Kelly Bostian: Butcher bows out of Bassmasters tour
BY KELLY BOSTIAN Outdoors
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
12/18/12 at 5:55 AM
Go to Kelly Bostian's blog Original Print Headline: Butcher leaving Bassmaster tour
The background noise when Terry Butcher answered the phone Monday morning told part of the story.
"Let me get away from the noise here," he said. "Yeah, I'm at the Tulsa Stockyards."
The weekly Monday morning sale is familiar ground for the Talala cattleman and, now former, Bassmaster Elite Series angler. He likely will be at the sale barn more consistently than in the past several years, but mostly he will be home with his girls for dinner this coming year.
The list of 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series competitors released late last week did not include Butcher's name, but it did list 11 Oklahomans, including Bixby newcomer Chip Porche and Park Hill pro Jason Christie, who has fished the FLW Tour five years but will be a new face on the Elite tour in 2013.
Oklahoma, site of the 2013 Bassmaster Classic at Tulsa and Grand Lake Feb. 22-24 has the third-highest number of anglers in the Elites, behind Alabama with 16 and Texas with 13. Anglers on the tour represent 25 states and Japan.
Butcher said he made the decision to leave the tour some time ago. "I knew this would be my last year for a while," he said. "I've got one daughter still in school and the oldest is fixin' to graduate ... I don't want to miss any more of that. I'm tired of being gone all the time," he said.
Wife Kandace and daughters Jessie, 18, and Josie, 13, likely have no complaints. "I'll fish the Central Opens and some stuff closer to home and I'll be home every night," Butcher said.
With cattle and oil field businesses to tend, Butcher is just leaving one career to spend more time at two others. "When I'm home from fishing, I always have plenty to do," he said.
Whether he will come back to the Elites someday is unknown. "I'm not going to say I'm never going to but as of right now I don't plan on it," he said. "My youngest has another five years until she graduates, so if I do I'd say it will be at least five years."
While Butcher is pulling out of the tour, Porche is just beginning his effort as a career angler and gaining new appreciation for the business side of the fishing tournament scene.
"My name is on the list and I'm all-in; I just need some more backing," he said. His first $8,000 tournament dues deposit is in, but he still has $39,000 more to go - not to mention expenses along the way.
The recent graduate and University of Oklahoma bass team founder is consulting with experienced hands, working with as many potential sponsors as possible and trying to chart out a future. "I'm just trying to stay balanced about it and trying to make decisions that will be the best in the long run," he said. "I'm a rookie, and I'm learning as I go."
Porche is a rabid bass tournament fan and student of the sport, but said experiencing it for yourself is a whole new ballgame. He has reflected upon memories and has even more respect these days for people he's known over the years who could have gone pro but chose not to because of family or other commitments. "I can see now how much it takes and how hard it really is," he said.
Christie has his deposit into BASS and is one of several pros this year who plan to fish both the Elite Series and the FLW Tour. He, too, is waiting on sponsorship for the Elite tour, but said "it's looking good; it's always a slow process trying to get sponsorship lined up.
"We're just fortunate next year they (the tour dates) don't overlap. I think a lot of guys would love to fish both if they could, but the schedule just never works out that way."
The commitment is tough, but no worse than it was trying to fish Opens and the FLW this past season, he said. "It just about matches last year," he said. "I did 16 last year and it will be 16 this year, although they're higher profile events, so it's about the same number. One good thing about it is it will all be done in August; last year it was mid-October, so that gives me that last four months at home around basketball season and I can be home with my girls."