INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — “Life is just what you make of it. You make a decision, give 100 percent and move forward.”
These words from Incline resident Dave Hoopengardner, owner of the Allstate Insurance branch in town, matter whether you’re landing a back flip on skis or working on a home remodel.
When Hoopengardner makes a decision, he said he sticks with it.
The young father who goes by “Hoop” gave it his all when he went from being part owner of a bar to running an insurance business in 2007.
Hoopengardner described his days at the Red Dog Saloon in Virginia City as “a lot of fun.”
He was sure to have live music on the big stage, drink specials and a fun environment for his clients. Although he misses the historic saloon, Hoopengardner said it’s also nice “not working until two or three in the morning.”
“It was a big change from working nights and being a ski coach to having a day job and having kids,” Hoop said. “It was a complete 180. … I don’t get to ski 130 days a year anymore, but the upside is I have a wife and two little girls and a business where I get to help people — it’s a pretty good tradeoff.”
Hoopengardner’s nine years of coaching may also be over, but he still follows the athletes he worked with at Alpine Meadows.
“It’s so rewarding to work with the kids,” he said. “You can see them progress and change.”
While tuning in to the latest halfpipe competition at Breckenridge, Hoopengardner was able to follow professional freeskiers David Wise and Brita Sigourney, athletes he coached years ago.
Hoopengardner said he wasn’t the only one watching the televised competition — he showed the event to his daughters.
Julianna and Audrey watched as Wise took first in the event and will cheer him on at the coming games in Sochi.
“It was fun because the girls got to watch and was funny because they asked, ‘Daddy used to do that?’ ‘Daddy used to work with them?’” Dave said with a laugh.
The professional skiing days of Hoopengardner may be hard for his tykes to imagine, as their days on the mountain now consist of just a few runs.
“I’m looking forward to some day when I can work with my girls out skiing bumps again,” he said.
‘WE HAVE EXPERIENCE’
In the office, Hoopengardner finds his work helping people just as rewarding as he found coaching.
Licensed Sales Producer Marta de Leon, Senior Sales Producer Krista Mason and Hoopengardner are all licensed agents, and with each team member’s different area of expertise, Mason said Allstate is a “one stop shop.”
“If you can think of something that you may want to insure, you can call us,” she said.
As a Personal Financial Representative, Dave’s specialties include life and retirement insurance, de Leon works with health insurance as well as Spanish-speaking clients.
Mason, who is celebrating 21 years with the company this February, has worked primarily with commercial claims.
“We have experience. We have a product for everything a client would need, and we understand the products inside and out,” she said.
The trio is passionate about what they do and interested in a field that changes daily.
“It’s personally rewarding to help people and make sure they’re taken care of,” said Hoopengardner, who bought the company a few years after his first daughter was born — after three years of running the Red Dog Saloon. “And (working in) insurance is a lot more stable.”
Jenny Luna is a freelance reporter for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Sierra Sun newspapers. She may be reached at email@example.com.
“It’s personally rewarding to help people and make sure they’re taken care of.”