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Richard Cabela, Cabela’s Co-Founder, Dies at 77

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The outdoor world lost a great visionary and entrepreneur Monday with the death of Richard Cabela.

BusinessWeek reported Richard “Dick” Cabela, co-founder of the “world’s foremost outfitter,” died at his Sidney, Neb. home at the age of 77. Cabela was born on Oct. 8, 1936 in Chappell, Neb.

Cabela comes from humble beginnings, when he first founded the company in 1961 with his wife Mary. With $45 worth of fishing flies, intended to sell in his family’s furniture store, Cabela began what would become Cabela’s.

Cabela placed an ad in a Casper, Wy. newspaper to sell the flies, which collected dust at the furniture store. He and Mary were able to fill the orders from the newspaper ad from their Nebraska kitchen table. The couple increased sporting supplies as orders surmounted, and Cabela reached out to his brother and Cabela’s co-founder James Cabela for additional help.

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The Cabela’s catalog grew to serve millions and in 1987, the first retail outlet was constructed. Today, Cabela’s retail stores amount to 50 in the U.S. and Canada, and the company’s successful website serves those who hunt, fish, camp, hike and participate in various other outdoor-oriented activities.

This video shares some interview footage with Cabela, when he spoke about the start of the company during its 50th Anniversary two years ago. It shares some great insight on the early stages of the Cabela’s empire.

Cabela was an avid hunter and staunch NRA supporter, named one of the 25 “most influential people in hunting and fishing” by Outdoor Life, a title he shared with James. He was awarded the C.J. McElroy Award from the Safari Club International for being a promoter of hunting traditions.

“Outdoorsmen and women have lost a true friend, a man who improved their lot by putting them first, by working to provide what they wanted and needed for their hunting and fishing adventures,” Cabela’s Chief Executive Officer Tommy Millner said in the statement issued by the company Monday.

Cabela is survived by his wife, nine children, three brothers and two sisters.

What has your experience with Cabela’s been like? Share your comments below.

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Richard Cabela, Cabela’s Co-Founder, Dies at 77