Chica de Mayo

Raise Your Margarita Glass and Give a Toast to Celebrate Female Anglers.

Cinco de Mayo — the best day of the year to indulge in Mexican food, margaritas and wear a sombrero. That’s what May 5th means for most Americans but for Sarah Clark of Bozeman based, The River’s Edge, Cinco de Mayo means Chica de Mayo is right around the corner. So what is Chica de Mayo?

Chica de Mayo was created by the River’s Edge in conjunction with Simms to celebrate and encourage women anglers. The event started in 2008 when Dan Lohmiller and Steve Summerhill of the River’s Edge suggested a ladies night. Being the only female employee of the shop, Sarah was immediately onboard and is now the event’s primary coordinator. “I think the nature of moving water is very calming. Most women have a lot on their plate between work, family and life in general.” says Sarah. “Getting out on the river is a great time to pause, declutter the brain, have some laughs and enjoy beautiful scenery. Fly-fishing intrigues a lot of women but can also be a bit intimidating. The primary goal of Chica de Mayo is to provide a stress free environment where women of all skill levels can gather, learn and share.”

The first year, Sarah kept the event pretty simple — food, beverages, speaker and a few door prizes. “Yeah, the first year, I thought the event would be a huge success if we saw 25 women come through the door. We were shocked when 60 women attended. Drawing so many women was somewhat of a wakeup call so from then on, we’ve been trying to make Chica de Mayo bigger and better.”

Coming into its 7th year, Simms has been involved with Chica de Mayo from the very beginning. “Right off the bat, we loved the idea of Chica de Mayo” says Diane Bristol of Simms. “We have so many passionate female anglers working right here at Simms and inspiring more women to get out on the water has always been important to all of us. Because the event consists of women only and is geared specifically towards women, it’s turned out to be an awesome, totally non-intimidating platform for women to learn and most importantly, get excited about fishing.”

Whether it’s creating promotional collateral material, organizing fashion shows, facilitating speakers or helping attendees find a pair of waders or boots that fit just right, the women of Simms have played a huge role in the success of Chica de Mayo.

Last year, Chica de Mayo attracted 130+ women and this year, that number will likely increase again. To accommodate so many ladies, the event will be hosted at the Gallatin Gateway Inn. Chica de Mayo kicks off with a casting clinic given by Diana Rudolph and will follow with food, beverages, rod rigging and fly tying stations, a presentation given by Millie Paini from Trout Hunter Lodge and to close it down, a performance by the Sweet Groovalicious Funk Machine.

In addition to all the activities, Chica de Mayo supports a very important cause. Rowing for the Cure. Spawned by a collection of friends in the fly-fishing industry, Rowing for the Cure is an innovative campaign to generate awareness and funding for the fight to find a cure for breast cancer. Prominent fishing guides throughout the western United States will row the pink boat for a few days at a time, accepting donations from clients, fellow anglers, onlookers — anyone interested in supporting the cause to find a cure for breast cancer. The drift boat has a secure, self-contained drop box to hold donations that will go directly to the Montana Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

The pink boat will be on site at Chica de Mayo where all raffle ticket proceeds and a percentage of limited edition Chica de Mayo t-shirt sales will be dropped.