Today I have an update regarding the 1971 Classic Patch. This patch has had some mystery behind it since I first published it on May 5, 2015. The mystery came from Harold Sharp in a reply the day after this original posting.
Harold had not remembered the patch and that is saying something. Harold, even in his 70s, had a mind like a steel trap. He could remember little situations that happened at weigh-ins, dates rule changes took place, and pretty much anything else. He was always my go-to guy to clear up any discrepancies I’d find between Bassmaster Magazine and the website.
If you’ve read my post on the BASS Masters Classic patches I have, you know I got the collection from Stan Fagerstrom in 2015 after visiting his home in Arizona. When I got home the first thing I did was write the post.
As I stated above, the next day I got an email from Harold asking me to ask Stan where he got the 1971 Classic patch. I asked Stan and he couldn’t remember, saying he assumed he got it the same way he’d gotten all the other patches, at the Classic.
Harold didn’t remember the patch at all and looked through all of his pictures from that event to try and find it. He came up empty and figured it was made after the 1971 Classic and sent to all the contestants and writers who were present. Since then, that’s been the story of that patch.
About the middle of 2023 I was working on a documentary and had the need to re-examine a lot of the early images from B.A.S.S. I was scanning images at really high resolutions and then zooming in to find any little piece of history I needed for the project.
During one of those research sessions, I was trying to get names for each of the individuals in one of the most famous of all images printed from the 1971 BASS Masters Classic. The image of all contestants and writers taken at the dock on Lake Mead.
Zooming in on each person, I’d crop out a head shot and then see if I could match the face with other faces I have in my library. As I was cropping one image, I noticed a familiar site. A patch no less. I zoomed in a little more on the patch and my hunch was right.
It was the 1971 BASS Masters Classic patch. I had the actual answer to the mystery. The patches were handed out before the Classic with enough time for some of the anglers to get them sewed on their jackets before the official practice day. My guess was they were handed out at the meeting the night before practice.
In the image I was able to make out no less than five of these patches sewn on jackets with the possibility of a sixth one I’m barely able to make out. This is the only image I have seen from the 1971 Classic that features the Classic patch from that year. It’s no wonder that Harold had a heck of a time finding the patch as it’s hard to make out on a normal sized image. I just wish he was still around so he could see it.