Thanks to the B.A.S.S. tournament crew

Last week as I was thinking and writing about the Mystery Lake, I got to thinking about the B.A.S.S. staff and all the things they have to do to put together a successful tournament. When you stop to think about it, you quickly realize it isn’t an easy job.

They have to transport all the equipment to the site, set it up and then make everything look like it’s running like a well-oiled machine. For the most part, they do that without a hitch. It doesn’t seem to matter to them if it’s directing traffic in the early morning darkness, checking anglers in off the water in the afternoon or passing out weigh-in bags. They do it with a smile on their face and with efficiency.

I think sometimes we fail to realize all of what they do or how tough a job they have. It’s no fun sitting under a tent when it’s hot or raining and keeping track of things, especially when you’re dealing with a bunch of individualists who don’t always do what they’re told.

And then, of course, there’s Tournament Director Trip Weldon. At one time or another, I’ve fished just about every tournament trail in our nation. If ever there was a thankless job, it’s tournament director. Ever try to herd cats, or cross your backyard with a wheelbarrow full of squirrels? If so, you know what Trip does for a living. If not, you don’t have a clue.

We’re all sort of a family. We travel together, eat together, socialize together and then go out and compete against each other. That makes it especially hard to enforce the rules. Who wants to rule against a guy when you know his wife and kids, and know that he’s having a tough year and needs a check?

Yet, Trip does that with absolute fairness. He’s the best at asking about your family, or a sick relative, and then applying the rules as if he’s never seen you before. Without him, our tournaments would suffer. Let’s face it, we’re fishing for a lot of money and we’re really competitive and aggressive by nature. We need a man like him to keep us in line. It’s no exaggeration to say that he’s largely responsible for the success of professional bass fishing with B.A.S.S.

I don’t want to leave this topic without calling attention to the maintenance crews and the volunteers. I’ve talked about the maintenance crews before so I won’t say anything more other than they’ve kept me on the water more than once. For that, I am grateful

The volunteers are another matter, however. They don’t get near the recognition they deserve. They help park vehicles, keep traffic flowing, provide food and drinks and generally make things better for all of us with B.A.S.S. It never hurts to have a few people around who know the lay of the land and who are familiar with local customs.

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