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Zona "Wacks 'Em" with BoatUS Angler Contest Winner

Self-Proclaimed "Knucklehead" TV Show Host Shows What Happens When You're Well-Mannered

Photo Caption: With a pack of his “slaunches”, BoatUS Angler member Travis Cockburn is all smiles during his fishing trip to Michigan with TV’s Bassmaster Elite Series and “Zona’s Awesome Fishing Show” host Mark Zona.
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KALAMAZOO, Mich., October 10, 2012 – Who would have known that taking a chance at winning some hard-earned tournament dollars would lead to a fishing trip of a lifetime? That’s what happened to BoatUS Angler member and Bassmaster Weekend Series angler Travis Cockburn of Illinois, who signed up for the association’s Weigh-to-Win incentive program available with his BoatUS Angler towing membership. The incentive program pays the highest finishing BoatUS Angler member in over 300 tournaments, but it was Cockburn’s basic Angler membership that automatically entered him in the BoatUS Angler “Awesome Fishing Trip” contest earlier this year. The grand prize was a guided trip with none other than the self-proclaimed “knucklehead” TV fishing show host Mark Zona.

“I was drawn to BoatUS Angler through the Weigh-to-Win program and was convinced, even though I had a brand new boat and motor, that adding an on-the-water towing plan to my Angler membership would be very beneficial if I ever broke down on Kentucky Lake,” said Cockburn. “Little did I know that I would have to use it during the first year when I broke down 50 miles away from my truck. The service I received, from the telephone dispatcher to the TowBoatUS captain, was great all the way through. And winning the fishing trip with the ‘Z Train’ was the trip of a lifetime. He had me laughing so much it was a miracle we caught so many fish. I now keep my BoatUS Angler mini-membership card with the 24-hour dispatch phone number on my boat keys all of the time.”
"I took him to the holy land," said Zona, host of the Bassmaster Elite Series as well and his own, Zona's Awesome Fishing Show, “and he climbed the mountain. It was autumn slaunch trophy hunting at it finest.” Speaking with mischievously twinkled eyes and a pursed smile, “And I also forced myself to be extremely nice, because, hey, the guy deserves a break. He’s from Illinois.” The duo had a full day of fishing “secret” lakes together near Kalamazoo, Michigan, close to Zona’s home stomping grounds. “I just hope Travis doesn’t come back. He fishes just a little too well!”
Included with Cockburn’s prize was a $1,000 gift card for travel expenses. All members of BoatUS Angler can compete in on-going random drawings for prizes and fishing trips of a lifetime. Currently, an ongoing Catch of the Month photo contest can be found at For more information on BoatUS Angler, go to
BoatUS Angler, a membership program from the nation’s largest association of recreational boaters, BoatUS, offers boat-owning fishermen services such as on-the-water breakdown and towing assistance provided by the largest fleet of towboats in North America, roadside boat trailer and tow vehicle assistance through 18,000 specialized towing companies, fishing boat insurance that has the right coverage for anglers, and a tournament incentive program Weigh-to-Win. BoatUS is also the nation’s advocate for recreational boaters and anglers on Capitol Hill and its non-profit BoatUS Foundation is a national leader promoting safe, clean and responsible boating.