CULLMAN, Ala. — You might spend a lot of time traveling to tournaments, and you might spend a lot of money on gas.
But you’re the rare exception if you traveled more in 2013 than Tony Quick did.
Quick, a member of the Birmingham Bass Club, logged 27,586 miles in 2013 driving the B.A.S.S. truck and tournament trailer across the country, from Florida to California to Maine.
“You know, with gas being an average of $3.50 a gallon and that rig only getting about 10 miles per gallon, that’s a pretty big bill right there,” said Quick, 51.
And he’s right. A $9,655.10 bill, to be exact.
Those figures don’t even include the additional 3,000 miles or so that he drove smaller vehicles on equipment runs.
Quick is a CTA (contract tournament assistant) for B.A.S.S., a position he took on in 2011 after retiring as the chief at the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office. He had volunteered with B.A.S.S. for years and was a longtime member of the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation, and working for B.A.S.S. seemed like a good way to spend his retirement years.
Quick’s job consists of transporting the stage, setting it up, checking competitors’ fishing licenses, verifying the length and health of fish, and otherwise making sure the B.A.S.S. tournaments run smoothly.
“I basically help the managers make sure every event is a success,” said Quick.
“You can really tell he enjoys what he’s doing,” said Jon Stewart, director of the B.A.S.S. Nation. Stewart is very familiar with Quick’s work because Quick is the only CTA to have traveled to every 2013 B.A.S.S. Nation event.
“He’s always so positive,” continued Stewart, “and meticulous in his duties. He’s genuine, and for him, this is not just a job. It’s hard to not have fun around a person like that.”
Quick travels to a lot of the Bassmaster Elite Series events, but he goes to more of the Nation events, Opens and College tournaments.
“I feel privileged working for the Nation,” said Quick. “They’re very personal, and I really relate to the people at these events. Plus, having been a member of the Nation so long, I know a lot of the guys who are fishing the divisionals.”
Quick is now in his third career. He served in the U.S. Army National Guard for 26 years as a platoon sergeant, and he spent 16 months in Iraq between 2003 and 2005. Upon his retirement, he joined the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office.
“Now I’ve retired twice!” said Quick. “I feel blessed to have retired at an able age so I could continue to work. I hope I’ve got a lot of years left in me to keep traveling with B.A.S.S.”
After putting in more than 500 hours of driving time in 2013, Quick said he doesn’t think people realize how much work it takes to get B.A.S.S. tournaments in driving distance of its many competitors.
“I get to see firsthand the miles and expense it takes to go around the United States,” said Quick. “When I get to an event, the guys there sometimes think I was just hired for the one tournament and I live right down the road. They don’t realize I just drove 1,000 miles to get there. And there’s other CTAs who do the same thing I do.”
Quick said three years of working as a CTA has given him so much good experience.
“I’ve fished all my life, from wading in creeks to casting out of $60,000 boats,” said Quick. “I appreciate the opportunity I have to share the excitement of fishing with people all over the world.”