What would you do with a billion dollars?
It may be a crazy question, but it’s one everyone is asking, with the world’s biggest Powerball up for grabs tonight.
So we asked the Bassmaster Elite Series pros what they would do, and their answers range from the charitable to the lavish.
See what they had to say, and let us know in the comments how you would spend the dough.
Greg Vinson of Alabama already has a plan for his hundreds of millions.
“I would buy a lake or enough property to build a lake (reservoir),” said Vinson. “I’d host professional bass tournaments. It would be like a stadium, or maybe more like a golf course, but with stations and stands where fans could move about watching different anglers at different times. A tram could get fans from one location to another quickly.
“Of course, it would be loaded with giant bass and have a variety of types of structure and cover. Cameras would live stream video of the leaders to giant screen TVs scattered around the course, but fans could also watch the action using a phone app.
“I would do something that would make Jerry Jones jealous.....ha ha.”
But Vinson adds that he would probably donate most of his winnings to legit causes. “I don’t think I would need that much money to be happy.”
THE B.A.S.S. BUYERS
There’s a lot of interest among Bassmaster Elite Series pros to buy B.A.S.S. Looks like the employees have a lot of cozying up to do to keep our jobs!
Kentucky pro Mark Menendez is one of them. Chad Morgenthaler is another. In fact, he said it’s the first thing he’ll do if he wins.
Brandon Palaniuk said he, too, would put in an offer on B.A.S.S. “Hopefully I would have enough after taxes!” he said. (I think you’ll have plenty, Brandon.)
(You’re the best, Mark, Chad and Brandon! Keep me in mind when you’re restructuring!)
Boyd Duckett went one step further.
“I would buy B.A.S.S.,” said Duckett, “and give all the employees a 50% raise.” (Woo-hoo!)
Mike Iaconelli plans to ride in style.
“I would buy Ish Monroe’s black Ferrari and Skeet Reese’s yellow Lamborghini!” said the New Jersey pro. But the rest, he’d donate to different charities.
Elite Series newbie Brock Mosley has a big date coming up, and he’d use his winnings to live it up.
“I would hire Garth Brooks to play at the reception of my wedding in December!”
Super-modest Jeff Kriet plans to have some beautiful photos taken of himself and put them to good use.
“I’d sponsor five or six of my best Elite buddies and make them all wrap their boats with a Jeff Kriet wrap, including a full picture of myself from Glamour Shots.”
(Jeff, with a billion dollars, you could wrap all 100 or so Elite Series boats and rename it the Kriet Series. But I digress.)
That’s not the end of Kriet. If Brent Ehrler wins the Powerball, Kriet’s name comes up again:
“I would buy a giant sportfishing boat and have Jeff Kriet be the captain,” said Ehrler. “That way, I could go saltwater fishing and be Kriet’s boss.”
Alabama pro Matt Lee plans to enjoy a new view.
“I would buy Boyd Duckett’s house, a nice spot on the beach, and save the rest so I could fish the Elites until I decided to retire.”
If you want to see more of California pro Ish Monroe, you better hope he doesn’t win the Powerball. Because here’s what he said he’d do: “Disappear!”
Some of the pros thought mainly of ways they could help others.
“There would be a lot of happy people in the world,” said Bill Lowen. “I would share with family, friends and people who need it.”
Note: Become better friends with Bill Lowen.
Bassmaster Elite Series rookie Fabian Rodriguez has a similar thought process.
“I would put enough away in an interest bearing account to be able to afford living comfortably while still fishing on tour, set a couple of accounts for my kids, family and church,” said Rodriguez. “I would try to find a way to use 90% of it to generate more money to help communities in need that are willing to help themselves in the process.”
He’s not forgetting the fun, though. “Yes … there would be a party or two,” he added.
Tennessee pro Ott DeFoe would spend his money on outreach.
“After half was taken by taxes, I would give 80% of what I had left to churches and missionaries that have the best plan to reach unbelievers,” said DeFoe. “My remaining funds would be plenty to live my life on.”
California’s Byron Velvick would see to his family first and to charities next.
“I would keep half for the security and benefit of the present and future generations of my family, and spend the rest of my life searching out and donating the other half directly to honest, zero-profit charities (and programs at our church) that pass 100% of every dollar they receive to the needy they represent and support,” said Velvick.
“I would also look for my own personal opportunities to help as many needy families and children I could directly assist as well.”
Reigning Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Aaron Martens is in the giving spirit, too.
“I’d find people in need and help them. That’s way too much money for one person,” said Martens. But there’s more: “And I’d buy a house where my boat could fit in the garage.”
New Jersey pro Adrian Avena wants to give to those who have given to him.
“I would start by reimbursing those sponsors who have ever invested a dollar in me,” said Avena, “because if it wasn’t for them, I would not be fishing the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2016.”
Tim Horton said he’s right there with everyone else on the “good world peace helpful stuff.” But then he’s going to buy himself a house in Brazil.
THE ANGLERS AT HEART
Some pros just want to fish more.
“I would pay off my house and build a bass lake full of 10-pounders,” said Missouri pro Brian Snowden. “I would also travel to warm places throughout the winter.”
Veteran pro Rick Clunn was pensive about the influx of that much cash, but ultimately he would use it to help the sport.
“With that amount of money you have to be very careful no matter what you do,” said Clunn. “Help without true purpose can be more harmful than helpful. The real answer is very complex.
“The simple answer is to take care of family first,” he continued. “Secondly, I would create a fund to help sponsor young anglers. Our industry is small and has certainly done its share of supporting our sport, but with the huge increase in interest by high school and college age anglers, more support and revenue streams need to be found. Fishing is the last remaining vehicle for the masses to stay connected to nature and the outdoors. Without this connection, we will lose the greatest source of sanity there is remaining.”
