Kevin VanDam

Why VanDam Carries Toy Truck Towels

Fishing Stories
Bass Fishing

At first glance it might seem odd that pro bass fishing’s most accomplished and sometimes intimidating angler carries bath towels decorated with toy trucks. But take a closer look and you see the names of his now 24-year-old twin sons Jackson and Nicholas embroidered on them.

“When the boys got older and Sherry retired these towels, she suggested I might want them to take on the road as ‘boat towels’ and I’m really glad she did. I’ve carried ‘em for more than 15 years, and they definitely help me feel a little better connected to home,” says VanDam.

Born very premature, Jackson and Nicholas have grown into healthy and prosperous young men since their days of drying off with toy truck towels. And now they’re driving Toyota Tacomas and Tundras as they pursue college degrees and careers.

Nicholas is working at the family’s iconic outdoor retail store, D & R Sports, and finishing his business degree at Western Michigan University. And he sometimes helps his famous bass fishing father with social media, photography, and in other marketing assistance roles.

Jackson has a passion for food prep. So he’s currently interning with accomplished chefs and often practices his craft at home with Mom, Dad, and brother Nick.

“He makes a ‘cowboy rib eye’ that he sears in a cast iron pan complete with a special butter he compounds himself. Plus, he does a great lemon chicken dish, and the crème brulee he makes for dessert is off-the-chain!” says his proud dad. “Jackson’s always experimenting, and he rarely cooks us the same dish twice.”

You see, even after 31 seasons, life on the road as a touring professional angler never gets easier. Not even for Kevin VanDam. So, if two navy blue cotton bath towels provide a heartfelt link back home to Kalamazoo to the twin boys he dearly loves, then so be it. Besides, they also serve as great tools for wiping down his Nitro after a trip to the car wash.