Who enjoys a great weekend of bass fishing? How about a weekend of bass fishing on a trophy Texas lake with a 50% chance of winning $2,000? To make the deal even sweeter, how about an all-expenses paid trip to be filmed for an upcoming nationally televised episode of Americana Outdoors as well as the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship television series? I think most anyone would say "yes," but the anglers going on this trip earned their way there. The schools that will be represented on this dream trip are University of Arkansas and University of Texas at Tyler. Mook Miller and Kyle Billingsley will be representing the University of Arkansas, while Matthew McClellan and Tyler Fisher are the anglers competing from University of Texas at Tyler.
Some readers may be intrigued on how these anglers have this amazing opportunity and the stipulations were simple; sign up! Each angler must sign up online for the Ranger Cup University incentive, and each member must display the logo on the front and back of their jersey per Ranger Cup rules. Then the top, qualifying finishers at both the FLW Championship and the BoatUS National Collegiate Championship that were enrolled within the Ranger Cup University program are awarded with the opportunity to fish Choke Canyon Reservoir. The tournament will take place this Thursday and Friday, and will be a three part tournament. There will be three separate weigh-ins and the teams will be placed into separate “designated” areas during the first session, and then swap for the second. During the final session teams will be allowed to fish either of the areas, or a combination of both.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity, I have never been there before but I hear it’s a trophy fishery,” Tyler Fisher said in anticipation of fishing Choke Canyon for the first time. When asked about how he learned about the Ranger Cup incentive program, Tyler replied, “Matthew is great with checking in with emails and hearing of these things, I am horrible about checking email, he told me to sign up, so I did.” Sometimes things just work out, “We finished 7th at the FLW Championship, but we were the highest finishing team enrolled in the program. One team placed ahead of us had one member signed up but not both, which allowed us to be the first eligible team.” Matthew Mcclellan, Tyler’s teammate also has no experience fishing Choke Canyon, however with area lakes like Palestine, Fork, and Tyler, we have a feeling it will look like home for them. Matthew is excited for the opportunity and comments, “We were leading after day one at the FLW Championship, and after a horrible day we fell to 7th. We walked off stage and were told by a Ranger Representative that we had this opportunity. That day went from one of my worst to bearable real fast.” When asked about first learning of the incentive program, I mentioned to Matthew that Tyler had told me how bad he was with checking email, in a comical response I replied, “I’m not sure we would ever attend a tournament if it was up to Tyler, we wouldn’t know when anything was. He just created a Facebook account last week, and I think somebody else created it for him. He sure can catch fish though.”
Kyle Billingsley and Mook Miller also have never laid eyes on Choke Canyon. “I hope it is power fishing where we can frog, crankbait, and flip. Regardless though, having a 50% chance at $2,000 is an awesome opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it,” Mook said. Mook and Kyle will be flying down so they are trying to condense their tackle together so they can travel efficiently. Understanding my own past difficulties, with 8 broken rods while flying, I certainly don’t blame them. When I asked Kyle about the incentive program he responded, “We paid $90 bucks to have our jersey’s redesigned with the “Ranger Cup” logo, my dad complained to me about the money I spent on it, and the jerseys arrived the day we left for Lewisville.” With the jerseys arriving the day of the tournament allowing them to be eligible in the program, and then winning, turns into one intelligent $90 investment.
The teams will be using Thursday morning as a travel day and the tournament will kick off on Thursday evening. The event will be broken down into three separate four-hour sessions, and the final winner will be determined Friday evening. It is beginning to feel like an infomercial, “because wait, there is more,” the anglers will be fishing out of fully tournament rigged Z21 Ranger boats, staying at a lodge with delicious inclusive meals, and appearing on national television. A cameraman will be present in each boat throughout the tournament to capture footage for an upcoming episode of Americans Outdoors. This is one special opportunity for four lucky college fishermen!
If you are a college angler and would like to learn more on the Ranger Cup University, and don’t want to miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime, please click here www.rangerboats.com.
About the Author
Brandon Dickenson is a graduate of the University of North Texas and was the founder and past president of their bass club. He continues to fish when and where he can while writing about the current college bass fishing scene. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.