Bucket List — a list of things to do before you die, popularized by the 2007 movie of the same name.
This week, you can call him “Marshall Mike.”
His name is Mike Waresback.
His friends call him “Wares.
He lives on the West side of Tulsa.
6’4″, 230 pounds.
Retired lab technician.
He can fix anything, and he once coached a team of blue-collar kids to the American Legion Baseball World Series.
And if heaven forbid there’s ever another Great Depression — Sheila and I are moving in with Waresback to prevent our own starvation.
See, here’s the deal — Wares can catch, kill, clean and cook just about anything with fins, fur or feathers.
Loads his own bullets.
Paints his own crankbaits.
He’s also a part-time taxidermist.
I refer to him as an ‘Adopted Dad’.
I’m really tight with my biological dad, Ken McGuckin — but he lives 1,017 miles from me.
Me in Oklahoma, Mom and Dad near Pittsburgh.
So Waresback stands in the gap.
He’s been standing there for 10 years.
Ten years ago, Wares responded blindly to a ‘Boat for Sale’ want ad I placed in the Tulsa World newspaper.
He gave thousands to buy my boat.
And soon after, I started stealing wisdom from him weekly for free.
He knows I’m taking it, and he gladly keeps giving it.
Today and tomorrow, he’s on the surface of Lake Guntersville, and sitting on cloud 9.
It’s his turn to take.
Waresback is stealing all the adrenalin, perspective, excitement and dream-come-trues from the shotgun seat of two Bassmaster Elite Series pros’ boats.
He’s serving as a B.A.S.S. Marshall. An observer.
A front row seat …. check that …. inside the huddle …. of the sport he loves with all of his 65 year old Soul.
So much that “It’s on my Bucket List” he said last week.
He drove 11 hours — alone — from Tulsa to northeastern Alabama in order to place a checkmark next to this one.
He was assigned to observe Russ Lane on Day 1 – and graded his day an “A.”
Waresback is a Gary Klein fan.
“If I’m chosen to ride with Gary Klein, I might pee down my leg,” he told me last night over a ribeye.
Instead, he drew the very, very likeable and pleasant Fred “Boom Boom” Roumbanis.
Boom Boom got a great man, and spared Wares changing his britches.
And so today, at sunrise, there I was doing what I do, taking pictures, spinning PR around the best bass pros in the world.
And there was Wares, typically a tad bit macho and gruff — grinning — smiling for my lens — riding in the big time — and crossing one off his list.