George McManus makes a mean bowl of ramen, but that’s not all. He has lived all over the US, played Andy Roddick in tennis, and has a cat named Bishop that acts like a dog. Read on to find out about how he ended up in Colorado, what he did to get here, and what his role at EVO LOU will be.
So, George. At first, I wanted to interview you just because you’re an awesome human, but then I found out that you’re going to be involved with Summer Camp at EVO this year, and that’s even better.
Well, thank you!
Yeah! Let’s start by us getting to know everything about you.
That’s going to be a long story!
True, true. Maybe we start with where you were born?
I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, then moved to Florida, Texas (all over Texas), then Minnesota, Minnesota to California, California to Japan, Japan to here.
That’s a good amount of moving. Was your dad in the military?
He was a professional tennis player. Two World Cups for doubles!
What! I did NOT see that coming! What’s his name?
Yeah, he was doubles partners with Arthur Ashe. Are you familiar with him? Really well known African American tennis player. They were partners as doubles for a little bit, but Arthur Ashe passed away. Then my dad’s partner was Jim Osborne. They went to Wimbledon and everything.
Jim McManus at Wimbledon
Wow. I can’t wait to tell my mom. So, your dad’s tennis career led to the many moves around the globe?
You, your dad, your mom, and—
My sister, named Kate. She lives in Jackson, Wyoming.
You guy sound like a very active family. How did you NOT end up as a tennis player?
I actually did Juniors. My claim to fame is playing Andy Roddick and losing.
Oh, I do know him! He’s not ugly.
(Laughter) Nope. So Juniors didn’t work out for me, and I went into the lacrosse aspect. I did undergrad at UNC Chapel Hill, then did my masters at Savana College of Art Design, in Georgia.
Nice! What form of art?
Advertising and graphic design with a minor in photography.
I just learned so much.
Yeah! I also do drawing and illustrations on the side.
You should help me with my llama book.
Well, I’ve drawn camels before, so, I can probably do something with a llama. They’re both pachyderms.
Right, those pachyderms are so similar….(had to google what constitutes a pachyderm). So when you left school in Georgia…
I went to Minnesota with a finance.
Haha, ex-fiance, correct?
Yeah, twice! (Laughing) It hasn’t worked out twice!
I admire your perseverance!
Thanks! I stayed in Minnesota for a bit, but it was WAY too cold. I left after two-weeks straight of negative 45-degree weather.
George in Minnesota
Gross. What’d you do when you left that barren tundra?
I drove from there to South Dakota then straight down to Jackson. To pay for gas on the way, I did competitive eating.
What?! (Super excited to hear this)
A lot of restaurants with eating competitions usually give you gas cards, or pay for your food. It’ll be an “Eat a 4-Pound Burger” kind-of-thing.
Hahaha, this is great. (Jon Sullivan, Retail Manager chimes in: “George, you are rowdy.”) Did you go through an instructional course on how to eat large amounts?
Nope, I didn’t complete many of the eating challenges; one time there was a 4-pound shake. I didn’t finish that one.
Omg. Did you throw up a lot?
Ummm…You don’t feel great, let’s just say.
I feel a little nauseated at the thought of a 4-pound milkshake…but it also makes me want a milkshake. That’s messed up. What’d you do when you got to Colorado?
Started my own Graphic Design firm. Had a company out here doing graphic design for dentistries and chiropractors, and then sold it. Then I was working for La Sportiva for a while, and then went part-time and then weened off it completely. And now I walk dogs which is kinda awesome. It’s nothing too hard, but it pays great. And I’m certified with CPR in doggy resuscitation.
That’s good to know because sometimes I think my dog is choking but really she’s coughing. It can get confusing…anyway. How’d you get into climbing?
When I first moved here four years ago, I decided to try it and wasn’t really stoked on it. I was still into lacrosse and was helping out with the professional lacrosse team out here on their practice squad; the Denver Outlaws. But about a year ago, I picked climbing up again because I got on ropes and went outside bouldering and I thought, ‘man, outside is awesome.’ And I decided, ‘alright now I’m going to take it seriously.’
GEORGE IN HIS FORMER LIFE AS A LAX PLAYER
Nice, dude, and now you’re bouldering V8 after just one year of real commitment.
Yeah, a few outside at V9 and one V10.
Dayum, good work. I guess since we’re almost out of time we should discuss your experience with kids and EVO.
Right! Well, my girlfriend works at a youth center in the poorest part of Denver. She helps a lot of refugee kids, and I get to help out on the side since I’m doing the dog walking.
That must be tough and very rewarding. What other ways have you had the opportunity to interact with kids?
I’ve run my own lacrosse camps with youth. I enjoy kids; I’m a character with kids. I like to joke around with them but at the same time provide structure. My father always said, ‘be very diverse, and that’s how you can be approachable and meet people. And always be open for a conversation.’
Your dad sounds awesome. I like that advice a lot. Is there anything I might’ve missed?
My birthday is coming up on May 28. I’ll be 30!
I’m turning 30 soon, too! (We high-five) What are you going to do?
My girlfriend and I are going to Independence Pass and going to the ice caves. Bouldering and sport climbing carved away from ice; you gotta look it up when you get a chance.
Ok, I will do this. Thanks for sitting down with me and I’m thrilled that you’re part of the EVO team. I’m also happy to know that you can save my dog if she needs resuscitation.
GEORGE IN HIS CURRENT FORM AS A CLIMBER
EVO Rock + Fitness will be hosting “Summer Camp Demo Day” on June 2, 2017 from 3 pm – 5 pm. If you think your kids might want to participate in summer camp this year, come find out! Signup here.