By Ron VandenBoom
Kenn Snyder worked as an accountant in Pennsylvania where he had all the things a successful career could buy except, perhaps, peace of mind.
The tedium of accounting, boredom and an expanding waistline all contributed to Snyder's urge to leave it all behind and strike out to fulfill his childhood dream of living in the wide open West.
"I just got tired of being around a lot of people," Snyder said. "I've just always had that frontier spirit."
Snyder started looking for work in the West and almost landed a job working as an administrative assistant at a nursing home in Idaho. But the job fell through and Snyder needed a new plan.
A motel stay in Three Forks provided him with part of the answer, and a real estate guide showed him the rest. The guide listed "mom and pop" businesses for sale in Montana. The idea of working for himself was not altogether unappealing and Snyder started making plans to do just that.
An acquaintance in Chester eventually told him about the bar in Joplin and put him in contact with the owner. A little time and a few negotiations later and Snyder had bought himself a bar.
That was more than seven years ago and today Snyder is an independent businessman with plans to build a cafe next door to his bar.
It's so people and visitors will have someplace to get a freshly grilled hamburger or piece of pie, he said.
Snyder's daughter came to live with him just a few months after he moved to Joplin, and just recently the community's population expanded by one when his granddaughter was born.
"So why should I move," Snyder said. "I like to hunt, fish, and trap, and the East just got to the point where land wasn't accessible anymore."
Snyder works some long hours at his bar, but he says it's still possible to occasionally grab a 12-pack of beer, head up north of Joplin and spend the entire day hunting without seeing more than two cars.
Snyder's life is that of someone who has experienced the hectic, stress-ridden world of the East and finally found what he was looking for in a small, Hi-Line town where wide-open spaces, a slower, more relaxed lifestyle are just what the doctor ordered.
What is it Snyder hunts on his trips up north? Rattlesnakes. He captures about 100 per year around Joplin and uses their skins to make belts. Belts he sells to you guessed it people back East.