MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- For Skeet Reese, the alarm clock keeps waking him to "I Got You Babe," only it's not Sonny and Cher singing, it's Kevin VanDam.
Groundhog Day AOY-style.
Wake up to 2010, and VanDam's singing again, and casting a shadow that says they'll be 52 more weeks of Kevin.
"This is not the way I wanted it to end up," said Reese, who wanted so bad for this year to be different.
While Bill Murray's character used humor mostly as he woke to the same day over and over, Reese actually had a little of his façade chipped away by suffering through the same exact fate these past two years. It is, after all, his life, not a movie.
On stage at the Montgomery Amphitheater, as KVD stole what was anticipated to be his thunder, after probably the best season in BASS history, Reese grinned and beared it.
Pictures show him smiling as KVD first-pumped with his third consecutive AOY and sixth overall. When Reese exited stage right, he was greeted by Tommy Biffle, Gary Klein, Aaron Martens and Cliff Pace. As they patted his back to console him and show their support, Reese teared up.
No one can blame him. It was the $60,000 question of the week. Could he hold his lead and get the other bookend to his 2007 AOY?
He had said he'll never have a happy feeling for what happened on the Alabama River in 2009. Rinse and repeat for 2010 and this act has grown way too painful.
"Skeet will never tell you his true feelings," Klein said. "It's a façade. I've lost AOY, finished second, I know how much it stings."
It hurts more that Reese again left some fish in the river. In 2009, it was a four-pounder that could have been the difference. Last week, there was three-pounder and a three-plus "that will be haunting me for a while."
"Was that the difference? I don't know," he said after regaining his composure. "I probably have to say it's a fishery I haven't figured out yet.
"The only thing you can do when you spill milk is clean it up and move on."
Reese must be thinking of what he needs to do to wake from this loop that's become more than just a bad dream, because the Elites will be back here in 2011. That would just be piling on. Maybe Skeet needs to check with Ned Ryerson about insurance for AOY leaders, if there were such a thing.
KVD meanwhile, enjoys how he was cast in the drama. He's certainly been antagonist to Skeet.
"Heck of a ride the last few years," he said. "Each year it seems to come down to us."
VanDam said his three-peat was amazing, as was being the first to win the Classic and AOY in the same season since Mark Davis 15 years ago.
"It was such a magical week," he said. "Anything can happen when you get into a format like this and I love it."
Obviously, Skeet does not. He's still seeking a way to wake up and have it be his next day.