It’d have been easy for Dean Rojas to sulk and whine about how things didn’t go his way last year.
He endured wrist surgery, which led to struggles on the water. He finished 67th in Elite Series Angler of the Year points, meaning for the first time since 2008 he won’t be in the Bassmaster Classic (he’d qualified for 13 of the last 14 before this year). To boot, his title sponsor (Gander Mountain) filed for bankruptcy and was eventually sold, marking an end of his run as the face of the outdoor retailer in the pro bass ranks.
The challenges were real and difficult, Rojas says, but he is charged up about what the future holds, especially the 2018 season. On Tuesday, Rojas officially announced his new partnerships with Blazer Boats and Suzuki Marine after a long affiliation with Skeeter and Yamaha.
“I welcome (the changes),” Rojas said from his home in Arizona. “Suzuki wanted to get into the marketplace in a bad way and that’s a good thing. They’re ready to make a statement and be a major player in the outboard market. They’re already a big player in the saltwater marketso they’re excited and see an opportunity.
With Blazer, they’re excited and want to break into the B.A.S.S. arena. They had Jesse Tacoronte last year and they’re open to designing a brand new boat and have asked me to be hands on with that. When you have that kind of excitement and being in the middle of it all, there’s so much positive energy and momentum. It’s been a breath of fresh air. For me, that’s huge.”
Rojas said his deals with Blazer and Suzuki are both three-year contracts.
“There are a lot of things that are different from this time last year and I think I’m in a better place now,” he said. “Last year, I was worried about just making a cast. Now, I’m physically and mentally ready to go. I’m a firm believer that when one door closes, another one opens up. But it was Hell in the hallway. It all worked out, though.”