Patricia Sheridan's breakfast with....Byron Velvick
Monday, August 01, 2005
In Pittsburgh for the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic was 41-year-old champion professional bass fisherman Bryon Velvick. As last season's prime catch on ABC's reality show "The Bachelor," he reeled in the woman of his dreams (Mary Delgado) and landed a position as an analyst on ESPN 2's "BassCenter." He also joined local chef Rania Harris in Point State Park to whip up some classic catch marinade -- which features a cup of Heinz ketchup -- and to discuss the fine art of grilling.
Aren't there are lot of similarities between fishing and dating?
(Laughing) That's a great question. You know what? There are a lot of similarities. There is a lot of randomness involved in both. With fishing, luck and timing are really important (especially doing it professionally). I think in relationships they are really important, too.
Was being "The Bachelor" more awkward than you expected it to be?
Yes, yes definitely. Twelve hours with the camera in your face. ... There is no privacy. Every emotion you share with somebody you share on camera, and that was very difficult. You are so totally immersed that, after a while, you forget. You start having real heartfelt emotions, and the cameras and the sound guys just become, you know, peripheral.
Don't you make judgments within the first few minutes of meeting someone?
Absolutely. Nice people -- but not your type. Some of the women, unfortunately, treated me more like a game of "Survivor." They just wanted to be the last one standing. I kept a journal, because it was pretty important to me. I wanted to make sure I knew exactly how I felt after each date. I was doing three dates a day. They don't tell you to, but they sure encourage you to keep someone that might be good TV in the house.
Was it a desire to increase your public profile that persuaded you to appear on "The Bachelor"?
No, two of my friends -- who had friends in L.A. involved in reality TV -- put my name in. I'm the only guy out of 5,000 guys who applied who didn't know what "The Bachelor" was. I didn't apply for it, so as it got closer and closer to me actually being the guy, I thought there must be a reason for this. I've had some very close friends pass on in the last few years. I consider them like guardian angels and spirits for me. I believe this weird reality must have a purpose to it or something. I didn't look at it as a way to raise my public image. I looked at it as a chance to find the person I might spend the rest of my life with.
Once the show finished filming, was it hard keeping the outcome a secret?
We couldn't be seen in public together from August until November. We could see each other and talk on a secret phone line to each other. They would set up dates for us and fly us to these beautiful resorts under false names. They would bring us to our room, and then we had to stay there for two or three days. We couldn't walk around, go to the beach or go to dinner. No matter how nice it was, it was truly the bird-in-the-gilded-cage scenario. To be honest with you, that must be the crushing time for most of these relationships.
What aspirations do you have beyond fishing?
I really love fishing. I love what I do. They tried to get me to quit fishing. But I I said, "No, I'll do the TV show, but I have to be on tour, as well." Mary loves the fact that I fish. I have no aspirations to be an actor. I turned away from that early on. I'd rather make a $1,000 fishing than $10,000 in the movie industry.
When are you getting married? Will it be televised?
We are looking at next spring. I would like to just get married and skip the TV part. Really, it's Mary's day, and what she envisions it to be is what is the most important. That is what I will honor and respect most of all. To have ABC pay for it would be pretty cool. But the trick there is not to lose control of how it is going to play out. I'm still leaning toward it not happening on TV. But she has some big-budget ideas.
Boy, do I hope and pray that he will go along with Mary and let the station televised the wedding. I just love both of them together. To me, they are the most mature couple yet that has come from this show.
If they decided to let ABC televise the wedding, my guess would be that it would be more in line with Rob and Amber's wedding, than that pink affair most of us watched in horror....
I would love to see the wedding, not because it's Byron and Mary, but because I love weddings!!
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