The Bassmaster Classic is a can’t miss event, it would seem, especially after a year of COVID-19 lockdowns and delays.
That much seemed obvious on Friday morning at the 51st edition of the event kicked off on rain-swollen Lake Ray Roberts as a crowd numbering well over 1,000 people watched the event’s 54 competitors blast off into bass fishing’s unknown.
Perhaps the most recognizable face in the day-1 crowd was Sen. Ted Cruz, the Texas Republican who delivered the opening invocation at Friday morning’s Classic blast-off at the flooded boat launch facilities found at Ray Roberts State Park Isle du Bois Unit near Pilot Point.
Afterwards, Cruz took a few moments to talk about why he came to North Texas for the occasion.
“Well, look, it’s good people and it’s a chance to be in God’s great outdoors to celebrate nature, but also just to be with people who love family (and) who love America,” said Cruz.
Cruz, who went fishing on Ray Roberts later in the day, noted that he grew up in Houston and has enjoyed the sport his whole life.
“There are few more peaceful things than to be out on a lake, a river, the ocean, and (to go) fishing in the majesty of God’s creation.”
The Bassmaster Classic has certainly attracted its share of politicians through the years, including then-Vice President George H. Bush as he appeared alongside 1984 Classic winner Rick Clunn in Pine Bluff, Ark.
Bush was an enthusiastic angler who fished for everything from bass to tarpon, with many of his angling trips taking place in his home state of Texas as well as at the family’s summer home in Maine.