(Ridgedale, MO) – On November 19-21, 2021, Bass Pro Shops hosted the finals of the first-ever U.S. Open Amateur Bass Fishing Team Championships, benefitting conservation at Table Rock Lake in Ridgedale, MO.
The 350-team field that fished the U.S. Open Finals was composed of the top 40 finishers at each of the eight Regional Qualifying Events held nationwide throughout 2021. The field was rounded out with competitors from around the world nominated by independent White River Marine Group dealers representing Europe and Africa. Fishing teams represented 34 states as well as Japan, South Africa, Romania, Spain, and Germany.
In the end, Logan Parks, 23, and Tucker Smith, 20, fishing buddies and Auburn University students from Shoal Creek, Alabama, saw their life-changing dreams come true on Sunday, claiming the $1 million first-place prize.
This first-of-its-kind tournament also benefitted conservation. A portion of the entry fees from the eight regional U.S. Open events hosted throughout 2021 was matched by Bass Pro Shops and Toyota, longstanding partners in conservation, to fund a $1.58 million investment with the National Fish Habitat Partnership (NFHP) for conservation projects. This commitment demonstrates the collaborative dedication of all involved in the tournament to conservation and the protection of North America’s natural resources.
“We are grateful to be a conservation partner of Bass Pro Shops through the U.S. Open events,” said Ed Schriever, Chairman of the National Fish Habitat Board. “We would like to thank all of the participating anglers, along with Bass Pro Shops and Toyota, for putting conservation at the front of the line.”
NFHP is currently the most comprehensive partner-led fisheries conservation program in the United States. Co-initiated by Johnny Morris and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2007, the partnership has supported 1,115 projects in all 50 states, restoring tens-of-thousands of acres of habitat, including freshwater reservoirs and over 2,000 miles of rivers and streams.
NFHP is a significant conservation effort that can trace its roots back to Table Rock Lake. In 2007, Bass Pro Shops and other organizations established a science-based approach to improving reservoir fish habitat. This resulted in the formation of the Reservoir Fish Habitat Partnership being developed in an attempt to enhance reservoir fisheries habitat.
Piloted on Table Rock Lake, the resulting effort established a national model for freshwater reservoir habitat efforts that continues to positively impact fish populations.
Working together with the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Bass Pro Shops and the Corps of Engineers deployed more than 2,100 megastructures using specialty-built habitat barges made by Tracker Boats between 2007 - 2013. The pilot project not only established a national reservoir habitat model, but has made Table Rock Lake one of America’s preeminent bass fisheries.
In keeping with a longstanding commitment to conservation, Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops partnered with the Missouri Department of Conservation to ensure all fish were released responsibly following a fish-friendly weigh-in.
This Championship tournament commemorated the 50th anniversary of Bass Pro Shops, celebrating the heritage of the company’s founding on Missouri’s fabled Table Rock Lake. An Ozarks fishing special about the U.S. Open Finals will air on NBC on Sunday, December 5th at 5:00 PM Eastern.
About the National Fish Habitat Partnership:
Since 2006, the National Fish Habitat Partnership has supported 1,115 projects benefiting fish habitat in all 50 states. The National Fish Habitat Partnership works to conserve fish habitat nationwide, leveraging federal, state, tribal, and private funding resources to achieve the greatest impact on fish populations through priority conservation projects of 20 regionally-based Fish Habitat Partnerships. For more information, visit:
Contact: Ryan Roberts, firstname.lastname@example.org