AA Blog – Blood, Guts and Heart by Dan O’Sullivan – Advanced Angler.com

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AdvancedAnglerBlogOne thing I can say about Classic week is that it always feels a little bit like coming home. I always looked forward to big shows and big events because I get to see people that I’ve grown to care about, partners in the business, friends, and family. This week at the classic was no different. I saw many people at the Classic Expo, in the media room, at the launch ramp, on the photo platforms, and on the streets.

We thought this Classic might be remarkable, that the playing field alone would create more story lines than we could possibly even cover. True to thinking, the outcome of the tournament proved to be even more eventful than we’d considered prior.

In his winning Kevin Van Dam not only set records, but he also reminded us just how good he is. In a world of the best fisherman on the planet Kevin stands a little bit taller on many occasions. His ability to almost foresee the future and to be a step ahead of everyone else in some events is uncanny.
To the other guys in Lake Catouatche your performances were also unbelievably inspiring . The show you put on, especially on the final day will likely be one of the most memorable Bassmaster Classic weigh-ins ever.

To those anglers who braved the elements and made the long run to Venice and beyond, your courage and dedication is admirable. For most of us to think of making a 50 mile run in a bass boat would be daunting, let alone the 240 mile round trip that many of you made. It truly shows how professional you are.
To all of the competitors, your professionalism and skills leave us all in awe. Whether you were at the top end of the standings or the bottom; the conditions you faced required dedication like we’ve not seen before. Be proud of what you have done no matter where you finished.

To those anglers not in the field this year from both major leagues, your dedication was on full display at the expo for all to see. Thank you for making yourselves available to fans, sponsors and media.

I can’t remember another classic with more heart than this 2011 version. From Gerald Swindle and his desire to honor Kevin Oldham with a ride through the arena and a walk across the stage left me unable to see through my viewfinder. To Brandon Palaniuk; your honoring of Bryan Kerchal left me the same. Finally to Terry Brown, you’re a good man with a giant heart, I’m proud to know you.

To all the professional media on site from Bassmaster and beyond you are all honorable colleagues, you do a great job of painting an imageof our sport. I’m proud to count myself among you.

To the companies that go the extra mile to provide their anglers the tools they need to compete, you helped set the bar high for the entire industry and no other week like this one has exhibited that better.

To the service crews who kept those boats running on the harshest playing field, you made sure the show went on, your skill and dedication is evident in all the competitors returning every day; without incident.

To the fans far and wide who attend or watch the Classic and tournaments all year; you make this job worth doing. I can only hope that we can continue to provide you what you’re looking for as a student of our game. Thank you for reading and viewing all of our content on our screens and pages everywhere.

It’s always difficult for me to leave people I value behind after a show like this and though I’m anxious to return home to those I cherish most, you’re a part of my heartbeat. If reading that causes you to smile, know that I include you in that statement.

This year’s Bassmaster Classic exhibited blood, guts, and heart at their brightest and boldest. From the competitors, the industry, the consumers and fans, you truly are the reason I love this sport.