Voices of victory: Pat Schlapper

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““I quit my job, then qualified for the Bassmaster Elite Series in two different ways in one year”

PARK FALLS, Wisc. – Before last year, Pat Schlapper of Eleva, Wisconsin had a rewarding and stable career with a large sporting goods retailer. Early in 2020 – at the age of 37 – he walked away from that job to pursue his dream of fishing in the Bassmaster Elite Series, a move most would describe as risky, at best. But in nearly every aspect of life, few rewards come without risk. Schlapper believed he could mitigate the risks through preparation, ability and determination.

“The biggest thing is mindset,” he says. “It’s one of my edges when it comes to preparing to win a tournament.” Preparing being the key word. “A winning mindset is more than just hitting the water and believing you can win… it begins long before that,” Schlapper adds. “I won the 2020 Bass Nation Championship on Pickwick Lake, which qualified me for the 2021 Bassmaster Classic and the Bassmaster Elite Series. That didn’t happen because I simply willed it to. Believing helps, but I planned before I executed. You’ve got to have a diverse game plan, which takes preparation. That’s what inspires confidence and the proper mindset during competition.