The July contest "Live Event" saw over seventy kayak anglers register, while 101 anglers participated in at least one of the four events.
Saturday treated anglers to a beautiful day and excellent fishing opportunities for both largemouth bass and northern pike.
The entire tournament raised over $1,900 for Heroes on the Water - Heartland Chapter. In addition, Reel Life raised another $448 for the Heartland Chapter through the sale of t-shirts commemorating the event. Tournament Director Raf Vargas announced the donation at the awards ceremony, to a chorus of applause and cheers from the crowd of nearly 100 that had gathered for the final event. All events were scored CPR (Catch, Photograph, Release), based on the longest "virtual stringer" for the requirements of each phase of the tournament. The Live Event scoring was based on each angler's five best largemouth bass. There was also a side-pot tournament for the longest northern pike. James Francis was the Live Event champion with a virtual five-bass stringer of 82". Kevin Workman was second with 80.75" and Spencer Jones finished third with 80.5". Paul Krueger caught the longest bass of the day at 20.25", while another angler caught a cute little 6.75" largemouth. The longest northern pike was caught by Scott Shrader, and measured 25.5".
June's Bass Frenzy challenged anglers,too. Kevin Workman won with a 106.25"stringer. Mike Densel finished second with 102.5", while Marty Hughes ranked third with 101.75". In the youth division, CJ Hughes led the way with 81.25". Second place went to Cameron Simot's 80.5" stringer, while Angie Vargas showed in the Top Three with a 77" score. Congrats to these three young anglers for their excellent performances. These virtual stringers would have all placed in the Top 10 for the Live Event.
May's Multi-Species event allowed anglers to submit their best bass, catfish, and sunfish. The three species' lengths were combined for a total score for the month. Kevin Workman's 67" was the winner for May. Marty Hughes measured out 64" for second place, while Jeff Smart secured a spot in the Top Three with a 63.5" catch. Angie Vargas won the youth division youth division with a 47" stringer, followed by the 46.25" performance of Cameron Simot, and the 42.5" score from CJ Hughes.
April's Crappie Chase score was the combination of anglers' three longest crappie. Thomas Fisher won the event with a three-fish total of 43.75". Kevin Workman secured second place with 42". Third place went to Kevin Slifer with 40.5". CJ Hughes was the youth division champion with 34.25". Angie Vargas finished second with 26.5" of crappie.
Kevin Workman won the Grand Championship. Kevin's four-month score of 296" beat out the 280.5" stringer from the "Godfather of Nebraska Kayak Angling", Mr. Marty Hughes. Kevin Slifer finished third overall with a score of 272". Kevin Workman was awarded the grand prize of a Hobie "Outback" kayak. CJ Hughes won the Youth Division with 158.5" total. Angie Vargas finished second with 150", while Cameron Simot finished with a 126.75" total for third place.
Raf Vargas efforts (and those of his family) helped to make the Series a huge success, with prizes for the top three participants in both the adult and youth divisions for each of the four events. Raf's commitment to the tournament included over $14,000 in prizes &/or gift bags for nearly all participants, a substantial donation to Heroes on the Water, and an excellent time had by all who participated.