COLORADO OUTBACK ADVENTURES: A HISTORY OF CREATING MEMORIES THAT LAST A LIFETIME
In 1995, Casey Harper moved to Durango with his family. They were avid white water river rafters in Utah, so they opened a Durango white water rafting company and started running white water raft trips on the Lower Animas River.
In 1997, they bought the only Durango Jeep tour company in town and started offering package deals. At the time, the combo packages were a revolutionary idea. They offered guests “a true Colorado experience” because they could explore Durango’s backcountry and rivers.
In 1998, Bob Williamson moved to Durango from Ohio. He attended Fort Lewis College and worked as a river guide and Jeep tour guide for Casey during the summers. During the winters, he led snowmobile tours and taught snowboarding. Casey continued to operate his company and Bob graduated and pursed a career in accounting.
In 2016, Bob was ready to return to work in the outdoor industry. He contacted Casey, and they launched Colorado Outback Adventures. The joint venture began as a Colorado ATV & RZR rental company at Purgatory. In 2018, they added Durango river rafting tours, Colorado Jeep rentals, off-road go-karts, and Jeep tours to the mix. In 2019, they launched Lake Nighthorse boat rentals.
The company continues to grow because of Casey and Bob’s passion for helping people experience the outdoors.
Casey says, “That’s my driving force – bringing people into these activities. Nothing makes me happier than when they come up and say, ‘That’s a trip I’ll remember for the rest of my life.’ That’s everything to me.”
“For me,” Bob says, “it’s always been adventure and guiding people to adventure. It’s awesome. We are creating memories for people. We’re not just doing it as a business; we enjoy talking to and getting to know our guests. Our reviews show that we care about people.”
Casey adds, “When you open the door for someone who has never done these things, and you lay out a trip in a safe and fun way, it’s everything to them.”
Bob and Casey know that all of the pieces of a business interact – from trip consultants to bus drivers to guides. One thing can make a bad trip for someone.
“We go out of our way to answer questions that are completely unrelated to what we do, take care of people, and make sure they have a good trip,” Casey says.
Their favorite review reads, “From the second I called, to the time I checked in, to our wonderful Colorado white water rafting guide…everything was perfect for us.”
Bob says, “That’s how we want it to be. We’ll make it good, no matter what.”