Cabela’s Incorporated, one of the world’s leading and most well-known outdoor outfitters, announced on Monday that its co-founder Richard Cabela passed away in his home in Sidney, Nebraska. He is survived by his wife, Mary, their nine children, and their families. Cabela also leaves behind two sisters and three brothers. Commonly referred to by his nickname “Dick,” Richard Cabela founded the company in 1961 with the aid of his wife and brother, Jim. No cause of death was given.
“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,” said Tommy Millner, Cabela’s Chief Executive Officer. “He pushed for research and development in every outdoor field. Dick always looked out for the customer and if he couldn’t find a vendor to provide what he wanted, he pushed Cabela’s to design and make it. Because of that passion, the Cabela’s brand and its products are iconic throughout the world.”
Strangely enough, Cabela did not set out to establish what would become a billion-dollar business, saying later in life that it was something of an accident. Cabela accompanied his father on a trip to Chicago early in 1961 to purchase stock for the family furniture store in Chappell, Nebraska. On a whim, Cabela also purchased $45 of hand-tied fishing flies to resell. According to the company history, when Cabela had trouble selling the flies locally, he began running classified ads. His first attempt in a Casper, Wyoming newspaper read simply, “12 hand-tied flies for $1.”
It got exactly one response.
Cabela revised his strategy and later placed an ad in Sports Afield that proclaimed: “FREE introductory offer!!! 5 popular Grade A hand-tied flies. Send 25c for postage and handling …”
The orders flooded in.