There are numerous college scholarships available to students, but few are as much fun to win as those that will be awarded to Alabama student anglers in May.
The 2nd annual Timmy Horton High School Bass Anglers Challenge offers $20,000 in scholarships to students in grades 7-12 at public, private and home schools in Alabama. The youths, who fish from boats piloted by an adult volunteer, compete in two divisions, grades 7-9 and 10-12. The adult is not allowed to fish.
This year’s tournament is May 24 on Pickwick Lake out of Rose Trail Park, west of Cherokee. Entry fee is $25 per angler.
The tournament was created by Horton, a professional angler and outdoors television personality from Muscle Shoals, as a way to help student anglers continue their education after high school.
“The tournaments are loads of fun for the students,” Horton said. “Pickwick Lake is one of the best bass lakes in the country. The kids will have a chance to catch some huge largemouth and smallmouth. Best of all, they have a chance to earn money to help pay for college.”
Anglers in the Timmy Horton High School Bass Anglers Challenge are not required to be a member of a fishing team at their school to enter the tournament.
A limited number of volunteer boat captains will be available for students who do not have an adult to take them fishing.
Last year’s tournament received rave reviews from students and parents.
Adam Neill of Florence, a freshman at the University of Alabama, said the $3,000 scholarship he received for winning the senior division of the 2013 tournament, was a big help for paying his tuition.
“In this economy, every dollar you can get to help pay for college is a huge help,” Neill said.
Neill shared a boat in the tournament with Ethan Rickard of Florence, who finished third in the senior division and caught the largest bass weighed-in during the tournament..
Rickard, a freshman at Northwest-Shoals Community College in Muscle Shoals, said the $2,000 in scholarships he won have been a godsend.
“It helped a great deal,” Rickard said. “It allowed me to take more hours than I could have taken this year without that extra money.”
Andrew Warbington of Northport, a freshman at the University of West Alabama, who finished fourth, went home with a $700 scholarship and many fond memories.
“I had the time of my life at that tournament,” Warbington said, “Though I did not win, it was an incredible learning experience.”
Horton said it’s a thrill to be able to help students attend college.
Susann Hamlin, executive director of the Colbert County Tourism an organizer of the tournament, said it’s a great opportunity for students to use their talents as anglers to earn money for college.
In addition to a chance to earn money for college, Horton said the tournament provides an opportunity to fish in one of best bass lakes in America. “Pickwick is absolutely on fire. It’s an awesome lake.”