The field of competition for this year’s 2016 Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship was Green River Lake, located just outside the scenic town of Campbellsville, Ky. The body of water the best collegiate anglers in the nation fished, while proving to be fickle, was an extremely beautiful location.
What impressed me more than the lake, however, was the community of Campbellsville, Ky. You never know what to expect when hosting a championship event at a university who unfortunately did not have a team qualify for “the big dance.”
It could be presumed that the local collegiate bass fishing club would be disappointed, and perhaps distanced from the event. This, however, could not be farther from the truth in regards to the Campbellsville Bass Fishing Team and the community of Campbellsville.
From the minute we arrived last week the local people of Campbellsville rolled out the red carpet for the B.A.S.S. staff and supporting sponsors. The town provided sack lunches for the competitors everyday, Campbellsville University opened up several campus housing accommodations to make up the discounted “angler dorms” throughout the practice and competition days. Green River Lake Marina staff was up early providing free coffee, donuts, biscuits and gravy every morning of the event, and I saw more “Welcome B.A.S.S. Anglers” signs on local restaurants, gas stations and churches than I could feasibly count.
The Campbellsville Bass Fishing Team coach, Tommy Hall, and his assistant Pete Hedspath were nothing but supportive as soon as the B.A.S.S. trailers rolled into town last Monday. They organized local volunteer groups, made up mostly of collegiate and high school anglers. And they certainly didn’t stop at organizing, as both of these gentlemen rolled up their sleeves to aid in every task they could.
Moreover, the community showed up to the daily tournament expo and weigh-in located right in the heart of Campbellsville University in a big way. Huge numbers of folks showed up for the weigh-ins each day creating a high-energy feeling that the competitors fed off of. You could see it in their faces and hear it in their voices. They were all excited just to step on the B.A.S.S. stage in front of such large crowds.
While the Kansas State Wildcats were the only team who walked away as Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Champions last week, the entire field and the B.A.S.S. staff alike must’ve felt like they won something after the outpouring of support they received. Seeing a community rally together to selflessly volunteer their campus, their lake and their time was a fantastic reminder that there are still a lot of good people out there.
Thank you to the community of Campbellsville, you were great hosts.