No entry fee, tons of free swag, a great meal, the chance to mingle with the best bass pros in the world, and a $5,000 first-place prize. But more than anything, it seems the annual Toyota Bonus Bucks Owners event just has its own special way of attracting truly great people for a weekend of smiles and fellowship centered on bass fishing each autumn.
Oh, and let’s not overlook the free Toyota vehicle giveaway to a randomly chosen attendee at the registration dinner before anybody makes a cast the next day.
This past weekend all the goodness of the event collided when Wendy Whitmire from suburban Houston had her name card chosen from a clear tumbler that Kevin VanDam spun round and round like a game show host. Wendy, who traveled to Table Rock with her husband Bruce, took home a brand-new Toyota 4Runnner when KVD and Toyota marketing leaders called her name.
Remember the part about the event “attracting truly great people”?
Well, Wendy and Bruce pay their bills as employees of Living Water International – a faith-based organization that alleviates human suffering by drilling water wells in developing countries throughout Africa and India.
In fact, Bruce has made 83 trips to Africa when he’s not competing in tournaments such as the Bassmaster Opens, and Wendy has served the life-changing organization for two decades, mixing several mission trips into her tenure.
The two great souls have been married 41 years, and their trip to the 11th annual Toyota Bonus Bucks Owners event was largely a means to get Wendy to take a break from work. They already own a 2021 Toyota Highlander and a 2022 Toyota Tundra – both of which are hybrid-powered. Now add a 4Runner to the mix.
“I love the turning radius, reliability, and fuel economy of my Highlander,” grinned Wendy, who planned to cast a Ned head on a Zebco spincast combo Sunday from the back deck during the tournament.
Table Rock’s bass population seemed to snub Wendy’s Ned rig, but let’s be honest, a free 4Runner is a pretty darn good consolation prize – proving without a doubt that great things happen to great people.