Even her own mother urged her not to go, but a very pregnant Marie Wood wasn't about to pass up the chance to take her son fishing with Karl Malone in the Alaskan wilds.
Wood, who was 33 weeks along, got a hearty endorsement from her doctor who had been fishing in Alaska himself and predicted the trip would be relaxing for her.Wood and son Patrick Sullivan, 14, who live in the Avenues, joined Mark and Kriss Bosworth of Sandy for the trip. Wood and Mark Bosworth were the winners in a contest sponsored by Q-Lube for a four-day fishing jaunt with the Utah Jazz' own Mailman.
They weren't exactly alone. Accompanying Malone were about 20 other people including his brother; his brother-in-law; fellow Jazz players Bryon Russell and Chris Morris; Kirk Umphrey, Q-Lube's president; David Neff, Q-Lube's executive vice president, general counsel; and assorted friends.
"I wasn't a fisherwoman, but I am now. I'm a believer," said Wood.
Her husband, Terry Borman, took the other children in their big, blended family to Chicago for a vacation while Wood and her son took to the wilds. Even Kay Malone, who had a fourth baby in May, suggested that Karl stop by Wood's house to persuade Wood to accept something less strenuous, like dinner with the Malones, but to no avail.
"This is probably the last time I can do something with my son before we have a baby in the house, and I really wanted to do something with him," Wood said.
As for Mark and Kriss Bosworth, this was a trip of a lifetime. Not only could they literally rub shoulders with celebrities - they also had real fish stories to tell for the rest of their lives.
So what's Karl Malone really like?
"He's just very relaxed. Being in Alaska, he was in his element. He just loves it and you can tell he's having a good time," Mark Bosworth said. "When he talks to you, he looks you right in the eye. He's just as friendly and sincere as can be."
Wood got the same impression. "Karl is very laid back and very down to earth. He's from Louisiana and I am, too. We talked a little bit about Louisiana Tech because I went there years before he did. He kept patting my tummy," Wood said.
The men also were extremely careful to help her on and off boats and planes as well as lend a hand when she landed a big fish.
Wood and the Bosworths also applaud Q-Lube's generosity. Dinners were big steak and seafood feasts. The company also provided spending money, and every comfort was provided. The firm even had the fish that were caught vacuum-packed and shipped to Utah.
Much of the first and last days of the four-day trip were spent traveling to and from the fishing site on the Kenai Peninsula. The group took a float plane to a remote lake in a mountain range the first day, then rode motor boats to a stream that pours into the lake to catch smaller salmon. Everyone wore waders while actually fishing for their limit of three fish, but the water could get chest-high.
"There's this incredible view of the mountains," Bosworth recalls, "The fish are so thick, you're dragging your line through the water."
Bears were plentiful, too, and it was fun to watch the cubs frolicking. One bear, however, got a little too close for comfort to Chris Morris, but luckily for him and his devoted fans, it took off.
The second day was spent seeking the really big king salmon that range from 45-60 pounds. Limit: one per customer.
"I went most of the day without even a strike, and I was thinking it was not meant to be for me, but about 2:15 p.m. one slammed into my pole and I was a happy man," Bosworth said.
The Bosworths feasted on grilled salmon as soon as they got back.
Wood, too, had a great time.
"One of the highlights was seeing my son Patrick in a boat with Chris Morris and Bryon Russell the whole day," she said. "I think he was thrilled to death."