ICAST is in the rearview mirror. It was one of the best ever. The crowds were great — lots of media and buyers. I have to say that from what I saw everyone was interested in what we were displaying. Of course, the quality of the new products had a lot to do with that. There was some really nice stuff there.
A good ICAST means a lot to our industry. We have to keep everything economically strong if we’re going to grow and prosper. ICAST is a barometer of how things are going. That barometer says fair weather ahead.
That was last week, though. This week is just as busy because we’re getting ready for our annual fishing camp. This year we have around 150 kids attending. They’ll all have a chance to take boat rides, do a little fishing, participate in a weigh-in and compete in a casting contest.
They’ll all get to eat some food prepared by Tony Chachere, too. That is no small thing. He’s one of the great cooks in the country, not just in our industry. I mean, you can’t get enough of the food he fixes.
Along with that, I want to say thanks to B.A.S.S. for allowing us to use their official weigh-in trailer and scales for this event. That’s pretty cool. It’ll mean a lot to the kids.
I also want to say thanks to some of the people who are helping with this project. They include my brother Bobby, Justin Lucas, Kevin Hawk and Brandon Lester from the Elite Series as well as a ton of friends and family.
At the same time, we’ve received strong support from many companies. Several of them will attend. They include Power-Pole, Luck “E” Strike, Stren and Frogg Toggs. I want to send out a big thanks to all of them. We really appreciate the support.
Our local sponsors include the City of Guntersville, Hamby Chevrolet, Bonds Appliance Lawn & Garden, Foodland, Guntersville Boat Mart, Wentzel's Oyster House and Hampton Inn. To top it off, every child in attendance will receive a tournament styled t-shirt compliments of Bass Pro Shops.
There’s no way I can say enough good about the people who help us with this project. It’s critical that we get our youth involved in the outdoors and help them develop an appreciation for things beyond electronic gadgets.
Even if they never go fishing again, they’ll have fond memories of the camp and what they did there. And when they see something about fishing later in life they’ll smile. That’ll go a long way in helping to keep us viable and relevant.
If I’ve left anybody out who helped with the camp in any way whatsoever, I apologize to you.
One last thing: Arnie’s wedding was really nice. It was one of those events you’ll never forget. The former Brittany Dawkins, now Brittany Lane, was absolutely stunning in her gown. We all had a great time, and I can tell you that I wasn’t the only one who walked away thinking that Arnie was a very fortunate man. Holly and I wish them the very best.