A different kind of tackle

TEMPE, Ariz. — Pitchin' and flippin' may not be front of mind when most people think of professional football teams, but thanks to the NFL's Arizona Cardinals, the Bassmaster CastingKids were center stage at a pro game.The Arizona Cardinals' training facility in Tempe was the site of the CastingKids state finals for the Arizona B.A.S.S. Federation Nation. After Aaron Custer, 13, and Travis Pollay, 8, won their respective age divisions, they were invited to a game and introduced on the 50-yard line before the kickoff."It was a real experience for the kids," said Arizona's youth director, Jeff Foley. "We're grateful to the Cardinals for their generosity.""It was pretty cool," said Custer, whose family tree dates back to General Custer of Little Bighorn fame. "We got to see Coach Dennis Green [then Cardinals' head coach] and get autographed hats. And being introduced on the 50-yard line was the best part!"Pollay echoed Custer's enthusiasm. "It was really, really, really cool to be on the field. We got to see the players warm up and meet Coach Green and everything. We even got an autographed hat!"Pollay's victory was especially meaningful to him because his older brother, Kyle, was also a state CastingKids champion. Pollay grew up casting and fishing with his father and Kyle.Custer, on the other hand, grew up in the world of rodeo. He's a team roper and his father a former National Bull Riding Champion. CastingKids and bass fishing are new experiences for him.

 Both casters competed in last month's CastingKids national semifinals. The results, showcasing the 12 qualifiers for the finals, can be found in the March issue of BASS Times, and the national champions will be profiled in the April issue.