KAKE | Wichita, Kansas | News

Hatteberg's People - Rusty Ryan

Stay up-to-date with KAKE News:

On Hatteberg's People, I've done stories on many barbers, but never one like Rusty Ryan of Anthony, Kansas. He loves his work, his community and fishing. If you stick around long enough and take the bait, you'll find out why anglers all over the world are familiar with this small town barber.

"I can honestly say that I never hated to come to work a single day in my life," said Ryan.

Rusty's work has been on the Main Street of Anthony, Kansas. At 81, he still operates Rusty's Barber shop that has served generations of Anthony residents.

"I get told things I never repeat."

There are a million stories in this little place, but it isn't the barber shop that has made Rusty famous.

It's in the buildings next door where another business called 'Rusty's Bait' is located. Yes, bait. Fifty-three years ago, Rusty and his wife Jean started making bait because of Rusty's love for fishing. Well, the little business grew.

"We basically manufacturer over 20 million baits."

Yes, he said 20 million. Now ask him how many Wal-Mart stores he's in.

"Over 3000, and we're in Dick's Sporting Goods, Alco and we sell Bass Pro's."

It's just bait, all kinds of bait, shipped even to Kuwait and Iraq. It' all from this little place in Anthony where an 81-year-old man is still married to the woman he used to cut bait with.

"We've been married 62 and the best thing to ever happen to me is my wife."

"It's also the best thing that ever happened to me too," said Jean Ryan.

In the bait rooms, Charlie Poe is his manager. She runs the business so Rusty can barber.

"I think we did 120 tons this year. Yeah a 100 tons, just imagine how many it takes to make a ton?" said Poe.

"I probably average 70 to 80 hours a week for years and years. But when you like what you are doing, it's not work," said Ryan.

Few people know how big this business is, even in Anthony. Rusty added a semi to take his products to the distribution points.

"I think the most satisfaction I get out of it, is that it catches fish. If it doesn't catch fish, we do not build it. It's real simple."

It is simple. In the barber shop, Rusty cuts hair. Next door, they cut bait.

"It's been like a love affair. I'm very content. I wouldn't change a thing."


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
KAKE TV 1500 N. West Street Wichita, KS 67203-1323 (316) 943-4221
Gray Television, Inc. - Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 134219798 - kake.com/a?a=134219798