To many clients, Guide Tracy Frenzel seems amazingly cheerfully as he juggles his time and energy as an outdoorsman, artist, recreation director — and dad to four girls, one a newborn.
One of the benefits of guiding, he said is that “people are always in a good mood when they are fishing — at least 99 out of 100 anyway.”
Helping in his parents butcher shop in St. Louis taught Frenzel the value of time management — and about animal anatomy, which carried over to his graphite drawings and fish reproductions.
A whitetail buck he painted in acrylic on a piece of surplus leather won a blue ribbon at the Ozark Empire Fair. In June his work was featured in the”Music from America” show at the Dewey Short Visitor Center, as part of the summer schedule for the Taneycomo Festival Orchestra. The exposure has given him more projects for the slower guide months in winter, especially for custom fish reproductions.
(Frenzel just kindly used his painting skills on the old 40-pound-plus lunker trout mounted above our store desk — the one found floating dead years ago on Lake Taneycomo.)
To Frenzel, the mix of art and the outdoors comes naturally, drawing since kindergarten under his grandmother’s tutelage and enjoying the outdoors with his parents, both in the Ozarks and at home.
“I fished every day I could growing up,” he said,” so I was never involved in school sports. I would work out with my friends, but that was after dark — and after I had worked at the shop for a couple of hours.”
He brought his old boat from high school with him when he came to study art at College of the Ozarks. “I kept my boat down at Main Street Dock for awhile — until it sank,” he said. He eventually gave the yellow Ozark Tri-Haul to someone and still passes it often, parked on someone’s property on E. 76 Highway.
Frenzel was just 20 hours shy of graduating with a graphic design and art education degree when he left school, realizing it would be tough to make a living on artwork alone and design jobs would mean sitting inside all day behind a computer.
“It was more important to me to just enjoy art,” he said, “and be able to just pull out the pad and sketch whenever I could — maybe just for a few minutes after deer hunting or fishing.”
After bartending at Applebees since college, Frenzel officially obtained his guide license in 2006, initially just to offset the costs of his outdoor endeavors. “All my friends were guides with nice boats,” he jokes, and they told me if I wanted a nice boat I would have to guide.”
He just passed his fifth anniversary at The Cliffs at Long Creek, working five days (or evenings) a week as recreational director. The position gives him flexibility to guide days even as he juggles staff and duties for the 25-unit Bluegreen facility.
“It is really convenient for fishing Table Rock Lake,” he said, “because I can just launch right there at Long Creek.”
Frenzel and his wife, Molly, a longtime manager at Cakes-n-Creams in Branson, are rearing their girls in Kirbyville. Amid all their activities, he hopes to pass on the passion for the outdoors and his gratitude for every opportunity to enjoy it.