A Special Relationship
It’s a partnership. And it’s a friendship.
You could even call the relationship between professional fisherman and motivational speaker Clay Dyer and Zack Penney a bromance.
The bond between Dyer (left) and Zack Penney, dealer principal of Bill Penney Toyota, goes beyond trucks and boats, but does include fishing trips.
“He’s like my brother,” Dyer says. “You know how you meet people along the way, and it feels like you’ve known them all your life? That’s the way Zack is.”
Penney, dealer principal of Bill Penney Toyota in Huntsville, Ala., stands in awe of Dyer.
A lack of limbs doesn’t keep professional fisherman and motivational speaker Clay Dyer from baiting hooks and living his dreams.
Dyer has been fishing since he was 4-years-old despite being born with no legs, no left arm and a right arm that ends above the elbow. Despite that, he’s competed on the Bassmaster tour since 2012.
After meeting Dyer at the 2012 Bassmaster Classic in Oklahoma, Penney made sure his dealership became one of Dyer’s major sponsors.
Then, Penney got to work on one of Dyer’s rare unfulfilled dreams: driving.
Dyer had mentioned his lifelong goal to be self-sufficient. He needed a vehicle strong enough to tow his boat and survive the rigors of a schedule packed with travel to tournaments and speaking engagements. In early 2014, Penney made a commitment to get Dyer a vehicle. Soon, he presented Dyer with a 2015 Tundra CrewMax. And for good measure, Penney ordered the same model for himself.
They sent Dyer’s Tundra to Gulf States Mobility for modifications. When Dyer got the truck in July 2014, he was moved. And then he was moving.
“It takes a lot to impress me,” Dyer says. “I’ve seen so many amazing things in my life. When I saw the truck, I felt exhilaration and excitement; a lot of positive happy emotions. It was a dream come true.”
What Dyer saw was a Tundra in which he could shift gears with a touch screen, accelerate and brake with a shoulder pad mounted to the driver’s side door and flip the ignition on the back of the driver’s seat using his head.
Dyer says it took him a few hours to learn how to drive. In the first nine months of the Tundra’s life Dyer and his wife, Kim, have driven it from Alabama to Michigan, Texas and all over the South. Dyer says he’s driven about 32,000 miles.
“Clay jumps in the driver’s seat and drives us to the lake. He was smoother than me, driving these country roads with the boat attached" Penney says. “He backs the boat in, one shot. I’ve been backing boats for 15 years and he does a better job of it.”
That’s kind of Dyer’s thing, though.
“Clay can pretty much do anything he puts his mind to,” Penney says. “It’s a game-changer when you meet him. He’s an inspiration to everyone around him.”