God bless the USA

The Coke Zero 400 last weekend was an awesome experience. The longer I live, the more I appreciate the way we live in the USA. It's something we should all think about, all the time.

As you know, I was an honorary race official this year. I got to be on the stage and take part in the race festivities, most of which had a patriotic theme.

Members of the Wounded Warriors introduced the race drivers. Watching them do their job — despite serious injuries in some cases — was something to behold. We owe everything to them and the job they do.

I also had the privilege of meeting a number of veterans from WWII through the current wars. Their stories are amazing. Imagine how we would be living, and what our country would be like, without their efforts and sacrifices.

But, the best of all was the military flyover. The planes made one pass and then came back and arched over the track. None of us expected that. It absolutely took my breath away to watch the skill and expertise of the pilots, not to mention the military might of the aircraft.

Sherry and the kids were impressed with everything, too. Both boys had the opportunity to pause and think about how different things could be in their lives if they had been born in another country or in another time. It's important that they understand how fortunate they are.

Jamie wasn't so fortunate, however. After running a really good race he was involved in an accident and ended up finishing 39th. We were all hoping for a victory party, but it didn't happen. Nevertheless, the VanDam family had a good time overall.

Now it's time to turn my attention to ICAST, the largest fishing tackle show in the world. I'm really excited about it. We'll be introducing several new products next week in Las Vegas that'll have a positive impact on our fishing.

One of the things I'm most enthusiastic about is Strike King's new 1.5 and 2.5 series shallow running crankbaits. They're the real deal. They have a natural hunting action bass can't resist. I know — I've fished with these baits.

There'll also be a ton of new rods and reels from Quantum as well as new software updates for Humminbird electronics. (With most of them you'll be able to upgrade your existing unit from their website.) Add to that my new boat shoes from Irish Setter by Red Wing Shoes and you can see why I'm so excited about all the new products.

Over the next few weeks I'll give you the details about everything and a few tips on how to use all this stuff to catch more bass.

Remember, it's all about the attitude.

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