BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Enthusiastic bass fishing fans still have time to bid on autographed jerseys from Bassmaster Elite Series pros while helping to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 2020 Bassmaster Angler of the Year Clark Wendlandt, Elite Series Champion Buddy Gross, Garrett Paquette and Matt Herren are among the anglers who have donated signed tournament jerseys that are being auctioned off on eBay, with all of the proceeds benefiting St. Jude. In 2019, fellow Elite Series angler Seth Feider’s signed jersey pulled-in more than $1,000.
“This is not only the jersey I wore my Rookie season in the Bassmaster Elites but it’s the same jersey I wore when winning at Lake Eufaula,” said Gross of the jersey fans can bid on beginning December 30. “We hope it brings a fan as much joy as it has my family!”
The jersey auction is part of the fundraising efforts for the Dick Hiley St. Jude Bass Classic, held annually in Minnesota. Now in its 23rd year, this tournament has raised more than $4.1 million for the kids of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. All proceeds from this event will benefit St. Jude, where families never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food.
For veteran angler Herren, participating in the annual fundraiser was an important way to support children and parents. “As the father of two sons, I couldn’t imagine the pain and fear of what a child and their parents go through when they are faced with fighting cancer or other diseases. I hope by donating a jersey or contributing in other ways throughout the year that it can somehow help St. Jude to work miracles.”
Angler Glenn Walker is part of the tournament’s organizing committee, and started the auction seven years ago as part of his personal fundraising efforts for the event. Last year, Walker and his team raised over $13,000.
“As a tournament angler, I already knew several pros and crossed paths with others who wanted to support the tournament and St. Jude,” said Walker. “With the support of these great guys, every year more anglers from the various pro circuits want to contribute.”
Other Bassmaster Elite Series anglers who have donated items for this on-going auction include 2020 Elite Series champions Chris Johnston and Patrick Walters as well as Bill Lowen, Carl Jocumsen, Chad Morgenthaler, Chad Pipkens, Chris Groh, Cory Johnston, Jeff Gustafson, Jason Williamson, Keith Combs and Feider.
“Glenn does a great job at being very proactive and seeking out jerseys from many of the pros to help this cause,” said Paquette. “St. Jude does so many great things for children and gives kids a fighting chance they may not get elsewhere, so it was important to personally help the cause. Growing up, our schools were very active in raising funds for donation, and it's neat to see this continued in professional fishing.”
Bidding on Paquette’s jersey ends December 30, while the auction runs until Jan. 2 for Wendlandt’s tournament jersey. The jersey Gross wore while mounting his come-from-behind victory at the 2020 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Eufaula will be on auction Dec. 30-Jan. 6, and bidding on Herren’s jersey runs Jan. 2-9.
Interested anglers can learn more about the Dick Hiley St. Jude Bass Classic and register for the tournament, being held April 30-May 2, 2021, by visiting Fundraising.stjude.org/dickhileybassclassic.