BassWestUSA - March/April, 2011, Page 47

the season as a way to save money. He is determined to sh the entire trail, and he said he has to sleep in his truck in order to make it happen. He does not come from a wealthy family or have major sponsors footing the bill for an entire season of hotel stays. When the news broke about his plans to sleep in his truck, Federa- tion members across the country stepped in to help one of their own. State Federations and Bass Clubs across the country have chipped in to donate money to pay for some of his expenses. Club members in close proximity to the events have even offered to let Brandon stay at their homes. These offers show how bass sher- men can come together to help out someone in need. Brandon said he de nitely plans to take some of them up on their offers. He mentioned how it gets lonely in the truck and a shower and hot meal are so important after a long day on the water. Going into his rst Elite Series event on the Harris Chain of Lakes in Central Florida, Brandon had earned his right to be shing with the best in the world. He nished a respectable 44th place and made the nal Day Three cut. He was pleased with his results, but like any shermen would say, he wished he would have done better. His success has made him a rising star, attracting spon- sorship interest, interviews and press coverage. The attention and success has not changed who he is. I talked with him as he was signing autographs for fans at the Harris Chain and his attitude was that he was grateful, humble and just happy to have his dream come true. Brandon Palaniuk has risen to the top level of bass shing in just a few short years. His dream to reach the Bassmaster Classic

and Elite Series was what drove him to spend lonely nights sleeping in the back of his truck, thinking of the next day on the water. With his skills, personality and weekend warrior attitude, he has made a dream of becoming a professional bass angler a reality. Not just for himself, but for all of us who dream. Keep an eye on him; he is destined to be one of the next superstars in our sport. BWU

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March/April 2011