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Fame and Fortune: Byron 'The Bachelor' Velvick
ESPN's 'Bass Center' star is quite a catch himself

Byron VelvickPeople who have never even watched ESPN's fishing show may still recognize Byron Velvick, thanks to his stint on ABC's "The Bachelor."

Velvick clearly separated himself from other "Bachelors" when his on-screen match with Mary Delgado -- a former Tampa Bay Buccaneers' cheerleader and the contestant ABC brought back from a previous show -- actually culminated in a real proposal. It's the only such ending in the show's history. Velvick and Delgado are planning a spring wedding.

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Unlike many of the two-dimensional contestants of these shows, the 40-year-old Velvick has many aspects to his personality. He's a graduate of the University of California at Irvine with a degree in English, has modeled in Europe, and is considered one of the best pro anglers in the world.

The winner of bass fishing's U.S. Open in 1990 and 1996, Velvick is the host of ESPN's "Bass Center." With his modest personality and model looks, he is a big reason bass fishing has become a phenomenon in the past 10 years.

Bankrate: Before the show, did you try other public dating forums like Match.com or speed dating?

Byron Velvick: No, I never had. I saw the merit of it though; I have friends who've done it and they did very well, they are very happy. I never had the time. I was a recluse and always spent my time fishing.

Bankrate: You are competitive. Do you feel a competitive kinship with Mary? After all, she's been through a couple of TV competitions and pro cheerleader tryouts.

Byron Velvick: Yeah. We're both competitive and both stubborn. We even compete on the water, fishing. We have a real relationship, we're getting to know each other off the show. It's very different for us now, oh yeah. Before, we had open dates, seeing other people on camera. Now, we're buckling down, seeing the merit of our relationship.

Bankrate: What's the secret to being successful in competition?

Byron Velvick: With Mary, I remove myself, my ego, from the situation. When I'm on the circuit, that's different. I'm not in love with them. I don't go to bed with them. It's men against men. Plus, there's the business aspect of the competition, too. We're competing for sponsors and a place in the tournament. I have to be the best -- flawless. I'm hard on myself. I had that happen where I didn't think I performed my best and I still won. I felt guilty. But I've also placed fourth or fifth or sixth, where I did my very best, and I knew I did all I could.

Bankrate: You hear about celebrities like Star Jones, having part of her wedding underwritten. Is ABC helping you out?

Byron Velvick: Don't know about that. Mary and I have been running around with my sponsors, busy. We want it in the spring, with good weather. Not in the winter. With the wedding, I've been there already. It'll be what Mary wants, how she envisions it to be. It'll be tasteful, not sponsored by Revlon and Maybelline.

-- Posted: Aug. 23, 2005




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