Five Questions for Trip Weldon

Category: article

 Sep 17th, 2012 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Sep 17th, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Ignore the man behind the curtain! That man was of course the Wizard of Oz. Trip Weldon, Bassmaster Elite Series Tournament Director, may not stand behind a curtain, in fact viewers of the Bassmaster TV show have seen Trip an awful lot over the years. We just never hear him speak or see him do anything but carry containers of bass around and weigh them.

Trip Weldon weighs Kevin VanDam’s Day 1 catch at the 2011 Bassmaster Classic. (Photo BassFIRST)

Of course, a bass fishing tournament director does so much more than simply weigh fish. He is the boss of the event, the enforcer of the rules, the muscle, the guy you need to call if you think you may have broken the rules.

So who is the mysterious man who weighs fish and then makes them disappear off stage? Trip took a little time out of his day to answer five questions to help shed a little light on the enigma that is Trip Weldon.

DL – What did you want to be when you were growing up?

TW – That is an excellent question. As a young adult, I guess I wanted to be a professional bass tournament angler. I grew up just two blocks from the original headquarters of B.A.S.S. I am a B.A.S.S. historian.

Heck, I was so into the tournaments back in the late 70’s that I would call up the tournament information hotline they had every day of every tournament to find out what was going on. Back then that was the only way you could get current information.

The other job I wanted to do was be a coach. I’m a smaller guy, but I’ve always been very athletic and played the three major stick and ball sports. However, being a pro bass angler was the top one for me.

DL – What is the best part of being a tournament director?

TW – I love working with our staff, but besides that, it would have to be our anglers. I’m in my 23rd season with B.A.S.S. I’ve watched many anglers come and go. I’ve worked along side legends like Rick Clunn and Denny Brauer. I’ve also seen legends develop from the beginning, like Kevin VanDam.

I guess just getting to know them and understand who they are as people and see just how hard they work at their profession. I don’t think the average fan or casual observer has any idea of how demanding this career is on a person both mentally and physically.

DL – Where do you see B.A.S.S. going in the next 5 years?

TW – I am now working with the third ownership group since I’ve been with the company. I loved working with Helen Sevier. She brought some good things to the company.

The ESPN people were very smart and creative. You knew you were working with quality people when we were part of that. They brought some very good things to our company and the tournaments.

Our three new owners, well they are excellent to work with. Seems like things evolve every three days now unlike years ago when it would be much slower.

I think things will look drastically different from a fan perspective. I believe the Elite Series really brought some very positive change for the anglers and the sport. I believe the Elite Series really allows fans to see how good these anglers are. I’d say it’s been about 90 percent positive. However, I still believe things will be drastically different, though it’s hard to say exactly what will be different.

DL – What is your favorite recreational activity?

TW – Tournament bass fishing. My fishing is usually centered around some sort of local tournament, Alabama football, too. My wife is an Auburn fan. She’s not obnoxious like me though.

I also have a two-acre pond that I tinker with. It’s fun to see the bass develop and grow.

DL – What is your all-time favorite TV fishing show?

TW– It would have to be Bill Dance’s show. Growing up there were so few on TV. I mean no disrespect to Jerry or Roland, but I really liked Bill’s show.

I had the chance to spend some time last year with Bill Dance. He just lives for fishing. It just runs through his veins. It is who he is.

During last year’s all-star week, I was driving Bill and Jerry McKinnis to the legends portion of the event. Just listening to him and Jerry talk fishing was amazing.

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