The Classic and babies on their minds

In less than one week, Greg Vinson will be a first-time father. Ten days after that, the Bassmaster Elite Series pro will be headed to Louisiana to compete in the Feb. 24-26 Bassmaster Classic.

“We definitely didn’t plan it this way. Talk about life in the fast lane, and I think things are about to speed up even more. Just as I was getting used to one career, I will be learning a new career: father,” said Vinson, who first competed on the Elite level in the 2009 season.

Elite pro Bill Lowen will have slightly more time between his Classic appearance and the birth of his second child. Due Jan. 25, William Fischer Lowen was already five days late, his father said Monday afternoon.

“We have been to the hospital twice already, and they’ve sent us back two times. We’re hoping the third time will be a charm,” Lowen said.

While both pros are more concerned this week with babies, neither has forgotten the facts that the Classic is near and that they aren’t yet ready. Official pre-practice time will begin Feb. 17, and they’d lose valuable time on the water if they were late.

Vinson plans to be Classic-ready before the birth of Gaige William Vinson. That will be 7:30 a.m., Feb. 6; Greg and Stephanie Vinson know the exact time because Gaige must be brought into the world via Caesarean section.

Good thing he keeps his gear organized, Vinson noted. But he still has to pack his Classic tackle, and finish outfitting his new Skeeter-Yamaha — the wrap was ready Monday — before he can make the seven-hour trip to Shreveport-Bossier City, La., from his home in Wetumpka, Ala.

Lowen of Brookville, Ind., has farther to travel, and isn’t even as ready as Vinson. His Classic preparations had slowed to a crawl in the past week. To be closer to the hospital, he and his wife decamped with their 3-year-old to the home of Jennifer’s parents. He has picked up his new Skeeter-Yamaha rig, but it still needs to be fitted and wrapped. His tackle, unpacked, is at home.

“I feel like I have to be in a million places, but I can’t be in any of them,” said Lowen, who was hanging close to Jennifer as she paced through the hours.

Stressful as the pros’ lives are right now, both were euphoric to be anticipating the birth of a child as well as a berth in the world championship of fishing.

“We are so blessed to have this happy time of our lives,” Vinson said.