Since the win at the Genuity River Rumble in Iowa, I've had several people ask "So how has your life changed?"
Other than the flurry of phone calls, flood of emails, unexpected guests standing in the garage, and strangers following the wife home from the grocery store, it's been a pretty normal day in the life of Kevin Short.
Biggest difference I can see is the balance in the bank account has more zeroes behind it now. Nothing wrong with that, is there? Speaking of bank accounts, you should see the look on their face when you walk in the door to deposit a check for $100,000.00. Talk about sucking wind.
So does an Elite Series win change a man's life?
After having a couple of months to let it all soak in and filter down, I would say — yes. Take a look at the list of guys who have some Elite Series wood on their mantle at the hacienda. Pretty short list (no pun intended). Only a few have multiple wins and the list of top-notch guys who haven't won an Elite event is even more telling. Not an easy piece of hardware to pinch, by any means.
What does it mean for that hardware to sit on the mantle? In the bass fishing world, it means you've accomplished something only a select few anglers can attain in a season's time. It means that an angler has topped many of the best anglers in the world on a given body of water. In some ways, it can be a telling sign that an up-and-coming angler has arrived. For others, it is a show to the world that another angler still has what it takes to compete. In this sense, the win has different meaning to different anglers.
On the business side, the win and resulting exposure across all the various media outlets is only as good as the opportunities that the winner takes advantage of and also creates for himself. Was the derby won on a current sponsor's product? Bonus. Did the win come on a product that was new to the market place? Could be a big bonus for both angler and manufacturer. Several lures have received instant notoriety over the past few season due to Elite Series wins.
More sponsors on the horizon for K-Pink due to the win? Maybe. At the very least, those who have supported me to this point are absolutely thrilled with the exposure they have received. How 'bout that cover on BASS Times? Yeah, they needed a little color on the cover. The Bassmaster Tour TV show on ESPN2 was pretty darn good, too (yes, I'm biased, but it was good coverage). Bet we haven't seen the last of the media coverage either. That's cool.
In the end, an Elite Series victory has different meaning for different anglers. For Kevin VanDam, another blue and silver Elite trophy would mean what? He has to move one of the other four out of the way in the trophy case? For Kevin Short, it might mean that he has to build a freakin' trophy case.
On the financial side, would another win for KVD mean as much for K Pink (aside from the check with all the zeroes on it)? I can't answer that completely, as the Kalamazoo Kid and I don't swap numbers on stuff like that — not that it's any of my business. I would expect sponsor bonuses and incentives for KVD would probably be higher than those for K Pink, though. 'Nuff said.
For me, the win has been a small whirlwind followed by somewhat of a vacuum. A whirlwind of calls, emails, visitors, flashbulbs, video and autographs followed by a strange (and very welcome) silence. In my twisted mind, I'd like to think that "Yes, I can" compete against the best in the business. After coming close to winning several times over the past few seasons, it was very satisfying to finally close out the deal and take home the hardware.
Hope the next one isn't as hard to get. Bet it will be, though.
For more info on Kevin Short or to contact Kevin, check out his Web site at www.kfshort.com.