2013 Staff Bios

Pit

Pit

1. My name is Gab-Riel but at Aikens, people call me Pit - a nickname I’ve had since I was a young child.
2. This is my twenty-fifth season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because it’s what I eat, breath, and sleep 24/7, every day of the year.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm making sure we have lots of work for the staff the following summer by working hard in the office.  Oh, and I love hockey and football too.
5. My go-to karaoke song is “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond or “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” by Simba.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be Swamp People. Pat and I would have been a pretty dynamite gator-hunting team had we been born in Louisiana.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is put salt in the sugar shakers at Aikens one morning. I thought it was funny that all the older carpenters were heatedly discussing why their coffee tasted so salty. My dad didn’t share my opinion of that situation.
8. My biggest fear is doing the skywalk on the CN Tower in Toronto, or walking on just about any roof in the world.
9. You may not know this about me, but I'm named after the patriarch of Manitoba, Louis Riel, and his right hand man Gabriel Dumont, who led both hunting and war parties.  My name is hyphenated to represent both those men.  I try to emulate the qualities that made those men great….  I consider myself a good leader, communicator, hunter, and most of my opponents in hockey would suggest I am a decent fighter as well!

Julie

Julie

1. My name is Julie but at Aikens, people still call me Julie.
2. This is my fourteenth season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because it’s my calling in life.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm in Winnipeg planning all the logistics for your trip next year.
5. My go-to karaoke song is pretty much anything by the Beatles.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be Modern Family.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is give myself a haircut to save my mom the trouble...which resulted in me having a mushroom-cut for 4 years!
8. My biggest fear is being locked in the white house by Elsie (the ghost)...again.
9. You may not know this about me, but I am a sharpshooter...I can knock an apple off your head from 100 yards with a rifle.

Patrick

Patrick

1. My name is Patrick but at Aikens, people call me Pat.
2. This is my fourteenth season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because this is home to me.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm not at home.
5. My go-to karaoke song is “New Orleans is Sinking”.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would probably be very lucrative.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is convince my brother to pull the fire alarm at the St. Boniface Cathedral. This building has burnt and been rebuilt six times in the past, so the fire department put on a good show.
8. My biggest fear is getting outfished.
9. You may not know this about me, but I'm addicted to Jeopardy.

Janelle

Janelle

1. My name is Janelle but at Aikens, people call me Jans.
2. This is my eighth season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because it’s my everything.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm in the Aikens office, thinking of the lake (and working...).
5. My go to karaoke song is “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be Modern Family (I’m pretty sure I’m already married to Phil...).
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is stand on top of the drain in the shower while showering, to try and create a “standing bathtub”. I never filled up and I ended up flooding the basement a little bit.
8. My biggest fear is being locked in a walk-in fridge.
9. You may not know this about me, but I’m a concert pianist.

Eric T-S

Eric T-S

1. My name is Éric but at Aikens, people call me Bud.
2. This is my seventh season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because I get to fish walleye.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm dreaming of Aikens.
5. My go-to karaoke song is “These Eyes”.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be Seinfeld.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is poop in a pool.
8. My biggest fear is not being able to catch lunch.
9. You may not know this about me, but I'm a tackle addict.

Dave

Dave

1. My name is Dave but at Aikens, people call me Bud.
2. This is my eighth season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because of the fish.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I’m fishing.
5. My go-to karaoke song is “These Eyes”.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be the Big Bang Theory.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is... you don’t know what to know.
8. My biggest fear is this staff bio.
9. You may not know this about me, but I'm awesome.

Jesse L.

Jesse L.

1. My name is Jesse but at Aikens, people call me Gus.
2. This is my fifth season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because it’s not a choice... I’m forced into it.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I’m teaching Elliot how to read and write.
5. My go-to karaoke song is “These Eyes”.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be That 70’s Show.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is pee in a jar of relish.
8. My biggest fear is a trophy pike.
9. You may not know this about me, but I'm loaded.

Elliot

Elliot

1. My name is Elliot but at Aikens, people call me Bud.
2. This is my fourth season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because on the high end or the low end of the experience, we’ll make your adventure happen!
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm sober.
5. My go-to karaoke song is “Sandstorm” by Darude.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be Coach’s Corner.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is win me a Klondike Bar.
8. My biggest fear is The Man.
9. You may not know this about me, but I'm really into fishing.

