DEFUNIAK SPRINGS, Fla. — Sure, Manabu Kurita thinks his bass is big. His 22-pound, 5-ounce largemouth was just certified as the world record. But his fish doesn't hold a candle to David Partridge's. Partridge has turned his Ford F-250 truck into a 5,752-pound largemouth bass on wheels, thanks to a huge boat wrap designed from a photograph of an actual largemouth bass.
Named Sir Bassalot, the truck has traveled from Miami to Boston pulling Partridge's Triton boat, stopping for appearances many times along the way to raise money for ill children. Last spring, Partridge's club, Hub City Bassmasters in Crestview, Fla., auctioned off a miniaturized Sir Bassalot to help him get to Victory Junction, a year-round camp for children with serious illnesses or chronic medical conditions. The little truck brought in $500, which paid for his appearance.
"Victory Junction is like a mini-Disney for these kids," Partridge said. "The looks on the children's faces when I pulled up was priceless," he said. "Then I broke out the toy trucks, and they had a blast racing them around the big truck." Partridge auctioned off another toy truck for Victory Junction's NASCARnival, a night where Nationwide and Sprint Cup drivers eat dinner with the campers. He has also taken Sir Bassalot to many events, including seven Bass Pro Shops grand openings, several Boy Scouts events, and even the National Peanut Festival Parade in Dothan, Ala.
Partridge is a paint contractor by day and uses any money he can spare to do appearances. "It's hard to do what I do without any help at all. I don't have anyone working with me and no sponsors," he said. "I'll either skip tournaments or just make sacrifices to be able to go." Partridge's dream is to start a charity organization he would call Bass On! For Kids. Partridge would then host clinics to teach kids fishing fundamentals and boat safety and to keep kids away from the television.
For now, he'll keep scrimping and saving, doing what he loves. "I could have the worst day ever, but all I have to do is get in the truck and drive into town, and once I see the kids looking and pointing at the truck, it's like nothing ever happened," Partridge said. "At the end of the day, all the sacrifices I make are worth it to see the smiles on kids' faces."