BassWestUSA - January/February, 2010, Page 36


No angler is successful without the help of sponsors, and seldom are companies successful without the help of professional anglers who promote their products to the world. Dance has long been one of the best commercial endorsers in the business, and his list of sponsors is indication of the effectiveness of Bill Dance Outdoors.

His sponsors are: Bass Pro Shops, BSX/Biosonix, Blue Lizard Suncream, Chevrolet Truck Division, Tracker Boats, Frost Cutlery, Gamakatsu Hooks, Gerbing’s Heated Clothing, Johnsonville Brats, Lindy Little Joe, Lowrance Electronics, Mercury Marine, Motorguide Trolling Motors, Stren, Pennzoil Marine, Plano Molding Company, Pradco Lures, Heddon, Bomber, Excalibur, Yum, Arbogast, Rebel, Cordell, ProCraft Boats, Progressive Insurance, Rugged Shark Shoes, Zebco/Quantum Corporation, Diamond Feeders, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Tennessee Tourism and Porcupine Fish Attractors.


Spence; we started Strike King Lure Com- pany.” After a few months, Dance realized that part of the fishing business was not for him, so he turned his part of Strike King over to Spence, and went to work for Cotton Cordell. It was Cordell who made a suggestion that changed Dance’s life.

» The TeleviSion STar

His new boss made the suggestion that he should make a television show about fishing, so with the support of Cordell, he went to work making a show for the ABC affiliate in Memphis. “I carried my camera with me everywhere I went fishing,” he said. “My guests and I would take turns holding the camera and fish- ing, then I would head back to the studio where I would edit and produce the shows.” It wasn’t long before other markets picked up on Dance’s show, which was to the amazement of friend and tournament roommate Jerry McKinnis. “McKinnis always said puttin’ me on television was like puttin’ perfume on a pig. What was the point,” Dance giggled. “But, it wasn’t long before I had more areas wanting shows.” Over the next couple of years, Dance would begin taping and producing shows in four separate local markets; his original Memphis show, one in Jackson, Mississippi, in Baton Rouge and Paducah, Kentucky. “I was on 52 weeks a year, producing 208 shows,” he said. “I would spend a week in Memphis filming, then another on Ross Barnett, then head to Kentucky for another one, and then down to Jackson. I’d get all of the footage I could for those shows in that time frame, then set up in editing and pro- duction.” His television work was going on while he was still chasing the B.A.S.S. tournaments, and with the amount of work, he even- tually sought help. “I eventually hired a guy to help me shoot, edit and produce the show,” he said. “The schedule was getting really hectic, and I needed to do something about it.” By 1980, when he was on a series of whirlwind trips around tournaments, filming and personal appearances, he decided to focus on bill Dance Outdoors. “I flew into town from an appear- ance, met my cameraman / producer at the airport with my rig as he was flying home,” he said. “I realized that something had to give, and it was going to be tournaments.”


January/February 2010

Photo by B ill

Dance Outd oors