Jean-Bocar

Jean-Bocar

JEAN-BOCAR
1. My name is Jean-Bocar but at Aikens, people call me Joe Boo or Bud.
2. This is my fourth season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because I enjoy the outdoors and fishing is number one!
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm going to school and drinking cold ones.
5. My go to karaoke song is the “Thong Song”, by Sisqo.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be Fresh Prince.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is run away on my tricycle as a three year old with Alex ‘The Hammer’ Laser.
8. My biggest fear is getting skunked.
9. You may not know this about me, but I’m a very good hiker.

Alex

Alex

1. My name is Alex but at Aikens, people call me Bud.
2. This is my fourth season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because it’s a five-star stay and it’s first class all the way.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm in school.
5. My go-to karaoke song is “99 Problems”.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be Frasier.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as child is run away.
8. My biggest fear is Obamacare.
9. You may not know this about me, but JB and I have been best friends since we were babies.

Eric T.

Eric T.

1. My name is Eric but at Aikens, people call me E2.
2. This is my fourth season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens for Walleye, Pike, Lake Trout. Those 3 species, Aikens is king.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm sad. Very, very sad. I cry myself to sleep most nights.
5. My go-to karaoke song is “Fat Bottomed Girls”.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be some sort of fishing lodge spin off of Community.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is convince a little girl that I was Santa Claus' head elf and told her we didn't have the presents she wanted.
8. My biggest fear is a barbed hook.
9. You may not know this about me, but I'm basically a genius. Like, MENSA level.

Brad

Brad


1. My name is Brad but at Aikens, people call me Schnipples, Pocket Hercules, Schneeds...
2. This is my third season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because of all the women!
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm trying to be a fire fighter.
5. My go-to karaoke song is “The Thong Song” by Sisqo.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be Latin Lover.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a young child is french kissing.
8. My biggest fear is talking to girls.
9. You may not know this about me, but I'm featured in the Fall 2013 issue of Playgirl magazine. Be sure to get a copy!

Tyler

Tyler

1. My name is Tyler but at Aikens, people call me Ty.
2. This is my third season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because I like chainsaws and pike.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm in school and traveling.
5. My go-to karaoke song is the “Hokey Pokey”.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be Dora the Explorer.... She could stay out all day and her parents never made her come home.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is go to bed 5 minutes past my bedtime.
8. My biggest fear is rods against the gunwale.
9. You may not know this about me, but I'm kind of a big deal.

Jesse P.

Jesse P.

1. My name is Jesse but at Aikens, people call me Pelch or Pelter Skelter.
2. This is my second season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because it's one of the greatest places on Earth.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm in school or playing hockey.
5. My go-to karaoke song is Rick Springfield's "Jesse's Girl".
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be Seinfeld or the Simpsons.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is a long list of unthinkable things.
8. My biggest fear is debt.
9. You may not know this about me, but I'm a celiac (I think).

Ben

Ben

1. My name is Ben but at Aikens, people call me Binder.
2. This is my second season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because who doesn’t love to get paid while fishing?
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I’m playing for the Mighty Drunks and going to the University of Manitoba.
5. My go-to karaoke song is “Oh Canada”.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be Duck Dynasty.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is play “Knock Knock Ginger” and get chased down the street because of it.
8. My biggest fear is showering.
9. You may not know this about me, but I'm tongue tied.

Élise

Élise

1. My name is Élise but at Aikens, people call me Den Mother.
2. This is my fifth season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because I love the water, North Star, the fish, the people the sunsets, the guides and the girls.
4. When I'm not at Aikens I work and I was busy finishing up my degree!
5. My go-to karaoke song is “Sexual Healing”.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would the Smurfs.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is run away for an entire day at the age of 5. My parents had a search party looking for me while I was watching them from a distance. They were looking for me frantically while I laughed in the bush!
8. My biggest fear is to never be able to laugh again.
9. You may not know this about me but my dream is to one day become a stand up comedian.

Danica

Danica

DANICA
1. My name is Danica but at Aikens, people call me Daniqwa.
2. This is my third season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because who doesn't want to work in paradise?
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm studying to become a teacher.
5. My go-to karaoke song is “Where is the Love”.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be the Big Bang Theory.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is bite other children at my daycare (I was four.. okay..?).
8. My biggest fear is eating cheese.
9. You may not know this about me, but I'm professional breakdancer.

