David Lowrie receives unbelievable surprise with refitted bass boat at national convention
Most parents would not be accepting of a son sneaking behind their backs, but local resident David Lowrie has his son’s actions to thank for the surprise of his life.
Lowrie was set to speak at the ICAST show in Orlando, Florida, about the successes he has had building youth bass fishing programs in Grundy County and throughout the state. However, when he walked out to give his presentation, he was shocked to find his own 2006 Skeeter bass boat was the center of attention.
Lowrie was surprised with a complete boat overhaul thanks to Minn Kota, Hummingbird, and the One-Boat Network Live at the American Sportfishing Association’s International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST) on July 11.
Johnson Outdoors, the parent company of boating outfitters such as Minn Kota and Hummingbird, originally came up with the idea to refit a deserving individual’s boat and were given Lowrie’s name by Hank Weldon, the national College, High School, and Youth Director of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (BASSmaster). The plan – to overhaul the boat during a two-day live event at ICAST, and then surprise Lowrie with the results.
Coordinating the delivery of the boat to Orlando and the ICAST show took some maneuvering behind Lowrie’s back. That is where his son Hank came in. Hank worked with Johnson Outdoors who came to Grundy County and picked up the boat from Hank’s house and delivered to Orlando with Lowrie none the wiser. Once there, Minn Kota, Hummingbird, and others worked on the convention floor over two days to update the boat with the latest technology.
When Lowrie stepped onto the convention floor to give his speech he was overwhelmed to see what he calls “the blessing.”
The 2006 Skeeter bass boat was now outfitted with a Minn Kota Ultrex with Built-In MEGA Down Imaging™, Minn Kota on-board Precision charger, two Minn Kota Talons, two HumminbirdSOLIX 15 CHIRP MEGA SI+ G2 units, Humminbird 360, and LakeMaster mapping. In addition to these elements of the One-Boat Network, products from other ICAST exhibitors including Rigid Industries, TH Marine, Battle Born Batteries, JL Audio and more were also installed.
“We are so thrilled with the outcome of the One-Boat Network Live build here at ICAST,” said Joe Brown, senior director of brand management for Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics. “Not only were we able to demonstrate the live installation of the best Minn Kota and Humminbird technologies, but we were able to award the final product to a very deserving member of our fishing community – David Lowrie. We look forward to having David, his son, and the youth anglers he captains using our products on the water to make more fishing memories.”
Lowrie is a U.S. Army veteran, having served in Desert Storm, and currently serves as the youth director for the Tennessee B.A.S.S. Nation High School/Youth. Three years ago, B.A.S.S. Nation was struggling in their youth program with only 200 members. Lowrie took over the program in 2016, which, through his leadership, now boasts over 1,400 youth anglers and is considered one of the best youth programs in the United States.
In addition to directing the B.A.S.S. Nation state youth program, Lowrie continues to work with local anglers through the Grundy County High School team. He was instrumental in organizing the high school team in 2011, and in 2014 the team became affiliated with BASSmaster and the Southeast Tennessee Regional Bass Trail. Lowrie and his son Hank both serve as boat captains for the high school team when they are able to do so.
Lowrie’s involvement in tournament organization goes back to 2007, when he began organizing tournaments for the National Bass Trail (NBT). He continues his work with NBT today and serves as the local district director and is on the NBT National Board.
The refitted 2006 Skeeter bass boat will be busy now that it has been overhauled to include top-of-the-line technology. Both Lowrie and Hank will continue to serve as boat captains in tournaments when they are available. And, in some exciting news, Lowrie says Hank is exploring national bass tournament fishing. According to Lowrie, Hank would began by fishing in open tournaments and work his way up the ladder to national opportunities.
“The boat now has the latest and greatest when it comes to technology,” said Lowrie. “The boat is outfitted with the same technology used by top-level pros such as Kevin VanDam. This will allow Hank to try and make it to fish at a national level.”
David recognizes that he did not get to where he is alone. He is grateful to many people who have been beside him in this journey.
“I would like to thank Jake Davis, Jeremy finely, Sammy Tallent, Brad Burkhart, and Jess Beinoffer – all Bass Nation district directors,” stated Lowrie. “I would not know the best way to run tournaments for kids without what I learned from NBT National President Donnie Story, former President Mike Ramey, and all my NBT family.”
“I would also like to thank all the coaches and parents who have made the high school trail such a success. Additionally, I would like to thank each and every business and person who has sponsored the teams on the trail to help the kids in the program,” Lowrie continued.
When it comes to the anglers he has worked with over the years, Lowrie cannot say enough.
“I would like to especially thank all the kids for the blessings they have provided me throughout the years as I watched them fish and reach for their dreams.”
And even though his son snuck behind his dad’s back to create a little fishing magic for a well-deserving local fisherman and veteran, Lowrie has nothing but praise for huis son.
“Hank is why I got into all this,” said Lowrie. He said to me at six years old, ‘Daddy, I want to fish a tournament,’ and I knew nothing about tournaments. Helping him chase his dream for all those years has provided me more blessings than I can ever count. No matter how long I live, there will never be anything better than fishing with my son.”