One of the questions that aspiring pro anglers often ask me is how we manage to take care of the daily details of life when we’re on the road. I’m fortunate that Robin is a great partner and business manager, which means that when I’m on the road my life is pretty straightforward – I can focus just about one hundred percent on fishing, which is important for success.
When the tour season ends, that’s when things get more complicated for me. For some of my colleagues, once hunting season starts they’re in the woods, as far away from the hectic aspects of the business of fishing as they can get. That’s the way they unwind, and it’s a healthy outlet. I love to hunt with my boys too, but this time of year is also when I take care of a lot of my business and try to spread my faith-based message as much as possible by speaking at churches and men’s events.
One of those opportunities was last week, when we were invited to the Trinity Broadcasting Network to film a show and tell my story to a wider audience than just bass fishermen. TBN is a Christian network, and one of the largest on television, broadcasting in over 200 countries, so that’s an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. They invited me in to talk about how we use our profession to help others in need – it wasn’t promotional so I couldn’t wear my jersey, but I was able to tell my story and deliver the real message. While we were at TBN, I met Fred Stokes, who played on the Redskins Super Bowl team in the 90s. We got to compare championship rings. It was funny comparing his Size 18 Super Bowl ring to my Size 10 Classic ring! Fred is an awesome guy that is using his super-bowl platform to make a difference.
While we were in Nashville, we stopped in at the Triton boats office to visit and set up our hunting trip with Earl Bentz. Earl has a farm called Wolf Creek and it’s a special place that’s heavily managed with some really big deer. It’s always been known that any Triton pro that wins the Classic gets an invite to hunt one trophy deer at Wolf Creek. My 13 yr old son Laker is getting the chance on this trip since he is the oldest. Oakley told me I’ve got to win the classic again next year so he can get his chance the following December. I think that sounds like a good plan!
On Saturday, November 1st, I was the master of ceremonies at the Bassmaster High School championship on Lay Lake. There were over 250 kids, all of them braving frigid temperatures to be there. It reminded me of how much passion exists for our sport and why it’s important both to mentor these kids and to set them up with a plan to succeed. There are so many great parents and coaches that give their time and money to help these kids fish the high school events, and you can be sure that it’s time well spent! That’s why when we plan our events at King’s Home, it has to be about more than just raising money, I want the high school and college kids to inspire the kids that haven’t had the same opportunities in life as they have. I want them to experience how great fishing can be, and In turn, they get to see how much we all have to be thankful for.
Right now, the biggest thing on my mind is the King’s Home boat giveaway. This month will mark the fourth year we’ve used my Triton/Mercury tournament rig to raise money for the kids and women with children at Kings Home. This charity has become a big part of our family over the past 5 years. It makes me sad to hear the stories of horrible abuse that many of theses kids have been through. We’ve been able to see first hand how kids come into Kings Home with no hope. Robin and I have gotten to see many of these kids grow up with love, hope and structure and get scholarships to go to college, and that would not have been possible without ministries like Kings Home. My boat giveaway raised $125,000 last year and over $320,000 the past three years all from the bass fishing family. I’m proud to tell the world that fishermen have big hearts and we appreciate the continued support of Kings Home.
The drawing will be on November 15th at 2:15 central and it will be live streamed on kingshome.com. This boat is the one that I won the Classic out of, so the lucky winner will have a true piece of bass fishing history. We’re already ahead of where we were last year, but I’d like to blow those numbers out of the water this time. This is the final week, so go ahead and click on kingshome.com and donate today!
As we approach the drawing, I’m hustling to get the news out to all of the fishing websites as well as pull all of the volunteers together for the kids fishing event. The annual event is called Kampfire for the King and it’s a pre-holiday event for the whole community. We kick-off the event with a 5K run against domestic violence at 9:00 am, then the kids fishing derby starts at 10:00 am and goes through 2:00 pm. We have 10 high school fishing teams signed up to volunteer their time to help these kids catch fish and win prizes. The schools give the teams community service points for their service that day and it becomes an eye-opener for everyone involved. Last year we had coaches and parents sending us emails saying how much it changed their kids perspective on life after being there that day and seeing how much it meant to the kids at Kings Home.
We realize that we are a very blessed family, but with that comes responsibility, and no matter how busy we get, it’s critical that we take time out of every day to reflect upon the opportunities that have been given to us, and to try to use them to make a difference!