Brookside Guides Featured on ESPN

Starr Nolan, owner of Brookside Guides in Asheville, was chosen to be part of an ESPN Outdoors series to be called Rods and Wheels, where two men who started as strangers ride across the Southeast on their motorcycles, fishing some of the area’s best fishing holes.

On May 10 & 11 Nolan showed them the ropes of fly-fishing in Western North Carolina’s backyard, on the North Mills and Davidson Rivers.

ESPN Filming Brookside GuidesThe producer called me out of the blue and said I’m from ESPN, Nolan said. And I said “Yeah, right”.

But he was, and he wanted Nolan to guide the two men to a good fishing spot near Asheville and outfit them for a night in the Pisgah National Forest, all under the camera’s watch.

The show, which is being filmed for ESPN by Tulsa, Okla.-based Winnercomm Inc., features Joe Kowalksi, 48, of Cheshire, Conn., and Brad Beasley, 50, of Tulsa, Okla. They were chosen to be on the show, which will air in July, for their personalities and willingness to take the trip, series producer Jeff Murray said. The men and their crew started about two weeks ago, fishing in New Orleans; Jackson, Miss.; Guntersville, Ala.; and in Lake Lanier, Ga., before coming to Asheville.

They met as complete strangers, he said. And this is about their journey, their relationship and the people they meet along the way. The two men share common interests in motorcycles and fishing. But they couldn’t be more different in character.

Kowalski talks about going to war against the fish as he works to pull up his waders, a cigar hanging out of his mouth. A marketing director for a law firm, he’s quick to bring up his 10 years in the Marine Corps.

Beasley, a commercial lawyer, is the more laid-back, technologically-savvy one, with a CD player and XM satellite radio on his motorcycle. This is not battle, he tells Kowalski, with the cameras on his face. You have to be more stealthy to fly-fish.

Throughout the easy banter, Nolan became a steady presence in the day, patiently teaching the men (and a cameraman from Los Angeles) how to wear waders and cast a line.

It’s just such a great opportunity, Nolan said of her and WNC’s newfound stardom.

by Lindsay Nash, [email protected]