Just home from the KAST state championship hosted by CMKA – Clinch Mountain Kayak Anglers – in Spring City Tennessee on Watts Bar Lake. Directors Scott Bullins & Curtis Perez
https://www.facebook.com/groups/160029334416540, along with the KAST director Steve Owens put on a great event for the 97 anglers in attendance. Dugout Bait and Tackle provided some great prizes for the crowd, and Buddy’s Barbeque provided good food for an organization that is becoming the model for state clubs across some states.
Watts Bar, well it provided fish for some, frustration for some, mediocre limits for many…but it did eventually cough up a record number of fish for a KAST tournament. I personally stunk up pre fishing, caught only two fish on day one…then had a good enough morning on day two to end in 17th out of 97 of Tennessee’s best anglers; so, I will take it.
I mean let’s be serious about it all…I stayed with the Clarksville Area Kayak Group team, learned that Travis Ashley has the most awful alarm song (more about that another day), laughed with friends from other groups and just had a great time. I truly love my kayak family!
But, I really only came here to write about some words shared by the soft spoken guy with an infectious smile; Parris Edwards. I met him yesterday as we spoke about our trucks (both Nissans) in the parking lot without being introduced and knew right away that I liked this guy.
Now, before I get to what he said, I want to let the kayak world who is not already aware that he is a young man that everyone should be watching. He has spent some time sharpening his tournament skills with the KBFTN kayakers (who won the team event and paddle), but is definitely hungry for more.
Parris can flat out fish, his record is already showing that (he did just beat all of the best in Tennessee – winning the event), but he plans to take on the bigger trails next year and has the personality and dedication to become one of the best; one of those people who will help promote the sport by just being himself. He really gets what most of us consider the heart and soul of this kayak tournament world…community.
Which circles me back to his words….
We had all heard rumors of some verbal altercation on the water. Word spreads fast, but only those involved have the truth; the reality, it doesn’t matter what was said…it is over. What does matter, the words that I hope everyone heard was after Parris graciously accepted the win. He stopped, looking at the crowd, and addressed the incident with civility while reminding us who we are not.
Let me back up half a second to say that Ryan Lambert had turned to Parris and said that he could not believe he was about “to lose to a guy wearing skinny jeans”…all in good humor – and we all just did lose to a guy in skinny jeans…dang it…
…anyway, this young man took a second to talk about the incident and remind us that we are a community. We are friends. When he lost his tackle, our folks had rallied together to make sure he had what was needed to fish…I stopped taking some pics to write down his words to quote them…”If you want to fish next to me, you can….if you need my skinny jeans, you can have them”….to parphrase…this is who we are, not those words said on the water.
Like I said, I wanted to pout about my finish. I wanted to write more about our club, and the adventure we had just gone through…but this young man, who could have been gloating about the beat down he put on us, did not. He spoke about what a community we have instead, what the heart of it all is to most of us…and I must say I was proud to have spent those few minutes talking with him. I look forward to seeing him at events in the years to come.
And, to warn you guys…with his personality, his attitude, and his skills….keep an eye on the 2021 KAST champion Parris Edwards, he is going to put a hurtin’ on many of us.