Even the tallest of fishing fables couldn't top the tales of Sid Hartman that flowed Wednesday afternoon in the wake of Randy Moss' first "Straight Bass Classic," an event designed to honor the late Star Tribune columnist while raising money and awareness for the rare genetic disorder that afflicts Hartman's 20-year-old grandson Quintin.
"My father and Randy were kind of this odd couple," Chad Hartman, Sid's son and local radio personality, said during the post-fishing gathering at Lord Fletcher's Old Lake Lodge on Lake Minnetonka.
"Randy is a loyalty guy. My father is a loyalty guy. My father never was really the most objective guy, as you know, but that friendship was genuine. For Randy to do this means so much."
Moss, the enigmatic Vikings Hall of Fame receiver and not-so-media-friendly guy in general back in the day, wanted to do an ode to Sid as soon as the news of his death reached Moss last Oct. 18. Hartman was 100 and, yes, he had a column in the Star Tribune the morning he died.
"I wanted to come back, bring some of the guys together again and give back to a great cause," said Moss, wearing a white shirt with the words "Straight Bass, Homie" on the front. "Luckily, there was something we could do for a good man like Sid Hartman. A man everybody loved, everybody knew and who touched everybody."
Moss has another close, personal friend in Quintin, who attended Wednesday's event. Quintin was born with DYRK1A Syndrome, a form of autism that afflicts only 300 to 500 people in the world, according to Chad Hartman.
"It was an incredible challenge," Chad said. "But it was also the most amazing fortune in my life. There are people in this room where they are heroes to so many people. I have one hero in my life, and that's Quintin. The pain he has had to deal with, the surgeries he has had to deal with … but every single day, he is happy, he is kind."
Fellow celebrities joining Moss Wednesday were former Vikings Scott Studwell, Robert Smith, Daunte Culpepper, Pete Bercich, Jake Reed and Todd Bouman; former Gophers and Wolves player John Thomas; former Twins Joe Mauer and Al Newman; and the Wild's Matt Dumba.
Studwell and Bouman teamed up to win the fishing competition, using sponsor Mystery Tackle Box's equipment to land 14 pounds, 8 ounces of bass. Dumba was second (14 pounds, 6 ounces) while Reed was third (13 pounds, 14 ounces), or, as someone shouted, "Still the No. 3 receiver, Jake!" Thomas had the biggest single catch (4 pounds, 2 ounces).
Before the plaques were awarded, Moss had each person stand up and say something about Sid. The affection flowed, but so did the good-natured ribbing and laughter that accompanies all Sid stories.
"One day, Sid comes out of the locker room at Winter Park, gets in his car and backs out right into the film tower," Bercich said. "Larry Kohout is up there filming practice. The tower starts swinging like this. Larry is up there holding on for dear life. And Sid just pulled on out."
"Pete," Chad said, "I had a house once and my father not once, not twice, not three times, but four times ran over my mailbox. The last time he ran over the mailbox ... I won't use his exact words."
Said Studwell, "Sid was a pain in the …", well, you know, "but in a good way."
Tom West, who works in Vikings public relations, shared a story of Moss' greatest off-the-field catch.
"Sid was walking up the steps at Winter Park," West said. "It was winter out. The steps were slippery. Sid has those great big rubber overshoes on. And he starts tipping backward. Before he can fall all the way back, Moss, who's four or five steps behind him, catches him."
Oh, thank you, Randy? No. Not Sid's style.
"Sid gets back up on his feet," West said. "And he's all flustered. And he says to Moss, 'Hey, I could have handled that myself.'"