Réanne

Réanne

1. My name is Réanne but at Aikens, people call me Ray-J.
2. This is my fourth season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because I get to spend my summers at a beautiful place with amazing people.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm studying Graphic Design.
5. My go-to karaoke song is “Jessie's Girl”.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be Friends.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is... I was pretty well behaved growing up but when I was four I was helping put some stuff away and my dad told me to go put two rolls of toilet paper in every toilet... he meant every bathroom. I did exactly what he said and put two new rolls of toilet paper into every toilet in the house, and we had four of them.
8. My biggest fear is Elsie
9.You may not know this about me, but I was born two and a half month premature, and weighed only three pounds.

Josée

Josée

1. My name is Josée but at Aikens, people call me Jose (on taco night).
2. This is my fourth season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because I have yet to catch a trophy!
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm studying, working out and coaching.
5. My go-to karaoke song is “All-Star” by Smashmouth (NorthStar version).
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be Friends.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is lock my little brother in the broom closet under the stairs.
8. My biggest fear is a dock spider!
9. You may not know this about me, but I like to work on my dance moves while I housekeep.

Brittany

Brittany

1. My name is Brittany but at Aikens, people call me Bertney.
2. This is my third season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because I LOVE Aikens and all the amazing people here, both staff and guests. Élise's food is pretty darn good too.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm going to school, trying to become a veterinarian.
5. My go-to karaoke song is a toss-up between “I Love Rock and Roll” and “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be one about the happenings at Aikens Lake.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is hide under my desk and cut my bangs with Crayola scissors...two days before I was to be flower girl at a wedding!
8. My biggest fear is jumping off Trout Island.
9. You may not know this about me, but I'm actually a ninja.

Chantal

Chantal

1. My name is Chantal but at Aikens, people call me Shawn-Tahl.
2. This is my first season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because I smelled Élise’s hot potato salad from Winnipeg.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm at Garage.
5. My go-to karaoke song is “Pour Some Sugar on Me”.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be How I Met Your Mother.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is eat ants.
8. My biggest fear is water.
9. You may not know this about me, but this summer is the first time I’ve ever gone fishing.

Christian

Christian

1. My name is Chris but at Aikens, people call me Kik.
2. This is my ninth season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because the city makes me go crazy.
4. When I'm not at Aikens in the city buying tackle.
5. My go-to karaoke song is “Radar Love”...and somehow I always forget about the nine minutes guitar solo.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be Seinfeld.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is pee in my dad's shoe.
8. My biggest fear is big land snakes (boas, pythons, etc.) in water.
9. You may not know this about me, but I used to have a ponytail.

Jonathan

Jonathan

1. My name is Jonathan but at Aikens, people call me Jonny.
2. This is my first season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because of the beautiful scenery and the fishing.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm in school or enjoying music.
5. My go to karaoke song is “Friday” by Rebecca Black.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is too inappropriate to share.
8. My biggest fear is heights.
9. You may not know this about me, but I love eating minnows.

Étienne

Étienne

1. My name is Étienne but at Aikens, people call me Steve-O, Scuba Steve or Steve.
2. This is my second season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because the feds will never find me here.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I'm dearly missed.
5. My go-to karaoke song is “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is dig a really deep hole in my yard. Apart from that, I was a really good kid.
8. My biggest fear is a horrific disfiguring injury.
9. You may not know this about me, but I’ve broken my back... twice.

Derek

Derek

1. My name is Derek but at Aikens, people call me Derk or D-Rock.
2. This is my first season at the lodge.
3. I work at Aikens because I get to spend every day outside and catch fish everyday of the summer.
4. When I'm not at Aikens, I’m golfing, fishing elsewhere and going to school.
5. My go-to karaoke song is anything country.
6. If I could live in a sitcom, it would be Swamp People.
7. The most mischievous thing I've done as a child is a lot of pinching.
8. My biggest fear is large snakes.
9. You may not know this about me, but I'm going to be a teacher.

One of the coolest things about Aikens is you could have terrible fishing and have an awesome time there. Well-fed and well-served, plenty of beer to keep you warm. Tremendous service. Of course, the fishing’s great, too, but you have fun either way.

—Nate Siegal,
Salt Lake City, Utah

Incredible staff and amazing fishing. The accommodations are top notch and the food is first class. You won't find a better lodge in North America for pike and walleye fishing. The owners really know how to run this place. The memories made here are like no other.

—Jesse Bleeman,
Toronto, Ontario

What I love about Aikens? The ever present welcoming attitude that starts when you exit the plane and ends, well, never actually ends from what I can tell. The entire staff which is well selected and well trained, guides who make fishing fun and easy, the size of the lake (not too small for serious fishing and not too big for novices), the breakfasts, the shore lunches, the dinners, the awards handed out at dinner, the evening fishing with dock staff making sure your boat is ready, and the bar that gives you a chance to meet fun and interesting people to share a fishing story, a joke, or life story.

