2014 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro
Lake Guntersville - Birmingham, AL, Feb 21 - 23, 2014

A Classic dream come true

Soon after, we were able to come home and stay for three nights. It was really weird to be preparing for the biggest tournament of the season and have the luxury of staying at home. During regular season events, we are in our camper on the road, and I do my best to make things as close to normal home life as I possibly can. Most men do not like change, so one of my main jobs is to help maintain normalcy which in turn helps him not to have unnecessary distractions. His last day of practice was on Wednesday, and by this time he had begun to recover from the stomach and sinus issues through the help of a couple of  doctor friends that we are fortunate to know. Toward the end of this practice day, he got a few bites that helped solidify the belief he had that things were definitely turning for the better and a couple more warm days would be the difference maker.

Meanwhile, since we were at home and not on the road in another state, I was able to keep the boys in their basketball games. It was also their championship week which was really important to them. Randy was even able to help coach Oakley’s Monday night game, and it turned out to be a really good game for Oakley. He was so proud that dad could be there to see it. We were also home to be able to get haircuts for them and my hair done, as well. (I just had to throw this in because Randy got one of the best Flattop haircuts ever the week of the Classic! Mr. Joe, his barber, is the Bomb and keeps Randy’s OCD over his hair in order!)

Friday, the first competition day of the Classic, came and he was excited about going out to see what the day would hold. It turned out to be a decent day, and he ended the day in 12th place. Day 2 was also a decent day, and he moved into 11th. He told me it was a good day, and he thought Sunday was going to be really good because the fish were really biting at the end of the day on Saturday with the warm weather.

So what kind of feeling did we have before he went out on Sunday? I could see that he was excited about going out to catch some fish because they were really biting. But did I get the feeling that he thought he was going to win? No. It was more of an expectancy that the fishing was going to be good, and he was looking forward to seeing what the day would hold. He told me where he was going to start and that I should come watch him.

I left take-off to go watch him, and when I crossed the bridge he said he was going to start at, the blue King’s Home/Livingston boat was not there so I went to get some breakfast at Waterfront Grocery. While I was there, I received a call from a friend that said I needed to get to the Spring Creek Bridge ASAP. He said Randy had three fish and one was a 7-pounder. Needless to say, I only took a few bites of my biscuit!

I headed to the Spring Creek Bridge with my boys and our aunt that was with us. We had the awesome opportunity to watch Randy catch most of his fish on Sunday. Little did we know that he was catching the winning fish. Looking back, it is one of the most special parts of this life changing event. The boys will never forget the experience of watching dad catch fish after fish, of friends with us cheering him on, and the excitement of knowing that’s their dad! However, did we believe that he was going to win?

I never knew without a doubt that he was going to win but I knew that I was watching something special. I made the comment to one of our friends that he looked so calm. In times past, when winning was a possibility, Randy’s nerves could be seen outwardly, and I could feel the anxiousness that he had, too. But, on Sunday, he never exhibited the anxiousness I had seen in him in the past. Maybe that nervousness was absent because he was in 11th place starting the day; or maybe his 11th place standing was ordered by God so that peace would prevail. Either way, his calm and confidence were evident in his body language which was pretty cool to see and experience with him.