Purging hats a delicate endeavor

PART IV: HATS OFF TO ELITES

This is Part 4 of a five-part series on Elite Series anglers and their relationship with hats.

Legendary angler Rick Clunn thrilled young and old alike in 2016 when he won his first tournament title in 14 years. His fellow Elites rallied around him during the event and celebrated when he won.

Clunn was gracious afterward, but wished Tim Horton’s thoughtful gesture didn’t come into fruition.

“He said since Rick won, I want everybody to sign and give him a hat,” Clunn said. “But I hope they forget. I’m sure every fisherman’s wife, that’s one of the least favorite things of ours.”

That would be hats. Lots of hats.

It’s not like Clunn needed, or wanted, another 107 hats. He gets plenty from his sponsors, so many he has difficulties using or dispersing all of them.

“Sponsors send boxes and you slowly weed through them and give ‘em away, but you can only give so many hats,” he said. (Rick, we know tons of folks who would accept one of your signed hats in a heartbeat) “Then all your friends don’t want to see you coming with a box of hats.”

Most anglers like a nice hat, but having too many can pose problems, a consensus shows. For anglers, hats tend to turn up everywhere, seemingly breeding like rabbits and at times causing consternation.

“I’ve got so many hats my wife goes behind me and tries to throw them away,” Jeff Kriet said.

“I have way too many hats,” Brandon Palaniuk said. “If you ask my girlfriend, that’d probably be the one thing she’d get rid of out of the back of the truck.”

And it’s not always just because of the clutter. Chad Morgenthaler admits his all-time favorite hat isn’t fit for mixed company, or any company.

“It’s just roached,” he said. “It just smells so horrible the wife don’t even want it in the house.”

OK. Now let’s look into the harried hat situation of Mike and Stacy McClelland, a typical couple on the Elite Series. Some time back, she took a box of about 100 or so of his hats, dumped them on the floor, took a photo and posted it with these words: “And he says I have a shoe problem.”

That Facebook post spawned some thought about Elites and their hats, which turned into these stupidly in-depth looks. (Thanks again, Stacy)