The Beginning of a DreamThe Beginning of a Dream Ever wonder what being at the Classic is like? Read this first hand account from behind the scenes of the Bassmaster Classic!
By Dalton Tam
Joining BassResource has been one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. People are not lying when they say you are joining a new family. I am an easy going country boy from central Louisiana with the dream of becoming and professional Bass Fisherman. I pride myself on hard work and on having an outgoing personality. I had no clue that joining BassResource would create great opportunities for me.
I joined in the summer of 2009, about the time I began getting serious about tournament fishing. I would spend hours reading articles, watching videos, and chatting on the forum. I created a thread asking members if they knew of any information on marine biology, as I was considering pursueing it as a career. It was on this thread that I first spoke with Bob Lusk. He gave me his phone number so that we could speak more about this career.
I told him that my true passion was tournament fishing and that my dream was to “go pro” but I wanted a back-up plan to fall upon. He told me that many times, people with a back up plan never live up to their full potential. He asked if I had ever been to a Bass Master’s Classic. When I told him that I had not, he promised that he would help me out if I could make it to Lay Lake, Alabama that year. I begged my parents for six months straight and finally convinced them that we should go. I believe my dad was more excited about going than I was.
I was instructed by Mr. Lusk to find Ray Scott’s booth and to speak with a man named Jim Kents. I found Mr. Kents and was surprised to learn that he had an ESPN pass for me. It allowed me to have live-well seating and even helped me slip through the gates at the boat launch. I had the time of my life and met many of the pros. The entire trip was a great learning experience for me as well. Little did I know, things would only get better from this point forward.
After another year of posting on BassResource’s forum, I began to get anxious to go to the Classic in New Orleans. I had spoken with Mr. Lusk again in December in an interview for a school research paper. Soon after, I received a message from him stating that he had spoken with Glenn May about me tagging along with them at “Media Day” on Thursday before the Classic. I contacted Glenn through the website and could not believe the great opportunity at hand.
I was as excited as a child at Christmas. After making arrangements and learning how to drive in the “Big Easy”, I met up with Glenn, Keri, and Gene for breakfast at their hotel. As my mother and I were waiting in the lobby, Iaconelli, Duckett, Biffle, and many other pros began to stroll right beside me. I was going insane! I did not want to be that annoying teenager that always gets on everyone’s nerves, so I sat quietly in my chair and awaited my BassResource friends.
When I met Glenn, Keri, and Gene, I was extremely nervous, but their welcoming personalities soon calmed my nerves and I began to feel as if I had known them for years. After breakfast, we boarded the media shuttle and were on our way to what I like to call, Heaven. Every big shot imaginable was there. I helped with interviews and took pictures for the website. I was as close to the Bass Pros as I would ever be. Every Pro that qualified for the Classic was sitting at a small round table allowing the media to get interviews and pictures.
I soon found that the Pros are very humble men who are willing to speak with anyone. Kevin VanDam gave me pointers on Caddo Lake. I had a tournament scheduled there in a few weeks. I even retrieved a tissue for Todd Faircloth to blow his nose on. It just does not get any better than that! I only have one regret though. I did not take the time to talk to many of the pros because I was nervous.
Throughout the day, I met many great people who are very “big” in the bass fishing industry. Edbassmaster and I had a picture taken, showing our ugly faces. He is a very cool guy who has many great tricks up his sleeve. The day was going great, yet it was flying by at lightning speed. Glenn and I were about to get back on the media shuttle when I realized I had not gotten to meet Mike Iaconelli. Lucky for me, Glenn also needed to speak with him. We hurried back inside for a quick interview and a snapshot of Ike and me, which is now on my bedroom wall.
Glenn and I finally made it onto the media bus. We began discussing my dreams of becoming a professional and also how Glenn has gotten to where he is today. One thing he told me was; “To reach my goals in life, I must first face my fears head on.” He told me that he had a fear of heights so he went skydiving. Ever since then, I have been pushing through my nervousness and feel that I am becoming a more confident individual because of it.
I went to the first day boat launch and got some really great photos of the Pros and their families, due to a fog delay. I went to every weigh in and watched as KVD dominated on the third day with a twenty-eight pound sack of bass. The vision of confetti falling on my head, fills my dreams every night. As I was headed back to the hotel after the last weigh in, I pulled right next to Iaconelli at a stop light. I looked over at him and said the usual “You da man Ike!”, but just as I was pulling away, I promised him that I would be fishing against him one day. He looked over and said, “Come on man. We need you.”
I have never broken a promise and plan to keep every one I make. That is why I am going to pursue my dream until I succeed. There is no way I could have done these things without the help of BassResource, Mr. Lusk, Glenn, Keri, and Gene. They are truly great people who take pride in what they do. I thank the Lord everyday for the doors he has opened for me. Thank you BassResource!
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