Saturday, February 24, 2024

Pirch overcomes mountainous odds –


Pirch overcomes mountainous odds

Steve Bowman

PAYSON, Ariz. – Clifford Pirch understands the words “purple mountain majesties” better than most.

Pirch spends most of his year chasing bass in the relative flatlands of America on the Bassmaster Elite Series. In the fall, he returns to his Arizona mountain home where he spends his time chasing elk and guiding hunters from ridge top to ridge top.

Pirch spends practically every day in the fall watching the sun light up the landscape washing the mountains with purple hues only mountains can have to black once the sun has robbed all the color from the day. The next day he watches as the process is repeated.

“I have a good life,” Pirch said. “I’ve been blessed in so many ways.”

Mountains are the perfect metaphor for Pirch’s life. Blessings come as big as mountains and difficulties follow suit.

The Elite Series angler has dreamed of being a professional fisherman since childhood. In eighth grade, his teacher/coach Max Foster told him he needed to work harder on his Algebra. Pirch’s response: “All I have to do is be able to count to five.”

His father passes on the story fondly, but it wasn’t always viewed that way. In high school, Pirch was a four-time All-State wrestler and All-State cross-country star. While Pirch was accepting his diploma at graduation, it was announced he aspired to be a professional bass fisherman: The crowd laughed.

Four years later as a senior at Northern Arizona University and just months away from a biology degree, a professor laughed again at his aspirations, moving Pirch to quit school and prove everyone wrong.

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