My new ride

It’s been an exciting week for me. My new ride is in, and is it ever a fine looking vehicle. It’s a brand new, white 2500 HD diesel Chevrolet truck. Basically it’s like the one I had back in 2006 when I started in this business full-time except that it’s new and has all the newer features on it. That’s a big except, though. These new vehicles are something else. They have just about every feature known to man on them.

In truth, I liked the old one well enough. It was a high-quality, reliable vehicle. The only reason I got rid of it was so I could buy a camper and travel with the family. I wanted to be with them all the time and, as much as we love each other, we did need more room than the truck offered. But, with the kids getting older, the family doesn’t travel with me all the time like they once did so I needed something else.

Actually I’ve had something else for a couple of years. It was a Chevy Suburban I bought after I sold the camper. It got me where I wanted to go but with over 200,000 miles on it I thought it was probably time to upgrade. And thanks to Bob Hembree Chevrolet here in Guntersville, I did just that. It’s with Britt Myers at CS MotorSports right now getting wrapped and tricked out. There’s no telling what’ll be on it once Britt gets done.

I’ve had a relationship with Hembree Chevrolet for years now. It’s one of the best relationships I have in the industry. Really, it shows all of us the value of good sponsorships, the kind that work for both sides. That’s something I want to talk about over the next few weeks.

Most of us have to have sponsors. It’s fine to talk about living off your winnings, or letting your fishing do your talking, but unless you have an alternative source of income, or long family money, you’ll need financial support along the way.

It doesn’t always look that way when you’re catching fish and cashing a $10,000 check every week or so but there will come a dry spell. No one performs in every tournament. At that point you’ll be dipping into your pockets to fish, and unless they’re deep that can be painful.

I know about all that from personal experience. I had to have sponsors or I wouldn’t have been able to fish at the Elite Series level. It’s just too expensive to do it any other way. Out of necessity, I learned a few things about developing them and keeping them. It’s difficult at first but over time things get easier. It’s a matter of knowing what to do and what not to do.

The time has come for me to share those lessons with some of you who are looking at a professional career. It’s a matter of giving back to everyone who makes this great sport possible. We’ll get started next Tuesday.

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