No blue marlin but plenty of spirit at Big Rock

Published: Friday, June 13, 2014 at 10:27 PM.

The gentle and soft-spoken Tillett said his prayers aren’t preconceived. He said they come from his heart as he wishes crews his best for good competition, but more importantly for safe travels across the sea.

“I enjoy praying,” Tillett said. “You don’t get nothing from him (God) until you ask for it and he’s given it to me.”

And Tillett’s words of encouragement give Big Rock participants and staff plenty, tournament media director Bruce Paul said.

“He makes every day special,” Paul said. “He blesses the fleet and everyone offshore appreciates his words, his passion and the concern he has. He just has been a tradition over the years and we are just lucky to have him. We are honored to have him here.”

Tillett was born on the Outer Banks. By the time he was 10, he was baiting hooks, working the lines and cleaning fish on the boat owned by his father, Sam.

Fishing and boating has always been in Tillett’s blood, and he carried on his trait into his adult life, emerging as a well-known fisherman and boat builder.

But those days are behind him. Tillett hasn’t been in the fishing and boat building businesses since he retired in 1997. One year later, he began blessing Big Rock competitors.

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