This interview is part of a series of interviews in which we help you get to know these amazing and passionate people who help to make RITS what it is. To view more, check out the Guide Interviews page.
Our river manager at Rafting in the Smokies (“RITS”) is KP. He’s been at RITS for four years, but he’s been a guide for 14 years. He manages 54 guides (and their shenanigans!). He gets to watch the joy on everyone’s faces day after day.
What is the best part of the job?
Taking people on adventures they normally wouldn’t get to do. Seeing them having a good time and have fun is great. We have taken down a person that just had a knee replacement. They can’t do things like hiking, but they can sit in a raft for a high adrenaline adventure.
Why do you think people should choose a rafting trip over a traditional trip?
A traditional vacation is boring! This is a real-life, live-action, natural roller coaster. It’s a wild river that’s fun and safe for the family. Our guides are the best, and I got to hand-pick them. I got to bring the very best river guides. We have a melting pot of guides with their own quirks and strengths. We’ve got some that have worked on rivers like the Gauley River in West Virginia, the Ocoee River in Tennessee, and even out west on the Colorado and Arkansas River. You’ll get people like the jokers, the naturalists, and the storytellers. I like to think that our guides have all three qualities. People like storytelling and being entertained, and our guides fulfill that.
What’s your personal philosophy on life?
I always go with the flow. I love the river and have been doing this since I was 19. I’m 32 now. I feel like I grew up in this town. I feel like it’s not a want for me to do this job, it’s a have to. This is the only service industry I know of that you want a guide with arm tattoos and a beard.
Go out and experience as many adventures as you can, whether it be whitewater rafting or hiking. Whatever your passion is, go and do it.
What is a fun fact about you?
I have a speech impediment and an accent and sometimes it conflicts with the Northern guest. Some guests have problems understanding me.
Why would I want you as a guide?
I am the best surfer on the river. I’m not conceited, I’m convinced.
Have you read enough to be convinced that Rafting in the Smokies is where you want to plan your family adventure experience? Book now and choose either the Upper Pigeon River or Family Float trip.