Meet the River Dancers

The river is our life. Our love for whitewater adventure, wilderness, and river rafting has inspired and enriched our lives. Come join our river family!

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Aaron Beverly

Head River Rat

Aaron, on a permanent hiatus from an electrical engineering career, is an accomplished river guide, mountaineer, ski patroller and a highly skilled outdoorsman. He loved River Dancers so much, he foolishly bought the company!

John McDermott

The River Yogi

This suspicious character was seen milling about at the 1980 Reagan inauguration in a pair of running shorts. The secret service and George Bush knew him as Big John. John has a storied life and though he hobnobbed with Mike Love and the Maharishi, make no bones about it – he is a river guide to the core and can drink the beer to prove it.

Co-founder of River Dancers and teacher of Transcendental Meditation, you’ll still find him out running trips. No one knows the river better. He is our guru.

Rudi Bega

A True Original

Meet Rudi Bega. He’s not your typical root vegetable. Besides his parents, we may be the only ones that know his real name. Unfiltered, passionate, funny, ridiculous. He’s following his own path in life and we’re glad it led him to River Dancers.

He’s usually last to bed and last to rise. If you can wake him up, you’ll find an amazing guide and a true river rat with a million stories to tell.

Matt Hanelt

Class V Dishwasher

Meet Matt. He took guide school a few years ago and has been geeking out on rafting ever since. He’s done that river and this river. He’s got this cert and that cert. Yadda, yadda, yadda. He’s a class V dishwasher and that is all you need to know. You’ll love it if you find yourself on the river with him and so will your dinner plate.

Becca Russell

So Nice!

We’d like to give Becca a hard time. That’s what river guides do. But she is too nice. And she is becoming the backbone of River Dancers. She runs the office, packs the food, loads the gear, cooks the meals, and guides the rafts. She does it all. She has her Wilderness First Responder and Swiftwater Rescue certs. She’s guided on a variety of rivers, paddled on an expedition trip in Nepal, but her favorite trips are always on her home rivers around Northern California. If you get her on a trip, you’ll want her back on all of your trips. We are stoked to have her part of the River Dancers family.

Ken Nelson

Coyote Ken

Meet Ken! With over 40 years experience he is our most seasoned guide. He’s a rock star at heart with a love for whitewater even though we still aren’t sure he can actually swim. You can find Ken around the camp fire serenading our guests with a guitar until dinner is ready. We love Ken and that’s why we give him hard time, but with his professionalism in wine drinking and guitar shredding he will likely become your favorite guide on the water on multi-day trips. Don’t let his picture fool you – he doesn’t look that good in person.

Kaylee Winkelman

Sweet and Sassy

Meet Kaylee. She’s one of those behind-the-scenes players – helping with food shopping and packing, hefting gear, prepping food on the river, making charcuterie art. Her passions are plants and skiing. While not pontificating about dandelions, look for her getting after those sick lines in Dunsmuir. Oh, she also guides a raft on occasion. Give her a hard time and expect to get it back. She can’t help it. She’s a Winkelman.

Travis Michel

The Fish Whisperer

Don’t let his last name fool you. He’s not French. Though French Gulch was not far from his home town. He grew up in Lewiston. A small dot on a dot on the map of the Trinity River.

This guy knows how to fish and we’ve never met anyone more passionate about Salmon and Steelhead than Travis. His reverence and realism about the watershed is informed by a life of experience and learning. You don’t need a radar to find fish if you’re on Travis’ boat. He sees them pass. He is also an experienced whitewater guide, has is WFR, and ski patrols with the rest of us bums in the winter.

Always hilarious, just don’t feed him Tequila after midnight. His gremlin version is more unfiltered and hilarious. You’ve been warned.

Jennifer Hoffman

Our Life Coach

Jennifer is a teenager at heart and has the sleep patterns to prove it. Always smiling and positive, she is a great energy to have on a trip. She loves teenagers and has the personality to connect with them. Her passion is being a life coach. She designed the Whitewater Camp for teenagers trip and it is gaining popularity each year. You’ll be stoked if you find her out on river. We always are!

Casey Glaubman

Positivey Mental

If you see Casey carrying a large, sharp knife around town, don’t worry, he’s a sushi chef. You may even be blessed to have him make sushi on the river. He’s also always prepared for a tough boat repair.

Casey is an exceptional and experienced river and mountain guide. He’s skied many of the Cascade volcanoes and Denali in Alaska. He has his Wilderness EMT, a BS in Geology, and a swiftwater rescue cert.

Casey believes that the most important piece of gear is PMA (Positive Mental Attitude).

Colin Stewart

Your Pane is His Pleasure

That’s his motto. Did we mention he owns a successful window washing business? He’s so busy with it that it is rare he gets on the river with us. But when he does, we’re stoked. You will be, too.

He took whitewater school several years ago and for some odd reason, keeps coming back. He has become a skilled guide, but more importantly, he helps with all aspects of the trip, shows up on time, sets his alarm in the morning, washes dishes with a smile, and maintains a great attitude and sense of humor. He even displays a cheerful reluctance to clean the groovers. What more could a river company ask for?

Marty Sochet

The River Therapist

Marty has been guiding rivers since time immemorial. He went out into the real world for a while to work as a family therapist. Probably with a pay cut. Now he is back helping our guides stay on track. We need it. He lets the river do the therapy now. He is the kindest person we know and will quickly become your favorite guide. But don’t let that stop you from giving him a hard time. We are still looking for a good picture of him, so submissions are welcome.

Wes Tite

Knowledgeable, positive, smiling

Whether he is in your boat or not, he’ll get you down the river safely. After a Grand Canyon trip, he took our guide school and yet is a surprisingly great guide. In fact, he helps teach the course now. We don’t get to see him often, but he is one our favorite guest guides. Always positive and smiling. Guides and guests like him equally.

Wes has certs as a river rescue technician and a wilderness first responder. He is also a history teacher and has a unique story or two to tell you about the river you are on.

Dan Wycka

Eager to Lend a Helping Hand

Dan retired from firefighting in Florida, left everything behind, jumped in his van, and hit the open road. Somehow he ended up at River Dancers. And we’re glad he did. He is strong, hard working, friendly, and is always eager to help out. When not on the river, he works as a contractor and gets out into the mountains as much as possible.

Nick Caselli

Experienced, professional, but never too serious.

Nick has been raft guiding since 1999. You may have seen him out on one of the many rivers of the west including the Animas, Snake, Skagit, Noosack, Cattooga, San Juan, and the Colorado through the Grand Canyon. He has also guided on all of our local classics including the Rogue, Klamath, Trinity, Sacramento, and Smith Rivers. Nick is an EMT and has technical rope rescue and swiftwater rescue training. When not on the river, Nick works as a mountain and heli-ski guide and ski patroller. Ultra professional when needed, but always willing to let loose with a good joke and story. Nick is pleasure to have on the river with us.

“You were outstanding hosts and guides, but more importantly, wonderful people."

River Dancers
Mailing: PO Box 260, McCloud, CA 96057
Physical: 308 S Mount Shasta Blvd., Mount Shasta, CA 96067 USA

© 1995 River Dancers -- All rights reserved.

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