A Dream Is Coming True
by: Frank Villa 6/8/2012
Joe Conway came up to me after the final weigh in at the 2012 BASS Western Divisional at Flaming Gorge Last week and I was announced the 2012 Colorado State Champion. Joe said "This is special, and always remember this!" then he asked "Was it easy?" I have to say it seemed easy. He said it was that way for him to. The first day I was done by 10:00 am, the second day I was done by 8:30 am and the third day I didnít have a fish till noon, but not to worry all my fish on that day I caught on my water that I found during prefish.
Looking back, It all began in 2000, My Best Friend Ben Lind asked me if I wanted to join a bass club with him. Ben and I have been friends for over 20 yrs now and I look back out how it all began.
All those years ago, Ben and I were working at Eastman Kodak in Windsor, Co packaging X-ray film. After each 12 hour shift either morning or night, we would go fishing. Since we were living in Windsor we would go to the Frank Easment west of Windsor on county line road, or Simpson Ponds in Loveland, maybe even Big Thompson ponds, Dixon Reservoir, Prospect ponds, or Arapahoe ponds. We would take are tackle boxes full of spinnerbaits and Purple worms (we affectionately call "Urple Urms") and our Shimano Baitcasting Rods and Reels and go catch bass. The Duo of Pic and Benjamin (pronounced Ben-ha-meen). Still to this day we call each other that. 20 some years ago we spoke of catching some big hogs. Bass was our goal. Ben would talk about going to Minnesota to visit his family and catch big walleye, trout and smallmouth. He would talk about Black bears walking around the cabins and deer swimming across the lakes. I would talk about camping and fishing at Bellaire Lake and Chambers lake or fly fishing for browns up the Poudre or the Arkansas on Caddis Flies that I tied myself, but all the time all we really thought about was bass fishing. One day Ben says, "Hey, My friend Billy Mitchell belongs to a bass fishing club and he wants me to go to a meeting. Do you wanna go with me?" With a big grin I said "Yes!" It was 2000 and we thought we were the greatest bass anglers ever. The meeting was in Loveland at a Bar and grill called Millers Crossing. We arrived early so we could get a good spot, so we sat in the back. The Meeting was called to order by then President Scott Sheldon. Now you have to understand, I was just getting started but I thought that I was pretty good at bass fishing, but after the meeting, Scott did a presentation on Jerkbaits and brought out a box of jerkbaits with colors I had never seen. I was in awe! Scott was my hero! The next meeting Jeff Colwell did a presentation on Crankbaits. It was awesome! Jeff pulled out a box of crank baits with colors I had never seen before. Yup, you guessed it, Jeff was my hero! It was like that at every meeting. Guys would do a presentation and then they were my heros. I wanted to be like them! My dream of being one of the Elite Bass Anglers in Colorado began right there, that year.
Is this really happening? I have to ask myself everyday since the week of May 27 thru June 1, 2012. That was some week. Being at the BASS Western Divisional at Flaming Gorge was awesome! The tournament is 3 days long with 2 pre fish days at the beginning. The tournament includes 11 states from the western division. These include Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregan, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Each state qualifies and brings their 12 Best anglers to the competition and they compete for 11 spots. The top angler from each state goes to the BASS Federation National Championship to compete against the top guys and gals from the other 5 divisions. The top anglers from each division at Nationals then move on to the Bassmaster Classic. So after all was said and done I am the 2012 Colorado State Champion and will be going to the National tournament in Decatur, Alabama on Lake Wheeler to be held in October. My dream is coming true!!!
I look back on my Journey so far. I have many people to thank that have gotten me to where I am. First and foremost I have to thank Ben Lind for getting me into the Centennial Bass Club. There are some individuals I have to thank from the club too because I have learned so much from them. Thanks to Bill Wilson, The Gambler! The guy can fish a tube like no man can. I think he caught a bass out of a mud puddle once. Scott Sheldon, He has always been a champion in my mind and is probably the best angler in Colorado! Jeff Colwell who has the best fishing stories ever. He should write a book. Pete Marshall, I have traveled to many tournaments in the past and shared many fishing stories. Jeremy Montoya, he taught me the art of crankbait fishing. Mike Hubbard, He and I have spent many hours on the road going to BASS Central Open Tournaments. Ron Mayer, Thanks for the custom painted crankbaits! They have come in handy. Wes Hunt, Steve Barbee, Greg Gillen, and the list goes on. There are so many more in our club So I will just say thanks to Centennial Bass Club and thanks to the Juniors too!
I also need to say thanks to some of the best bass anglers in Colorado. Joe Conway, who has to many things to list but one that always sticks out in my mind, Bassmasters Classic Competitor! Dave Gerhardt who is just awesome! John Gardner from the South west club, John Beranek who is a great guy and always makes me laugh! Sean Hinton, Matt Massey, Curtis Welch, Chad Lachance, again the list just goes on. If I didnít mention your name just know that if I have fished with you in competition then you are included in those thank youís because of you I am where I am!
I want to thank the 2012 Colorado State team
Joe Conway, Dave Gerhardt, Ed McCaw, Chris Dombkowski, Jeff Jones, Herb Turner, Chad Philips, John Beranek, Dave Flemming, Rober Crask, Bob Brantlinger, Chad Brekke (junior boat captain) and our Juniors, Josh Villa, and Michael Harpell.
Now I can say, I am one of the Elite Bass Anglers in Colorado!
This is going to be a fun ride so please join me by reading my blogs and I will keep you informed on how things go. Thanks to Colorado and all you anglers for posting on Fish Explorer and know that I am taking notes and using everything in my tool box that you all put there to catch fish at the next level!
Go to http://coloradobassfederation.com/blog/frank-villa-lands-trip-to-b-a-s-s-federation-nation-national-cha/ and see how I did it!
WISH ME LUCK!!!
Frank (toobman) Villa
Blog content © Frank Villa
Team Galaxy, CO 6/8/2012 9:26:36 PM
Good luck to you Frank, you deserve it. Now keep your head straight, stay focused, and most important go have fun at Wheeler. After all......this is what you wanted. Now go grab it and run all the way. Don't look back and do what you do best...."BASS FISH".......Jim Strawbridge (Team Galaxy)
BiggieSmalls, CO 6/8/2012 10:01:08 PM
Congratulations Frank!!! It's an awesome accompishment and definitely puts you int eh elite category. I was following all the results day by day. Pretty cool you got to travel down there with your son.
moosegoose, CO 6/8/2012 11:29:19 PM
Congrats. You are living the dream!
Troutkillah, CO 6/9/2012 7:01:34 AM
Fishful Thinker, CO 6/9/2012 9:10:08 AM
rkcsuram, CO 6/9/2012 12:09:00 PM
I couldn't be more excited for you Frank! This couldn't of happened to a better dude!
tatonka, CO 6/9/2012 3:23:31 PM
Congrats Frank, have a great year out on the trail.
Coyute, CO 6/11/2012 8:57:30 AM
HeavyC, CO 6/11/2012 12:16:58 PM
Congrats Frank!...sure is great to see my little league, "Greeley Suburban Lions Club" middle infielder doing so well at something I too love so much! Go get em down south now!
JKaboom, CO 6/12/2012 5:44:42 PM
Congratulations and good luck!!!! Good write-up :)
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