The Bassmaster Classic is so much more than just the pinnacle of the bass fishing community. It is more than just the dreams of anglers around the world. It is about the fans and their love of this great sport. It is about family. This is the one event where anglers bring their family to be near them, to share in the experience.
It is something special about being here and rooting for your favorite angler. To be here to root for the local angler that made their dream a reality by being out there trying to make it happen and walk across that big stage. To be the angler that lifts that trophy high over their head and be forever known as a Bassmaster Classic winner. Many have dreamed it, but so few can claim it as their own.
And everyone at the Classic is basically family, we all share that love of fishing. We all are here for what this event means and what it offers. We all want to meet the anglers we feel the closest to, the anglers who helped shape us. Bill Dance, Roland Martin, Jimmy Houston, Cody Meyer, Mike Iaconelli, Kevin Van Dam, Brandon Palaniuk, Edwin Evers, John Crews, and so many more. It doesn’t matter that they are no longer fishing B.A.S.S., they are family.
And the Classic is the one place where we can connect with others we may have only talked with through social media. Danny Barker and Preston Rogers from Florida are 2 people I truly look forward to seeing each year at the Classic along with many others. And then it is the changing location of the event that brings about the opportunity to meet new friends.
I have also had the opportunity to do something that I would have never thought I would do. From that shy guy who graduated high school to the guy who came out of his shell and found his voice. God provided the opportunity to find my voice through service and he showed me that fishing is a perfect ministry. I don’t preach, but I will share when asked. I have found that I can make a difference in the lives of others just by smiling and sharing some fun.
Walking around the Classic Expo, I am able to meet people attending, to find out what they think about everything. From the couple attending their 10th Classic, to those experiencing their first, and the families who are bringing their daughters or sons to their first ever Classic, it is amazing. Helping to make it better is an honor. Even though you have to be careful in this day and age.
It is also an opportunity to learn. I get to talk to the anglers working the Expo and ask questions. I know that their time is stretched, but by keeping the questions simple, hopefully it will help others at the same time. But the anglers go out of their way to make sure every fan gets to talk with them, have an autograph, and a picture with them. And special attention is given to the kids.
The Bassmaster Classic is about fishing and so much more. We are one large fishing family! And that makes us unique! Have you been to a Classic? Who did you meet there and did it change your life!