My name is Ken Rongey. I live in Grand Rapids MI. I am an anesthesiologist, retired due to medical issues, which leaves me some spare time to pursue rodmaking. I currently have # 35 on the bench.
Several years ago I was in a local flyshop where copies of Wayne Cattanach's book were being featured. While I was looking at them, I was told by the shop owner that Wayne lived nearby and that he was putting together a class. I signed up and was introduced to the craft by one of the most patient, meticulous and knowledgeable people I have ever met! Those of you who are fortunate enough to know him know what I mean! After the varnish was dry on the first rod, he encouraged me to make the second ...and so on. It is still a challenge to make every rod as well as I can, and to try to make it a little better than the last one!
I was an early list member, and benefited from the exchange of information it promoted. I mostly lurk and enjoy reading the daily posts.
I was honored to be asked to plane a strip for the first Maker's Rod. I have the ticket framed, along with several curls of bamboo shavings, and hanging on my trophy wall!
I've been to Grayrock a few times, but not recently due to a conflict of calendar scheduling when a good friend from Boston (and an owner of one of my rods) visits W. Michigan to fish. I have been fortunate to meet a few of the group (Mike, Todd, Harry, Dennis...) as well as Luis Marden and Harold and Eileen Demarest.
It is a rewarding art ... made all the more pleasurable by the friends I have made over the years. Some of my best memories are of the times when I present a friend with one of my rods...