Home Team Wins US Open Bass Pro Shops Bowfishing Championship
Special for The Lake News / By Ryan Devine
Bowfishing is more than a sport for our team; it’s a passion that burns in all of us, and it’s very difficult to explain. We’ve been bowfishing for many years and each off season we’re counting down the days until we can get together and spend some warm summer nights on the water.
We strive to be a humble group of young men. Boastful is not a word in our vocabulary. When I was asked to write about our recent tournament victory, I was a little hesitant; however, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it would be a perfect opportunity to thank everyone who helps make this passion possible for each of us.
It is God who makes it all possible. If it wasn’t for Him, we wouldn’t and couldn’t do what we do. We are able to experience the natural world when the rest of the world is sleeping; the sounds of nature are unique, and the wind and water feel and smell differently than when the sun is above the horizon. We thank him for our ability to compete and continually ask him to watch over and keep the anglers and our families safe at home.
Family is extremely important to all of us. Every member of our team is married and we have growing families. It’s not easy to leave them for a scouting night, or a tournament weekend. To be honest, it can be a pain at times, especially when leaving early for a tournament out of town. They say it takes a village, and I couldn’t agree more. Apart from our women; our parents, aunts, uncles and friends help us tremendously along the way. We thank them for helping with family life during our absence.
Last weekend our team, Descalin’, (pronounced de-scale-in) traveled to Ridgedale, Missouri, just outside of Branson, to fish in the world’s largest bow fishing tournament in the world. Our team consists of Travis Spiceland, Sawyer York, Tyler Devine and Ryan Devine. The tournament was organized by Bass Pro Shops, and it went as well as I have ever seen. When you bring people from all over the world, pull boats from California and New York, see campers in the Pacific Northwest, and meet people who have been scouting in the area for almost two weeks, you know it going to be a great tournament. There were over 220 teams registered to compete for the biggest bowfishing prize, plus shiny new belt buckles for each teammate on the winning team!
Before takeoff, country artists filled the crisp Missouri air with music, and two professional skydivers jumped out of a plane, displaying an American flag, as a beautiful rendition of the national anthem echoed through the mountains. Ozark.
The weigh-in came quickly, as they usually do, when you’re out on the water tournament fishing. We had 20 fish and we were cautiously optimistic about the end of our night, but when the best teams in the country are fishing against you and you give them weeks to prepare, you never know how your fish stringer will compare to the their. .
We weighed second to last, and when our truck pulled our boat away from the main stage, we had just taken the lead at 423 pounds, and the MC said we were the first team to go over 400 pounds, with our 20 fish. The last boat to weigh had some really good fish, and we knew it could go either way. Who will take home the coveted title? All we could do was sit and watch. Would we hold our heads for just 5 minutes? They had 3 buckets of fish to roll onto the stage and weigh. The first bucket was a healthy weight, the second was even better. Would the third take them to the top?
The event MC called for a break, before the last bucket was weighed. He asked what would be needed, in the final bucket, to win the national championship. The final bucket was to weigh 127 pounds; before, their bucket weighed 186 pounds. As the last bucket slowly made its way to the scale, I think I could have heard a pin drop. The bucket was gently placed on the scale, after what felt like 10 seconds for the scale to stabilize and provide an accurate number, we heard the MC say 93 pounds.
What? Did this just happen? Someone pinch me? Am I dreaming? We kissed, smiled, shouted and raised our fists! We also gave thanks. We thanked God, our family, the teams we fished against, many of whom are good friends of ours, the tournament host, Bass Pro Shops, and our sponsor, AMS Bowfishing. An unforgettable night is an understatement. We are extremely humbled and grateful to have been able to experience this. Thank you to my teammates and everyone who helps make this possible. Belt buckles aren’t just for rodeos anymore.