A winner you don't know

Marty Robinson is a 37-year-old Bassmaster Elite Series pro from the northwest corner of South Carolina. He's been competing against the best in the world for the past four years.

He's a grinder — one of us — a plumbing contractor trying to unclog a flow of dollars that sometimes seem destined to drain his pockets while filling up the likes of VanDam, Reese and Evers.

Give him some credit though. He grabbed two top 20s this year fishing among that pack of Micropterus mad men. One came at Smith Mountain Lake, the other at Clarks Hill.

And — be honest — most of you aren't sure you've ever heard of him.

You really should get to know him. He's the guy in the mesh Toyota Trucks baseball cap — skinny as a pitchin' stick with an inviting grin, military haircut and suntanned skin.

He's the guy you'd want to raise your kids if something ever happened to you. The guy you'd call to fix the leaky faucet in your bathroom. The guy you would want to share a double date with.

You'd like her, too. Her name is Iris, Marty's wife of 12 years.

Gerald Swindle nicknamed her "Taters" — short for Iris Taters. She's 5 feet, 10 inches of spiritual goodness and good looks.

She sings at church ... and karaoke bars. She plays guitar. She's good — really, really good.

Her voice gives all within earshot a case of goose bumps. She even leaves goose bumps on the skin of nail gun and pipe wrench kinda guys who take pride in not showing emotion. They're goose bumps that lead to first-place finishes in karaoke contests.

She's the model of what a great mom looks like to two young sons that love big and run wide open.

And she loves Marty.

She cheers every week of the season for a guy most fans don't know. She's known Marty since she was too young to date him. Robinson sorta robbed the cradle. But, like Sammy Kershaw sang, "Some things are meant to be."

They sing together. Raise babies together. Laugh together. And sometimes they dance together.

Like recently at the Dirty Dancing Movie Festival at Lake Lure, N.C., where the famous flick featuring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey was filmed.

They camped with their young sons on the shores of the romantic lake. Marty fried bacon over an open fire for breakfast. Together, he and "Taters" took mambo lessons with other lovers of the 1987 movie.

Marty and Iris entered a dance competition at the festival. They won the whole thing while fellow Swayze-Grey fans cheered them on.

Nobody there knew who he was either; but, finally, Marty and Iris had people cheering for them.

Fact is, Marty's winning a lot — as a father and a husband. He loves big. He dances with his wife like nobody's watching ... like good couples used to — and still should.

He's married to way more than his pro angling career, and he's winning at life. You just didn't know it. You didn't recognize him.

So go ahead. Root for him. Cheer for him now, and next season.

Cheer as he scores more top 20s as a Bassmaster Elite Series angler.

Cheer for a guy who's racking up a string of first place finishes in living, loving and life.