Ryan Butler discovered there is crying in bass fishing.
Butler was overcome with emotion several times on his two-hour ride home from the Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship Classic Fish-Off, where he won the final berth to the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.
Contacted Monday, he chuckled a couple times when asked if it’s sunk in yet.
“Brother, I am on cloud nine,” he said. “I came back to work today; it’s been one person after another congratulating me. Every 20 minutes yesterday, I’d ask my wife, ‘Can you believe I’m fishing the Classic?’”
Yep, the 36 year old is the pride of Blue Eye, Mo., a village of about 100 just south of Table Rock Lake. Well, more like the hero of the entire region and all his Joe Bass series brethren, who’ve been slamming his phone with congrats and "Go get ‘ems." He got visual evidence right down his road in the sign at JJ Junction Market, where on tournament mornings he gets gas and coffee.
“A lot of the fellow competitors in Joe Bass I typically see once a month are reaching out to me,” he said, “pulling for me and offering words of encouragement. ‘You got this.’ ‘You’re just as good as they are.’ ‘Just do what Ryan knows how to do and you’ll be fine.’ The support has been unbelievable.”