Being the spouse of a Bassmaster Elite Series pro takes special dedication and a special kind of person. On November 19 and 20, nine Elite Series wives plus three family members and friends showed their makeup when they ran in the Ragnar Race Series' 201 mile relay race from Port Richey to Daytona Beach, Fla.
The 12 women, named the Racing FishTales, who decided to push their limits were, Bobbi Chapman (Brent Chapman's wife), Robin Howell (Randy Howell's wife), Holly Lane (Chris Lane's wife), Liz Markowitz (wife of Bassmaster emcee Keith Alan), Jill Lane (Russ Lane's wife), Stacey Coad (Chapman's sister), Jess Wolak (Dave Wolak's wife), Angie Faircloth (Todd Faircloth's wife), Kim Reese (Skeet Reese's wife), Nikki Brauer (Chad Brauer's wife), Lesley Martens (Aaron Marten's wife) and Donna Bonds (Robin Howell's aunt).
Team Captain Chapman said that it came about as an extension of what they do on tour. "Many of us travel and camp in the same campgrounds," she said. "We take turns watching each other's kids at tournaments so that we can get a run in, so the relay format made sense to us."
Robin Howell was introduced to the series by some friends at church, shared it with Chapman, and they decided to form a team. Many trained for more than a year. Each team member ran three legs, with Martens running the longest individual leg at 9.1 miles. Wolak, an experienced marathoner, put in the most total miles with 23.5. "We completed the race in 35 1/2 hours, and only got two hours of sleep in that time," said Chapman.
"The Howells brought their RV and laid out mattresses on the floor for that 2-hour break. It looked like an express slumber party." Chapman said that the experience brought the group together in ways she never anticipated. "We laughed and cried more in those two days than I have all year," she revealed. "It was an incredible bonding experience that we won't forget." Between shifts, the group was shuttled in two chase vans filled with the racers, and most of the husbands came along as a race support team. Chapman relayed that Howell described the adventure as The Amazing Race meets The Biggest Loser meets Wife Swap with a scavenger hunt built around a marathon. "We're proud of ourselves and really grateful to our husbands for all of their support and encouragement," said Chapman.
"They gave us as much as we do them during the season."