LEVITTOWN, N.Y. —A prestigious hall of fame in the Atlantic Bassmasters club rewards members for tournament prowess, membership seniority and club participation.
"We try to make it as interesting as possible for the members," said club president Ray Scully. "I have found over the years that rather than simply rewarding them with money, recognition seems to be what they crave the most."
Members must accumulate 50 points to earn hall of fame status. Points are awarded for 10 years of membership, five years of service on a committee or in an executive board position, and various tournament accomplishments.
A tournament schedule filled with special events — The Open, The Masters, The Classic and the Tournament of Champions — helps members rack up qualifying points. On the club's Web site (www.atlanticbassmasters.com), each member is profiled in a baseball card format with tons of tournament stats.
Being inducted into the club's hall of fame is the ultimate honor for members. Since the hall's inception, 212 anglers have been on the club's roster, but only 13 have made the hall of fame. The honorees are Kevin Cunningham, Don Heller, Sean Kelly Sr., Dom Lamanno, Dave McLaughlin, George Pepe, Joe Pepe, Joe Petrozza, Pat Xiques, Ray Scully, Dennis Scully, Greg Keenan and Paul Ritchie.
"When guys get close in points, they all of a sudden want to get on committees then," said Scully. "So it helps increase club participation and helps get guys involved with the youth and conservation committees. Some guys just want to fish and not get involved in anything, but if they want to make the hall of fame, they have to."