by Kelly J. Riibe
Erin Riibe goes by a lot of names and titles. Colleagues and students call him doctor or professor, while friends and family think of him as a stellar fishing guide and great white hunter. He also occasionally gets called by his given name, Erin, after being born on St. Patrick’s Day and named in honor of the historical Irish expression “Erin Go Braugh”.
Those that know him best, however, refer to him simply as Chummy. It is a nickname that his mother gave him as a toddler and it has always stuck due to his personality to be friendly to everyone and an all-around good person. The more feminine spelling of his name also allows interesting correspondence, from local beauty pageants and Victoria Secret catalogs, to show up in his mailbox from time to time for a “Miss Erin E. Riibe.”
“The nickname has been great, but it’s hard to be introduced as Chummy sometimes to people who don’t know me or in semi-professional settings. I then have to explain it’s a nickname and that gets old after decades of doing it,” said Chummy, who spends nine months out of the year as an educator in Yankton and the other three months as a fish boat captain in Alaska. “People like fishing with a guide named Chummy. It sticks and they remember me.”