Red River Outdoors Burns Down

By Justin Roth ,

Photo by Peter McDermott

Climber-owned business burns down, local community races to help

Red River Outdoors is a restaurant, gear shop, guiding service and cabin rental service in Slade, Kentucky. Matt and Amy Tackett are the owners and proprietors of Red River Outdoors — their business has been a hub for the large and close knit Red River Gorge climbing community for the past three years. “It was our home away from home,” said Morgain Sprague, a member of the Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition Board of Directors, of the business. April 24th, 2007. Sometime around 5:00pm, while in her home above Red River Outdoors, Amy Tackett looked out of the window and noticed smoke coming from the side of the building. As Ms. Tackett walked outside to find the source of the smoke, she heard an explosion. The building was quickly engulfed in flames. A second explosion followed, fueling the fire further. Ms. Tackett was left standing outside, barefoot, in boxer shorts and a t-shirt, watching her home and livelihood burn to the ground.

Photo by Peter McDermott

Ms. Tackett was able to reach friends by phone and by 7:00pm more than 25 members of the local climbing community had arrived to offer help and support. After the flames were extinguished, the fire marshal suggested an old pickup that had been parked next to the building, and that had two gas tanks, may have been the source of the blaze. Matt Tackett was out guiding at the time of the fire. Ms. Tackett was uninjured and there were no other people in the building at the time. Sadly, the Tacketts' dog, River, was unable to make it out. The Tacketts had insurance on both their business and their home and are planning to rebuild as soon as possible. A PayPal account has been set up for those who would like to make a donation. To help, or for more information, please visit If you have reservations at one of the Red River Outdoors cabins, visit for updates.

Comment on this story

Join the Conversation