Bye bye boat

The time finally came recently when I had to say goodbye to my special Classic winning Triton boat. I wanted to give an update on the boat giveaway now that it’s all over and say THANKS again to everyone who donated to King's Home. I spent the day with Lew Burdette from King's Home last week and got to hear some of the great stories that are happening in the homes with the kids and women that depend on our support.

The King’s Home boat giveaway has been a big part of my marketing push and personal motivation over the past four years. I really think it’s a great promotion, and there’s no doubt that it’s a fantastic cause. We’ve helped raise a lot of money for their mission every year and getting to see how important it is at Christmas is very special. We were really hoping that this boat would help us set a new record, after all, this was the boat that I won the Bassmaster Classic out of and it deserved to set another record before it left my home. It did just that by raising $138,800 dollars for the operating expenses at King's Home ... that’s HUGE! Thanks again to everyone who helped!

The day of the drawing, we host our big outdoor event called "Kampfire for the King," and the gentleman who ended up winning brought his grandchildren to fish in the kids' fishing event that day. He’s not a big fisherman himself, but he wanted to support the charity and show his grandchildren a good time. When he signed his kids up for the competition, he saw Robin selling ticket chances and thought, “I’ll help out and donate for a ticket,” just a couple of hours before the ticket sale was scheduled to end. It was kind of a spur of the moment decision that paid off big time.

He said he never thought twice about winning, because it wasn’t about that for him when he made his donation, so he left before the drawing took place. When we called him to tell him that he’d won, he was absolutely thrilled. He knew that it was a special boat to me, and at the same time, he knew that he probably wouldn’t use it enough to do it justice, so he made the decision to sell it to someone that would. I have a friend who lives on Smith Lake who’d told me that if the eventual winner wanted to sell it, he’d like first crack at buying it. I set the two of them up and they had a deal put together in no time. Shortly thereafter my friend and the winner came down to the house to get pictures taken and pick up the boat to take it to it’s new home.

I took him through the boat’s options and features, and before he left he illuminated the Bluewater LED lights, as it was dusk when he was leaving. It was glowing as he drove away, and I had a flashback to the morning of the final day of the Classic, waiting in line to launch. It gave me chills. It was exciting and sad at the same time. It’s funny how our subconscious minds remember little details that we don’t even know happened. There was a memory that I didn’t realize had stayed with me from that final Classic morning. Before the daylight started to shine, I had walked away for a moment and as I came back to launch my boat, the cold foggy air around the water caused my LED lights to glow like an angel. It was a goosebump moment, and one that apparently stuck in the back of my mind. Maybe that was my first sign that this day was about to be “DIVINE”!! 

I kept the windshield from my Classic-winning boat.

Maybe it sounds silly to some of you, but this was a special boat and it meant a lot to me to know that it will be treated right. The Mercury ran great all year, and I had no problems out of the entire rig, and that is important for success on our competitive tour. It was the first year of the newly designed 21TRX model, and it was a joy to fish out of. I’m glad that it went home with someone who fishes tournaments and understands how sacred a boat can be, and hopefully it will bring him the good memories it brought me. 

While the boat is gone, one important part of it is still with me. I ordered up a new windshield from Triton and took off the original one to have as a keepsake in my house. It still has the wrap on it with all of the logos, and the #18 from the Classic. It’s the next best thing to having the entire boat there, and if I ever get a little lonesome for that Classic-winning ride, I can just look at it and conjure up all of the good times I had behind the wheel. 

The new boat has arrived and it’s time to make some more “first time” memories in 2015 with it. I think a “back to back” Classic victory would be a good way to start! Psalm 37:4.

Good luck and God bless!!