Every Kid Counts Executive Director Brian Chambers is sure the Arizona team will perform well at the High School World Bass Fishing Championships when they are contested July 18 to 23 near Russellville, Ark.
“We have an exciting, experienced and a very strong team heading for Arkansas that should really be able to put Arizona on the high school bass fishing map in a big way,” he said.
The organization Chambers heads, Every Kid Counts, is a charity that will sponsor the Arizona team when it competes in the national showdown.
The charity also sponsored the inaugural Payson High Open High School Bass Tournament last spring at Roosevelt Lake.
That tournament was won by the hometown team of Kyle Randall and Cameron Geske who boated 12.43 pounds of bass including the big fish winner at 3.73 pounds.
The win also earned the pair of PHS graduates berths in the upcoming high school world championships.
In winning, Randall and Geske settled on a philosophy of passing up on a five-fish limit of smaller bass, which they were confident they could do, and go after the lunkers.
“We wanted to run and gun and look for the big ones,” said Geske.
The champions indicate they might use a similar strategy in the national championships to be held on Lake Dardanelle.
But before their strategy is etched in stone, “We are going to pre-fish the lake,” Geske said.
For both Payson anglers and the remainder of the Arizona team, the stakes will be high at the national finals. In 2010, the world champions from Meade County High School in Kentucky pocketed $32,000 in scholarship offers.
Both Geske and Randall have said they would like to attend college next school year and the scholarship money would be a huge boost to their ambitions.
While the PHS alumni prepare for the tournament, Chambers is busy obtaining donations and contributions from locals and businesses to cover the expenses of the Arizona team traveling to Arkansas.
“Because we are a charity, we need those (donations) to offset the expenses,” Chambers said.
In the upcoming weeks, Chambers expects to announce a series of raffles, drawing and fund-raisers that will be held to benefit the Arizona team.
To contribute, call Chambers at (602) 568-3390.