Seventy anglers representing 35 states fishing for a share of $42,000 in scholarships and grants
HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (August 5, 2007) – Shane Lehew, 18, of Charlotte, N.C., and Dylan Peppers, 13, of Good Hope, Ga., are the National Guard Junior World Champions after two days of competition on Lake Hamilton. Held in conjunction with the $2 million Forrest Wood Cup on nearby Lake Ouachita, the National Guard Junior World Championship will award $42,000 in scholarships and youth-program grants to the top six competitors in the 11 to 14 age bracket and top six competitors in the 15 to 18 age bracket.
Lehew, from The Bass Federation’s Southern division, won the 15 to 18 age group with four bass weighing 7 pounds, 7 ounces. He fished Sunday with Team National Guard pro Derek Jones of Chicago, Ill.
“This is a dream come true,” Lehew said. “It’s just an awesome feeling. I did the exact same thing I did yesterday. Early in the morning I used topwater baits. Later in the day we fished shallow water near docks.
“Derek gave me a lot of great tips to better my fishing,” Lehew continued. “I can’t wait for what the future holds.”
Rounding out the top six anglers in the 15 to 18 age group are Tyler Towers of Star City, Ark. (one fish, 1-9); Joseph Morse of Woodbury Heights, N.J. (zero fish); Sterling Pfundheller of Phoenix, Ariz. (zero fish); Cody Harris of Grand Blanc, Mich. (zero fish); and Nick Sampson of Gorham, Maine (zero fish).
Peppers, who also represents the TBF’s Southern division, won the 11 to 14 age bracket with three bass weighing 3 pounds, 11 ounces.
“Today fishing with Lehew made me change the way I fish,” Peppers said. Yesterday I fished in shallow water near grass and today I fished near docks. I used a Zoom Horny Toad today to catch my bass. I hope to be back next year. What a great accomplishment.”
Rounding out the top six anglers in the 11 to 14 age group are Robert Ramasci of Wakefield, Maine (two bass, 2-12) Daniel Ruedi of Champaign, Ill. (one fish, 1-10); Ryan Taylor of Canyon Lake, Ca. (one fish, 1-10); Zach Whitten of Oceana W.V. (zero fish) and Connor Mendenhall of Omaha, Neb. (zero fish).
The junior anglers were paired with an FLW Tour pro for competition on Lake Hamilton. There are three anglers to a boat: a junior angler from each age group plus an FLW Tour pro who assists the junior anglers but does not fish. The two junior anglers shared control of the boat for the day but compete in their respective age groups on Saturday. Weights zero on Sunday and the top six anglers in the 11 to 14 age bracket and the top six anglers in the 15 to 18 age bracket continue competition, with the winners determined by the heaviest catch from that day.
Designed to highlight the best up-and-coming bass fishing talent in the country, the National Guard Junior World Championship also provides national recognition for the positive activities pursued by America’s youth.
First-place finishers in each age bracket receive a $5,000 scholarship in addition to a sponsor merchandise package. Second-place finishers receive $3,000 scholarships plus sponsor packages. Third-place finishers receive $2,500 scholarships plus sponsor packages. Fourth-place finishers receive $2,000 scholarships plus sponsor packages. Fifth-place finishers receive $1,500 scholarships plus sponsor packages. Sixth-place finishers receive $1,000 scholarships plus sponsor packages.
Additionally, FLW Outdoors, on behalf of the National Guard, awards $1,000 to each of the state TBF chapters represented by the six finalists in each age bracket. This money, totaling $12,000, benefits each chapter’s youth program.