Columbia, Mo.—The Mexico Bassmasters club helped the local Bass Pro Shops store hold a high school bass tournament June 12 at the store’s pond.
The first Columbia Bass Pro Shops High School Invitational pitted Helias High School against Southern Boone County High in a two-hour tournament. Columbia Bass Pro Shops manager David Smith said the event was a show of support by the company and his store for high school bass fishing. “We had two schools [Southern Boone and Helias] that for the last year participated with us to help promote the activity in their schools, and because of their participation, we invited them to this invitational tournament,” Smith said.
Eleven anglers from the two schools competed in the invitational, which featured a hole-rotation format. “We separated the lake into four different sections, and the kids were in groups of three,” Smith said. “They spent 30 minutes per section and then rotated to another section.”
The Mexico Bassmasters served as weigh-in officials during the competition and cooked hot dogs for the anglers after the event. The B.A.S.S. Nation club had helped the Missouri Department of Conservation with a Free Fishing Day event the previous day at the store pond and returned the next day to assist with the high school event for the first time.
“We have worked with different kids’ programs but never really the high school programs,” said Sid Stephens, club president. “It is something we are definitely interested in helping because [high school bass fishing] is the future. They are the next generation that is going to be taking over the fishing industry and continuing forward like us when we were kids.”
Club members helping with the tournament were Stephens, Gary Pelzel, Kenny Miller, Brian Jarrett, Duane Mauzey, Geoff Lancaster, John Bleidistel and Mike Wallis.
The Helias Crusaders won the tournament and a $1,000 scholarship from the Columbia Bass Pro Shops store. The Helias team also swept the following awards: first place, total weight, Ethan Johnson; second place, Hudsen Lee; third place, Jared Steinbeck; and big bass, Jacob Welch.