Bill Dance Outdoors

College Kids Take Home $1 Million in Bass Pro Shops US Open National Bass Fishing Championship

Logan Parks, 23, and Tucker Smith, 20, fishing buddies and Auburn University students from Shoal Creek, Ala., saw their life-changing dreams come true on Sunday on the waters of Missouri's Table Rock Lake, claiming the $1 million first-place prize at the Johnny Morris Bass Pro Shops U.S. Open National Bass Fishing Amateur Team Championships.

 Logan and Tucker bested a field of 350 teams that qualified for the three-day National Championship, hauling in five fish for a Sunday-best 16.41 pounds, setting off a wild celebration while confetti rained down at Long Creek Marina at Big Cedar Lodge – America's Premier Wilderness Resort. In addition to the life-changing $1 million, both Logan and Tucker were awarded an all-new 2022 Toyota Tundra and a Toyota Extra Care Platinum Vehicle Services Agreement to go with it, and a 21-foot bass boat.

 "We are excited to make some dreams come true!" Johnny Morris said. "The competition on Table Rock Lake this weekend was tremendous. Congratulations to our winners and every angler who fished this tournament. Their enthusiasm and love of fishing, nature and conservation has been a driving force in our company's 50-year history.

 "We're incredibly grateful for these anglers, our Kids Fishin' Contest winners and the winners of our Missouri Veterans Fishin' Contest, presented in partnership with the Missouri Division of Tourism," Morris continued. "Throughout this grand tournament, we tried our best to honor the sport of fishing throughout the country. We are incredibly grateful for everyone involved in making this tournament a success especially our presenting sponsors and partners in conservation at Toyota."

 "We're speechless. To win a tournament of this caliber is amazing," Tucker Smith said after an emotional celebration. "We'd like to thank Johnny Morris, Bass Pro Shops, Toyota and everyone that helped organize this great tournament. After the first two days of the competition, we didn't think we'd be the last team standing – it's incredible."

 "Tucker and I think alike when it comes to catching fish and have good chemistry as teammates," said Logan Parks. "Throughout the day, we tried not to think about the grand prize. Instead, we focused on being out on the water and having fun. Everything just seemed to work out. Thank you, Johnny Morris and Bass Pro Shops."

 The festive environment at the three-day National Championship included activities for the entire family and appearances from fishing legends and celebrities Johnny Morris, Bill Dance, Jimmy Houston, Roland Martin and Kevin VanDam, country music star Chris Janson, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson and Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe. The family fun also included food, games, live music, a pop-up shop, and interactive experiences from partners like Toyota, Mastercard, Columbia Sportswear, Orca and Black Rifle Coffee.

 "We're honored to have been part of such an extraordinary event with our friend Johnny Morris and everyone at Bass Pro Shops," said Bob Carter, executive vice president, Sales, Toyota Motor North America. "Keeping conservation at the forefront, we were excited to see the enthusiasm for this first-ever amateur angler tournament. From all of us at Toyota and Toyota Financial Services, congratulations to Logan and Tucker. We can't wait to see where your all-new Tundra takes you!"

The Grandest Fishing Tournament in History

The championship weekend was brought about by the vision of noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris and his son, John Paul. The first-of-its-kind "ultimate owner's appreciation event," hosted owners of Tracker, Ranger, Nitro, Triton, Sun Tracker, Tahoe and MAKO brand boats, at Big Cedar Lodge – America's Premier Wilderness Resort – on fabled Table Rock Lake. The grandest tournament in the history of fishing ushers in a new era to the sport.

 Open exclusively to two-person amateur teams from across the U.S. (and beyond), all entry fees from each of the eight qualifying events and the final were donated to conservation.

 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.

 Participation in the US Open was available only to amateur anglers. The grand prize, however, was larger than anything ever available to professionals. Competitors included teams of experienced weekend tournament anglers, fathers and sons, veterans, parents, brothers, grandparents, youngsters and more.


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