IN THEIR OWN WORDS…
The Challenge – Gary Klein
The story that Dee and I always talked about over the years was when I met him. I was 15-years- old, working at Bidwell Canyon Marina on Lake Oroville. I had never heard of tournament fishing and when I was exposed, I was very intrigued.
I went to a weigh-in and talked to the guys. It was a $25 entry fee, and first place was $500. That made quite an impression on me.
At the conclusion, Dee won. I went up straight up to him, looked him in the eyes and said, “My name is Gary Klein and one of these days, I’m going to be better than you.”
I will never forget what Dee did. He reached out, gave me a big old bear hug, sucked me into his chest, looked me right back in the eyes and said, “bring it on, son.” That was the beginning of our relationship.
I think Dee appreciated my young teenage enthusiasm and that I had singled him out to be “better than”.
That was the beginning of my pursuit and the challenge that started my professional career.