Knoxville, Knoxville, my hometown

This tournament was special for me. I’ve lived in Birmingham, Ala., for nearly 10 years now. But Knoxville and East Tennessee are the places that built me. I grew up here, in the shadow of the mountains, playing on her lakes and rivers. It’s good to be in your presence again K-town.

Walking around downtown last night, I was so impressed with how you’ve grown. I worked in the city some time ago, at Whittle Communications, and later in West Knoxville at HGTV. And I’ve always felt Knoxville could be as vibrant as Ashville, N.C. Well now it is. With restaurants, shops, and lots of people living downtown. Buildings that stood empty for many years are now thriving. They used to call this place the Scruffy City, but that description doesn’t fit anymore.

I’m blessed to travel all over the country with Bassmaster, so I have a few tournaments to compare this one to. Thanks to Jefferson County for doing a great job at Cherokee Lake, and to Knoxville for the high-energy weigh-ins at the Convention Center over the weekend. Y’all look good!