There was a hit pop song back in the 80s titled “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” which could serve as the theme song for this national sisterhood of women. They are called Sisters on the Fly, and fun is exactly what they are all about.
A group of 21 “sisters” with 15 colorful camper trailers met at Victoria Springs State Recreation Area near Anselmo for a weekend of camping adventure and junk jaunting fun. The women came from Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado and Wyoming.
One of those campers is Carolyn Wood of Callaway, who says her goal is to recruit more Nebraska women into the club. There are currently only three women from Nebraska in the group - with two of them being Carolyn and her daughter, Julie Baumgartner of North Platte.
“We are a group of women who challenge ourselves in all that we set our minds to do. We have no age or color,” say founders of Sisters on the Fly Maurrie Sussman and Becky Clarke. “We represent no religion or political group. We welcome all women who want to share the adventures of "sisterhood".”
Maurrie and Becky are real-life sisters, who one day were sitting in a drift boat in Montana, happily drinking a glass of wine in celebration of catching an eight-pound brown trout, and thought it would be so much fun to share the experience with friends. Maurrie won’t say who actually caught that big trout, because “it is a fish tale, you know.”
Becky and Maurrie learned to fish from their mother, simply known as Mazie, when they were just little girls. The girls say Mazie also taught them how to tell a good fish story.
The two sisters started Sisters on the Fly in 1999, and the group soon grew to a dozen members who met in Montana for fly-fishing. That dozen has now grown to nearly 1,400 women all over the United States and Canada, each with a vintage camper trailer and a story about the trailer’s history.
The women range in age from 28 to 90, and are identified in the group by their sister “number”, which is assigned when they join. Maurrie is Sister #1, Becky is Sister #2 and Mazie is Sister #4.
Many of the sisters rigs are from the 1950s and 60s, range from 12 to 16 feet in length, and contain between 100 and 150 square feet of interior space.
“We find it so comfortable to drag our own bedrooms with us,” says Maurrie. “After a hard day of fishing and having fun, it is pure bliss to fall into your own featherbed.”
Though founded by two girls who love to fish, it is not necessary to fish or ride horses to become a Sister. While the girls say you should have a trailer, that too isn’t always necessary they say as most of the Sisters are willing to share.
Each trailer reflects its owner’s personality with its theme and sister number proudly posted on the rear of the trailer. They are decorated inside and out in usually a western kitschy theme. “There is a little Cowgirl in all of us,” the Sisters say. The only requirement for joining the group is that you must want a Sister and want to be a Sister to some of the most independent, freedom-loving, warmhearted and generous women in the world.
Sisters on the Fly meet in groups of 10 or more on the Oregon coast, in the Smoky Mountains, on the great Midwestern plains, in the Ozarks, in the Shenandoah Valley, in Texas hill country, and on Tybee Island, Ga.
Maurrie says the Sisters drive the back roads in a Cowgirl Caravan, sometimes camping out in a national park and sometime’s in a rancher’s meadow. Not all of the Sisters are into fishing. Some just enjoy buying and fixing up the old trailers and camping out together under the stars.
The Sisters are a diverse group - nurses, bookkeepers, kindergarten teachers, bakers, pet sitters, artists, school bus drivers, small business owners, housewives and mothers. While most of them do like to fish, all of them like to shop and have fun. That was the lure to central Nebraska this weekend - to shop the Junk Jaunt.
The Sisters spent most of the day Friday and all day Saturday treasure hunting at the plethora of sales to be found in the area. Sunday morning was devoted to packing up for the trip home, with most of them looking at several hours of travel time.
The Sister’s motto is “We have more fun than anyone,” and this group of ladies will tell you how true that is. To learn more about how you can become a Sister, visit their website at sistersonthefly.com