Today’s Throwback Thursday historical photo dates back to a subject we’ve written about before, the 1972 Bassmaster Classic, but features a picture I don’t think we’ve ever posted. It features B.A.S.S. head Ray Scott standing along with singer Jerry Reed. Given the bullhorn in Ray’s hand, and the unknown item, possibly the starting gun, in Jerry’s hand, along with the heavy jackets, I’m guessing this was right before take-off one of the days.
B.A.S.S. had a history in those early days of having country music stars at many of their events, often as entertainment at banquets and receptions. Former tournament director Harold Sharp wrote about how this all came about back then. Here is an excerpt from that post/story explaining:
“During the weigh-in, a B.A.S.S. member by the name of Dave Barton introduced himself and offered to help with anything we needed while in Nashville. He said he worked for a talent agency and played on the Grand Ole Opry. I asked if he could get us into the Opry – that Don Butler, who had just won the Classic, would like to attend. Dave told us where to meet him at the back door of the Opry and that night we were there.
“Dave had Ernest Tubb introduce Don to the crowd as the Bass Master Classic winner. Then Ray signed up Grandpa Jones and Stringbean as B.A.S.S. members – they both loved to fish bass.
“After that I asked Dave if he could get some country singers to come to our next Classic as our guests and they could fish with the pros and perform, if they wanted, at one of our dinners. Dave said, ‘Just let me know when you need some, I know ‘em all.’
“At the next Classic he brought Roy Clark and several others that worked as session musicians in Nashville. They played one night, and we had a barn dance for the Classic crowd. Everyone had a great time.
“By the next Classic, the Nashville entertainers were ready – they’d named themselves ‘The String Busters.’ We had uniformed shirts made for them with “String Busters” embroidered on them complete with B.A.S.S. and Bass Master Classic patches. Again, everyone had a ball.
“From then on for many years the String Busters were our Classic entertainment and they always brought a big country star along. Over the years we were entertained by Bobby Lord, Roy Clark, Mel Tillis, Ray Price, Merle Haggard, Jerry Clower, Jerry Reed and many others. It was always a good time and all it cost us was a few lures and fishing trips. The musicians were all avid bass anglers and enjoyed being a part of the Classic.”