VAIL, Colorado – The Vail Symposium is ending this season of the “Speaking Locally” series with one of the valley’s more colorful characters.
Taking the stage at the Donovan Pavilion in Vail April 5 is Tred Barta, who lives near Eagle, but is often traveling the world taping his TV show, “The Best and Worst of Tred Barta,” which is shown on the Versus cable TV channel.
Before 2009, Barta’s show was already well known, thanks to the host’s insistence on hunting and fishing “the hard way – the Barta way.” Barta has taken large sportfish on two-pound test line, and has long made his own arrows and hunted with his longbow, a tool a 19th century American Indian would quickly recognize. Barta doesn’t always get what he’s after, and that’s a big part of the show’s charm.
The “Barta Way” got considerably harder in 2009. That’s when Barta suffered a rare “spinal stroke” that left him paralyzed from the chest down. That same year, he also battled a rare form of blood cancer.
Instead of retiring to his home up Salt Creek south and east of Eagle with his wife, Anni, Barta has continued to make his TV show. He just returned from a trip to Guatemala and Florida, where the cameras were rolling as he scuba dived and helped a new friend, a blind man from Canada, land eight sailfish.
Part of the presentation will include Barta demonstrating how to shoot the longbow, and a preview of an episode of this TV show that hasn’t been broadcast yet.
“I also plan to talk about how to strangle a moose with the tubing from my urine bag,” he said, laughing.
In the nearly two years since his stroke, Barta has learned to ski again, this time on a mono-ski. He’s also become one of the Vail Valley’s biggest fans, for its medical facilities, opportunities for disabled people and its residents.
“We’re excited to have Tred speaking,” Vail Symposium Executive Director Liana Moore said. “He’s a unique person who’s really gone through some challenges in his life.”
Moore said she’s a big fan of the “Speaking Locally” series. It’s free to the public, and the series’ range of speakers has brought out a diverse audience. She expects a number of people who hunt and fish to turn out for Tuesday’s event.
“We don’t usually get a lot of hunters at these, so I’m excited about that,” Moore said.
While the “Speaking Locally” series ends Tuesday, Moore said the Symposium is hard at work on its summer series.
“We hope to have most of the work on that done by April 15,” she said.
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or firstname.lastname@example.org.