Thank you B.A.S.S. for allowing me one last time to take the stage at the 2021 Bassmaster Classic. But more important than that, thank you to all involved who helped make the Classic a huge success. The 147,000 plus attendees were indeed ready to get back to normalcy in the post Covid world. Not that we are totally over it but certainly we are much wiser. Yes, it was warm and the Expo was packed, but fans seemed to be enjoying themselves despite the warm temps.
It was great to see all the `anglers and many friends Mary and I have made along the way. And it was also an honor to take the stage with our son Hank as he emceed the high school and college competitions.
Congrats to all 54 anglers for your participation in the 51st Classic and best to you during the remainder of this tournament season. You earned your right to be there. And a big shout out to back-to-back champion Hank Cherry on an incredible week on Ray Roberts. Conditions changed each day whether it was wind, rain and of course the heat. Let us not forget Hank could have easily been a three-time winner (2013). Still two times is rarified air. Well done Hank!!!
And speaking of heat, a big shout out to the anglers, B.A.S.S. staff and Texas Parks and Wildlife for great fish care. This I do know. When the fish were presented to me on stage they were in great shape. B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland shared with me TPWD was ecstatic over fish care for the three days of the Classic. Our great fans love to see fish and B.A.S.S. was able to accomplish that with a modified approach in the June heat.
Finally, it was indeed a pleasure to take the stage one last time with Dave Mercer, but now it is time to pass the torch. I wish everyone all the best and you know I will be following closely.
Good fishing to all.