During my University of Montana recruiting trip, my interview loop curiously included a professor from the Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism. I wondered why an already jammed schedule would include someone from a completely separate school and field. I wondered, that is, until I met Brent Ruby. Brent exuded everything we have grown to love about Montana and the Missoula community and Maggie and I walked away from this meeting with a much deeper sense of what a great fit this place could be for our family. Brent’s presence in the interview schedule turned out to be one of the key influencers in our decision to move here.
It turns out Brent and I would cross paths again shortly after my arrival in Missoula. I knew he was working on some cutting-edge sports and endurance nutrition products. Brent’s big focus was keeping food real and keeping it simple. Coincidentally I met his business partner, Cooper Burchenal, at Momentum Athletic Training. After suffering though hours of circuits together, Cooper and I briefly chatted about our respective careers and families and figured out we had a lot more to talk about.
I learned that Omnibar was a collaborative project between the Burchenal family and the Ruby family. Together, they hatched the idea of fusing Brent’s nutrition science with the Burchenal’s cattle-ranching resources to create a completely new kind of endurance nutrition bar. One bite into an Omnibar and you immediately know you are on to something entirely different. It’s a food bar made of 35% Montana-rasied beef and a small number of other real ingredients – almonds, flax seeds, raisins, oats and some spices. That’s it. 5 or 6 ingredients, all of which you can pronounce.
The concept has huge intuitive and scientific appeal. Real food. Real food for athletes. Pure, clean fuel. And it works. Each Omnibar delivers 200 calories, including 20g of slow burning carbs, 10g of lean protein and 10g of fat. A great balance for the long haul. This isn’t the sort of food you’d consume during a ½ marathon, but it works great during a long, steady effort. I’ve used them with great success in long distance workouts and races. It’s also a fantastic fuel for hikes, ski-tours, bike rides or any other endurance activity. Omnibars are also an optimal recovery food for any type of workout.
And the story goes deeper. As I learned more about Omnibar, Cooper approached me about his need for some marketing and promotions help. He was looking to start with a student intern and I immediately recommended Anthony Krolczyck, then a senior enrolled in my Marketing Management class. Anthony proved to be a great fit and took to the role like a fish to water, signing on as Omnibar’s Employee #1.
Soon anyone with any connection to the athletic scene in western Montana couldn’t help but learn a lot about Omnibar. Anthony dove into the community, supporting a wide variety of events, from SUP races, to the weekly cyclocross series, to the Marshall Mountain trail runs. The crown jewel of these event promotions was the inaugural Rut 12k and 50k, for which Omnibar was the title sponsor. It’s been fun to watch a former student thriving in a local company committed to both great product and its customer community.
As this web of relationships grew, Omnibar invited me into the family as a brand ambassador and unofficial marketing advisor. Last week we made this partnership official and I am honored to announce what I hope is a productive relationship for years to come. I am proud to join Mike Foote, Beau Fredlund and a small cast of other exceptional and inspiring outdoor athletes in support of this great brand and concept. #eatitall