When Reagan Moore dropped a 7.84 lbs. bass onto the scales at the Cabela’s Collegiate Big Bass Bash, there was an eerie sound at Lake Lavon.  It was the sound of the hope and anticipation of dozens of other competitors being smashed.  Clearly with a fish of this size, everyone else was fishing for second place, or a miraculous last minute monster to dethrone the new “Collegiate Queen” of bass fishing.  That monster never materialized and Reagan ended up with the top prize of the event, $1,000 in spending cash, courtesy of Cabela’s and The Association of Collegiate Anglers.  She also won her session, and plenty of other prizes to boot, so she did well.  With that said, there was a pile of cash and prizes left on the table.

Although it was clearly Reagan’s, and the Arkansas Tech team’s weekend, they had one little snag that created opportunity for the rest of the field – ATU had gotten a late start on their jerseys and the team wasn’t eligible for all the bonus and contingency programs available to students competing with the Association of Collegiate Anglers.  Their misfortunate timing led to great opportunities for the rest of the field.

Kenneth Anderson, of the Arkansas Razorback Bass Club, was in the perfect position to capitalize on the chance to win big.  Kenneth and the rest of the Razorbacks were sporting their new 2012 team jerseys, courtesy of Gemini.  Not only were they wearing new jerseys, they had taken the time to design jerseys that supported not only their sponsors, but the sponsors of the Association of Collegiate Anglers and the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship Series.  As a result, Kenneth’s overall fifth place finish actually won more cash and prizes than Reagan’s victory.

Kenneth and the Razorbacks were sporting the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship Series logo on their jerseys, which was good for a $250 “highest finisher” bonus.  They also took the time to register for Cabela’s Angler Cash, which was good for another $250 highest finisher bonus.  Kenneth also weighed the largest bass of the day while wearing Costa sunglasses, landing an additional $500.  To add a little icing to the cake, he was flipping up his fish with Lazer Trokar hooks, from a boat featuring the Lazer Trokar decal, so $500 worth of Trokar product and merchandise are in route to Kenneth’s house.  He also has a new Razorback hoodie heading his way, courtesy of Gemini, since the team picked Gemini as their shirt provider.  Collectively over $1,500 worth of cash and merchandise are making their way to Kenneth’s mailbox, all because he is supporting those that support college bass fishing…that is better than first place money…for a fifth place fish.

According to Kenneth, “It feels rewarding to win money and prizes from the sponsors. Without them, these tournaments would not be what they are today. I hope more college anglers will now realize how important it is to promote sponsors.  Just take a look at what it has done for me at the Cabela’s Collegiate Big Bass Bash.”

On the topic of sponsors, Kenneth went on to thank specifically his number one sponsor, his parents.  “I can’t say enough about all they’ve done for me.  I wouldn’t be where I am today without their support.”

“These awards mean a lot to a college angler like me. Not having a whole lot of money to spend on tackle and equipment while at school, this really helps out a lot. I feel lucky to be given all this money and prizes, being that I got fifth place overall.  Several of these prizes would have been twice as large had I been able to actually win the event.  This just shows how important it is to participate in the contingency programs,” concluded Kenneth.

Although Kenneth cleaned up most of the awards, he did miss one, which also went to a fellow member of the Razorback Bass Club.  Paul LaFleur was able to walk away with an extra $100 Ranger Wear Gift Certificate for his participation in the Ranger Cup University program.  If Paul and his teammate at the upcoming BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship can claim that prize again, they’re in for a real treat.

The highest finishing team, with both members registered with Ranger Cup University, at the BoatUS Championship event and FLW College Championship event will compete head-to-head in a one day competition at Texas’ famed Choke Canyon as part of an all-expense paid trip. Teams will compete from fully rigged Ranger boats for a prize package including $2,000 cash, plus sponsor merchandise. This event will be televised as part of Americana Outdoors.

Although the students made a “haul” at the Cabela’s Collegiate Big Bass Bash, there were a few prizes that went unclaimed.  Prizes from some of college bass fishing biggest supporters, including BoatUS Angler, Yamaha, Pure Fishing, and The Bass Federation (TBF) are still out there and even bigger at the upcoming BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship.

The 2011 BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Champions, Miles Burghoff and Casey O’Donnell, certainly understand the importance of contingency bonuses.  As a reward for their participation in The Bass Federation, and their success at the Championship, they are currently fishing in the Federation National Championship on Bull Shoals, all courtesy of the Association of Collegiate Anglers and the partners that make college bass fishing so rewarding. (Full Details are located here)

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