“It’s very humbling that the fans of bass fishing think enough of me to vote me in,” Swindle said. “You put all this time and effort into your career, and people appreciate that. It makes me step back in awe about the whole deal. The fans said I’m going, so I’m going. If I do leave there with a trophy, I owe it to the fans, and I’m not going to forget that.”
One of Swindle’s Facebook fans will receive a big bonus for his or her support. The angler plans to give one person $1,500 in tackle and $1,000 in travel expenses to join him at the All-Star event.
“I want to give a little something back to the fans, so I’m going to have one of them as my guest at the postseason,” Swindle said.
On Saturday of All-Star Week, anglers eliminated after the semifinals will act as fishing guides and tournament partners for six wounded military veterans from the organization, Hope For The Warriors. The nonprofit organization’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for post-9/11 service members, their families and the families of the fallen who have sustained physical and psychological wounds in the line of duty. They will fish Lake Shelbyville.
Rounding out events for the Bassmaster Toyota Trucks All-Star Week are the Bassmaster High School Elite experience on Saturday, allowing students in grades nine through 12 to meet and learn from the pros, and a college tournament that pits teams from eight Illinois schools against one another for bragging rights on Lake Shelbyville on Sunday.
The All-Star Week is being held in conjunction with Decatur Lakefest, a four-day festival set to feature three live music stages, including performances by Country and Southern Rock recording artists Bush Hawg, and Top 12 Country star Dustin Lynch singing his hit single, “Cowboys and Angels.” The venue will also feature a Kids’ Pavilion with a petting zoo, face painting, games and much more.
For the All-Star Semi-Final on Sept. 20 and Sept. 21, the Lake Shelbyville launch will be held at 7:30 a.m. from Eagle Creek State Park, Rural Rt. 1, Findlay, Ill.
On Sept. 22 and Sept. 23, the Evan Williams Bourbon All-Star Championship is tentatively set to be held on Lake Decatur, where pros are to launch at 8 a.m. CT from Nelson Park, 2203 E. Lakeshore Dr., Decatur, Ill. The lake has been plagued with low water levels recently but is currently considered accessible.
Weigh-ins will be held daily at Nelson Park at 5 p.m. CT. All B.A.S.S. events are free and open to the public.
The Decatur Convention and Visitors Bureau is hosting the All-Star event.