Brian Snowden and Randy Sullivan are 20 years apart in age, but the two Bassmaster Elite Series pros bridge the generation gap through a mutual affinity for bass fishing … and 80s pop culture.
“He knows script lines from the movies I grew up watching, you know, like Back to the Future,” said Snowden, 47. “He’ll just recite them, from out of nowhere.”
“He watches all the old shows, old movies, and I know lines from them,” added Sullivan, not even born when the 1985 iconic movie played in theaters.
Snowden and Sullivan are more like siblings than competitors. Early on, Snowden befriended Sullivan and more or less took him beneath his wing.
“We both camp, but his rig has the kitchen and mine is kind of grungy,” admitted Sullivan.
“He comes over and eats, watches TV shows, and we generally have a good time,” said the easy-going Snowden, whose low-key personality mirrors that of Sullivan.
Snowden, of Reeds Spring, Mo., is the veteran with 203 events fished over 20 years on the Bassmaster tours. His career dates back to the early 2000s with the Bassmaster Top 150 Tour, the forerunner of today’s Elite Series. Snowden has fished in six Bassmaster Classics, and will do so again next March at the 50th Classic on Lake Guntersville. His B.A.S.S. earnings surpass $1 million.
Snowden is a native Californian who transferred from Fresno State University to complete his fisheries biology degree at Missouri State University. Coincidentally, he worked for Bass Pro Shops and made the right connections that eventually landed him a tournament sponsorship, which he’s had ever since.
Sullivan, of Breckenridge, Texas, wrapped up his second season on the Elites this year. Like most pros, he got there through the Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens, qualifying for the Elite Series in 2017. He finished sixth in the Bassmaster Rookie of the Year race in 2018.
Here is more about Snowden and Sullivan, including more about their travel quirks and what makes them click as buds on the tournament trail.
How did you meet?
Brian: We met through a mutual friend of Randy’s who is from Texas and fishes the Opens. That happened while we were fishing an Open at the Sabine River a few years ago.
Randy: Our mutual friend booked us a place and we all ended up staying there together in Orange, Texas.
What made you decide to be running mates?
Brian: We have similar fishing styles, and it just kind of worked itself into a good, trusting relationship. I can ask him about things and always get an honest, straightforward answer. It’s been good because he’s more new school, while I’m more old school. He introduced me to the spybait, which I use all the time back home guiding on Table Rock Lake.
Randy: The first year we got to know each other, spend time together. He’s easy going, has a great sense of humor. He watches a lot of old movies like me, and that made it even better.
How do you work together?
Brian: We call each other throughout the day and compare notes. We both have campers and eat together at night, sharing more information about the day.
Randy: We bounce ideas off each other. If there is a pattern or technique that we haven’t tried, or had time to try, it’s good to have each other to talk to about it. One or the other of us probably has tried it, and that just makes it easier to break down water.
What drives him to compete?
Brian: Randy has a passion for figuring the fish out. He likes that more than anything. You know, finding those fish, figuring out what they are doing. The strategy side of it all. He’ll spend a lot more time in the details, especially when the fish are out deep.
Randy: Brian is laid back, but when it’s time to turn it on he can do that really well. He’s the optimist, never really allows anything to get him down. You need that out here.
What’s he like without the game face?
Brian: He’s very laid back, very polite. He’ll do anything to help you out.
Randy: He’s just very laid back, great sense of humor.
What do you admire about him?
Brian: His positive attitude and his respect for others.
Randy: That optimism. That’s something I don’t have like he does. There is no negativity about him. That’s where I aspire to be. It’s an inspiration.
What is something about him that people might not know?
Brian: He’s actually an old movie buff. He knows all the old movies that I grew up watching.
Randy: He likes to keep his boat, camper and truck always organized and clean. I remember one time I ate a biscuit in his truck, and he was not at all pleased about it.