“Is This Chick for Real?” was the title of a recent article about a buddy of mine named Martha Tansy. The answer: Yes, she actually is for real.
I was conducting seminars at the Safari Club International Convention
in Las Vegas years ago when I first met Martha. Normally I have a helper to hand out brochures, etc., but that particular year all my help had bailed on me.
If I remember correctly, I was setting up for a knife sharpening/choosing the proper knife seminar when a young lady and her cute little daughter came in and sat down. I’d just finished a glassing for big game seminar and was scrambling to get set up. They were a good 30 minutes early, so in a panic I asked Martha if I could use her and her daughter Elli to be my assistants.
She said, “Sure!” They both jumped to my rescue, joyfully going above and beyond with whatever I needed. Even though Martha and Elli were just happy to help, I sent them home with a ThermaCELL Mosquito unit and some boning knives out of my extreme gratitude.
Martha and I have been friends ever since. Over the years I’ve hired literally tens of thousands of employees, with half of the crew being women.
So it goes without saying, I’ve had some super-good women work for me. But Martha and 9-year-old Elli fit into an elite group of tough, tenacious women who stand head and shoulders above the others.
A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, Ron Spomer and I were up in Alaska on a 17-day brown bear, moose and duck hunt and fishing trip. The camp
was shutting down when we left, so our guide Austin Wiersma was on the plane out of the back country with us as we flew into Anchorage, where we had a 12-hour layover.
I told them, “I have a good buddy right outside of Anchorage. Want me to call her and see if she’ll pick us up and take us to dinner?” They both
said, “Yeah, better than setting in an empty airport for 12 hours.”
So I gave Martha a ring. She said, “Sure, I’d be glad to come see y’all
and catch up. But I’ve got to check on a few things. My daughter Elli
and I have been in the back country caribou and moose hunting for 14
My truck broke and I have to run to the junk yard and get a part.
If I can get a ride back in, fix it and process a few moose and half a
dozen caribou by the day you fly in, I’ll pick you up.”
Me: “Oh yeah, sure, nothing weird about that!” Heck, 99 percent of my guy
buddies couldn’t do that, and besides that, half of them wouldn’t be in the backcountry for 14 days by themselves to start with. I found out later at dinner that Martha and Elli were actually out for 28 days but had to run back to town in the middle of the hunt to restock on supplies, fuel and parts. At some point another person did drop in for awhile.
Well, D-day hit and Martha picked us up. I introduced everyone and then
we hit a local steakhouse. I’d told Ron and Austin that they’d probably never met a woman like Martha, and that she was great. We went to dinner and I hardly got to talk to her.
Ron sat by her with his eyes wide open like he was in the presence of Santa Claus, firing question after question at her.
The talk went about like this:
Ron: “So you were in the back country for 14 days by yourself?”
Martha: “No, my daughter was with me.”
Ron: “But she’s only eight years old. What’d she do?”
Martha, looking quizzically at him and then speaking matterof-factly: “Shooting and cutting up caribou and moose, of course.
You’d be surprised at how well of a shot she is and even more
surprised at how well she handles an unbelievably sharp Outdoor Edge
Ron, still in awe but trying to play it cool and not make a scene:
“Oh, yeah, of course.”
A few hours later she had to leave and Ron still had more unanswered
questions than when he had first met her. We had a great night.
A YEAR OR two later we were talking and Martha said, “Hey, I’m headed down to race the Baja and the Ultra4 Championship.” Turns out
she was going to be flying into Boise, so she met up with us and stayed for a night or two with Ron and his wife Betsy.
Ron was excited to get more of his questions answered and they were both
thrilled to get a peek into the life of a true and genuine outdoors woman.
So, with the above said, it came as no surprise when Martha called me
the other day and nonchalantly said, “Hey, guess what, I’m going to be on
a show called The Lost Frontier.”
“What’s that about?” I asked. “It’s going to be a fun, unique expedition,” she replied. “During season 1, we’ll be riding Yamaha side-by-sides offroad from Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, down through the Lower 48 and on
into Mexico. We’ll camp along the way and explore all the cool country
we’re passing through, especially old and abandoned town sites.
As expected, our gear and equipment will be put to the test on our 6,000-plus mile journey.” I wish she was coming through Idaho but it sounds like they’ll drop down into Montana, Wyoming, Utah and then Arizona to make their entrance into Mexico. Their mission?
They’ll be the first team to drive side-by-sides across every continent
exploring the lost frontier. Wow, I get to meet some unique and awesome people being an outdoor writer.
To be kept up to date on the details of the show and on all of Martha’s amazing adventures, check out her page Martha Tansy Offroad, Racing
& Hunting and The Lost Frontier on Facebook and Instagram.
by Tom Claycomb III