And the outdoors is Stephen Browning’s inspiration for spending his loot:
“I would donate half to church and different charities,” said Browning. “Then I would buy a large piece of property and build several trophy bass lakes, grow giant whitetail deer and possibly elk. After that, I would continue to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series and live life to the fullest!”
David Williams would retire to the outdoors.
“I think I would invest in a ranch somewhere out west maybe Montana or Wyoming and put a cabin right in the middle of it and get lost!” he said.
Bassmaster Elite Series newcomer Drew Benton echoes Williams.
“I would figure up how much was going to be taken out for taxes, donate all of that to charity for the write off,” said Benton. “Then I would buy a bunch of hunting land and build a house right in the middle of it!”
Shane Lineberger would still fish his rookie year on the Elite Series, despite winning a billion dollars, and what’s the first thing he would do? “Pay my entry fees for the 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series!”
Former Classic champ Randy Howell would use part of the money to make his travel during the Elite Series season easier.
“First, we would tithe our 10% to our church, and next we would take care of all the needs at our favorite charity, King’s Home,” said Howell. “As far as fishing goes, I would get a list of rookie anglers who are struggling to make it and sponsor each of them for a season! I would also hire two drivers and a pilot, and buy a jet to travel to all the tournaments because driving is my least favorite part of fishing! And finally, we would look for needs in every city we visit and give anonymously to help. As a family, we would definitely travel the world seeking out the best saltwater/freshwater fishing adventures!”
Similarly, rookie Matt Vermilyea would take care of the struggling anglers.
“I would take the 2017 Bassmaster Elite Series rookies from the Bassmaster Opens division and make sure they were financially covered for their rookie season with a complete package each,” said Vermilyea, “because the toughest thing as a Bassmaster Elite Series rookie is getting the financial backing and support. Thank God for all my friends, family and sponsors I do have to allow me the opportunity to compete in the 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series.”
Jay Brainard has so many things on his “I got rich quick” to-do list.
“The first thing I would do with $1.3 billion is make sure everything at our family’s church is in order. My family was one of the founders of Trinity Lutheran Church in 1902. Being that it is literally a wooden, white church in the middle of nowhere, there is always something that needs to be fixed.
“I would also start a multiple sclerosis charity,” continued Brainard. “These are two things I plan to do anyway, but $1.3 billion would be a pretty big jump start!
“Other than that, I would buy some land around the home place. People are building houses closer and closer to our land. We don’t like that. I would build Dalli her dream house and start breeding Spanish fighting bulls again.
“Dalli and I don’t have children yet, but if we won the lottery, our kids would never know it. My parents worked their butts off for everything they ever had. Dalli and I did the same, and our kids will be no different.
“As far as fishing goes, nothing would change,” said Brainard. “I wouldn’t do anything different. Just continue pushing myself to be as competitive as possible.”
Cliff Crochet has a million things he'd do with his billion, too.
“I would donate most of my winnings to trying to end world hunger, make sure that no one goes without. Spread love and joy throughout the world. I would make sure to do my best to educate the ignorant, give homes to the homeless and create world peace.”
But that’s not all.
“I would give a bunch of money to local schools, police and fire department. A good chunk would go to military veterans and police who need medical/mental care.
“I would spend a little money on a few things I want,” he continued. “Start with building a house, buy a bunch of land, blah blah blah. What I would really want would be a big sports complex with a football field, baseball field, basketball court and shooting range. The shooting range would include a tactical course and long range shooting.”
And there's more.
“I would have big screen TVs to watch football and build a Hooters restaurant inside my complex. Hank Williams Jr. would perform every single day at 5 p.m. And I would build a pond to raise the world record largemouth.”
Sounds like the world's greatest man cave.
This group of anglers would just live life like normal.
Bassmaster Elite Series newbie John Hunter would donate to charity and take care of his friends and family.
“After that, honestly, I wouldn’t try and change much else. I’d try and keep everything the same it is now, I mean really, I have the best job anyone could ever dream of!” said Hunter. “Why change that?”
John Crews would see the world, and that’s about the only change he’d make.
“I would travel the country and the world with my family once every month or two but still live a normal life or as normal of a life as one might consider my life is,” said Crews.
Michigan's Jonathon VanDam would only make a couple of adjustments in his life.
“I probably would buy a little hunting land in various locations as well as take care of my family who has supported me,” said VanDam. “Other than that, honestly, I would not live any differently.”
Tennessee pro David Walker would live life about like it is, with one caveat that comes with having a billion dollars: “I would practice less.”
Dave Lefebre gets his own category, The Fainters.
“After I peeled myself off the floor, I would probably think about what just happened for another second or two and pass out, falling back down to the floor again,” said Lefebre, imagining finding out he had won more than a billion dollars.
“The second time would probably last a little longer than the first time. I would then probably repeat that process several times over until I was able to grasp the reality of it all. Sounds a little scary to me, not sure now if I’d actually want to win it now. I’d probably throw up, too, at some point. It just doesn't sound too appealing.
“But if I did win, after all that involuntary bad stuff, I’d take the opportunity to take care of my family members first for sure, the ones who took care of me and helped me to achieve my impossible dream,” Lefebre added. “I’d love to be able to pay them back in a huge way and provide them with everything they need.
“I guess you could say I’d like to see them pass out and puke, too!”
WHICH ARE YOU?
Your turn! Tell us how you would spend the estimated $1.3 billion if you won it in tonight’s draw.