Last year I got to spend about 3 hours at SEWE…this year my oldest daughter is attending college in Charleston, so we made a day of it, quality daddy/daughter time! Words kind of fail me when it comes to describing everything you can see during this weekend, so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
I was invited by the 20th Fighter Wing PA office to attend the media demonstration of the newly re-certified F-16 Viper Demonstration Team at Shaw AFB in Sumter, SC. Shaw is home to the 20th Fighter Wing and they have participated, with honor and valor, in operations across the globe. Unlike the graceful smoke filled demonstration of the USAF Thunderbirds, the Viper Demo is a real “kick the tires and light the fires” show about the combat capability of the F-16CJ Fighting Falcon. Built by General Dynamics and powered by a General Electric engine that produces 31,000 pounds of thrust, the Viper will take your breath, rock your world and deafen your ears…and that’s just what you get from sitting in the bleachers! That single engine produces more horsepower than the entire starting field at the Daytona 500. Captain Craig “Rocket” Baker put on a real show and even joked afterwards that it takes him a few minutes to get his legs back underneath him…I can only imagine! So enjoy the pictures…just wish they came with the sound and feel of being there.
I didn’t know until late Saturday evening who I would be riding along with on Sunday, but I got the message it would be Jacob Wheeler. This was his 1st Classic appearance but he’s no stranger to the big shows, having won the 2012 FLW Cup, setting a record as the youngest angler to win that championship. The weather actually started off above freezing…which meant we didn’t have to wear near the clothes we did earlier in the week. We started off chasing loons…who were chasing the herring…that should have been chased by schools of largemouths and spots. We were both surprised by how noisy the loons were being, and Jacob suspected that they were scaring the bass. We ran shallow, deep, docks, brushpiles and treetops. He even ran and fished a line of docks in front of the house where his family was staying on the lake. They all came out to wave and give him some encouragement. Jacob fished hard, grinding out the last few hours on a deep water bite that just never happened. So, another day and another great guy, and just as I backed Andy Montgomery down to the water on Practice Day to start my Classic week, I ended it by pulling Jacob’s Academy Sports Ranger out of the water…
I couldn’t believe what I was reading when I got the e-mail giving my pairings as a Media Marshall for the Classic…Day 1 with Skeet Reese! I was there in Greensboro, NC during the 1998 Bassmaster Classic. 1998 was Skeet’s first year making the Classic and he showed up on stage tanned, spiked blond hair, pretty much everything you might think of when the words “California bass fisherman” hit your ears. I remember they asked him to show a few moves on stage and he did…might have been the moonwalk or something like it…but it was smooth. We had a good laugh over those memories and thankfully he caught some fish. Otherwise I am sure that the words he spoke to me at Media Day would have been true, even without the brutally cold weather. Those words, after I excitedly told him I would be riding along with him, were “sucks to be you”…luckily it didn’t suck to be me on the coldest day in Bassmaster Classic history.
I want to do a small post each day without giving away any trade secrets…so here are a few pictures from the practice day at the 2015 Bassmaster Classic while I was riding as a Marshal with Andy Montgomery. Andy’s from Blacksburg, I’m from Chester, we both grew up around cows, dogs, guns and fishing rods so it was no wonder we got along so good right from the start. I’ll post a lot more after the Classic is over. Hope you enjoy a little of a very cold day on Lake Hartwell.
Although I spend a good bit of time in the woods, I have never seen a coyote in that environment. I have heard plenty of them yipping and yapping, or giving that lone, wavering howl. I’ve heard them here in South Carolina, out in Texas and up in Colorado. In Colorado, especially during the big game hunting seasons, you can tell which hunting area was successful by the packs of coyotes calling out dinner time.
I was at a SCDNR Take One Make One Youth Deer Clinic at the National Wild Turkey Federation Headquarters in Edgefield, SC last week and as I was leaving for a meeting in Columbia, I saw something in a field just on the outskirts of town. It looked like a big German Shepherd at first but after I grabbed my Nikon camera and zoomed in with the telephoto lens, I saw it was a coyote. I thought about taking a shot at him but thought better of it, especially when I saw the police car parked at an abandoned building just up the street. When I got back home and worked on the picture a little with some photo editing software, I thought he looked a little different. The picture posted to the Woods and Water SC Facebook page and a discussion started about whether he was a coyote or had some red wolf look to him. I sent the picture to Dr. John Kilgo, a USDA researcher stationed at the Savannah River Site in Aiken, but he couldn’t say for certain without a DNA sample. However, he did say it certainly looked “wolfish”.
So what do you think?
I saw it unfold starting at the morning launches, from the water as I followed our SC and NC pros, watched it from the media section at the afternoon weigh-ins and talked to the guys back in the media room after the day was over…and it all ended in one of the greatest, most electric atmospheres inside the Colonial Life Arena at the final weigh-in Sunday afternoon. I hope some of you were there to see the same things I did, but if you weren’t able to attend, maybe these pictures will help get you a little closer to the action.
I think I’m in the right place!
Media Day…welcome to the twilight zone! Parking lot was one space after another full of wrapped trucks and boats. Of course I looked for a regular, read that as not one for truck and trailer, spot as close to the pavilion as I could get and it just happened to be a spot in the front row. A few steps across the grass and I was in the mix. I’ve been out of the bass fishing loop for a few years now so I didn’t recognize many of the faces so thank goodness they all had name tags…on their fishing shirts. Media credentials in hand, I started to do what any Southerner does, find someone younger than you are and just start talking. Wouldn’t you know the first guys I talked to were from the University of Minnesota. Wait a minute, I thought this was a professional tournament. Continue reading
The husband and wife team of Patrick and Colleen Pusateri, with the help of sons Cole, Callen and daughter Christiana, put on a summer archery program for kids interested in archery. 40 first timers signed up and have spent the past nine works learning the club rules of the Hurricanes Archery team, the parts of the Genesis bow, the 11 steps to archery success, and ended the summer with a fun tournament. Not only did they learn all they needed to be a part of the National Archery in Schools Program, but they also had lots of fun and made many new friends. Besides teaching the kids archery, Colleen is quick to add that watching the kids gain confidence in their abilities and make those friendships is probably the most rewarding part of leading the Hurricanes program.