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The Laura Moore Cunningham

Rec Tech, Idaho's Outdoor Innovators

When Charley French wanted to go faster on his road bike, he and a co-worker invented a way to help him lean his weight forward over the handlebars — and it changed the way all time trial and triathlon bikes are built.

Darell Bentz knew exactly how he wanted a jet boat to respond in six inches of tumultuous white water — and he has spent decades perfecting a hull design that now can be found in rivers and oceans all over the world.

And a few years after Kate Schade perfected a bar of oats and nuts that fueled her and her friends enough to stay on the slopes all day, she is shipping those energy bars all over the west, with an eye on expanding the reach of her small but growing company.

These are some of the leaders in Idaho's "recreation technology" industry — Rec Tech, for short. And they are part of a thriving and growing sector of the state's economy.

It's no surprise that Idahoans love the outdoors, so maybe it's a natural fit that so many have found ways to make a living at it. From guns and ammo to whitewater rafting to hunting knives, drift boats, ski goggles and much, much more, Idaho companies and the adventurous men and women who run them are leading the way in making the outdoors more fun and accessible to all of us.