AUBURN, Alabama (KY3) – Two Auburn University students took home the $ 1 million first place prize at the Bass Pro Shops US Open National Amateur Team Championships.
Logan Parks, a senior, and Tucker Smith, a sophomore, dominated 350 teams during the three-day event at Table Rock Lake in Ridgedale, Missouri, pulling five fish last Sunday for a total of 16.41 pounds , the media reported.
The tournament, which celebrated Bass Pro Shops’ 50th anniversary and also helped raise funds and awareness for conservation, will air on NBC at 4 p.m. on Sunday, December 5.
Parks and Smith shared the prize and also returned home with 2022 Toyota Tundra CrewMax trucks and Nitro Z21 bass boats for their efforts.
“It hasn’t really sunk yet,” said Parks, 23, who will graduate in supply chain management and information systems management in December. “We woke up this morning thinking it was a dream, but then we looked at our phones and realized it wasn’t. We are just blown away.
“We are speechless. To win a tournament of this caliber is incredible, ”said
Smith, a 20-year-old marketing student who won three National Bassmaster titles in high school, said they were “speechless.”
“To win a tournament of this caliber is incredible,” he said.
Auburn’s team were 10th out of 350 teams after day one of competition, finished eighth among the top 200 teams on day two, and then hit the jackpot on day one. They topped the team of Joseph Nicholson and Gary Sterkel, both of Cleveland, by just 0.23 pounds in the final tally to claim the victory.
The key to the championship, Parks said, was spotting a flock of birds diving into the water in an area of the 45,000-acre (18,210-hectare) lake that they had not yet explored.
Sterkel and Nicholson won the second prize of $ 200,000. Chris Martin, of Nixa, Missouri, and Kevin Burnett, of Cape Fair, Missouri, took home the third prize of $ 50,000.
Parks and Smith want to fish professionally one day.
“It’s been the goal since day one, and I was already planning on doing it, but I was really having a hard time figuring out how I was going to do it financially. This tournament really, really helps me build my confidence that, yes, I can fish professionally, do well and win, but it also helps me to know that I’m pretty much ready for the next few years, ”Parks said. .
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