Georgia Team Wins $10,000 at Second Annual Bass Pro Shops U.S. Open Bowfishing Championship
Out of more than 900 anglers representing 27 states, a team from Dillard, Georgia, earned the top cash prize of $10,000 during the second annual U.S. Bowfishing Championship. The event, held May 2 – 4 at Table Rock and Bull Shoals lakes in the Ozarks, drew 236 boats, making it the biggest bowfishing event ever.
“I’ve been bowfishing since 1993 and this was the most organized and complete tournament I’ve ever been to,” said John Hood, captain of the team that also included Greg Campbell and Brian Ellenburg. It was amazing how well the large crowds were dealt with and how efficient the weigh-in process was.”
The team harvested 376 pounds of fish earning them the first place cash prize. This is the first year the team competed in the tournament but said they’d definitely be back next year.
Two teams from Oklahoma took home cash prizes for longest gar and biggest fish. Chris Parker’s team, Upright Bowfishing, took the longest gar at 62.5 inches, which earned them the $5,000 check. Matt Rush’s team, Midnight Mafia, had the biggest fish at 45.55 pounds and for that they received $7,000. Ben Patterson from Sapulpa, Oklahoma won the TRACKER 1860 Bowfishing Boat valued at $18,995.
“As a 20-year veteran of running tournaments and other events, I have never been a part of a more excited and happy group of fisherman,” said Mike Webb, tournament director. “This was our biggest event to date and it was our most enjoyable one also.” Webb added that 40,000 pounds of fish were removed from the lakes.
SF Organics, a Division of Schafer Fisheries, had a truck on site during the weigh-in and collected the fish to process as environmentally friendly fertilizer. All fish taken during the U.S. Open Bowfishing Championship will be put to good use as advances in technology have made it possible to liquefy fish into a safe, healthy fertilizer for use by organic farmers and home and garden purposes.
Event featured celebrities, live music, merchandise booths, and kids’ activities
Outdoor celebrities Lee and Tiffany Lakosky of Outdoor Channel’s “The Crush”; Travis “T-Bone” Turner, co-host of “Michael Waddell’s Bone Collector”; and Brian Quaca of Sportsman’s Channel, “Pigman: The Series” were on hand Saturday, May 3 and competed in a Top Shot celebrity shoot-out. The event was at the new Bass Pro Shops Outdoor Academy, 1901 S. Hwy 86, Ridgedale, Missouri.
The event included live music and entertainment; booths featuring merchandise, activities and information; and lots of giveaways. There were also special activities for kids such as the practice bowfishing tank, inflatable BB gun range, and a casting competition. In addition, The King of Bucks mobile exhibit featuring 25 world-record whitetail mounts and the Bass Pro Shops No. 14 Sprint® Cup Series show car were on display.
Tournament Supports a Great Cause
The U. S. Open Bowfishing Championship did more than help manage invasive species. Proceeds totaling more than $8,000 from the event were donated to the James River Basin Partnership to fund a clean-up effort. The James River Basin Partnership is a grassroots, nonprofit, organization working to improve and protect the water quality of the springs, streams, rivers, and lakes in southwest Missouri’s James River Watershed.
“We here at the James River Basin Partnership appreciated the opportunity to work with Bass Pro Shops on the U.S. Open Bowfishing Tournament,” said Joe Pitts, executive director of the James River Basin Partnership. “This event is a perfect example of the positive outcome of a 16-year partnership between JRBP and Bass Pro Shops to improve the quality of water in the springs, streams, rivers and lakes of the James River Basin.”
Sponsors of the 2014 U.S. Open Bowfishing Championship included Bass Pro Shops, Tracker Boats. Big Cedar Lodge, Under Armour, Oakley, GoPro, Realtree, BowfishingZone.com, NDesigns, Streamlight, Rigid Industries, Coca-Cola, American Airboats, Elite Boats, AMS Bowfishing, Muzzy Products, Cajun, PSE Archery, and Rinehart Targets.
Plans for the 2015 Bass Pro Shops U.S. Open Championship are underway.