Far away from the tents and tournament stages are the technicians who stand ready to take care of any of the mechanical and technical problems of the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament participants’ equipment.
All of the major sponsors are represented by experts ready to provide the support that will keep their team active throughout this tournament.
Lee Robertson, representative from Skeeter Products; “Captain Ron” Hunter from Lowrance Electronics and Ray Brazier from TH Marina had their trailers parked and said they were prepared for this week’s event.
“We spend more time with our service road family than we do with our real families,” Robertson said. “Our job is to keep (the contestants) on the water, keep them fishing and keep the fish alive. If they have trouble with their trucks, we even will get them from the hotel to the ramp.”
Hunter added: “It is really two-fold, not only to keep our pros fishing, but to also find problems. A lot of times we find problems out here and then we work on them to improve our products, these tournaments can provide us with a lot of useful information.”
David “Happy” White works for Nitro Boats and Tracker Marina, and was at the Pyne Road Park’s main parking lot early Wednesday morning attending to a trailer problem for one of the pros that his company sponsors. White was driving a company pickup truck that was pulling another one of Nitro’s boats.
“We have 14 boats in this competition. I keep a spare boat just in case one of them breaks down and it takes me some time to fix it,” White said. “This boat was used by Kevin VanDan last year. It is covered with pictures that his fans sent him on Facebook for a promotion that he was running. He changes his boat each year, and at times, even a few times during the year.”
Chad Smith and Matt Lester both represent Yamaha and are responsible for providing technical support for 40 Yamaha boats that are in the tournament.
“We hope that we won’t be busy this weekend, we shouldn’t be with the high water conditions here at the lake,” Smith said. “We have three support trailers that we use to cover both salt- and fresh-water events.”
One of the largest rigs parked was a white cab and trailer that was owned by Mercury Marine. Scott Beattie was in his office/workshop in the truck’s trailer, and was busy making final arrangements for the tournament.
On the inside of the trailer’s door Beattie had a printed copy of his quote that he said he stands by: “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.”
Altogether, there were 10 different technicians who represented nine different major motor and electronics companies.