Bartletts $400,000 throw still

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 4, 2006

drawing attention

BY Rick Breland

The Natchez Democrat

Email newsletter signup

It was a pass that will not soon be forgotten. Some believe it was an actual miracle that took place live on national television.

Three years ago Chuck Bartlett&8217;s miracle hurl from the 30-yard line during halftime of the 2003 SEC championship game garnered the Natchez native $400,000 and an endless stream of publicity that continues to this day.

As part of the promotion of Dr Pepper&8217;s Throw For Dough contest, a film crew came out to the Bartlett&8217;s home earlier this week to interview Chuck and his wife for a documentary that will air this fall at Dr Pepper promotional sites nationwide.

&8220;Chuck&8217;s is a remarkable story because it was the most money Dr Pepper ever gave out to one individual as part of a consumer promotion,&8221; producer Sam Ditore of Holden Production Group said. &8220;Chuck was the only one ever to complete the 30-yard pass, which is all the more remarkable considering the contest is held three times a year and has been going on for 16 years.&8221;

Bartlett knows it was a miracle pass and it seems the spotlight cast on him three years ago has been following him ever since.

&8220;I don&8217;t know, it seems like the more I try to stay out of the spotlight the more it follows me,&8221; Bartlett said. &8220;I suppose God keeps putting me in places to make a statement.&8221;

Bartlett&8217;s faith is a subject that he refuses to allow to be overlooked. It is a commanding force in his life, and is usually the first thing that comes out when he opens his mouth.

&8220;I try to use every opportunity I get to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ,&8221; Bartlett said. &8220;My life would not be the same without Christ in it, and I think people need to know that.

&8220;Every time I have been put in front of a camera I talk about God, God, God. I don&8217;t want there to be anyway for an editor to get around it or take God out of anything that has to do with me.&8221;

Putting God first is what Bartlett believes allowed him complete his miracle pass.

&8220;God audibly spoke to me before I threw that last ball and told me it would go in,&8221; Bartlett said. &8220;If I had made all the passes I would have won a million dollars, and people would have thought, &8216;Wow that guy can really throw a football.&8217;

&8220;But I missed every one of my attempts from 10 yards,&8221; he continued. &8220;That fact gives credibility to my claim that God performed a miracle through me on national television.&8221;

It is hard to doubt what Bartlett says to be true. In all his practicing prior to the contest he never once completed an attempt from 30 yards, and his throwing motion &8212; although obviously adequate &8212; is not demonstrative of any great proficiency for throwing a football.

And now, Bartlett is asking God to perform another miracle in his life. Five weeks ago Bartlett and his wife were rocked by the news that Chuck had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer&8212;a disease that is almost always terminal.

&8220;I know I&8217;m considered a long shot,&8221; Bartlett said. &8220;I don&8217;t mind that. I know that God worked one miracle through me and He can do it again if He wants.

&8220;What a great testimony it would be if God cures me of a disease that is terminal in 95 percent of the cases. And if He doesn&8217;t I can handle that too. I&8217;ll know that God has used my witness.&8221;