Four Livingston Parish teens are preparing to compete on a national stage for a chance to capture one of the most prestigious titles in their sport.
But these four are not competing on a court, field or diamond.
Kody Kelly, Dillon King, Alex Heintze and Justin Watts will compete for more than $40,000 in scholarship money at the B.A.S.S. High School National Championship on Kentucky Lake in Paris, Tennessee, in July, said Jim Breaux, with the Jr. Southwest Bassmasters Fishing Club. Approximately 100 high school teams from all over the United States will compete at nationals, including seven other Louisiana teams.
The fishing team of Kelly, 17, and King, 16, finished in second place earlier this year in the 2015 Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation High School State Championship. They won the state companionship in 2014 and finished in eighth place in the 2014 national tournament.
Kelly, the son of Donald and Melinda Kelly, graduated from Walker High School in May, and his partner, King, the son of Dwain Chaney and Jill King Chaney, is a student at Live Oak High School.
The team of Kelly and King is ranked eighth in the U.S. in the amount of scholarship money they have won fishing this year, Breaux said.
The other Livingston Parish team headed to nationals includes Heintze, 16, and Watts, 15.
The team of Heintz and Watts placed 16th in the 2015 Costa B.A.S.S. High School Southern Open Championship Tournament and finished in third place at the 2015 Louisiana B.A.S.S. Nation High School State Championship.
Heintz was named the King Fisherman in his age group in 2014 and 2013 by the Jr. Southwest Bassmasters-Denham Springs Youth Bass Club.
Watts won the King Fisherman title in his age group in 2014 by the Jr. Southwest Bassmasters-Denham Springs Youth Bass Club.
Heintze is the son of Gil Heintze, and Watts is the son of Scott Dimaio and Donna Watts Dimaio. Both attend Denham Springs High School.
The Livingston Parish teams will be joined at the national competition by Ascension Parish fishermen Braden Blanchard and Cade Fortenberry, who attend St. Amant High School. They won the 2015 B.A.S.S. Nation Central Division High School Championship held June 10-12 on Ross Barrett Reservoir in Ridgeland, Mississippi.
The six fishermen are members of the Jr. Southwest Bassmasters-Denham Springs Youth Bass Club. They fish together as two-man teams in high school tournaments but they fish against each other in their monthly club bass tournaments.
All three of the teams are doing their pre-tournament homework, using the Internet to find all the information they can on Kentucky Lake. They also have made scout trips to Kentucky Lake.
Raising money is also part of their summer preparations, Breaux said.
They’ve joined forces to sell jambalaya and host raffles to raise the money needed for the tournament.
A Benefit Bass Tournament set for Saturday at Belle River Public Landing will help add money to their fund.
For information, call John Chaney at (225) 413-5142 or Jim Breaux at (225) 772-3026.