Over the years when I was the Tournament Director for Bassmaster, a number of funny things happened. Here are three stories that are associated with Classic V at the Currituck Sound in North Carolina.
The fifth BASS Classic was another secret location and we selected Currituck Sound in North Carolina. I contacted an old friend, Charlie Shaw, and swore him to secrecy about us holding the event there. Charlie knew who to contact to get things done plus he fished the sound.
We headquartered at a motel near the beach and used a sand ramp nearby to launch all the boats in the Sound. Classic V was also the first time we used the drive-in-weigh-in, so we held the weigh-in in the motel parking lot and had the anglers drive their boats and trailers near the weigh-in scales, which were set up on a table. The anglers had their fish in the livewells alive and bagged them up at the scales.
We had all our meals at the motel and for the banquet night we wanted to set up a bar. I asked Charlie to purchase the liquor for the bar and while he was at the liquor store someone who knew him saw him load all the liquor and reported him to his boss.
His boss wasn’t the only person Charlie was in trouble with, either. Charlie had been working some long hard hours making arrangements for the Classic. Because we had sworn him to secrecy, he hadn’t told his wife what he was doing and she was becoming suspicious. After the incident with his boss came up, he told me, “You must call my boss and wife ASAP and explain what I’ve been doing.” I did that as soon as we announced the location.
Another unusual thing that happened at Classic V had to do with commercial fishermen. The sound had many commercial fishermen with nets strung out in the sound. The anglers weren’t used to this and kept tangling their props in the nets. One day I had a commercial fisherman come to me very upset about his net being cut up. I asked what it cost and paid him for it. Over the next few days I ended up purchasing several new nets for the commercial fishermen in the sound.
The funniest story, though, is about Mickey Wood and his trip to the Sound from Flippin Arkansas.
Again, Ranger Boats was the sponsor and Mickey Wood was leading the convoy from Flippin – again, driving in the dark. I had given him the first stopover to sleep and as Mickey started to exit off the interstate, he slowed fast and Bill Roller, who was with Silvertroll motors, ran into the back of Mickey’s vehicle. There was no big damage and they checked into the stopover motel to wait for my call that afternoon so they’d know where to go.
At the motel, Bill Roller called Mickey’s room and disguised his voice, saying he was the sheriff. He told Mickey, “I understand you had an accident at exit such-and-such this morning,”
Mickey replied, “Yes my friend bumped my car but there was no damage.”
Roller (The Sheriff) said, “Did you report the accident?”
Mickey replied, “No, there was no damage.”
Roller then said, “I understand that, but it was an accident so you will have to come here and report it.”
Mickey said, “I have some boats that must be delivered, I don’t have the time.”
Roller’s response was, “Where are you delivering the boats?”
At that point Mickey panicked – he didn’t know where they were going and told the sheriff he didn’t know.
Roller kept on with his grilling. “Are these your boats?”
Roller: “And you don’t know where they’re going? You expect me to believe that?”
Mickey was sweating. He said, “Sir, shortly I’ll be receiving a call telling me where to take them.”
Roller: “From who?
Mickey again had no answer and figured he was going to jail.
Roller: “Let me get this straight. You have a load of boats that you own and you don’t know where you’re taking them and someone is going to call and tell you but you don’t know who that is?”
That’s when Roller hung up on him. Later that afternoon Roller asked Mickey if the sheriff was still looking for him. At that point, Mickey realized who was on the phone acting as sheriff.