Wallace State, Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce, Parks & Rec hosting Bassmaster College and High School Series tours this week

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An earlier photo from college team fishing on Smith Lake.

HANCEVILLE, Ala. – Wallace State Community College, the Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, Cullman County Parks and Recreation, Cullman City Parks and Recreation, and Smith Lake Park are hosting two Bassmaster tournaments this week – the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, and the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors.  Approximately 1,200 anglers from across the country will visit the Cullman area, Smith Lake, and Wallace State’s campus this week. 

About 500 of those, representing 250 teams from 25 states, are competing in the Bassmaster College Series Tournament, and the other 700 participants are competing in the Bassmaster High School Series Tournament.

“We have teams from all over the country coming to Smith Lake. You have a beautiful place here,” said Hank Weldon, Tournament Director for the Bassmaster College, High School and Junior Series in a video about the event. He thanked the Chamber and its Tourism board for agreeing to sponsor the event in Cullman and encouraged everyone to come out for the weigh ins. “It’s going to be a fun event,” he said.

The rules meeting for the college tournament was held at Wallace State on Wednesday evening, and tournament fishing kicked off at Smith Lake Park on Thursday morning. College series preliminary weigh-ins are scheduled at Smith Lake Park on Thursday and Friday at approximately 2:30 p.m. The top 12 teams standing after Friday’s weigh-in will compete and the final weigh-in is at Wallace State on Saturday, Feb. 29, at approximately 3:30 p.m. The Wallace State weigh-in will be held at the Bevill Building parking lot.  The public is invited to attend.  This is the Bassmaster College Series tour’s second circuit stop.  

“This Tour Stop on the College Series is set to be a great event. That started with a great kickoff meeting here at Wallace State,” said Weldon. “Their campus is beautiful and staff is great to work with. It should be a fantastic final day weigh-in on campus.” 

High School Bassmaster competitors will be on the Wallace State campus on Saturday for their rules meeting following the college weigh-in.  The high school teams will compete on Sunday, and that weigh-in will be held at Smith Lake Park Sunday afternoon.

“On behalf of the Chamber and the Tourism board, we are so excited to have the Bassmaster college and high school series tournaments in town with us this weekend,” said Josh Wiggins, Cullman Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center tourism board chairman. “It is so awesome to have these fishermen come from all over the country to see our ever-growing Cullman and of course beautiful Smith Lake. We are so thankful to be able to host them this weekend and look forward to even more events like this in the future.”

The Chamber emphasized the importance of community partnerships and community volunteers in making events like this possible.

Many of the anglers are staying in local hotels and eating at Cullman area dining establishments this week. Wallace State President Vicki Karolewics had a chance to welcome teams from Wisconsin, Georgia, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, and more, who were dining at Buffalo Wild Wings, where a fundraising event was also being held for Wallace State’s women’s basketball team. “The restaurant was full of fishing teams with their team apparel, and I enjoyed the chance to visit with every table,” she said.

“Other than the great economic impact this has on the cities of Cullman and Hanceville, it gives Wallace State and our team an opportunity to be exposed nationally to teams from all across the United States. We’re honored to host it again and showcase all that Wallace State and Smith Lake have to offer,” said Wallace State BASS club team sponsor Wesley Sams, who spoke about local fishing conditions the rules meeting.  

Hosting a Bassmaster event brings with it coverage on Bassmaster.com, where the events will be streamed, and the potential mention on ESPN.

Wallace State will also host a Classic C.A.S.T. for Kids event, which often follows the competitive fishing circuit and teaches children with special needs to fish, on its campus lake on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  For more information about that event, visit www.eventsforce.net/Classic.

Wallace State’s BASS Club team began seven years ago and has enjoyed success throughout the series, winning a pair of Wild Card events and competing at the collegiate series championship.

Wallace State’s BASS Fishing Club currently consists of Hunter Tolbert, John Murphy Day, Lawson Graves, Cameron Glasscock, Brayden Martin, David Dueland and Will Dickerson.  The team began the spring season on Jan. 23-25 at Toledo Bend in Many, La. For Wallace State, Dueland and Martin teamed up to finish 72nd overall out of 228 teams.  All seven Wallace State team members will be competing in the Bassmaster tournament this week at Smith Lake.

Other collegiate tournaments are scheduled this season for Lake Cumberland in Russell County, Ky., and at Lake Hartwell in Anderson, S.C. The collegiate championship site will be announced soon.  

This year the top 10 teams in the Smith Lake tournament will also have the opportunity to take part in an exhibition at Lay Lake on March 6-8 in conjunction with the 2020 Academy Sport + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic Presented by HUK being held at Guntersville Lake.

Keep up with this weekend’s college series tournament here: www.bassmaster.com/tournaments/2020-carhartt-bassmaster-college-series-smith-lake-presented-bass-pro-shops

Follow the high school tournament here:

www.bassmaster.com/tournaments/2020-mossy-oak-fishing-bassmaster-high-school-series-smith-lake-presented-academy-sports-outdoors

For more information on Bassmaster and these events, visit bassmaster.com.

Learn more about Wallace State at www.wallacestate.edu.

Hank Weldon, Tournament Director for the Bassmaster College, High School and Junior Series, at the College Bassmaster Series tournament weigh-in on campus last year.  This is Cullman’s second consecutive year to host the College series at Smith Lake.