Kathy Wright – Country Jam USA

How would you describe yourself?
I work so hard to be a positive force in the universe! I try to be the best mom, friend, wife and community member that I can be. I love being outdoors, climbing mountains, playing on the beach or catching fish with my family.

What is your biggest accomplishment?
I’m very proud of our family! We work hard to control what we can…..what happens in our 4 walls. My husband is a school administrator, and worked very hard to get there. I love my job and had the guts to take a chance and come back after being out of the business for 8 years. We have tried to raise our son to be a good person…kind, caring, hardworking and fun! Our little “party of three” is my favorite thing!

Have you read any good books?
I read for enjoyment. Professional development has to be done through podcasts……
My FAVORITE book is “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.” It makes you realize how much happens in your universe that you may never know. It also makes you realize you can have a profound impact on someone without you (or them) ever knowing. That’s why it is so important to be the good in the world.

Who is your personal hero?
I have several-My Dad-who had a pretty horrible childhood, broke the cycle of abuse and built a loving family and had a ‘why not’ attitude that took us on so many adventures! He died over 10 years ago and I miss him every day.
My Mom-who REFUSED to all any negativity in our home. If we spoke negatively of something, when we were finished, she would not allow the conversation to conclude until we said something positive.

Do you have a life philosophy that you live by?
I love this-it reminds YOU to be the good and to LOOK for the good around you.
Be Nice or Be Quiet is one I’ve been leaning on lately!

What do you like most about yourself?
Probably my laugh. I LOVE to laugh, and when I do, I make no apologies.

If you could change the world, what would you change?
The way we treat each other right now.

What do you think is the meaning of life?
I have 100% NO IDEA.

Do you prefer working alone, or do you like working with others?
BOTH. I FEED off the energy of a group, but need to have quiet to put it all together. A huge room full of brainstorming followed by a day on my couch putting it all together is my favorite.

What is your deepest belief about life?
Karma is real.

If you could wake up anywhere tomorrow, where would it be?
In a thatch roofed hut built over the ocean.

If you could be doing anything, anywhere right now, what and where would it be?
I love hiking mountains. I’d be on a hike, taking in the mountains, with my husband or my besties.

What’s the one thing you wish you could have a do-over for?
college. I spent way too much time with a boyfriend instead of my roommates!

How do you work on yourself?
I love yoga and being active. I walk my dog 2-4 miles a day and try to practice yoga at least weekly. I’m working on my nutrition more and more, as I’m seeing how it affects my health.

What’s one thing you’ve had to overcome in your life?
Grief. My Dad died quickly when I was 39. It was a whirlwind and I never fully grieved that loss. I realized through therapy how it was affecting me. “Grief comes in waves, sometimes you tread water, sometimes you are drowning.”

How do you handle being in a bad mood?
Yoga, exercise and a long walk with my husband.

Who is the most important person in your life?
My husband and my son. They are my whole world.

What did you learn about yourself from any of your previous relationships?
I’ve learned it is easier to have a conversation about things BEFORE you get really frustrated.

What question do you always want people to ask you about yourself?
I love to talk about travel. Where I’ve been, what I learned there, what my favorite things were!

What is your favorite music, or What is your all time favorite song?
I love Country Music (yes it is also my job!). The story-telling in the lyrics are so amazing. I love the stories behind the songs.

If you weren’t here running your business or doing the work you do, what would you be doing instead?
I would love to be a personal trainer/nutritionist!

How has this pandemic affected YOU or YOUR BUSINESS here in the Driftless?
Well, we had to cancel our event in 2020. We officially cancelled the event on June 1, 2020, laid our staff off for 4 months and came back in the fall. The pandemic got worse and we spent 6 months wondering if the event would even happen. It was a LONG year, but we got there. We had a fantastic year in 2021!

What is another name you would give the Driftless?
We have a core value at our company that we are ‘unapologetically midwestern.’ We had to teach our agency what that meant……it means enjoying the outdoors, being nice to each other, celebrating our seasons, and getting every last minute of joy out of summer!

What is your favorite season in the Driftless & why?
Summer. I love the sun, the water, the long days, the change of pace with no school…..and, of course, the music festivals!

Tell us of an experience /memory you had with Driftless lakes, rivers or waterways?
20 years ago we canoed the Brule. It was a perfect day.
Is there any place in the world you have been that reminds you of, or is similar to the Driftless.
Colorado. Sure, they have big mountains, but people in Colorado love the outdoors as much as we do!

What is your best childhood memory? (Preferably here in the Driftless)
Growing up on a lake. We spent every moment of the day in the water. Swimming, skiing, floating…….I grew up a lake rat and LOVED every minute of it.

What are some of your favorite places to go for fun here in the Driftless?
I live on a lake, so my backyard is a full on playground! I love the North Shore (WI/MN on Lake Superior) and just learned how amazing it is!

What are some of your favorite places to eat here in the Driftless?
Eau Claire has some amazing restaurants. Mona Lisa’s is my favorite (try the Thai Peanut pasta!). I’m a huge fan of the supper clubs around the Driftless as well! If you have never been to Ishnala in WI Dells, put it on your bucket list. Vino in the Valley is a wonderful day trip for us as well.

If you were to tell a friend to come and visit the Driftless Area, and they ask “Why” … What would you tell them?
Its beautiful. The people are wonderful.

Are you a Cat or Dog person?

Are you an Early Bird or Late Owl?
Early Bird

If given the opportunity, would you go to outer space?

What color socks are you currently wearing?
It’s summer!!! Who wears socks???

What skill or instrument would you like to learn or play?
I wish I was a better cook.

What 1 message would you put in a bottle?
Be the good in the world.

What was your very first job?
waitressing at a banquet restaurant.

If any, what would be your dream job?
I kind of have it! I would love to own a surf shop in Costa Rica.

How / where did you meet your best friend?
I have several. Most of them I met through my work at Country Jam!

What does your dream vacation look like?
We went to Costa Rica right before COVID and I can’t wait to go back. Beaches, volcanoes, mountains, great food, great culture, hot springs, waterfalls………..I need to go back and see it all!

If you could learn another language, what would that be?

I Would Rather …
Live in a tree house                        

So, what’s your story?
I was born in Southern Wisconsin and have lived in Wisconsin my whole life.

Tell us about what you do for work or your business, and how long have you been doing this?
I am the General Manager/Event Director at Country Jam USA. I started in 1993 and left in 2011 to spend more time with my family. I came back in 2019 and I’m so happy to be back ‘home.’

What do you wish other people knew about you or your business?
People are surprised that my job is full time, year round. I wish they could spend time and understand just how much goes into the event!


By: Kathy Wright