Dick Dodds, back, with John Michael Montgomery, left, and Jim Zumbo, right, are shown after a successful elk hunt. Dodds owns Elkhorn Outfitters, which was recognized Friday night as the 2012 Small Business of the Year by the Craig Chamber of Commerce.

Elkhorn Outfitters

Dick Dodds, back, with John Michael Montgomery, left, and Jim Zumbo, right, are shown after a successful elk hunt. Dodds owns Elkhorn Outfitters, which was recognized Friday night as the 2012 Small Business of the Year by the Craig Chamber of Commerce.

Elkhorn Outfitters named 2012 Small Business of the Year

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In November 2011, Parker resident Chris Peltz was in Moffat County hunting elk.

The 37-year-old stalked herds for six days but had little success bagging one of the animals.

Then, on Thanksgiving morning, his last day of the trip, Peltz harvested a spiked bull.

For Peltz it was the hunt of a lifetime because he can’t see.

The hunt was arranged by Dick Dodds, 54, owner of Elkhorn Outfitters in Craig.

The two met in December 2010 when Peltz contacted Dodds about arranging a youth hunt for one of his sons.

Dodds suggested Peltz come along.

Peltz grew up hunting in his native Tennessee. He began losing his eyesight when he was 10 years old.

By 31, his vision was completely gone, as was, he assumed, any chance to continue hunting.

The Peltz hunt was filmed by a crew from “Wildlife Pursuit,” a television show. The episode is scheduled to air on the Pursuit Network, and online at www.wildlifepursuit.com, in two weeks.

It’s because of stories like Peltz, various youth hunting programs, and the Wounded Warrior Project that the Craig Chamber of Commerce honored Dodds and Elkhorn Outfitters as the 2012 Small Business of Year.

The award was presented by Chamber Board member Gene Bilodeau on Friday night during the annual State of the County event.

Dodds wasn’t able to attend. He has been on the road attending outdoor sports shows and promoting his business and the ranching heritage of Moffat County.

“I’m pretty humbled honestly,” Dodds said this weekend from South Dakota. “We’ve never done this for any other reason than to be a part of the community.”

Dodds started Elkhorn Outfitters in 1985 with his wife, Cheryl, and just one hunter.

A year later, six clients hunted with Elkhorn and then 12 in 1987. From there it grew into one of the most successful hunting outfits in the region.

“It started with Cheryl and I and a dream,” Dodds said. “We’ve been very fortunate.”

Today, Elkhorn Outfitters has expanded to include “Wildlife Pursuit.”

On Saturday night, Dodds said he was able to land a contract for a weekly one- to two-hour talk show about hunting that is scheduled to air for the first time by the end of March.

Dodds said the show called “Common Ground” will highlight the ranching heritage of Moffat County.

“We’ve become a nation of consumers versus producers,” Dodds said. “We don’t give the ranchers, the farmers and all the people that are tied to the ground enough credit for what we have.”

Dodds tapped his friend, Peltz, to host Common Ground.

“We’re also going to talk about Elkhorn, enjoying the outdoors with family and how to get kids involved,” Peltz said.

Dodds said he’s fortunate to be where he is today and realizes he couldn’t have made it this far without the help of the Moffat County community.

“My biggest thing is with all of the ranchers, like the Nottinghams and the Visintainers, and all they’ve done for us, we feel proud to be a part of the community,” Dodds said.

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