BassWestUSA - May/June 2009, Page 19

the Angler of the Year race and established herself as the front-runner for the coveted Classic berth. At mid-season, a scheduling conflict between FLW and WBT required a commitment to a single tour. Kim had to choose. As the WBT points leader, she dropped the FLW Tour from her sched- ule. Although her decision was not an easy one, she rode the momentum of success in the WBT to a near-impeccable season. Kim finished 1st, 4th, 6th, and 2nd, won the Championship, and led the Angler of the Year race from wire to wire. Most impor- tantly, she qualified for the 2009 Bassmaster Classic. “It certainly worked out to be a good decision for me. It prob- ably could have gone either way, but life is about following your dreams and taking chances. I have dreamt about the Classic ever since I was a little girl, so it would have been silly for me to not seize the opportunity and finish the WBT season.”

sure. When she waited backstage and her selected theme music “Woman” by Australian rock band Wolfmother started resonating through CenturyTel Center, it would be a differ- ent story. “Nothing can prepare you for that moment when you drive into the arena and thousands of people are clapping their hands and cheering for you. I don’t get nervous very of- ten, but I have to tell you that before I drove into that arena, I was absolutely petrified. You wait in this dark alley, they play your music, call your name, and you are brought out into these incredibly bright lights. It was by far the most special moment that I have had in my career. And having my mom and dad over here from Australia to witness that was pretty special.” Kim’s Classic appearance was a milestone for a sport traditionally dominated by men. If it were not for the par- ticipation and commitment of the first female tournament anglers, however, the qualification slot may not have even existed. As a representative of both the WBT and those lady anglers that fished before her, Kim was humbled to be the Classic’s first female representative. “I feel honored to follow the ladies that put in the hard work and paved the road for me to do this. I certainly have not faced the hardships to the degree of the other ladies. In the eight or nine years that I’ve been here, there have only been a few situations where a guy didn’t want to fish with me because I was female. But, it never was a big deal. In those cases, I just contacted the tournament director and re-partnered with someone else, went out fishing, and had a great day. It’s always

tdoors Media Photo cour tesy of ESPN Ou

Kim’s Bassmaster Classic qualification was the culmina- tion of a decade’s worth of tireless dedication, intense focus, and exhaustive travel. While most aspiring anglers would view the effort required to compete professionally in a foreign country a nearly insurmountable challenge, Kim confronted it straight on. “There will forever be challenges, but my dad told me to face those by always thinking of your dreams like a river. You can’t ever stop a river from flowing. It might take just a little different direction at times, but it’s always going to keep moving forward. That is how I approach my life. If I ever run into something that isn’t quite working out, I try to choose a different direction to keep moving forward. Everything has been pretty positive that way. I set myself goals and try to achieve them each year. By do- ing that, it has already helped me to accomplish one of my big- gest goals and dreams which were to go to the Classic.”

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Kim prepared for the unique challenges of the Bassmas- ter Classic by focusing on tangible tasks. Although banquets, press interviews, and limited practice are ordinary distractions for Classic competitors, she maintained her competitive compo-

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