The 2012 Bassmaster Elite Series season kicks off this week in Terry "Big Show" Scroggins' hometown of Palatka, Florida. And while his home-field advantage is obvious, so is his heart for making sure everybody has a good time, and nobody walks away hungry.
"This is the one week each year that I get to take care of all the people that take care of me," said Scroggins, as he stood in his garage, surrounded by fellow pros. A moment later, mechanics from the B.A.S.S. on-site service crew that are allegiantly there when Scroggins has an issue on tour strolled up his drive-way for a chance to chow and fellowship.
Scroggins may be the profoundly top pick in everybody's fantasy fishing league this week, and he's also a very popular host for his fellow competitors. Scroggins loves to eat. He loves to grill on his Big Green Egg. And mostly – he loves to feed people. So Tuesday night, his kitchen looked like a Bassmaster Elite Series blast-off harbor without boats, as a long list of well-known pros filled their plates from a 45-pound pile of Boston Butt.
For those of you who aren't butchers, or residents of the heart of the SEC Conference, don't be alarmed. A Boston butt isn't really a butt. It's a shoulder. Cut from a pig's upper shoulder and smoked BBQ style to a point of tenderness that seemed to melt in the mouths of guys like Quantum pros Shaw Grigsby, Casey Ashley, Gerald Swindle and Kevin VanDam last evening after a long practice day on the water.
"Is that stuff not incredible?" asked Grigsby, eyes wide in amazement, and mouth full of pig shoulder. Grigsby was the first pro to arrive at the feast, along with his roommate Paul Elias, followed by KVD, Skeet Reese, Scott Rook, Casey Ashley, Kelly Jordon, Boyd Duckett, Davy Hite, Bernie Schultz, Britt Myers, Gerald Swindle and Jason Williamson. Even popular writer Don “db” Barone was there, and was later credited for the funniest quote of the night when he asked, "45 pounds of Boston Butt. . .is there any left in Boston?"
Indeed there was plenty, and you can blame the meaty abundance on Scroggins' long time local fishing opponent, and good buddy Dale Cohen and his family. Cohen works for Florida Power & Light, and like Scroggins, loves to fish, grill and feed people. So while "Big Show" was busy on the water practicing yesterday, Dale stepped in as good friends do and made sure dinner got cooked.
"I've known Terry for years," said Cohen. "I've fished against him for years and years – and got beat by him for years and years," he added with a laugh. "Time on the water, that's Terry's strength, he's put his time in, that's what makes him so hard to beat."
Cohen's willingness to cook 45-pounds of pork, and haul it into Scroggins' kitchen is a great testament to the character of both men. Cohen could easily be envious of Scroggins' success, but he's not. Instead, like a lot of folks in Palatka, he's just proud to call "Big Show" a true friend. Tuesday night, the proof of "Big Show's" big heart was in the pork. All 45 pounds of it.