To the guy who found Uncle Crappy after he did a Yahoo search last night for “I want to buy a fucking weather predicting owl” — hey, let me know if you find one. I mean, how cool would that be?
I had no idea what a big freaking deal the Bassmaster Classic would be, and as a result I spent the entire weekend marveling at the spectacle. The picture here, snapped by The Wife on Sunday, is of Kevin VanDam, the dude who ended up winning the tournament and the $200,000 check that goes with the top spot. This was taken while KVD, as he is known, took a victory lap around the Civic Arena, where 14,000 people watched the final weigh-in on Sunday. We’ll come back to that.
Unless you have access to a boat — which Uncle Crappy definitely does not — you don’t really watch any of the actual fishing. Instead, you go to the fishing and outdoors show at the Convention Center and look at fishing stuff. And, you collect the freebies that are handed out at many of the booths. My favorite freebie was a shot of Evan Williams single barrel bourbon, which was being given away at a booth towards the beginning of our tour of the convention center. There were also free fishing hooks, hats, shirts, lures, beer, keychains, maps, pork rinds, energy bars (Hooah bars, developed by the military for the military — the wife tasted one and said biological warfare would be a better application). You could meet pro fishermen — in our case only the ones who didn’t qualify for the classic, because they were all, you know, fishing — survivors (Rupert, the hippie guy) and hucksters of all varieties. Trade shows like this tend to be a little overwhelming because there’s so much stuff, and this one was no exception.
Except that at about 2 p.m. every day the convention center cleared out as people made their way up to the Civic Arena to get seats for the weigh-in. This, boys and girls, is where the unsuspecting and uninitiated get a real look at what bass fishing is about. What I would easily recognize as the home of the Pittsburgh Penguins under any other circumstances had been transformed with a huge stage set, video boards, lights, a kick-ass sound system — oh, and thousands of fishing fans. I watched Saturday’s weigh-in from the floor, after my mother in law and her husband scored passes at Friday’s kickoff. The noise, the lights, the screaming … think pro wrestling with a vague smell of river water.
Each guy rides into the arena on his boat, and hauls a bag o’ bass out of the live well to be weighed. If he has a couple of impressive fish in the bag, he holds them up for crowd, which shouts its approval. (The funny thing about this tradition is that instead of holding up real monsters, like the ones they catch in the south where it’s warm enough that the fish grow nearly all the time, they’re holding up what passed for huge bass in Pittsburgh, not a single one over three pounds. I’m told that’s tiny. And I know some of the contestants looked totally sheepish to be waving these skinny little fish around for the audience.) And the guy who tallied the highest total weight over the three days — this weekend, it was Kevin VanDam — takes home the big check.
I was at work for the final weigh-in, but I got to watch the whole thing on ESPN. And it was just nuts. When the final guy weighed in — and failed to reach KVD’s total — the arena erupted, there were fireworks, exploding streamers, the victory lap. Wow.
While all that was going on Saturday, there were another 70,000 people getting ready for a concert by chinless Jimmy Buffett wannabe Kenny Chesney at Heinz Field that evening. Pittsburgh reached Redneck Critical Mass this weekend, and seemed to survive the experience. And, apparently, we did as well.
A SPECIAL POST FOR THOSE OF US WHO WENT TO HIGH SCHOOL TOGETHER (although the rest of you are welcome to read as well…).
Eighteen to 20 years ago, a language was created by a friend of ours, known on Uncle Crappy as Kewyson. This was a language that was only occasionally witnessed and difficult to recall — mostly because those of us most likely to bear witness years later were in the same state of intoxication Kewyson was in when he began speaking on tongues.
Evidence of this language is extremely rare. Until now.
For those of you who might have missed it, Kewyson and Uncle Crappy traded fishing stories yesterday, based on my post about the upcoming fishing tournament in Pixburke. But at the end of Kewyson’s initial comment, he lapsed into the SECRET KEWYSON LANGUAGE:
Well, no such luck – it was a 12 lbs. markrel – as we trolled by his area he was defengin – who aid, ew always wanted tl gove her away onfriday – but where do owr keep the reet? Thee fish was harpooned on the sid of its boday – That would oule not fo what wee neede.
We ended up not buying a boat afterall-
Rember, yell loud and proud, ‘ Fish On’ )
Wow. “…where do owr keep the reet?”
Kewyson, helpfully, offered a translation a few minutes later, blaming the problem on something that a father of two young children could logically claim: A lack of sleep.
Well, no such luck – it was a 12 lbs. Mackerel – as we trolled by this area he was defending, the hook speared the side of this poor fish just below his fin. When Dr. Koi tried to reel him in, he was being pulled sideways (hence the inaccurate estimates of size). Well, that was the only fish landed that day – and he didn’t even take a hit at the bait!
We still didn’t end up buying the boat – we did, however, take home some mighty nice mackerel, which went for close to $50 a pound that day.
I don’t want to pick on Kewyson — I certainly am eligible for abuse over an occasional lack of coherence — but I read his first post and was overcome by a wave of nostalgia, for the hot tub, for A-Team parties, for Buffett concert preparations, for the actual Buffett concerts … you get the idea.
Thanks, Kewyson, for keeping all of us young.
I have a better idea of what Miles is doing here. While The Wife and I were enjoying a quick lunch from Wendy’s, the cat thought he might be able to come up with something from the bag, which he apparently knocked off the kitchen counter. He then inserted much of his head in the bag and kind of scooted through the house looking like a bizarre Wendy’s-sponsored performance art piece. Dave Thomas needs to know about this.