It’s Better Than Fishing

When newly retired Deputy Sheriff John Munk took off his badge, he didn’t have plans to replace it with a fishing pole— not by a long shot. Instead, he jumped on his Walker Mower and took what he’s been doing in his spare time to a different level.

“I have six to eight high-end residential accounts,” says this Gardnerville, Nevada, resident. “I don’t pretend to be a landscape contractor; I just trim, edge, mow and blow, and do some aerating in the spring. My customers love the work I do, and having the Walker Mowers (he actually owns two) supplements my pension and allows me to meet my financial needs.”

In between mowing, John has time to ski a couple of hours a day four days a week, keep his shooting eye sharp at a nearby range, and spend more time with Kerry, his wife of 28 years.

Change of Pace

Located about 20 minutes south of Carson City in the Carson Valley, Gardnerville is a virtual paradise for utdoor enthusiasts. In addition to numerous hiking and biking trails, along with dozens of ski runs in the nearby Sierras adjacent to Lake Tahoe, there’s plenty of fishing, soaring and horseback riding to be done, along with plain old sightseeing.


Raising a family, John and Kerry didn’t have time to enjoy all the benefits the valley afforded. Kerry continues to waitress at a downtown family restaurant, something she has done for the past 20 years. Her husband spent the last 23 of his 27 years with the sheriff ’s department working in the county jail.

“Inmates in a county jail are usually at the lowest point of their lives,” John relates. “I had lots of interaction with them and spent most of my time trying to help them improve their lives.”

Although gratifying in many ways, the job was very stressful, likely contributing to a couple of heart stents John received. “I purchased my first Walker Mower in 2004 because I wanted to get outside, earn a little extra money, and spend some quality time away from people issues,” he says. “I starting looking around, researching mowers and discovered that nearly every landscape contractor in our community operated a Walker Mower.”

His first machine was a Model MC with a 36-inch GHS deck, and last year, preparing for his eventual retirement, he purchased a used MT with a 48-inch GHS deck. His plan was to move into bigger homes with bigger yards that required a slightly bigger mower.

Now, most of his properties are located in a gated HOA community where customers have known the Munks for years. Mowing only two days a week from April to the end of November, John operates out of an enclosed trailer that keeps his equipment contained and secure. The trailer also has room to store barrels, which he fills with clippings. Finding a place to dump the clippings is no problem. Dairy farms will take them, as will friends, to supplement their compost piles.

Keeping it Smple

The retired deputy is only 50 years old, but doesn’t want to complicate his life by taking on more properties and hiring employees. As he puts it, “less is more,” and the Walker Mower will allow him to generate enough revenue without doing either of the above.

They’re fantastic, amazing machines and I can fix most anything that breaks on them,” John emphasizes. “Yes, I take care of all my equipment. As the saying goes, ‘If you take care of your equipment, it will take care of you.’”


The same holds true, he adds, about taking care of your customers. “At least half of my business is about the relationships I’ve built with my customers. I’m meticulous and the mower does a great job. But I don’t just mow, go and treat every property as a number. My customers are my friends and they appreciate the work I do, and that’s pretty simple, as well.”

John plans to keep mowing and talking with friends for a long time. In fact, he says his mowers will give him an opportunity to work for another 20 years. There’s a precedent in his family for working a long time. Kerry’s grandfather owned the second oldest bar in Nevada and, at age 98, received the distinction from the President of being the oldest worker in the state. He lived until he was 101.

Still, John doesn’t think Kerry or their two daughters, Nichole and Danielle, would want him to set a similar record— not that he couldn’t try, of course. Fishing just isn’t something he wants to do. He would rather mow lawns.

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