The Beginning of a Dream
Editor's Note: Strike King Pro Team member, 30-year old Mark Rose from Marianna, Arkansas, has competed professionally in bass fishing since 1999. He has participated in more than 150-major professional tournaments and has taken numerous top-20 positions, three, top-10 positions and two, top-five positions. In the last 16 months, Rose has fished in B.A.S.S, FLW, Wal-Mart BFL, Everstart and Ranger Millennium pro-fishing tournaments.
Question: What did you do to prepare to be a bass pro?
Answer: I went to college first and got a degree in sports management and marketing. From there, I went to work at the Boy Scouts of America's national office, where I gained many public-relation and public-speaking skills. Learning to work with people and raise money are also very helpful skills in professional bass fishing. Also, the skills that I gained as district executive for the Boy Scouts of America have prepared me to have my own business. I am an outdoorsman. The out-of-doors is in my blood; it is in my family. I've grown up hunting and fishing in a hunting-and-fishing family. The business skills that I've learned in college have helped my dreams fall into place.
Question: Have you always wanted to be a bass pro?
Answer: No, I originally wanted to be a professional baseball player. I planned on making my millions playing major-league baseball. I played four years of college baseball, but some injuries during my sophomore year postponed a major-league career. I left college knowing that my athletic career was over. However, I began to notice how bass fishing was growing and that a lot of outside industry sponsors were getting involved. I enjoyed bass fishing so much. So, utilizing my outdoor skills, I seized the opportunity and decided to take my career to the next level. I began to fish some big events and did well -- that made me decide to go full-time. Having some top-10 wins enabled me to make a living at it.
After I placed in Memphis, Ranger Boats started sponsoring me, and the company's sponsorship upgraded my standing to a professional fisherman. In the past, I'd always had to order the cheaper boats when time came for me to get a new boat. But, Ranger's sponsorship allowed me to select the best boat their company made. Next, I had to choose the colors. Usually, I only could choose between one or two colors for my cheaper boat, but now I could select any color. One night, my wife said, "Since you love to hunt, why don't you just get a camouflaged boat?" I laughed, but that night I realized the possibilities and contacted Mossy Oak.
Young fishermen breaking into the sport of professional bass fishing often have a difficult time securing sponsors in the fishing industry because the best-of-the-best anglers already have taken that money. Young fishermen must go outside the industry to find sponsors.
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