Like a lot of the best ideas, this one started with a trip to the desert. The Carhartt team thought it would be fun to show Denver linebacker Von Miller, an avid outdoorsman, the backroads of New Mexico, Outside’s home state. Then he asked if we could hunt and if he could bring his buddy, Kansas City left tackle Eric Fisher. Next thing we knew, we had an old-fashioned, mano a mano competition on our hands: One day, three events—fly-fishing, archery, and a cook-off.
The competition—dubbed "Back to the Land," after a famous Carhartt program in the 1930s that led to the opening of a factory complex in rural Kentucky—began on the Pecos River outside of Santa Fe with one rule: Biggest fish wins. Both beginners, Miller and Fisher caught on fast, with Fisher ultimately netting a 15.5-inch brown to win the first round. Next up was archery, a sport where both men excel. Miller grew up hunting in Texas, while Fisher, a Michigan native, regularly bowhunts whitetail near his Kansas City home. So a challenging course was set: a series of five faux animal targets, set up at various distances, often nestled among the piñons and junipers. Each man would have two shots per target, with the highest score winning the round.
Turns out Miller and Fisher are just as competitive off the field as they are on—archery fans and bowhunters will be especially impressed with the duel. “They had no ability to range the targets, had to deal with wind, up- and downhill shots,” said Brian Spiro, head of partnerships at Carhartt. “I’ve been shooting a bow for over 20 years and I was in awe.” After trading the lead through the first four targets, it came down to the final shot, with Miller, no stranger to performing under pressure, nailing a bull’s-eye for the win.
Tied after two rounds, the contest would be decided in the kitchen, with each man given five minutes to prepare his freshly caught trout. To see how it all went down, click on the video above.
Carhartt was founded by Hamilton Carhartt in 1889 in Detroit, Michigan with two sewing machines and a handful of workers. After a period of rapid growth, both domestically and internationally, Carhartt launched a "Back to the Land" program in 1932, which led to the opening of a major factory complex in Kentucky and coincided with the creation of Carhartt’s first outdoor wear products. Inspired by this action, Carhartt's new "Back to the Land" video series showcases the iconic hunting and fishing apparel for which it is now known. To shop Carhartt, and learn more about the company's history, click here.