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MONDAY, JANUARY 1, 2007
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This Tim Horton doesn’t sell coffee and doughnuts

We’ve heard it many times before. And, we’ll hear it again and again with time.

“What’s in a name?”

For MuscleShoals professional bass fisherman Tim Horton, 34, the question is trying his patience. I read about this in a news release from BASS. Afterward, I felt sorry for Horton — he’s being punished because of the name he was given at birth.

Horton has many success stories. He has won one of the highest BASS fishing awards that an angler can receive. Winning the 2000 Bassmaster Angler of the Year award made his name one of the most famous in the bass fishing industry. He has qualified for the Bassmasters Classic in each of the past seven years.

But Horton is facing a legal battle from Tim Hortons, a line of coffee and doughnut shops in Canada and the Northeast United States, timhortons.com. Attorneys representing the coffee and doughnut chain apparently are threatening to file a lawsuit if Horton continues to promote products from his sponsors and elsewhere in the freshwater fishing market.

“They’ve asked me to quit using my name,” Horton told BASS. “When my attorney first contacted me I thought he was playing a joke on me. He wasn’t.

“It’s up in the air right now. It’s almost comical. I can’t believe it. They don’t want me to sell shirts with my name on them, lures with my name on them, DVDs with my name on them. I told them in 1972 my mother didn’t have a clue what Tim Hortons was when she named me.”

Many pro bass anglers of Horton’s caliber have little time to spare with the hectic schedule they must follow. But, to have this riding on his back has to be a major time-consuming distraction.

“When they saw I had registered a trademark, they went and looked at everything I had in my name,” Horton said. “They saw lures and DVDs that were for sale, and they started telling me that I couldn’t be selling stuff with my name on it.

“I even offered to change it to Timmy Horton, which was the reason I asked BASS officials to refer to me as Timmy last year. But they’re still fighting me on it. When I heard from them last year we decided to register Timmy Horton.”

A few weeks afterward, Horton received another contact from Tim Hortons.

The company’s lawyers wanted to make sure the famous professional bass angler knew that they have that name registered, also.

Horton made note that his name is on many lures made by PRADCO.

When asked about changing his name, Horton had the perfect reply: “What about ‘The Fisherman Formerly Known as Tim Horton?’ ”

I don’t foresee Horton putting his name on any coffee cans or doughnut boxes. But, I can’t help but believe he has thought about it. And, if asked by a child for his autograph, is he going to write “No comment”?

Regardless of what he does, it’s obvious this distraction isn’t going away soon. Horton is one of the best in the bass fishing industry and working hard is how he got where he is.

Whatever Timmy Horton decides to do, I don’t believe that we will see him on television drinking a cup of coffee and eating a doughnut — or will he? After all, “What’s in a name?”

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Paul Stackhouse
Outdoors
Paul Stackhouse
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