In a way, Scott Pauley is a traveling salesman.
The product he sells? Missouri’s outdoors.
“It’s easy to promote Missouri,” said Pauley, who is a marketing representative for the Missouri Division of Tourism. “Most people from out-of-state know about Lake of the Ozarks and Branson. But they don’t know about how diverse our state is.
“They don’t know about all of our other reservoirs, our beautiful float streams, our hiking, our deer and turkey hunting, our trout fishing.
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“I tell them about what we have in Missouri, and they’re just amazed.”
Pauley has traveled as far as Tokyo, London, New York and Miami getting the word out. And the message is getting across, he said.
“We’ve gotten very positive feedback from the people who comes to Missouri,” he said.
For Pauley, 57, who was born and reared in Missouri, the job is a natural. He grew up fishing farm ponds. But it wasn’t until he took his first assignment with the Missouri Highway Patrol that he became serious about it.
“My first job was in Sikeston, and my sergeant loved to fish for crappies,” Pauley said. “He had an old Ranger boat, and he took me out fishing one day.
“I just loved being out there, and I really got interested in fishing.”
Pauley bought a used boat of his own a couple years later and joined a bass club.
“I was just learning to bass fish,” he said. “It was very frustrating. No one would tell me anything about how to fish. I had to learn on my own.
“I decided that if I ever got good enough to be in a position to help others catch fish, I would.”
That’s what Pauley is doing now. For 23 years, he has been Missouri’s traveling fishing ambassador. He not only tells people where to fish and hunt, he gives them tips on how to find success once they get there.
“Missouri has so much to offer,” Pauley said. “It’s a great destination for people who love the outdoors.”