Cody Harris

Co-founder/Lead Instructor

Cody Harris

Co-founder/Lead Instructor

Cody began his life on rivers kayaking in Durango, Colorado. For the past two decades, he has worked and played on as many different rivers as possible. He is a past member of the U.S. Canoe and Kayak Olympic Development Team, and has paddled and rowed on three continents.  Cody has worked as an EMT, as a ski-patroler, and wilderness first aid for Aerie Backcountry Medicine. Cody is currently busy getting his 3 kids on the river as much as possible.  Cody is the director and a lead instructor for the Whitewater Rescue Institute. Contact Cody

Mike Johnston

Co-founder/Lead Instructor

Mike Johnston

Co-founder/Lead Instructor

Mike Johnston got his start in Swiftwater Rescue back in 1986 when he was a patrol and backcountry ranger for the National Park Service in Yellowstone. Mike’s wide range of outdoor leadership and rescue experience is reflected in MRG’s development of a scenario-based approach to rescue training. Mike worked in Search and Rescue in Glacier, Acadia and Yellowstone National Parks, as a professional ski patroller and Outdoor Emergency Care Instructor for the National Ski Patrol, and as a wilderness guide. Mike founded Montana River Guides in 1994 . Contact Mike

Martin Belden

Operations Manager/Lead Instructor

Martin Belden

Operations Manager/Lead Instructor

Martin started kayaking when he was sixteen. Since then, he has pushed himself to run steeper and harder rivers. This drive has lead him across North America, South America, and beyond. With over 10 years of guiding experience and EMT licensure, Martin is a well respected force on the water. He started assisting with river rescue classes in 2007, and is now a lead instructor. Martin recently graduated with a degree in Ecological Restoration with a minor in Biology from the University of Montana, which he is putting to use with WRI as an oil spill response consultant. Contact Martin

Alan Burgmuller

Lead Instructor

Alan Burgmuller

Lead Instructor

Alan has been canoeing, guiding, and instructing for over 40 years across the United States. He is an expert canoeist with several national championship titles under his belt in canoe slalom. If you are ever paddling the Blackfoot, Clark Fork or Bitterroot Rivers and see a stoic canoeist calmly shredding the gnar, that would be Alan. Alan lives in Hamilton, and serves as an active member of the Ravalli County Search and Rescue.

Paul “Little Spoon” Heffernan

Lead Instructor

Paul “Little Spoon” Heffernan

Lead Instructor

Paul grew up fishing and rafting the rivers of the Northwest since before he can even remember. In 2011 he began his professional river career at Montana River Guides, and earned his reputation as probably the best rookie guide ever. 6 years later, Paul has become an accomplished whitewater kayaker, as well as a knowledgable instructor and all around great river person. During the winter season, Paul is an EMT and professional ski patroller at Big Sky Resort.

Matt O'Reilly

Lead Instructor

Matt O'Reilly

Lead Instructor

Matt O'Reilly hales from Durango, Colorado and spent his younger years racing kayaks and exploring the many drainages of the North and South America.  As a member of the U.S. Olympic Development Team Matt competed in the 1996 and 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials.  Since retiring from racing Matt has moved on to raising his three kids.  Matt is also a team leader on the Technical Rescue Team for Medicine Hat Fire Department where he is a full time Firefighter.

Genny Hoyle

USCG Boat Operator

Genny Hoyle

USCG Boat Operator

Genny is an aquatic biologist for the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho’s Fish and Wildlife program, and has been running the Kootenai River in Idaho, Montana, and BC for over 15 years. She also volunteers for the Boundary Volunteer Ambulance as an Advanced EMT and Wilderness EMT, and has her Swiftwater Rescue Tech and USCG OUPV-6 Pack certification. She is also involved with the local Boundary County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue team as a boat operator. In whatever spare time she has left, likes to run, hike, bike, and do the occasional triathlon.

Becca Wallace

Instructor/Medical Supervisor

Becca Wallace

Instructor/Medical Supervisor

Becca was born and raised in rural Montana and has worked as a medical professional for the last 15 years. She is an avid member of Missoula County SAR. She is a lead instructor for Aerie Backcountry medicine specializing in teaching the Wilderness EMT. Becca grew up on the banks of the Blackfoot River and has spent many years enjoying all that rivers have to offer. She enjoys fishing, rafting, canoeing and riverboarding. When she is not in the water Becca can be found hiking the magnificent peaks around Montana, and enjoying water in it’s frozen form on skis. She is happiest when she can combine her rescue skills with her love for the outdoors!

Caleb George

Instructor

Caleb George

Instructor

Known as the “Iron-Tech,” Caleb was forged by the waters of the Clark Fork and Blackfoot Rivers near Missoula, MT. He began kayaking and rafting at the age of 15. He turned that passion for water into a career while working as a commercial guide and kayak instructor for the University of Montana.

Jack Scott

Instructor

Jack Scott

Instructor

Local boy, track legend, coach, teacher and mentor to everyone at WRI, Captain Jack runs a tight ship. If we don’t put the gear away right –all it takes is the Blue Steele Clint Eastwood stare from Jack and we start guessing what needs to be done better. Along with Drummond, he created some guiding principles for the core guides at WRI. Jack sets the tone for professionalism at our company and has high expectations that we strive to meet. He’ll work all day and go run the gorge after work. On a rare day off he’ll be paddling some other river. Now working as a science teacher in Idaho, Jack is coming back to keep guiding WRI in the right direction.

Maddey Frey

Instructor

Maddey Frey

Instructor

Maddie ran track and played soccer at the University of Montana. She apparently majored in Kicking Ass because that is what she does at WRI.  She’s tough, smart, funny and hard working and fit right in as a full-time guide right off the bat. After completing guide school and Swiftwater Rescue Training Maddie helped out with our swift water classes on the Gallatin, Yellowstone, and Flathead rivers last year. She’s an EMT, Swiftwater Rescue Tech and patrolling powder somewhere in Utah in the offseason.

John Amtmann

Lead Instructor/WRI Research Division Director

John Amtmann

Lead Instructor/WRI Research Division Director

Dr. Amtmann is a professor of Health and Human Performance at Montana Tech. As that doesn’t keep him busy enough (John is tireless), he also works as an EMT, ski patroller, and travels the Northwest boating with his family. John is also a cage fighter with the nom de guerre, “the Chihuahua.” John has over two decades of whitewater kayaking and EMS experience. When not teaching river rescue, guiding whitewater trips for Montana River Guides, or sharing his everpresent riverside grill delicacies with friends, John is a professor for Montana Tech. His knowledge of the river and care for his students is matched only by his humility. And if you haven’t met his daughters yet, you will one day. They are already kayaking circles around Cody!!!

“WRI was professional and easy to work with. Not only did they deliver a great class, but they found a way to connect with my members to deliver an exceptional class. My members are still talking… about it. We got equipment and SOP ideas well. This training has saved citizens lives and will save rescuer lives as well.”

Tim Cortez, Division Chief, Casper Fire-EMS Department
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