The Detroit Cowboy, a.k.a. Kid Rock, a.k.a. Robert James Ritchie, spent some time fishing in Pine County after performing in a sold-out show on August 19th at Hinckley Grand Casino. The five time Grammy nominee was picked up the following day at the casino by Josh Stevenson, owner of Blue Ribbon Bait & Tackle and Mighty Musky Guide Service out of Oakdale.
With his Skeeter boat attached to his Ford F150, Stevenson picked Kid Rock up mid morning on Sunday, August 20th. Kid introduced himself as “Bob” and was accompanied by long-time friend and entertainer Uncle Kracker, a.k.a. Matthew Shafer.
Kid Rock’s people reached out to Stevenson about a month before playing in Hinckley to set up a fishing trip. Stevenson chose to bring Kid and Uncle Kracker to Cross Lake and the Snake River in Pine City because those were his best options within 20 minutes of the casino, which was a requirement by Kid, according to Stevenson.
“It started as an action trip, and I could tell early on that their interest was more in the Minnesota northern pike than the bass, so that’s what we focused on,” Stevenson told the Pine County Courier.
Both Kid and Uncle Kracker enjoyed going up and down the Snake River, in particular, and commented that it was very scenic. “We had some cool wildlife encounters, like the wide variety of birds flying overhead,” recalled Stevenson. “It all added to the ambiance of the moving water.”
Stevenson, a big fan of Kid Rock, was impressed by Kid’s down-to-earth demeanor. “They were both really cool and down to earth. I was impressed by how easy they were to talk to. They were really into the fishing, but we also joked around throughout the trip.”
But the full effort Kid Rock put into the trip was most impressive to Stevenson. “He was casting the whole time, and he understood it was going to take some work to get a larger fish. He didn’t expect to be served during the day—he expected to be part of the team, to accomplish the mission of catching a bigger fish,” recalled Stevenson. “It was cool to have a star of his magnitude be as cool as you’d want him to be. There was no faking it.”
Having seen Kid six times in concert, four times with Metallica, once with Bob Seger, and once as a solo act, Stevenson was able to share this information with Kid toward the end of the trip. “We did eventually talk about those shows. I described how much fun I’d had in those shows and what it was like to be in the mosh pit. He thought it was really cool,” said Stevenson.
Stevenson usually books a few trips a year that involve popular guests. The last big name he guided was Daymond John of Shark Tank. That trip also included chasing down a northern pike. But Stevenson said Kid Rock was really an extraordinary client, investing an extra 20 minutes of fishing at the end, even when his jet had to leave at a specific time. “He was really into it, and as a guide, that type of commitment really stands out,” recalled Stevenson.
They spent the morning and early afternoon fishing before Kid had to fly to Iowa to perform that evening in the Iowa State Fair, and both Kid and Uncle Kracker each caught a nice northern. “Kid Rock caught his on the very last cast of the trip,” said Stevenson. “We were all super excited to get those pictures.”
“This was one of the most fun guide trips of my life. The fact that he caught that fish, literally at the last cast, really made it extra exciting,” said Stevenson. “Also, to have my phone blow up for five days because Kid Rock posted the picture on his social media accounts and website was so cool. When a star of that magnitude wants to share his fishing trip with millions of fans, I don’t know...what could be better?” said Stevenson.
Though Stevenson humbly says that he doesn’t know why Kid’s staff contacted him for the fishing excursion, Stevenson has guided professionally for over 20 years, tours which have included staff from the Minnesota Wild, and he has been featured on “The Hunt for Big Fish” with Larry Dahlberg and “Hook Shots” with Joe Cermele on Field & Stream.com. He has also been spotted in video clips on ExploreMinnesota.com, along with other accolades. Stevenson lives in Hudson, Wisconsin with his wife, Laura, and three daughters and is a United States Coast Guard (USCG) Licensed Captain. More information on his guide service can be found at http://mightymusky.com and https://blueribbonbait.com.