Brian Spencer grew up skiing the slopes of Showdown Montana (which, he notes is still one of his all-time favorite places to ski), wakeboarding and water skiing on the Missouri river, and spending countless hours recreating outside with his family. 

Far From Montana

It wasn’t until he was hundreds of miles away from Montana, deep into his career as an orthodontist and restricted due to the pandemic that he realized how much the slow creep away from the activities he loved was impacting him.

“It was affecting my mental health a little bit,” Spencer explained.  “It got to a point where my life just felt completely out of balance. I still definitely struggle with this in our busy world, but at that moment I decided it was time to try and prioritize some of my forgotten active hobbies."

Drawings to Duds

Looking for a creative outlet to tap back into his personal passions, Spencer sketched out a few graphic designs to help himself get back in touch with the feeling that participating in adventure sports had given him in his youth.

“I can't really explain to you why I landed on the skeleton drawings," Spencer said. "I just wanted to capture that feeling and inspiration that these sports gave me. And so I met with a graphic designer and designed an initial wakeboarding and skiing design that I could put on a couple of my own shirts.”

What started as a personal passion project to help his own mental health, became a clothing brand for others.

Spencer started wearing his own personal T-shirts around, and people took notice of the eye-catching graphics: a skeleton ripping on a wakeboard.

"I realized some people were really loving the graphics, and I wanted to be able to share these designs with them," Spencer explained. "So I started working on a multitude of outdoor sports designs in the hopes of inspiring people to get back into nature and outside their comfort zones."

And that was how Skellies began. 

An Orthodontist turned Entrepreneur

What started as a personal passion project, catapulted Spencer into the role of entrepreneur. He brought his vision to reality over a couple of years. Then, finally, with the prompting of his fiance, he launched a site and put his brand, and mission, out into the world. 

Skellies is now a clothing brand that features those same edgy designs from the beginning, but Spencer has expanded from wakeboarding and skiing to more than 20 activities.  

Skellies aims to remind people of the joys of outdoor activities and their positive impact on mental health. "It was my way of trying to motivate people in that direction," he explained.

The brand’s slogan, "Adventure is in our bones," serves to remind us to get in touch with the activities that make us truly feel alive – whether that’s through extreme sports like kayaking and motocross or finding our flow state in a yoga class. 

And, since those early days of creating a graphic to reignite his own passion, he has too since returned to sports that give him joy. Wakeboarding and wakesurfing became a bridge for Spencer to build a community in Minnesota. And, when winter hits in “the flatlands,” as he described Minnesota, you’ll find him walking his Golden Retriever puppy, playing indoor pickleball, or sweating it out at a local Orangetheory. How do you know it’s him? Just look for that Skellies gear!

Growing up in Great Falls gave Spencer access to many outdoor activities that ultimately inspired the Skellies brand.

Do you own Skellies apparel? If so, send a photo to us on Instagram, Facebook or at We want to see you in your Skellies gear!

This is the first article in a series that features people from the Great Falls community who now live farther afield. Do you know someone with ties to Great Falls who has an interesting story? Let us know who should be featured next!