VIDALIA, La. — A new twist to the high school fishing movement was introduced by the LaPigstickers club Oct. 30, 2010, on the Black River Lake Complex.
The club hosted its first High School Senior Day Bass Classic with seniors from six schools competing for cash and prizes. The tournament paired 18 kids (three from each school) with boat captains from the club for a half day of fishing. The students were chosen based on the essays they wrote about why they would like to compete in the Senior Day Bass Classic.
Natchez High School won the inaugural event with an overall weight of 23.98 pounds. The top individual angler was Dillion Santoyo of Vidalia High School with three bass weighing 5.50 pounds.
The community put on a big show for the new event. “We had the local sheriff’s office escort us back into town, which was an awesome kicker,” said John Bruce, a LaPigstickers club member. “They shut off the entire town of Vidalia’s traffic flow to bring us in. We had the weigh-in at a local shopping center where we had a prepared lunch, a stage and PA systems — the whole nine yards. It was like a mini Bassmaster Classic.
“The kids went ballistic. They really enjoyed it,” said Bruce. “I don’t know though if they enjoyed it any more than [the club members] did. We had a great time.”
Bruce noted the number of essays submitted was lower than the club expected, so next year the essay contest will be opened to ninth- through 12th-graders to increase participation.