2013 Elite Series Ramada Quest Bull Shoals Lake - Bull Shoals, AR, Apr 19 - 22, 2013

An open letter to Brandon Palaniuk, Part 2

We're approaching the anniversary of Brandon Palaniuk's first Elite Series tournament win at Bull Shoals in 2012.

About the author

Don Barone

Don Barone

db has been in the reporting biz for over 30 years, won some Emmys and other awards, but is proudest of his four-decade marriage, his two kids and the fact he founded Tackle The Storm Foundation to help children.

“We lose our way…”

Dateline:  A Dining Room Table Story

Know this young man Brandon,

on the day you were born in 1987,

I had already been a reporter for 6 years.

Had already covered a President, a Queen, Movie Stars,

and the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders,

before you had even left the birthing room of the Idaho hospital.

Before you were you,

I had stood amidst natural disasters,

stepped over rivers of blood in the streets,

covered a Governor named Moonbeam on a Monday,

and a migrant worker in a field named Chavez on Tuesday.

Since 1992 I have covered most of the greatest athletes on this planet,

and the Little League World Series.

I have walked in the dust of the World Trade Towers,

have stood in an empty lot where a town once stood in Alabama,

walked through a field of debris with a child as he searched for his Xbox.

Young man, these old eyes have seen a lot, this old heart has felt a lot, this old soul has been battered and bruised and has a love/hate relationship with mankind,

and what we do to each other…most of my life I have covered the man,

not much of the kind.

I say all that of that young Brandon for one reason. When I close the laptop for the final time and move to a quiet life of sipping good Bourbon with a fine lady, I will only have the memories of the past, and not the words of the present, but know this child,

I will never, ever forget the moment when you came off the 2013 Bassmaster Classic stage.


Diseases of the brain will never be able to take that moment away.

That moment when you came up to me and gave me a huge hug and cried on my shoulder,

that moment when you whispered to me, “db….I’m so sorry…I wanted to win it for you.”

Never forget it, will be the only moment in sports I will remember with good sips and fine woman.

And please young child, know also this,

if you ever say that to me again,

I will kick your ass.

“…we get back up again…”



For giving it your all.



For 2nd.