Personalized Plates

Three Bassmaster Elite Series pros on the Skeeter Boats team recently received in the mail their new boat trailer license plates. All three of them — Todd Faircloth, Kelly Jordon and Alton Jones — attached the new license plates to their trailers and thought nothing more of it.

 "I don't look at my license plate numbers," said Jones, who lives in Waco, Texas.

 But other people do.

 In Jones' case, it was his son, Alton Jr., who immediately noticed the significance of his dad's new boat trailer plate. It included the nickname of the most accomplished angler in bass fishing, Kevin VanDam — the three-time BASS Angler of the Year and two-time Basmaster Classic champion, who is fishing in his 18th-straight Classic this week.

 "My son said, 'Dad, your license plate has KVD on it,'" Jones recalled. "He's the one who told me."

 Faircloth, who is from Jasper, Texas, didn't notice it until Jones told him this week in Greenville.

 "It's not something you really pay attention to, your license plate," Faircloth said.

 Faircloth, who is fishing in his sixth Classic, called a Skeeter representative this week and said, "You better watch out, Kevin might be trying to get a royalty."

 Jordon, a Mineola, Texas, resident, didn't find out until his girlfriend, Kerri Cole, told him.

 "I just screwed it on the trailer," Jordon said. "I was headed out, and my girlfriend was following me. When we stopped, she said, 'Did you know your license plate was customized?' I said, 'No.' She said, 'You didn't know it says KVD on it?' I said, 'No it doesn't.'"

 But yes it does — 89Z-KVD, to be exact. And Jordon is probably having more fun with this than anyone. The talkative Texan loves to rib VanDam any time he can.

"The only time I think about KVD is when I look down the standings to see how far he is behind me," said Jordon, who is fishing in his sixth Classic. "That's the only time I ever look for KVD."

 Jordon immediately called his friend VanDam to tell him the news.

 "Does this mean I've got your number, or you've got my number?" Jordon asked him. "I think it means I've got yours, since it's on the back of my boat trailer.

 "I said that I was going to have him sign it. And after I whipped him this year, I was going to tear that jersey off his scrawny butt and hang it with that license plate in a shawdow box."

 Jordon paused, noted that some of his finest fishing moments had come in head-to-head competition against the "King of Bass Fishing," then acknowledged, "He's a good friend. But that's about as much in-his-face as you can get because he will make you eat your hat every now and then."

 So just how did all three Elite Series pros from Texas end up with the letters KVD on their license plates? Pure coincidence. Skeeter Boats is located in Kilgore, Texas. The company provides trailer and boat registration for its pro angler team.

 "The county just happened to be on the KVDs that day," said Jones.

 And how much is Skeeter paying KVD, who is sponsored by another boat manufacturer, for allowing the company to use his name?

 "Skeeter didn't do anything," said VanDam, with a wink. "The question is how much I had to pay the state of Texas to get that done.