Angling to Get into the Water: Alumnus Looks Forward to Reopening Business
Brian Sloss, ’90 ΦΔΘ (above, center), is sheltered in his home in Alton, MO, deep in the Missouri Ozarks. The owner of Eleven Point Fly Fishing is anxious to get back onto the river with a pole in hand relatively soon after COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.
“It is a scary moment in history,” the accomplished angler reflects. “I can hardly wait to get back out with my clients, many of whom have become good friends over the years.”
Sloss has guided his clients in drift boats and operated a cottage rental business on the Eleven Point River since 2004. The Fulton, MO, native who majored in business administration recently found time during quarantine to answer a few questions about his love of fly fishing, his favorite Westminster professor and what it was like practically growing up on the College campus.
Please tell a little bit about your business.
I owned a full-service river outfitter business for a number of years, which included renting canoes, kayaks and rafts as well as offering camping, cottage rentals and guided fly fishing on Missouri’s only National Wild and Scenic River, the Eleven Point. I scaled back two years ago, selling the canoe rental business and exclusively doing guided fly fishing and cottage rentals today.
What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment is living a life outside the normal, doing what I love.
As you’re well aware, your deceased father is former Dean of Faculty Dr. F. Brooke Sloss, ’38 ΦΔΘ, the John Harvey Scott Distinguished Service Professor of Mathematics. His career at Westminster is legendary, running from 1943 to 1995. With your dad being so prominent here, what was your experience taking classes at the College?
I practically grew up on the campus, so it seemed only natural that I would attend Westminster. At the time I dreaded taking a couple of classes from my dad. I couldn’t oversleep a calculus class when Dad was teaching. I couldn’t hide and not participate in Astronomy discussions. Now they are among my favorite memories from college. I also had a great time at the Phi Delt House, of course.
How did your liberal arts education help you find your purpose in life?
I believe a liberal arts education gives you a broad platform that allows you to become a critical thinker. Independent, critical thinking is the greatest gift I got from Westminster.
Based on your family background, can we ask who your favorite faculty member was?
My favorite faculty member was my dad, of course. I also really enjoyed the courses I took from Dr. Peter Kim. I loved hearing his stories of travelling around Asia. Truthfully, I enjoyed all my professors, many of whom I knew since I was four years old. I have great memories of so many of the Westminster faculty and staff!
What is your favorite spot on campus?
I have three favorite spots: the Phi Delt House, where so many of us got into trouble, and Dad’s office in the Science Center, where he would tell me to stop getting into trouble. Also, the Historic Gym was a favorite, where as a faculty kid, we would go swimming, play basketball and just horse around.
What do you do when you’re not on the river?
I am president of the Friends of the Eleven Point River, a nonprofit that a few friends and I started that works in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service for improvements to the Eleven Point River. We work on projects that improve historical sites, recreational opportunities and the environment. I love fly fishing, of course, and I enjoy traveling.