, Kathy and I left early, to avoid a developing blizzard. With some time on our hands, Kathy said: “Let’s go to Cabela’s!” We had been there one time before, on which occasion I had bought a very reasonably-priced 2-handed fly rod. This became my rod of choice for fishing Pyramid Lake, which, coincidentally, is located about a 45 minute drive north of Reno.

Here is the link to the post on the skiing:

https://believesteve.org/2017/04/11/ski-trip-with-the-levys-tahoe-donner-4-3-to-4-7-2017/

and here is a link to a post on my most recent trip to Pyramid Lake:

https://believesteve.org/2016/12/04/lahontan-cutthroat-trout-pyramid-lake-nv-nov-19-to-21-2016/

Back to Cabela’s. How best to characterize this outdoor sports emporium? The word “edifice” comes to mind, as does the word “temple”, or “pilgrimage site”. Whatever it is, it is way beyond being merely a store. For some, it is practically a holy place (you should have seen the reverential mien of the dozen men (no women) assembled before the gun cases), but one where a love of the outdoors intersects with thoroughly modern and unrestrained consumerism. A friend tells me that the grandiosity of this and other like stores began with the Mall of America, which was the first to provide a kind of entertainment to the mall shopping experience. Here is how Wikipedia describes the Cabela’s stores: Cabela’s has a distinctive look to its retail operations, a look which turns its retail stores into tourist attractions. The stores are more like cavernous showrooms, bringing the outdoors inside. They feature museum-quality displays of taxidermied wildlife, large aquariums, indoor mountains, and archery ranges. The success of the format is illustrated by the company’s Kansas City, Kansas store at over 180,000 square feet (17,000 m2), which attracted more than four million customer visits in one year. Currently, the largest Cabela’s retail facility is in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, with more than 250,000 square feet (23,000 m2) of floor space.”

Front entrance, with Bighorn sheep sculpture

Bighorn sheep sculpture

Front entrance, side view

Front doors

Kathy tries out the fishing cat

Big game decoys

Javelina decoy

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout info sign

Big game display panorama

“A Tribute to America’s Sportsmen”

Big game display

Moose, with pool (which contains some trout)

Seen in the video are brown trout, brook trout and a hybrid trout.

Big game display

Large gamefish mounts

More large gamefish mounts

Trout mounts

Research for this post informed me that Cabela’s was recently purchased by Bass Pro Shops – also known for its very large stores. Based on the popularity of these stores, I have to conclude that, amongst other things, the typical American sportsman is in love with the gear as much as in the pursuit of the quarry. Of course, they wear certain brands with recognizable labels, despite the fact that these brands are (IMHO) way over-priced. Cabela’s, like Herter’s before them, started out as a people-priced mail order outfit. Now their stuff is as expensive as North Face or Columbia. Go figure.

About believesteve

I am a photographer and have published a book of photography and accompanying text on running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The first (print) edition is out of print, but a second edition is available as an iBook (eBook) through the iTunes bookstore. All Grand Canyon, river and nature lovers will enjoy my book: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-grand/id672492447?ls=1
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