By Steve Graf
Over the years as a tournament angler, I’ve noticed some guys never get the credit they deserve. No one ever tells them “Thank you” for what they do or how they do it. Housekeepers, healthcare workers, lunchroom ladies, childcare workers, or even caregivers all seem to be invisible, mainly because we don’t see them or recognize the job they do. Yes, in most cases they are getting paid, but sometimes the pay doesn’t make up for the job itself and what is required.
Well, that would also be the life of a bass tournament director. Each and every tournament trail in the country has one person who has to deal with anglers who think they know the best way to run a tournament trail. Yes, I’ll say it…bass fishermen have huge egos! Shocker! One thing anglers are guilty of is making suggestions that usually only benefit the angler who made the suggestion. They all think they know a better way to skin a cat or run a bass tournament.
Tournament director, Chris Wayand runs all the ABA (American Bass Anglers) tournament trails like the Open Series and the Solo 150 Tour. Mike Echols has run two of the best team trails in the Ark-La-Tex region like the H&W Team Trail and the Thursday night Cash Splash. Both of these guys do a great job of setting the standard for what all tournament directors should strive for. They are tough and will make sure the rules for each tour are followed. There’s no grey area with either of them. Whatever the rule states are exactly how it will be implemented. Anglers may not always like a certain ruling, but they will respect it. This is what makes a great tournament trail…consistency!
A tournament director’s job is to make sure that all anglers in an event are treated fairly and that all rules are followed with no exceptions. He must plan and schedule where the tour will be going the next season a year in advance. He has to secure boat ramps and make sure that there’s plenty of parking. Securing a boat ramp is not something to just skip over. This has become a major issue for all tournament directors, especially in the state of Texas. Every fall, the new schedules are released by all tournament trails. Every director must work around each other in order to make it happen. There are basically only four weekends in a month and at least eight active major trails, but for the sake of time and ink, I won’t list them.
Now imagine you’re a tournament director and trying to schedule around all these different circuits, truly a nightmare! But still, there’s always an angler that thinks they know a better way and wants to question why the director scheduled an event on a specific weekend. Didn’t he realize it’s the opening weekend of college football? Didn’t he know that there was a high school tournament that same weekend? Didn’t he know it was the President’s Birthday? You get the point! This is what a director has to hear over and over again… people questioning why he put a particular tournament on a specific Saturday!
Today, we’ll give praise to all tournament directors who do a “thankless job” and attempt to make every angler a happy camper. These guys give up their weekends so all of us future Kevin Van Dams can get on a given body of water and compete. Yes, it’s true they do get paid, but there’s no making up for the time they sacrifice away from family and friends in order to run the best tournament trail possible. Today we salute and say, “Thank you,” to all bass tournament directors for a job well done! Till next time, good luck, good fishing, and don’t forget your sunscreen.
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