The Super Bowl of Fishing is just 3 weeks away. The Bass Masters Classic will be held at Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in Tulsa, Oklahoma March 4-6. I can’t wait. February’s issue of B.A.S.S. Times is chock full of details about Grand Lake, the top four anglers to look out for, and pictures of all of the fishermen competing. My mouth is watering just thinking about going. Bryan Brasher, in “The Editor’s View-Only One Super Bowl,” writes about the Classics of old--bringing back fond memories of our first Classic in 1996.
2016 marks our 20th anniversary of attending Bass Masters Classics. Nothing compares to the first one. I thank Mickey Wood for taking a chance on a new idea and inviting AKUA Marine Products to be a part of the Ranger store at the Classic that year. With twelve fenders in our possession we displayed on the Ranger boats and promptly sold all but our display models before the Classic even opened. Mickey just shook his head and said, “Boys, the reason we bring our store to the Classic is because people like to buy stuff. If you don’t have it here, you can’t sell it.” We “worked the Classic” and came home with orders for 150. Such is the beginning of a 20 year relationship with Ranger Products that continues to this day. Again, thank you, Mickey.
Besides the thrill of being a working part of the Classic was the excitement of our first Classic itself. The show actually closed for the extravaganza of the weigh-in each day. Walking into our first weigh-in gave us a taste of Americana at its finest. Families with kids, fishermen with their buddies, vendors, and manufacturers all gathered to a patriotic opening, hear a country western music show, and laugh as Dewey-the weigh master- and Ray Scott, the emcee, adlibbed and joked. We often repeat one of Scott’s sayings from that year: “Burn a picture of that in your brain.” The anglers were brought in riding in their boats pulled by shiny new Chevrolet trucks. That parade was amazing. The anglers returned Dewey’s and Scott’s banter and always held their biggest fish until last. George Cochran won the Classic that year. I still have one of our display models with his signature hanging in our manufacturing facility.
What a wonderful memory. We were young; we were inexperienced; and we were excited. But, we’re still here and I can’t wait to get back this year!