LAS VEGAS — A seemingly simple project that turned into a multi-year ordeal for the Southern Nevada Junior Bucketmouths Club has a happy ending. And it occurred just in time for the club's restored release boat to be used at two Elite Series tournaments in California.
Much of the credit for that success goes to the local Bass Pro Shops and Al Lower, its Tracker service manager, according to Tim Myers, secretary of the Nevada BASS Federation Nation (NBFN).
"With the Elite Series less than a month away, we got the new engine from Mercury," Myers said. "Bass Pro Shops took off the old one, put on the new one, rigged it ready to go, and all for no charge.
"Throughout this, the store really helped us out. If we needed something done, they did it. Even if we didn't ask them, they did it."
Mercury also proved generous, offering a Silver Sponsorship to the club, which enabled it to buy the Optimax 115 at a 50 percent discount.
Before BPS mounted this new engine, it also had managed to make the original 1990 engine operational on the release boat. But it blew after the boat was used on Lake Mead.
"This was a boat that hadn't been used for 16 years before we got it [from the Nevada Division of Wildlife]," said Myers. "While it was sitting at Bass Pro Shops with a blown engine, BASS called us and asked us to do the releases at the Elite Series tournaments in California. We agreed, and then we had to figure out how to get a new engine.
"We were lucky that both Mercury and Bass Pro Shops stepped up big."
The junior club began restoration of the boat after it was donated to the NBFN by the Division of Wildlife. Shimano had given the boat to the state during the early 1990s, but the latter did not have the resources and manpower to keep it running.