By: Amy McQuin
When I last wrote for LocaLeben, I had just embarked on a new path into the business world. After just over a year, I have learned a great many things. The most surprising of all is how our family’s “mantra” has proven to be true. Our family believes that there is no such thing as coincidence. Some people call it fate or karma, but we attribute it to our faith and that things happen for a reason. We tell our children to live by the Golden Rule and thus my husband and I try to do the same. There is no better example of to “treat others the way you want to be treated” than the story I am about to tell you.
When we began C to C Bait Company and cast our lures into the marketplace, many people in the industry told me how “cut-throat” it could be. People in this business do not share ideas or will steal your ideas. They all look at you as a threat and are not willing to help out the new guy. For some of them this is true, but like I said, our mantra has brought wonderful people into our path who are helping us grow and helping us be better stewards of our community.
Our story begins last year when we volunteered for the Take-A-Vet Fishing charity in Madison. Jay, who runs the event, has a lot on his plate, but he was very appreciative of the lures we donated. In return, he thought of us as the time came for another of his events, the Chicago Muskie Expo. Remembering we had a new muskie lure on the market, he sent us passes to attend the event. We didn’t have to go. It was the middle of February, not the time of year I want to be traveling to Chicago. We knew it was not going to be a venue where we would be able to sell our lures, but we decided to check it out anyway. Jay has become a good friend, and if for no other reason, we wanted to show our support.
While at the event, we noticed a booth manned by former collegiate and professional basketball player Christian Laettner. My husband Steve was beside himself! He loves basketball and couldn’t wait to get a photo of himself with Mr. Laettner. We began a dialog with Christian about why he was at a Muskie Expo and found out he is an avid angler. He has a web page called themuskielife.com. He was also handing out fliers for his basketball academy. At the end of the day we touched base with Jay at the Take-A-Vet booth, thanked him, and told him to keep us in the loop for this year’s event.
As we drove home, I was reading some of the materials we had picked up and I came across the Laettner Academy flier. My mind began to make connections. My kids are not big basketball fans, but a lot of kids in Beaver Dam are. The Lake Association is always looking for ways to highlight our lake and to raise funds for improvement. I was onto something. A few days later I ran into our good friend Pete Hupf, Beaver Dam’s best fishing guide and owner of Best Dam Bait. I told him about the idea I had and asked if he would be interested in helping me. “Absolutely,” was his response as he recalled Laettner’s famous buzzer shot for Duke when they played against Kentucky in 1992, winning the NCAA Championship.
I came home and sent an e-mail to the PR person listed on the flier. I really tried to sell my idea, thinking it would take a lot to get this kind of world class athlete to our little town. Would Christian be interested in doing his academy here in Beaver Dam and stay an extra day to fish in a tournament on our lake? As I hit send, I wondered how long it would take for a response. I got my answer less than 5 minutes later. She thought he would love the idea! She would pitch it to him and be in touch. I figured my great idea was going to fizzle out right there. About 10 minutes later, my phone rang; Christian Laettner was calling me. We spoke for a while about my idea and made plans to talk again when he had more time. Thus, I now have added another hat to my collection: Event Planner.
What began as a fun little idea to benefit the community has mushroomed into an elaborate event that will span three days and will be called The Christian Laettner Hooks & Hoops Tournament Weekend. First, Christian will provide the Boys and Girls Varsity and JV basketball teams with private 90-minute clinics. Second, on Saturday, August 22, he will host a clinic for all area kids ages 6 – 18 that is open to the public. Third, there will be a Catch, Photo, Release Tournament on Beaver Dam Lake on Sunday, August 23. Lastly, on the evening of August 23, Christian will attend a Meet and Greet with a buffet dinner and silent auction at the Beaver Dam Country Club. The Take-A-Vet Fishing boat will join the tournament, as well as several professional tournament anglers who will be paired with area veterans. Veterans can be nominated at Rechek’s Food Pride. The person with the highest bid on our Facebook page will be fishing with Christian and Pete Hupf. If you are a true Laettner fan, $200 will get you a 30-minute gourmet sit-down meal with Christian and four others at the Meet and Greet. Proceeds from this event will be split between the Beaver Dam Unified School District’s Athletics Department and the Beaver Dam Lake Fish Restocking Program.
For more information go to www.slopfrogbaits.com/hooksandhoops or www.theclba.com or stop into Rechek’s Food Pride, the BDLIA office, Best Dam Bait or the Beaver Dam Bay Marina. You can also contact Amy McQuin at 920-356-0377.