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Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation

Clay Spencer

Founder of Poncho Outdoors

Photographs by Jonathan Vail

Meet Clay Spencer

Clay Spencer grew up in Fort Worth and has been visiting his family’s ranch near Lampasas his entire life.

“Literally almost since the day I was born,” said Clay. “It is such a special place. I grew up exploring the land, searching for arrowheads and making memories that I still treasure. You feel connected to the land and the people who have found solace there for thousands of years.”

That’s where he learned to hunt and fish and is the setting for the photo you see on this page.

His passion for fly fishing and love of wild places led him to Alaska right after college, where he worked as a fishing and hunting guide. He was ridiculously happy but eventually had to leave the Alaskan wilderness for a job in the business world.

He still fished every chance he got. Dissatisfied with the fishing shirts available on the market, Clay decided to create his own. Armed with real-life business experience and an MBA from Stanford, he founded Poncho Outdoors, known for sustainably made shirts for the outdoors. The company sources fabric from a mill that complies with the rigorous Bluesign environmental standards, which means production consumes dramatically less water and uses only non-toxic dyes.

Now living in Austin, Texas, Clay is using his work to ignite a passion for wildlife and wild places. He actively supports conservation groups all over the world, and he is constantly searching for ways to make his products even better.

“We’re focused on the very same thing that we’ve been focused on since we started, which is making the world’s best shirt for the outdoors. We’re always looking for ways to make an impact. This year we introduced a line of hoodies that are made out of recycled bottles.”

For a man who has fished all over the world, the reason is obvious.

“It’s our water, all of our water. All of the rivers, all of the ocean, all of the beaches, it’s all ours and it’s all interconnected. We love wild and beautiful places and we spend a lot of time on the water, so we make sustainability a core feature of all of our products.”

– Clay Spencer

Clay is the father of two young daughters, which has sparked an even greater desire to protect the places he loves.

“As the years go by, you realize that some of the wild places that you visited as a kid are no longer wild. The drive from Fort Worth to Lampasas doesn’t look the same as it used to look. When you see things that are lost, you don’t want to lose more of them. It’s become much more than just having a place to hunt and fish. I want to save these places that I’ve enjoyed so much, not just for myself, but for my kids and everyone who’s going to come after me.”

That’s why Clay signed on as an ambassador for Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.

“It aligns perfectly with Poncho’s mission and my mission to save the wild places and wild things that we all love. Supporting that mission is near and dear to my heart. We want to help conserve these places and have them be around for the future.”

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