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Event Article:

On Assignment:
Behind the Scenes with the Skeet Reese at the 2009 Bassmaster Classic

Date: 2/26/09

Shreveport, Louisiana: Red River

Event: Bassmaster 2009
Reviewer: Leo





Introduction: As I stepped on to the family and friends bus to the final day weigh in, I was confronted with one of the most surreal experiences any bass angler or fan could ever face. I grabbed a seat in the second row of the bus.  In the first row, directly in front of me was Lesley Martens, wife of Aaron Martens. Directly across the isle from me was Kim Reese, wife of Skeet Reese.  At the time, Bassmaster and BassZone had the unofficial results with Skeet Reese, Aaron Martens and Mike Iaconelli in a virtual tie for the lead. It’s a twenty minute bus ride from the expo center to the weigh-in arena. But, before we discuss that bus ride and the events to follow let’s discuss what I was doing there and how I got that seat on the bus in the first place.


Skeet Reese is the new Bassmaster Classic Champion, but here is the backstory from inside the Skeet camp courtesy of Leo who traveled with Skeet's family to the event


Just a few months ago MonsterFishingTackle.com became a sponsor of Skeet Reese.  That is also when I personally became the webmaster for SkeetReeseInc.com, Skeet Reese’s website. Since we were now part of the Skeet Reese sponsorship team, Skeet invited us to be a part of his booth at the Classic, where we could pass out flyers and promote MonsterFishingTackle.com to those visiting the booth. So for the 2009 Classic Pat Elie (my co-worker) and I became part of the Skeet Reese entourage along with several members of his family, some of his close friends, his wife Kim and his two daughters Lea Marie and Courtney.


Leo on the far right with Skeet's family


Arriving late on Thursday night Pat and I didn’t get a chance to catch up with Skeet or any of his family or friends before the beginning of the show on Friday. On Friday, we met with the rest of the crew and spent the day showing off Skeet Reese merchandise and passing out MonsterFishingTackle.com flyers. It wasn’t until after the day one weigh in that we finally got to meet up with Skeet. That’s when he stopped by the booth to sign some autographs and meet with fans and spectators.  Even after a long day on the water, in the biggest tournament of the year, Skeet took the time to stop by his the booth for several hours to meet with fans. He signed hundreds of autographs and posed for even more pictures with people of all ages from all over the country. At the time Skeet stood in 13th place just a little more than 5 pounds behind leader Boyd Duckett.


Leo gives Skeet a good luck charm


After the crowds thinned out I asked Skeet if he would like one of my “lucky charm” swimbait necklaces and he was excited to take it and wear it. He gladly posed for a photo with it on and we briefly discussed his standings with me. I told him he was in good position and he replied that he wasn’t thrilled with it, but he was still in the hunt. Soon after Skeet headed to grab some food and get some sleep for day 2. For the rest of us in the booth, we wrapped up the show for the day and headed to get some rest as well.


Ike gets hooked up with the good luck charm as well


Just what would day two hold for Skeet? Well, we were all wondering that in the booth so we had the laptops tuned in to BassZone.com and Bassmaster.com to track Skeet’s progress.  It wasn’t but a few hours into the day when both sites reported Skeet in the lead. The booth definitely had a feeling of anxiety in it as we all realized Skeet was well on his way to accomplishing his number one goal. We also knew there was a lot of time to go and we didn’t know if the reports were even close to accurate.


Ish gets in on the action too


As the weigh in neared, Skeet’s wife Kim had to be urged by the rest of us to get down to the arena to support him. Kim’s one of the most unselfish people I have ever met and she tried to talk us into going and leave her there at the booth. None of us were going to let that happen. She finally took our advice and headed for the weigh in but, when she arrived the arena was full and they were turning fans away at the door. Luckily BASS got her in just in time to see Skeet weigh in his big bag of 22 pounds 9 ounces, the third biggest bag of the entire event. When it all shook out Skeet wasn’t in the lead, it was 2 time Classic Qualifier and South Dakotan angler Jami Fralick who was in the lead.  Skeet trailed by a total of 2 ounces and sat in second place.


Ike with fans at the event


We met up with Kim and Skeet in the lobby of the angler’s hotel.  Skeet was feeling pretty good about his position and Kim was holding up pretty well also.  It was in the lobby where I ran into my friend Mike Iaconelli. At the time Ike was in 9th place and also still in the hunt for his second Classic title. I thought I’d throw Ike a little luck as well, so I when I showed him the “lucky charm” swimbait necklace he was all over it. He immediately threw it on and said he’d wear it on day 3.  After Ike, Skeet and many of the other anglers signed some autographs they were all off to bed to get ready for the final day.


Skeet takes time to sign autographs


I am sure day three was the longest day in Kim Reese’s life. We had all recommended for her to get a little extra sleep and show up to the booth late “just in case”. She did just that but, once she arrived whatever extra rest she might have gotten the night before was quickly used up with the anxiety brought on by the news “they have Skeet in the lead.”  For the next 3 or 4 hours it seemed like we spent more time checking the unofficial web results than we did helping visitors in the booth. Much like the ESPN television coverage the web coverage had Skeet in the lead, then Ike, then back to Skeet again.


Personalizing messages for fans


By the time 2:00 PM rolled around we knew we had to make a decision between keeping the booth open and missing the weigh in or closing up the booth. The whole group got to work quickly on wrapping the booth up so we could get out to the weigh in.  But it wasn’t an easy decision. While we were wrapping the booth up a nice young lady with her two teenage kids and one of their friends came to the booth to pick up some Skeet Reese apparel.  She might have made the best purchase of the entire show picking up one of two 2008 Skeet Reese worn tournament jerseys. We told her that should he win, she could triple her money on eBay this week. However, don’t start scouring eBay just yet because she was set on hanging it on the wall after she wore it to the weigh in.


Ok, I have to break from the story here for a second and just tell you what kind of person Skeet’s wife is.  Although I have known Skeet for quite some time, this is the first time I have ever met Kim and their two daughters. Kim wouldn’t leave the booth until all of us left the booth, essentially risking the chance to see her husband win the biggest event of his life. Besides that, she constantly was concerned with making sure we had food, drinks, snacks and that we were all having a good time. It’s tough to put into words how great a catch Kim was for Skeet, but it’s obvious his catching skills aren’t limited to fish!


Skeet's wife Kim (right) was extremely down to earth and nice to everyone around her


Next Section: Heading to the weigh in









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