Kenyon Hill has always had a passion for fishing. It's something his father instilled in him when he was a young boy growing up in Oklahoma.
Over the weekend, the 43-year-old Hill saw his passion pay off in a big way, as he won the Bassmaster Elite Series Pride of Georgia tournament near Evans, Ga. The victory, the third of Hill's career, was worth $102,500.
Normally, a celebration back in his hometown of Norman would be in order. But Hill's most recent victory is decidedly bittersweet.
His father, Loren G. Hill, a retired ichthyology professor at the University of Oklahoma, suffers from dementia and is in the final stages of esophageal cancer. In fact, the 68-year-old former director of the OU Biological Station at Lake Texoma has already lived longer than doctors expected.
"It's been tough because he's not in good shape at all," said the younger Hill, a 1982 graduate of Norman High who still resides in Norman. "He taught me so much about life. He taught me about fishing, which became the great passion of my life. With everything that has gone on lately, I've learned every day is precious. Don't take anything for granted."
The first thing Hill did in the aftermath was make plans for getting the champion's trophy back home to his father, so he could share in the moment.
"I'm not going to be back home for a few weeks, so I asked Mark Jefferies with BassZone.com to take the trophy back home to my family, because Mark is from Norman, too," he said. "I want (Dad) to have it for his mantle for a while. I know he'll appreciate it."
"Jay C. Upchurch