Jon Stewart briefs the Marshals on proper protocol for the Classic.
Here are some shots I took walking around Media Day. Let me just say the Expo Center here is Tulsa is an awesome facility. It is one gigantic builiding. I understand they hold motorcycle races in here.
Kevin VanDam talks to local media.
Tommy Sanders addresses members of the media before the interviews begin.
B.A.S.S. staffers enjoy some lunch. From left to right: Teresa Lux, Carol Stone, and Amy Skiff.
Chris Lane discusses his equipment.
Ish Monroe watches as his boat gets photographed.
Mark Pierce shows his good luck piece. (Mike Suchan photo)
Mark Pierce is only the second active duty military man to make a Classic, the last being Carlos Sellers in 1991. Pierce used much of his 30 days off from the army to fish B.A.S.S. Nation events and now the big show.
The 34-year-old spent 15 years in special operations aviation and now is a human resources NCO in Fort Knox, Ky.
“I don’t do none of that sexy stuff,” he said about his actual duties, which include typical army paperwork. “Death by computer”
He reported his wife and son, Jacob, are on their way to Tulsa, and on his throttle is a trinket with the letters WWJD – What Would Jesus Do?
“My son jokes with me, ‘What Would Jacob Do?’ “ he said.
Gerry Jooste of Harare, Zimbabwe broke bread with some heavy hitters. (Mike Suchan photo)
Gerry Jooste of Zimbabwe sat at the big hitters table, eating his Media Day lunch next to Kevin VanDam and Edwin Evers.
“Trying to get some tips,” the B.A.S.S. Nation angler said.
Fishing pointers were few, but KVD offered some travel advice. In Jooste’s 34-hour “doorstep to Springfield” trek, where he picked up his boat at Bass Pro Shops, he said he endured a sleepless 17-hour flight. He wished there was something to instantly transport him, like Star Trek's Beam me up, Scotty.
“Five or six bottles of vodka,” KVD qupped, continuing that he has no trouble sleeping on the many flights he takes. “I can be asleep before we even take off.”
Evers reported he enjoys the same snoozing ability. “I’ve had to have the flight attendant wake me up.”
Jooste isn’t so lucky, but he feels fortunate to be fishing his fifth Classic, which he said has become less complicated, despite the long travel and $2,200 plane ticket.
“It’s still exciting. The show gets bigger every time,” he said.
We have arrived at the Bassmaster Classic Media Day festivities at the Tulsa Fairgrounds. The anglers' boats are set up in a huge covered building.
The media are arriving in droves — at least bus loads — but the anglers have yet to show. It's a cold, nasty morning here but the precipitation is expected to move past the area by the time we leave. Stay tuned. We'll be blogging and gathering content and bringing it to you throughout the day.
All around the official Classic hotel, anglers and their families are buzzing about.
Yesterday, we caught a glimpse of Bill Lowen and his 1-year-old son, Fischer, walking through the halls. Fischer looks like a teeny professional fisherman. Too cute!
"Is this Maine or Grand Lake?" said Jonathan Carter, the first angler from Maine ever to compete in a Bassmaster Classic. "It reminded me of home today!"
Only three weeks ago, Carter was practicing for the Classic using an ice auger. This wintry weather is right up his alley.
All Mark Pierce had to say about this morning was: "Brrrrrr!"
As the last competitors put their boats on the trailers, the talk is of course about the weather. Shaw Grigsby just walked up the ramp with exactly zero percent of his skin showing. Meanwhile Maine's Jonathan Carter sits on his boat getting organized, apparently not stressed at all with what must feel like summer to him.
Overstreet and I are in the truck, getting ready to head out in search of coffee. Signing off, heading back to Tulsa for dry clothes.