Chums Lifestyle

From River Guide to Entrepeneur

We haven’t forgotten where we came from and we’re proud of that!

It all began in 1978 in Tucson, Arizona. Mike Taggett met a few guys while hiking, they became friendly. Taggett learned that they were River Runners, and shortly thereafter, they invited him to join them on the Salt River, a cool and technical 2-day trip. As their friendship grew, the allure of the river called to Taggett, and he was invited to be a baggage Boatman for ARTA, on the Colorado through Cataract Canyon. With that invitation, Taggett packed up his bags, and famously hitchhiked his way to Moab, UT.

Taggett spent 2 seasons on Cataract Canyon, before becoming a baggage boatman for Martin Litton’s Grand Canyon Dories. Soon Taggett was upgraded from the baggage boats to his own Dory. And for 3 seasons he guided the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

Early in 1982, Taggett had the idea for the Original Cotton Chum. After continually watching his clients lose their sunglasses (Vaurnets to be specific) to the bottom of the Colorado, he was struck with an idea. After an epic 1983 season on the river, Mike moved to Hurricane, UT with a $60 sewing machine and some fabric. He spent his days inventing and perfecting, while living out of a VW van and the boathouse. But slowly, his idea manifested into the Original Cotton Chum and soon production was taking off. Within a year major distributors like Swatch were placing orders, and the rest, is well, history.