—Dennis Munson,
Solon, Iowa

Our guide really listened to what we wanted to do and tailored our day specifically to us. To me, the shorelunch was the highlight of each day. The shorelunch sites are set-up so well in very scenic spots. You can watch the Aikens videos and read the website about the fancy cabins, and the food, and how great the fishing and the service is, but one thing you can't really appreciate until you're here is how beautiful it all is.

—Paul Capecchi,
Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota

I’m an amateur rank fisherman and I caught a ton of fish, including a Master Angler pike. That’s what makes Aikens Lake so great, you can get guys like me that really don’t know what they’re doing, and you start to believe that you might.

—John MacDonald,
Minneapolis, Minnesota

My husband and my dad had always talked about going to Canada or Alaska, so when I got the idea to give them a fishing trip as a surprise gift I did about six months of research. Once I talked with Pit, I was sold. It was really a surprise to them. They were so excited, and they just had a wonderful time at Aikens. They enjoyed their dream trip, and I don’t think it will be their last time to Aikens.

—Debbie Nutter,
Elizabeth, Colorado

Pit and his team have done a wonderful job of putting together the perfect gem of an outpost camp. We love going to the Lost Lake outpost because it provides you the seclusion and serenity without comprising the nice luxury-type components.

—Scot Woolley,
Minnetonka, Minnesota

The Four Seasons of fishing lodges. What's truly impressive is that ownership is constantly improving the experience. Every year you arrive and notice improvements. I'm just back from our trip to Aikens with my son. In the last 15 months he's been to Copenhagen, Berlin, Estonia, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Venice, Croatia, Greece and Turkey – but said this was his favorite trip ever. He slept with his Aikens hat on last night!

—Greg Borca,
Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin

Those young staff members make me realize that our future is in good hands. Every one of them are class act young people, such a joy to associate with when you see what is going on across the land. Thanks again for the great hospitality from you and ALL of the staff.

—Jeff Hall,
North Little Rock, Arkansas

Truly an experience you'll want to relive over and over. This father-son-grandpa trip went from being a once in a lifetime experience, to an annual fishing trip! See you next summer!

—Mark L.,
Winnipeg, Canada

Aikens is the perfect place for a family trip. The cabins are the best we’ve ever been in, the lodge is beautiful, and of course Pit and Julie are wonderful hosts.

—Jim Deleeuw,
Wisconsin President Organization, Group Leader

My husband and I never go back to the same place twice, but we loved it so much at Aikens we knew by the end of our first week we’d be back. It’s just how well they take care of you there. They make you feel like you’re part of the family.

—Denise Kozlowski,
Lake Oswego, Oregon

I’ve taken many large groups to Aikens and I always tell people beforehand how incredible the service is at Aikens. Every person has said to me at the end of the trip, “We believed you before, but I just can’t believe how good they treat you here!” One time Pit and Julie didn’t have the type of alcohol on-hand one of our guests was drinking, so they sent a plane out and got it.

—Ron Ball,
Westman Dreams for Kids

I call it a 5-star hotel in the wilderness. It’s the neatest place we’ve ever been, it’s like fantasy island.

—Joe Harrington,
Monticello, Arkansas

Each year we go somewhere as a family. We’ve been to Hawaii, Disney and many other places, but Aikens was one of the best trips we’ve ever had. Our trip was terrific, and my grandson loved every minute of it.

—Sherry Martin,
Cordova, Illinois

You think you’re at a Ritz-Carlton, you seriously get that level of treatment and amenities. Nobody in Manitoba can compete with Aikens for the quality of the fishing, staff, and facilities.

—Steve Andersen,
Lincoln, Nebraska

Trip number five and once again Aikens Lake out did itself. I thought it impossible for this wonderful place to get any better.

—Kris King,
NHL Senior VP of Hockey Operations, 14 year NHL player and captain, and Aikens Lake Honorary Pro Staff Guide

From the accommodations, to the staff and especially shore lunch, the entire experience at Aikens Lake is unmatched.

—Dan Quayle,
Former United States Vice-President

The photos are amazing and like the memories, they will last a lifetime.

—Boomer Esiason,
Former NFL MVP Quarterback, TV Commentator, and Founder of the Boomer Esiason Foundation (against cystic fibrosis)