Three Zany & Unforgettable Tekkies

Having been involved in this pastime since the 70’s, I’ve been privileged to meet a lot of great people. When I think of good times, especially the crazy times, I  see Gary Bischke, Fred Brust and Herb Dunn.  Three tekkies who happened to be a little bit off kilter…..

Herb Dunn

Herb Dunn

I met all three during the formative years of the FMDAC, and got to know them better when I was Director of Marketing for Garrett in the late 80’s.  Gary and his wife Arlynn were the owners of Outdoor Outfitters in Wisconsin, Fred, the National Treasure Hunters League in Tempe, Arizona, and Herb was the owner of Heartland Detectors in Des Moines, Iowa.  This infamous trio were three of Garrett’s best distributors and when some event, any event, brought them together,  all hell broke loose.

I like to think I can drink with the best of them, but these guys abused the privilege and were in a league of their own.


Before going on I need to mention that Gary and his wife Arlynn both passed away in 1998. Gary from a heart attack, and Arlynn from cancer. That they left us in the same year is ironic, but somehow appropriate in that they were very much alike, both very avid water hunters and inseparable. (Outdoor Outfitters continues today and is still a premier distributor for many lines).



One of the all time greatest events, get-togethers, was Treasure Expo, in Fremont, Nebraksa, hosted by  Paul Tainter of Exanimo and later Research Unlimited.  Treasure Expo started in 1982 and brought together just about anybody and everybody involved in the pastime.  Having said that ,  you have to understand that Fremont, Nebraska is not a large town, with a population of just a little over twenty thousand, and if you wanted to congregate in a bar, you went to the only one around…..”Boomers” a topless bar (and that’s an overly kind description).


Fred Brust

Boomers was one of those places where you’d often tell the gals to put their clothes back on, and you’d sometimes actually look the other way and talk about business.  Enter Gary, Fred and Herb, and the situation changed dramatically.  If I remember right the chorus would be “oh shit, they’re here“.  Within minutes you’d wind up with at least five or six bottles of beer, in front of you, a girl dancing on your table, and just possibly someone looking to punch you in the mouth, all courtesy of Gary, Fred or Herb.  One night Gary was in serious negotiations with the owner of the bar for the services of the entire troupe of dancers for a party in his motel room after the place closed.  Fortunately the deal fell through, though not for a lack of money. Gary always had a roll of bills, and spent them freely.


The building that once housed Boomer’s is now a Furniture rental store! Wonder if they sell “lap dance” chairs?


The first year I was with Garrett, Fay & I attended the FMDAC Atlantic City Treasure Weekend (first time as a manufacturer/exhibitor), and I will never forget checking into my room at the hotel.  No sooner had we put down our suitcases, there was a knock on the door.  When I opened it I saw two porters with carts, one with buckets of beer and three bottles of scotch, the other with hors d’oeuvres. (couldn’t begin to calculate the cost).  The card on the cart said,  “Welcome Dick & Fay, Gary/Outdoor Outfitters”.  After ten minutes, another knock.  Guess who?  Yep, Gary.  All this and only an hour or two before the banquet in the evening.  I then begin to think seriously about how I’d go about finding another job after blowing this,  my first road trip with Charles & Eleanor Garrett.


Gary Bischke

A year or so later Jack Lowry and I traveled to a few towns in the midwest and gave seminars to Gary’s dealers and customers.  Gary did the driving, and  stopped at every watering hole along the way, picking up the tab at each.  It was a blurry week to say the least.  Have a feeling a few of those seminars would have given Charles fits  if he only knew.  The week ended on a depressing note…I left an unopened bottle of Chivas Regal 12 year old Scotch in a motel room.  Best damn tip I ever left a maid. Hope she appreciated it…. I cried all the way to the airport.

I have tried locating Fred and Herb over the years but have had no luck.  Fred eventually took a job with Fisher as Director of it’s Consumer Sales in the hobby area, but after the company moved it’s headquarters from California to Texas, Fred left and best I can tell, is either in Alaska or New Mexico. I did find this recent photo of Fred and his grandson on the Detector Prospector site, taken in 2002.


Herb Dunn has also seemingly disappeared, but if any of the three were to prove illusive it would be Herb.  Herb had that shy look, that quiet demeanor, and ALWAYS a big shit-eating grin on his face….had you wondering what he was thinking or what he was up to (a master at playing the innocent role). Last I heard, Herb was living in Indianola, Iowa.

If any of you out there know Herb Dunn’s, or Fred Brust’s whereabouts, tell them to get in touch with me. If you happen to know them personally or related, my condolences….



As for me and my detecting…..take a LOOK!  If I had lived my younger years  here I would have never, ever thought of buying a metal detector.



Thanks to Linda Bennett, from the Gold Coast Treasure Club for the following two articles…..

History Seeks a Home

Bones of Ancients Pose Preservation Challenge



Filed under Metal Detecting

11 responses to “Three Zany & Unforgettable Tekkies

  1. The Bones of Ancients Pose Preservation Challenge link above:

    This is exactly the kind of propaganda that worked so successfully in the UK that resulted in laws , written by archaeologists, to keep themselves in jobs paid for by unfortunate landowners. If this goes through, then Florida deserves all that’s gonna be heaped on ’em. Real Socialism at work!!!

    Sit back and watch those who failed to help you, squeal as the arkies shred their civil rights!

  2. Nothing in Florida would surprise me….lots of whacky things go on there.

    Have to tell you that as I was writing the 3 zany tekkies post I kept thinking of you. You would have fit right in.

  3. Dealt with Gary and his wife for years in the 80’s and 90’s. Good people.

  4. Lisa Neumann

    Would love to hear more stories. Thanks for publishing this.

  5. Dave Dunford

    I didn’t know Gary Bischke, but I’ve known his daughter since middle school. She is a great woman and, in my opinion, the greatest thing he and his wife ever did. They created awesomeness, so they had to be pretty terrific themselves. I wish I would have had the chance to meet them when we were kids. 🙂

    • Dave, Gary and Arlyn were two terrific people who lived life to the fullest, and would give you the “shirt off their backs”…. While they left us much too soon, they left their mark on many of us, and I know I am a much better person for having known them.

      Thanks for taking the time to share this Dave….appreciate it.

  6. Barbara gepson

    Fred Brust is my uncle, my aunt Lilly passed away a few years back.They lived in New Mexico at that time, Lilly was brought to rest in Az. with rest of family.My father worked with uncle Fred for many years in Quartzite.His name was Jim Jackson most called him J.J… I have only talked to Fred 2-3 times sence my Aunt passed.I tried many different times to get ahold of him but was never able too.

    Fred is a great guy….he was really only a so called (step-uncle )which is a term I don’t care for, but he was the uncle I knew and loved as I grew up. I Hope he is in good health and is enjoying the GOLDEN years jokes… I miss him, love him always, he was great to my aunt Lilly and my grandmother well the whole damn family. He’s just that kind of a guy. Anyone about that knows his whereabouts let him know his neice loves him and wishes him well please. Thank you so much ….Barbara

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