What A Job

26 Aug

COLUMBIA, S.C. – “What a job” is the title of a rap song. For those who have heard it, most will credit the song, by voice recognition, to their favorite rapper. However, the song belongs to the rapper your favorite rapper listens to. Who is he? “Devin the Dude”—a simple name for a humble storyteller who has been in the game from the beginning.

The lyrics are mixed and matched on this song by a group of guys talking about what it’s like to have a job creating music for their friends and family. It’s not really a job when you love what you do. That’s right, they are making songs for themselves, but in the end, the goal is to create music that resonates with consumers, compelling them to buy their album.

Get a Real Job

A Happy Moment - Photo by David Nathanial Findley

A Happy Moment – Photo by David Nathanial Findley

On Sunday at Lake Murray in South Carolina, the last day of the 2014 Forrest L. Wood (FLW) Forrest Cup, a local angler suggested to one contender. “Go get a real job!” Hearing that, wouldn’t you be rattled at once, if you were consumed with thoughts of catching the heaviest fish to claim a $500,000 prize?

The best 10 anglers in the world fished to their strengths. Fishermen, with big “mussels” of passion, patience and determination, ran up and down the lake on boats wrapped with their sponsors’ logos. They searched high and low. It was tough work finding august fish on four consecutive days. They fished shallow for resident fish, and out deep for wide ranging and highly intelligent schools of mobile largemouth bass.

As sponsored pros, it is their job to help companies develop lures, lines, hook, rods and reels that can handle the rigors of fishing in extreme conditions. As a result, recreational anglers can purchase items from companies that employ the best quality control managers—this job is held by professional anglers.

In the background

A press conference was held to kick off the tournament. Media folks gathered from around the country to ask questions of the competitors, but state and local government officials told the “reel” story. To them, it’s all about the money.

Senator Katrina Sealy officially announced barbeque as the state cuisine. Along with her at the gathering were members of the South Carolina BBQ association. BBQ was a side, but relevant, attraction at the Cup—a Bass & BBQ competition was held for 35 state competitors.

The director of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, Duane Parrish said, “Tourism is an $18 billion dollar business in the state of South Carolina.” Tourism is one of the largest industries in the state. In order to secure those dollars we have to publicize our assets in order to draw tourists to the state. The healthy water ecosystems found within our state does that.
To have landed another national tournament to South Carolina’s water helps keep us going financially. Over the course of the event, visitors stayed in hotels, bought fishing gear and dined out at locally unique eateries. The dollars brought in from this four-day FLW tournament and expo will trickle down to local communities throughout the state.

At the beginning of the tournament 45 of the best anglers around the nation, including several local pros, were in the chase for the Cup. On the last day three local favorites remained: Brian Thrift, of Shelby, N.C., Casey Ashley, of Donalds, S.C., and Anthony Gagliardi, of Prosperity, S.C.

At the live weigh-in activities held at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, Ashely and Gagliardi, were the crowd favorites—according to the applause. You could sense the momentum building. Each of top 10 anglers was sitting atop a FLW Cup-sponsored boat. Tension grew as they were called to the scales. They would slowly reach into their bags and place their catches into the water.

The wait was heavy for Gagliardi. He was the last to be called up. As he made his way, I sensed a cool cat, at peace with his on-the-water decisions. Win, lose or draw, the immediate stress would be drawing to a close when his weights were tabulated.

The excitement was high. Gagliardi had to wait, nervously, while he and the crowd pondered about his weight.

The 2014 FLW Forrest Cup Photo by David Nathanial Findley

The 2014 FLW Forrest Cup
Photo by David Nathanial Findley

When the announcer finally spoke after what seemed like a forever moment of silence. He claimed, “With a 1-ounce lead, the 2014 FLW Cup winner is Anthony Gagliardi!”

During his acceptance talk, ironically Gagliardi talked about what a job this is. He also added, “I wonder how much money has been won by anglers winning tournaments on Lake Murray.” No one knew, but the Lake Murray director of tourism will probably be working to find the answer.

Regardless, there is no question that bass fishing does promote tourism. To win the biggest prize of all, $500,000, is proof that dreams do come true!

Editor’s Note:  David Findley is a new SEOPA member. This article is the result of his first experience in covering an FLW Cup championship. “This was a great opportunity,” Findley said, “it allowed writers to experience the moment up close and personal.” Findley is eager to learn more about every aspect of outdoors communications, and he hopes to expand his markets through his association with SEOPA.