That’s what Russ Martin, a BASS Marshall in Muskogee this week said when he introduced himself to Gary Klein last night.

The lips beneath Martin’s sandy blonde mustache, telling the sandy blonde 29 time Classic qualifier — “Gary, it’s a pleasure to meet you, you’ve been my hero for a long time.”

In his early 50s, about the same age as Klein — Russ Martin is certanly beyond mature.

A draftsman, map reading, software using, petroleum industry veteran kind of guy.

Smart, wise, polite and of deep perspective.

Father of two high achieving daughters.

A team tournament angler on the weekends around his home in eastern Oklahoma.

And today he’s riding with legend Denny Brauer.

Another of Martin’s heros.

No …. this entire BASS Elite Series field of competitors are Not his heros.

Just Klein and Brauer.

And this week he shared life with both of them.

Spent an hour talking to Gary Klein last evening.

Martin, Klein, a hotel parking lot, and a dream come true.

Today, Martin, Brauer … and 13,000 acres of water that might just as well be cloud 9.