BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Applications are now being accepted for the 2023 Helen Sevier Pioneer Scholarships for young, female anglers, which honor Sevier’s leadership and long-term vision for the growth of sportfishing. The two $2,500 scholarships are offered to high school or college women who are committed to fishing for a collegiate program.
“B.A.S.S. is excited to partner with Shimano on the Helen Sevier Pioneer Scholarship. This partnership provides an outstanding opportunity to honor the incredible legacy and impact that former B.A.S.S. CEO Helen Sevier had on the entire sportfishing industry. Over the past few years, women’s participation in fishing has grown significantly and we’re seeing more young female anglers on our youth tournament trails. Supporting this scholarship is a wonderful opportunity to encourage and support driven female anglers as they look to take their fishing to the next level,” said Chase Anderson, B.A.S.S. CEO.
According to a report by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, women now account for 37% of anglers in the U.S., the highest level on record. This participation trend is reflected on the tournament trail, where talented women have more opportunities than ever to leverage their passion for fishing into real money for college and potentially a competitive career.
In 2022, B.A.S.S. and Shimano partnered to award the first Helen Sevier Pioneer Scholarships to Elizabeth Eastman of Fairhope, Ala., and Dixie Morris of Valley, Ala. Eastman plans to attend Louisiana State University, where she will compete on the fishing team while pursuing a degree in Fisheries and Aquaculture. Morris is a freshman on the Southern Union Community College Bison Fishing Team with plans to complete a pre-veterinary bachelor’s degree at Auburn University before veterinary school and a master’s degree.
Scholarship applications are being accepted until June 16, 2023, and will be reviewed by a panel of judges from Shimano and B.A.S.S., including Sevier.
“I’m honored my name is associated with the scholarship,” said Sevier after reviewing the 2022 scholarship nominees. “All (of the applicants) are impressive and all deserving. I wanted to vote for all for one reason or another!”
Sevier, just the second full-time member of B.A.S.S. hired by founder Ray Scott in 1970, was a pioneer at all levels of the organization. During her 31-year career at B.A.S.S., Sevier oversaw a boom in membership — the organization boasted more than 600,000 members when she sold it to ESPN in 2001 — as well as the expansion of Bassmaster’s media operation to include seven magazines and two television shows, including the iconic TV program, The Bassmasters. Sevier was also instrumental in recruiting young people to the sport through the innovative CastingKids program. In 2004, Sevier was inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, and her induction into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame came in 2018.
“Winning the Helen Sevier Pioneer Scholarship has meant so much to me,” said Morris. “I was already looking forward to fishing on the Southern Union fishing team, but now I am even more excited because this helps to show women and young girls that they can achieve great things in a male-dominated sport. This has really encouraged me to step out and try for more scholarships and things that seemed unachievable.”
“Shimano is excited to continue in support of the Helen Sevier Pioneer Scholarship in 2023,” said Sarah Harper Burke, senior marketing manager, Shimano North America Fishing. “In celebration of the influence Helen Sevier’s career has had in the fishing industry, this scholarship will help ensure future ‘pioneers’ have support and recognition in their endeavors to compete at the college level. The next generation of female anglers is a clear path to growing and promoting the sportfishing industry as a whole.”
To be eligible for the Helen Sevier Pioneer Scholarship, the female angler must be either a rising senior or high school graduate and B.A.S.S. member with plans to fish competitively or must be currently fishing competitively at a four-year college or university, two-year college or university or vocational school.
More information on the scholarship requirements can be found at Bassmaster.com/Sevier-Scholarship or by contacting email@example.com.