The 2009 NGJWC was an amazing experience I will never forget. I learned so much while I was there. I really appreciated the seminar on how to market your self for sponsorships. It was loaded with information that I really needed and that will definitely help me out in trying to get my career in fishing started. All of the pros who showed up were great. They were extremely friendly and didn’t mind taking time to talk to the juniors and to teach them a thing or to while they did. The National Guard did a great job in planning out our days for us. We always had activities to do to keep us busy, and I really enjoyed that.
The tournament was very well organized and very fun. My National Guard pro was the best. He lived in the same state as me so we got along just great. We talked about the local lakes and got along just great, it was like talking to a friend. He taught me a lot while I was with him about all kinds of things, I was like a sponge on his boat that day. I would really like to thank Clifford Perch for a wonderful day on the water. The weigh in was awesome.
Hank Parker was great, any nerves I had walking up on that stage went away when I started talking to him. He treated everyone like they were a pro and knew just as much as he did, it was great. The crowd was awesome and cheered for everyone and made everyone feel like a winner. I will never forget walking on that stage and talking to Hank Parker about my day on the water in a tournament like that.
The Pizza Party was probably the best pizza party I have ever been to. I don’t think I have ever laughed that hard in my life it was amazing. The National Guard really put a lot of time and thought into that party and it showed. They had the crowd roaring and the kids all excited waiting for their names to get called to join in on the games. Jimmy Huston was a great guest speaker at the party and made everyone feel great about their self for making it as far as they did even if they didn’t make the cut. I would like to give a huge thanks to the National Guard for throwing the best pizza party ever!
The final day was exciting. Watching all of those who made the cut was awesome. Everyone was anticipating the final weigh in. It was a great weigh in and very fun to just watch let alone be in.
When we all got the chance to walk across the big stage at Mellon Arena in front of the crowd everyone was excited and nervous. It was awesome hearing the announcer say your name over the loud speaker and hear the crowd cheer. I will never forget my experience at the 2009 NGJWC! Thanks to all who put it on and put their own time into it!
Phoenix Jr. Bassmaster’s
The Bartlett tournament for State Championship made me very nervous, but excited. I knew where the fish were and when I came in for weigh-in, I found out that I was the only one with a 5 fish limit and the closest other angler had 2 fish. I weighted in 5 fish for a total weight of 7.16lbs. It was then that I realized that I had made Nationals and I was going to Pittsburg, PA. I could not believe I had to wait till July to go and compete.
After arriving in Pittsburg, we had a day or two to rest up before all the exciting events of the Championship was to begin. On Thursday morning at five a.m. we got onto the trolleys that took us out to the Forest L. Wood Cup launch. I got to meet all of the top pros such as Brent Eyler , Mike Iaconelli , and Ish Monroe, who signed my Ranger Boats sweatshirt. I also got to meet all the National Guard Pro’s who were all extremely nice and welcoming.
As soon as we had gotten back from the launch, we had registration which we got to go around in a big room and collect free things donated from all of the sponsors. That was super cool!! Afterwards, we attended a couple of meetings that taught us how to speak in front of crowds , keep fish alive in the live well, and also got a lesson on the new depth finder that is coming out soon. Later that night we went to the ice cream social, which we got delicious desserts and were able to meet our partner that we would be fishing with on the first day.
Waking up at 4 a.m., we drove down to Kittanning for the first day of fishing. The fishing was extremely tough throughout the whole day so a lot of people did not bring in any fish. I happened to luck in to two nice keepers which won me the Western State Division Championship and I got to go to the second day of fishing. After the weigh-in, all of the division champions got to ride back together and were told all of the rules that we needed to follow for the following day. Once we got back to the hotel, we were taken straight into a meeting with our parents that told us what the parents should do and shouldn’t do for the next day. Later that night, we got our sponsored shirts to wear and mine was Lowrance it was awesome
At the end of our day we got to have some time to hang out at the pizza party which I got to meet Hank Parker, Forrest L. Wood and Jimmy Houston. I got to talk to Jimmy Houston who asked me how my day was and I told him that I caught two nice keepers. So at the party when it was his turn to talk, he mentioned my name and had me stand up to say that I had caught two good fish. They had a lot of fun games such as chubby bunny, and throw cheeses puffs at kids that had whip cream on there face. We got a lot of pizza and it was really really loud and extremely fun.
The next morning we woke up at 4 am to go fishing we got treated really well and got to ride in a stretched hummer. When we arrived there took a couple of pictures and got a really good biscuit and a bottle of OJ. Then we prayed, sang the national anthem and then we were off. The day was full of little fish but no keepers for me but the weigh in was at 1:00 and I never gave up and at 12:33 I caught a keeper that weighed 1.2 pounds. When I got to the stage I found out that I got third in the nation I was really surprised. I also got sponsored by Berkley! (Thank-you Tami and Berkley) a dream come true.
I had never been to the FLW National Guard Junior Championship before, but after going this year I know how much effort and hard work went into this event. I had so much fun and was treated like a real pro that I am now going to try and make it next year. I want to thank my dad for all his hard work in helping me get to nationals. I want to also thank my state director, Wayne Kukral and youth director, Curtis De la Grange in the great work they do to help out our club. I would also like to Thank Steve at Southwest Boats for our club sponsorship and awesome fishing shirt. Also Mike McFarland from Choice Fishing Adventures for all his valuable advice. And last but definitely not least FLW, the National Guard Pro-anglers, FLW Pro-anglers, Berkley.