Teaming with the Bassmaster High School Program, Livingston Parish will offer its high school students the opportunity to compete for scholarships through a series of bass tournaments.
Longtime tournament angler and state B.A.S.S. Nation Youth director Gene Hoover and Jim Breaux, the director of the Bassmaster Juniors Southwest Division, said the hope is to expand competitive bass fishing to all Livingston Parish high schools and to schools in surrounding parishes.
Livingston Parish School Board member Jeffery Cox said he learned about the B.A.S.S. program when Denham Springs student Dillon King and Kody Kelly of Walker teamed to win the state Bassmaster tournament earlier this year.
King and Kelly formed then represented the Livingston Parish Bassmaster High School team that won the state event.
King and Kelly finished eighth in July’s National Bassmaster High School Tournament in Paris, Tennessee, and won $500 scholarships and merchandise.
“Livingston Parish Schools is proud to work with the folks at Bassmaster to offer our students an opportunity to compete in a very popular activity,” Cox said in a prepared statement from B.A.S.S.
“Not all of our students play ball or participate in the arts. This gives our students who love the outdoors an opportunity to be active in something they love.”
“We were very impressed with the program and the opportunities that it gave to our students. We sat down with the superintendent and our principals to explore our options, and we decided to work with the Bassmaster officials to invite our students to get involved and to form high school teams across the parish,” Cox said.
Live Oak and Doyle high schools already have bass fishing teams.
Hoover and Breaux said the state organization will hold four high school tournaments in state waters during the spring of 2015.
One will be an “open” event that will allow students from across the country to enter.
The schedule includes tournaments on the Calcasieu River near Lake Charles set Feb. 21; a March 15 “open” on Toledo Bend; March 29 out of Bayou Segnette State Park in Westwego; and, the May 2 state championship in the Atchafalaya Basin with the weigh-in set for Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs.
Hoover said the program is open to boys and girls. Students interested in competing in the program must become Bassmaster members ($20 fee), have a minimum of two anglers per school, came from co-ed teams, and schools can sponsor one or several two-person teams.
Hoover said young anglers will compete for $80,000 in scholarships and prizes at the national tournament.
“The Bassmaster High School program is the fastest growing segment of the B.A.S.S. Nation,” Hoover said.
Students can register on the B.A.S.S. website: www.bassmaster.com/high-school-registration, or can call Hoover (225) 206-0750.