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Mary Beth Coker is fierce competitor for Benjamin Russell Wildcats
Posted On:
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Mary Beth Coker
Mary Beth Coker

Don’t let Mary Beth Coker’s sweet smile and pretty face fool you.

Coker, 18, becomes a fierce competitor when she picks up her rod and reel in fishing tournaments throughout Alabama.

Coker is a senior on the Benjamin Russell fishing team and also partnered with two others to win amateur tournaments.

Coker said she and Jackson Kelly won a tournament in 2017 on Lake Jordan, and she and Slade Davis finished first in a December competition on Lake Martin.

Coker also won a beauty pageant as a child, studied dancing and has been a cheerleader. But the lure of the lake and that next big fish always reels her in.

“The one thing that has stuck and grown is my passion for fishing,” she said. “Growing up, I loved to go outside with the guys in my family and do just about everything from hunting, target practice with guns and fishing — just simply have all sorts of fun outdoors.”

Older brother Landon Coker was her first competitor when it came to fishing.

“I have always loved going to my grandparents’ pond, fishing and having a competition with my brother to see who could catch the most fish in a certain time,” she said. “I definitely lost my fair share at times but don’t think I didn’t win some too.

“I loved the competitiveness of that sport growing up and thought to myself, ‘Well why don’t I fish a few tournaments to see if I like it?’ It was like I was a little girl fishing with my brother again at my grandparents’ pond.”

Her brother and father, Mike Coker, helped spark that interest.

“I’m proud of the young woman she has become and I enjoy seeing her competitive spirit,” Landon Coker said. “Competitive bass fishing is primarily a male sport, and I hope she will empower other young women to give these guys a run for their money out there on the water.”

Landon Coker recalled the fun times he and his sister have had competing against each other at their grandparents’ pond in Dudleyville.

“We would see who could catch the most bream, bass or catfish,” he said. “It has gone from that to seeing her fish at the high school level.”

Landon Coker said his fondest memory of fishing with Mary Beth was in September 2011.

“We had just came back to our grandparents’ house from dove hunting that morning and decided to do some quick fishing at the pond,” he said. “We both grabbed two rods that were readily available. They were Jeff Gordon-edition fishing rods that you could buy at Walmart and were only about 3½ feet long.

“I placed a piece of a hot dog on the hook and tossed it out. In a matter of seconds the rod felt like it was going to break in half because a fish hit it so hard. I fought this fish for about 10 minutes with this small rod before I was able to get it to the shoreline. It ended up being a 10-pound bass and Mary Beth was there to help me the whole time. How many people can say they successfully caught a 10-pound bass with a little Jeff Gordon rod and a hot dog? Not many. That’s why that fish has been mounted inside my house so I can hold that memory I had with Mary Beth for years to come.”

Stacy Coker of Alexander City said her daughter likes to learn new things.

“My theory as a parent was to introduce my children to as much as they could be introduced,” she said. “They got to choose their interests. I think it teaches independence and contributes to self-esteem.”

Coker also enjoys skeet shooting, her mother said.

“The outdoors is also a way for the family to spend time together,” Stacy Coker said. “Hunting, fishing, skeet shooting and farm life was available. It was a regular event for Landon and Mary Beth to go to the woods together, go down to the farm and fish.”

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