A Bassmaster Classic Rookie Writer Prepares

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Editor’s Note – There are Classic rookies in every aspect of the event each year, and we at Advanced Angler have been fortunate to share the experience of “the first Classic” with friend and Advanced Angler contributor Jason Duran in 2011 and we will do it again this year with friend and contributor Rob Lever.

Lever is a lifelong fishing fan who does work with The Bass University on their website, operates his non-profit fishing outreach We Love to Fish and shares his stories with us here on Advanced Angler in whatever spare time he has left between his regular job as an IT Professional, his family and all of his other duties.

we asked Lever to write a story before this Classic to let you all know what he is thinking and what he expects, and then to write another one afterwards to tell you all his thoughts afterwards.  Here is his pre-event story.

story by Rob Lever

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Bassmaster Classic Rookie Writer Rob Lever Gets Help Packing from his daughter Maggie – photo by Melissa Leverstory by Rob Lever

The countdown begins!  The last year has been a whirlwind year that has included everything from building We Love to Fish, continuing my work with The Bass University, and becoming a regular contributor to Advanced Angler.  This weekend I am packing and finishing loose ends around the house.  This is all in preparation for leaving to cover my first Bassmaster Classic.

The Classic is an event that transcends any event in fishing.  World Champion is a title that any athlete dreams about having, and being the Classic champ means that you are the best Bass Fisherman in the world.  A win in this event has propelled careers and changed the life of each of its winners.

Going to the Classic was a seed that was planted at a young age.  Every weekend my father would watch TNN Outdoors.  I can still remember watching shows like Bill Dance and Hank Parker, but the one I remember the most was The Bassmasters.  Each weekend was filled with us on the couch watching Ray Scott get the crowd wild as fish were weighed.  This week one of the things I’m most excited about is sending my dad pictures of what I’m doing.  I want him to be able to enjoy this achievement with me.

My father is not the only person I’m excited to share this with.  Our passion has a tendency to influence our children and I have passed my passion on to my daughter.  Just like me and my dad, Maggie and I have spent a lot of time talking about and watching fishing.  Last summer she would carry around a tackle box and quiz anyone who walked through the door as to what was inside.This will be the longest I have ever been away from her and while nervous, I’m excited to live my dream and make her proud. Each night after my day, I will make a skype call with my family to tell them everything that I’m doing.

Just because it has been a dream to go to the Classic, that doesn’t mean that I’m there just as an observer.  I will be there gathering content for my work in the industry.  Each day will be filled with interviews that will help me build a better base that continues to help me work in the sport that I love.  In preparation, the last couple weeks have been filled with a lot of homework.  Time has been spent watching past classic interviews here on Advanced Angler’s Classic Raw coverage from the last two events, reading about past winners, and doing research on the host city of Tulsa, Okla.

The process of getting ready has also been a rewarding one.  I’ve enjoyed watching old footage of past Classics on Bassmaster.com and seeing the evolution of the sport.  Each day the excitement is building and I’m so excited to have a part in this year’s event.To help me document what I am doing, I will be doing daily video daily posts and will take pictures of each step.  I’m not sure if I will get this chance again, so I will make sure that the experience will be with me forever.

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B.A.S.S. Founder Ray Scott on the Mic – photo courtesy B.A.S.S.

Wednesday morning I will land in Tulsa excited for what lies ahead.  Once off the plane I will head over to the official practice and jump right in the grove of things.  What am I going to do?  Should I just be excited to be there?  These are all things that I am excited to write about.  Once the dust settles and I am back home with my family, I will sit down and give everyone an update on how it went.  The fan in me is excited to see all of the biggest names in the sport, but the professional side is ready to see how good I can be at covering the event.

Next Sunday when the new champ is crowned and his life is changed, so will mine.  Confetti will fall from the sky and the fans will go crazy as another Classic goes in the books.  That will signal the point where I can be a fan and look back fondly at everything that has happened over the week.  It will be a culmination of both luck and hard work.  I am very lucky to have the opportunity but I have worked hard to use the opportunity to be around the sport I love.

Look for my update in the upcoming weeks.  I will do my best to show everyone how amazing the Classic can be.  With record crowds expected, I have picked a great event as my first.