Thacker’s good deeds exemplify Nation’s spirit

Photo courtesy of Dean Matuszewski
Dean Matuszewski, left, was in need and found help -- and friendship -- with a stranger from another state, Shelby Thacker, right.

ELDON, Mo. — Like a good neighbor, a B.A.S.S. Nation member is there to help a fellow angler in trouble.

That’s what River City Bass Club member Dean Matuszewski found out last spring when his truck blew an axle after the Nebraska B.A.S.S. Nation State Championship at Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks. Matuszewski wanted to fish another tournament that weekend at the lake, so he contacted Joe Hughes, Eldon Bassmasters president, to find out if he could borrow a truck from anyone in the club until his truck was repaired. Hughes set up the Nebraska angler with fellow Eldon Bassmasters club member Shelby Thacker.

“He took good care of me,” Matuszewski said of Thacker. “He let me park my boat at his house and he launched me every morning and picked me up every day. He let me use his power to charge my boat and he was just awesome. Shelby went way above and beyond to help me while I was stranded.”

Thacker said he just wanted to help a fellow angler get a chance to keep fishing. “Being a bass fisherman, you don’t want to see anybody stranded,” he said. “You have to bass fish.” The Eldon angler even offered Matuszewski some specialty painted MegaBass lures as well as some fishing tips for Lake of the Ozarks.

The Nation anglers have become friends who have stayed in contact with each other. “I talk to him every now and then to see how he is doing,” Matuszewski said.

When Matuszewski visited the lake to fish another tournament in October, Thacker invited him to a birthday party at Thacker’s house. “They gave me birthday cake and hot dogs,” Matuszewski said. “It was crazy; it was like I have known them for 20 years.

“I never expected the generosity I received,” Matuszewski said. “I truly think it speaks volumes for the Nation and its anglers.”

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