Barry Frazier and the late Larry Gilpin, each a Clark Hill Committee member, recognized the need to support the local youth fishing teams when they were first organized and offered to collect and distribute donated fishing tackle and equipment, according to Robin Whisenant, current president of the group.
The initial donation of rods, reels and other tackle was distributed to the North Augusta High School Fishing Team. As time went on teams from Greenbrier High and the Clark Hill Youth Fishing Team approached the committee for sponsorship help.
“The committee was already heavily involved in helping local charities such as Toys for Tots, Wounded Warrior Project, Easter Seals and many others,” Whisenant said. “But it was decided that we would take on a few major sponsors and use those donations to support the kids.
“In return, team members would be sent as volunteers to the weigh-ins of our major bass tournaments like the Mr. Clark Hill. The kids would assist with various duties such as measuring fish and verifying fish limits, performing check-inn duties, helping with the scoreboard and taking (sometimes running) the fish down to the docks where they would be released alive into the lake.
“They have been a tremendous help by making our weigh=-ins more efficient as well as giving these young anglers valuable experience in all aspects of running a bass tournament. It also serves as a recruitment tool to attract new and younger anglers to the sport and many of them have joined the committee ranks by becoming members of some of our 25 bass clubs over the years.
“We are happy to be able to fund these teams by providing a sponsor check for every tournament at which they participate as well; as presenting gift cards to each team every year, compliments of Buckeye Lures.
“These teams have great and dedicated coaches and if the enthusiasm level of these boys and girls is any indication, the future of the sport is in good hands,” Whisenant added.