This is weird.
I have to write a revised intro to the intro of an article I wrote last week. I wrote my article this past Friday; and before I could get it on the site, Rick Clunn scooped me on his Facebook page with his very appropriate comments about cameramen Wes Miller and James Overstreet. Go read his first, then come back to mine.
You back? Alright.
I can re-scoop Rick (Is re-scoop a word?) because I have more details and pictures than him. You see, Wes Miller is like a son to me, and Overstreet is like my best friend who also happens to be my next door neighbor.
Rick Clunn, he’s like a brother.
So there, Clunn, this will teach you to beat me to the punch.
Now here comes the story written last week.
After Falcon Lake, I made the comment on Facebook that having Rick Clunn, Wes Miller and James Overstreet teamed up on the last day of the event was a first, and it might never happen again.
I thought that having that trio together was pretty special, but after thinking more about it I realized that “no, that was damn special.”
Wes, a cameraman, is always on the water the last two days of every event, but he could be with any one of the top 5 anglers. Or he could be shooting a special slo-mo camera we use, which would have him covering many boats and moving a lot.
James is the still photographer of the group, and he, too, could be paired with any of the top guys.
Rick’s path to becoming part of the threesome is the bumpiest, of course, because he has to get through 100 top bass fishermen to even be there in the first place; and I’m sure that, in the heat of the competition, he could care less who the camera guys are. I can also assure you that after it was over, he looked back and said “How did that happen?”
Well, it wasn’t planned. It just happened, and here’s more information as to why the group was special.
Wes Miller has been employed at this production company since 1991. He came on as a driver for one of the production trucks, but he begged us to shoot camera for so long that in order to shut him up, we let him try it. I’m sure it was something simple but when we started covering bass tournaments in the mid-‘90s we had a cameraman get sick, and Wes took over. He never drove a truck again.
Let me tell you something, shooting camera all day is one thing but shooting it all day in a boat and getting the best shots while dodging a panicking bass fisherman is something else. Wes is in the Top 3 or 4 ever to pull this off.
As far as I know, in almost 20 years of covering these tournaments, Wes has never missed one.
Now then, James Overstreet … Oh my! What can I say? James came to us maybe 8 or 10 years ago. It was back when we were catching a couple of fish before each tournament started, hooked them up with radio telemetry, and then released them for tracking during the competition.
James is the guy who went early, caught the bass and helped rig them with the radio device. He was such a good angler that we knew he could catch the fish we needed.
I guess he was always a good photographer and, after we quit tagging fish, he just started shooting still images for B.A.S.S. I don’t mean to judge any other shooters, but James is like Wes – best in the world.
If you don’t believe me, go to his Facebook and see for yourself. On a personal note, I, like everyone else, feel blessed to be around him. He has never called me anything other than “Mister Jerry” and I love the man.
OK, we’ve got 2 out of 3 covered. Honestly, it would be hard but we could make moves to get Wes and James on the same angler. We don’t, but we could. We have no control over Rick Clunn’s path, though.
I want to be plain here. I am extremely proud of Keith Combs for winning the Falcon event. This youngster could be a star in the making. However, Rick’s run to a close second was huge in the outdoor world, and I can’t get it off my mind.
So here comes the toughie. Rick Clunn is No. 3 in this group, and how do you say something about this man that hasn’t been said before.
Well, here’s something. His wife, Melissa, their sons, Sage and River, and his daughters, Brooke and Cortney, are his top priority. Sage and River are young enough though that they didn’t see and feel his glory days. In my opinion, his No. 1 driving force is for them to see him lift another trophy.
Here’s another thing. He never competes against other anglers. It’s just him against the elements and Mother Nature. Hear him when he says his proudest accomplishment is “believing that one’s success does not have to be at the expense of another.”
On the down side, in my opinion, he has a stubborn streak. (I’m sorry ,Melissa, but he does.) And he sometimes insists that the fish bite on what he wants to use, instead of visa versa.
But here comes the most important thing I can say about this man. You know how a game announcer is always saying that this athlete or that player makes everyone around him better. Well, you can say that about Rick Clunn.
In some way or another, he has made Skeet Reese, KVD, Larry Nixon, Trip Weldon, Jerry McKinnis and the whole world of bass fishing better … And we got lucky last week when he landed right in the middle of a party that Wes Miller and Overstreet were having.
Once again, let me say that Keith Combs knocked it out of the park with an outstanding performance and victory at Falcon.
On top of that, Clunn, Miller and Overstreet added something pretty special.