To me, the most special thing about the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship is the love and support of family that you can actually feel when you're on-site. That sounds a little hokey. But it's true! And if you can't feel it, you can at least hear it and see it.
I love the pure joy of the anglers' wives, parents, kids and families when they're here. I've been to a ton of weigh-ins, but at the Nation Championship, year after year, I watch these families come in from all over the world (not an exaggeration), take a week off work, take the kids out of school, bring flags from their home state or country, draw posterboard signs for their anglers, and yell like maniacs while they're trying to get just the perfect shot of their loved ones on stage.
And the competitors really appreciate it. Jack Barber of the PVA was tearful on stage when talking about his wife today and the support she gives him. Jamie Laiche, Day 1 leader, said there's just no way he could do what he does without his wife's help. And Marcelo Lozano, who brought seven friends from Mexico plus his wife and kids, thanked them each individually on stage. And that's just a few of the anglers who mentioned their families today.
If you still have any doubt about the love in the B.A.S.S. Nation family, read Don Barone's article about Brian Croteau, whose dad died last summer and never got to see his son compete in the championship.
For these anglers, this moment may be the pinnacle of their entire bass fishing careers. And their families wouldn't miss this moment for the world.