The 2019 Bassmaster Elite season was full of drama, surprises and great memories.
Yet, as I look back, perhaps one of the most memorable events of the season was how it ended with Carl Jocumsen winning the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah Bassmaster Elite at Lake Tenkiller.
And while I join the long list of fans offering heartfelt congratulations, I’d like to say “thank you” as well.
I’ve covered this gritty Australian since he came to this country and began chasing his dream through the Bassmaster system. He slugged through the Open Series from 2011 to 2013 before making the Elites the next year. He labored through the 2015 and 2016 seasons and failed to requalify in 2017. He got back in 2019 and continued his struggles until it all came together at Tenkiller.
This exemplary young man epitomizes the fortitude and desire it takes to fulfill a dream and be a champion.
He did it the hard way, yet through it all, he remained one of the most positive human beings I’ve ever met. He’s been knocked down and kicked throughout his career and would always find a way to put a positive spin on it.
That’s staggering when you consider what he has endured on and off the water. This game is tough enough when you’re a full-blooded American. He came here alone to chase a dream and has battled financial issues and incredible governmental issues while trying to retain his right to stay here as a non-citizen.
There were times this year when I worried that if he couldn’t right the ship, it could be the last time we saw him on tour.
So, when he made the final day cut at Tenkiller I was happy for him, but honestly, I figured that was a cool end to the story. But when the smoke cleared and he hoisted that winner’s trophy alongside his now wife Kayla, it gave me chills.
To see a guy battle so many problems on and off the water and still maintain his drive and positive attitude is something you don’t see in every human being. Most guys would have quit long ago when faced the obstacles he encountered.
So, thank you Carl for not only sticking it out, but demonstrating to us how valuable a positive attitude can be when things don’t go well and how that positive thinking can turn the tide in a hurry.
There are no shortcuts to a successful life and the road to being a prosperous bass pro is certainly full of giant potholes.
Carl Jocumsen’s positive attitude and determination exemplifies traits I want – that I want my kids to have regardless of the careers they choose.
We can all learn from Carl Jocumsen.