2012 Elite Series - All-Star Semi-final Lake Shelbyville - Decatur, IL, Sep 20 - 21, 2012

Chapmans: Living the Dream

David Hunter Jones

Bobbi Chapman threaded some braided line through a Wright & McGill rod on the deck of Brent’s boat before weighing in at on Day One of the Toyota Trucks All-Star Semi-Final. Like she had all season, she was helping Brent rig up for the next day’s competition. As Brent spoke of his Angler of the Year win, it was always the plural “we won” and “what we’ve accomplished” rather than what “I did”. He didn’t misspeak; the Chapmans are a family of four who travel the Bassmaster Elite Series circuit, living out their dream. With their AOY win, the dream is starting anew.

Having never won Angler of the Year or an Elite Series event, this was his best season to date, by far. He also won a Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open in January, which put him in the 2013 Bassmaster Classic in Tulsa, the closest Classic to the Kansas family’s house ever. After kick-starting his season with a win, Chapman eased into the Elites where he claimed another win at Toledo Bend, LA, a win that, as he says, has been pushed into the shadows.

“Beyond the Angler of the Year win, that was the highlight of the season. To get the Open win and into the Classic then win an Elite event, that was a huge load off of my shoulders,” he said.

He went into the final Elite event in a close AOY race, but triumphed, achieving a lifetime goal. Bobbi Chapman couldn’t contain her tears as Brent hoisted the fulfillment of a childhood goal.

 “Some people go through life and never have goals and other do but don’t achieve them,” she said. “Since Brent has won Angler of the Year, we now want to keep this going into next year.”

 “Success definitely breeds success,” Brent added.

With his newfound success, a host of doors have opened to him, including increased tradeshow appearance requests and pending sponsor deals, most of which he’s not at liberty to talk about until details are finalized. Bobbi called it almost overwhelming.

But with all of his success, Brent has become even more driven. “I want to win again even more now than I did before, and I wanted it really bad,” he said. “I feel like I’m in my prime, and if you look at guys like Kevin VanDam and Roland Martin and these other guys who have all the titles, they were in the 30s and 40s when they were on top, and I feel like I’m there right now. I want to keep it going.”

            Through all of his success, Brent and the Chapman clan have remained themselves.

            “Brent is a pretty humble critter,” Bobbi said as Brent tied on a well-used crankbait. “We know what Angler of the Year means and how it can change you, and we’re going to do our best to remain humble and uphold the honor that comes with this title.

            “We’ve gotten 1,000s of emails, Facebook messages, text messages and calls of congratulations on Brent’s win, and we’re thankful for each and every one,” she said. “They have not gone unnoticed. It took us 20 years to achieve our dream, and now we’ve done it. We’re just the Chapman family living out our dream.”

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