19-22 FEB found the entire ArmyBassAngler Pro Staff converging at the 2010 Bassmaster Classic as the Official Lead Boat for each mornings launch. You’ll recall in 2009 in Shreveport, LA ArmyBassAnglers conducted a Missing Man Formation to open up the day’s tournament in conjunction with the National Anthem. This
year the team held the honors of holding the Flag during the National Anthem and then blasted off in front of the #1 Elite Series Anglers each morning with the American Flag, in all its glory, blazing the trail to start the event aboard an appropriate ArmyBassAnglers Skeeter Boat wrapped in the Returning Heroes Home Theme.
“Our Mission here was simple but incredible all at the same time,” stated Roberson, President of ArmyBassAnglers. “The opportunity to be a part of the Classic in some small way was huge to say the least, but more importantly we were provided the opportunity to bring our Mission, for the second time, to the National stage and raise awareness for the Returning Heroes Home Project. And now we have joined forces with the Paralyzed Veterans Association to do exactly the same thing. Both are incredible organizations that are more than worthy of our support. The PVA is a perfect coalition partner for ArmyBassAnglers and our Mission statement.”
“The Lone Star Chapter, Paralyzed Veterans of America felt strongly about Joining Forces with the ArmyBassAnglers for several reasons. After our tournament director Paul Offill had attended a Fishing for Freedom event and witnessed the ArmyBassAnglers in action, he came to the Chapter and immediately recommended the Chapter to partner with this fine group of Servicemen. The ArmyBassAnglers Mission is right in line with what the LSPVA does to promote not only fishing, but to also get the disabled veterans with spinal cord injuries and/or disease back out into the community and back to something that they enjoy doing. For several years some of the ArmyBassAnglers have supported the LSPVA Bass tournaments as boat partners, donating their own time and boats to our events. Joining forces with the ArmyBassAnglers will enable the LSPVA to spread the word Nationally not only about the LSPVA Bass Tournament, but also enable us to reach more Veterans and possibly assist them in everyday life, to show them that there is life after a traumatic injury and that they can lead a full and successful life. It also allows LSPVA to spread the word about what a great job ArmyBassAnglers has done and continues to do through their programs, LSPVA is proud to Join Forces with ArmyBassAnglers,” stated Glen Bently, Executive Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
On day one of the Classic, ArmyBassAngler Pros Chuck Guthrie, Brent Homan and Jarod Shelton would conduct the National Anthem operations and pilot the lead boat while leading The Toyota Angler of the Year Kevin VanDam and Last year’s Classic winner Skeet Reese out the channel. “What an awesome feeling to actually be a part of the Classic and lead the way,” stated returning ArmyBassAngler Pro Jared Shelton, since returning from Iraq with the 41st Fires BDE in AL Kut, Iraq. “I got goose bumps down my spine and up my neck,” said Roberson as he gave high fives to all the Elite Anglers from the launch dock as they passed by him. “I was slapping high fives w/KVD, KJ, Kriet, Shaw, Ike…you name’em, I was having a blast givin’ high fives.”
Day two was just as exciting, as ArmyBassAngler Pros Chuck Guthrie, Al Pemberton and Ron Seevers piloted the lead boat. “What a thrill,” stated Pemberton. “Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be at the Classic much less a physical part of it and have the chance to raise awareness for such a worthy cause. I’ll have to check this off my bucket list.”
The final day of the Classic would end with ArmyBassAnglers Jarod Shelton, Dave Behm and Jason Blackmon piloting the ArmyBassAnglers lead boat in front of probably the closest Classic showdown ever with Kevin Van Dam, Jeff Kriet and Todd Faircloth all within literally ounces of each other. “What an awesome feeling,” stated Blackmon. “And it was really cool to get to share our mission not only on the water but at the Expo as well.” ArmyBassAnglers at the conclusion of each launch would then conduct operations at each of its sponsors booth to raise additional awareness, funds and interact with fans all while getting writers cramp from signing autographs.
“Just look at that line,” stated Skeeter Senior Sales Manager Ben Jarrett at an ArmyBassAnglers autograph session in the Skeeter Booth. ArmyBassAnglers signed autographs for over 2 solid hours before having to tap out in order to keep from missing their flights home. “What a great feeling to know we have that many people that support our Mission and are willing to come out demonstrate that support.. We can’t do what we do without them and we can’t raise awareness and execute our Mission without their Support.”
ArmyBassAnglers would like to thank each of its sponsors that participated in the 2010 Bassmaster Classic and personally extend a special Thank You to BASS/ESPN for supporting the ArmyBassAnglers Mission & allowing them to participate in such an awesome event.