SANGER, Texas – Cousins Alan Barton and Tanner Barton claimed first place at the regional qualifying event for the Bass Pro Shops US Open National Bass Fishing Amateur Team Championships – a first-of-its-kind amateur fishing tournament offering the biggest payout in freshwater fishing history – on Sunday, April 18, at legendary Lake Ray Roberts.
After inclement weather postponed the regional qualifying event a day to Sunday, the wait was worth it for the Bartons from Stillwater and Edmond, who fished from a Ranger Z521 boat and hauled in a five-fish catch weighing in at 22.64 pounds to top the 250-team field. They collected a first-place prize of $50,000 and are one of 40 teams to qualify for the National Championship on Nov. 19-21 at Big Cedar Lodge on Missouri’s famed Table Rock Lake. The National Championship will be broadcast internationally on NBC and carries a $1 million cash prize to the winning team.
“With so many friends and families making memories, we couldn’t have asked for a better day at Lake Ray Roberts,” said noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris. “Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks to everyone who participated and reminded us why we love fishing, conservation and the great outdoors. We look forward to hosting the top 40 teams for the National Championship in Missouri this fall.”
“At 62, your dreams still come true,” said first-place winner Alan Barton after winning the first-place $50,000 prize. “We’re going to spend our prize money on fishing! We’ll need to work hard and do our homework on Table Rock to do well in the National Championship, but we can’t wait to get up there in November.”
Proceeds from the Bass Pro Shops US Open benefit local fisheries conservation and the future of fishing thanks to Bass Pro Shops and Toyota. The event is a true celebration of bass fishing, exclusively for amateur anglers with a guaranteed purse value of $4.3 million.
“It was an honor for us to partner with Bass Pro Shops in hosting this event and also contributing to conservation in our home state of Texas,” said Bob Carter, executive vice president of sales, Toyota Motor North America. “We’re grateful to Johnny Morris for his vision in creating an all-amateur tournament that connects people of all ages and backgrounds to nature, while positively impacting conversation. After seeing all the big bass caught this weekend, it’s evident the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department’s Toyota ShareLunker program continues to be among the best bass management programs in the country.”
• YOUTH ANGLER: Easton Munro, a 7-year-old angler from Manitou, Oklahoma, fished with dad Brandon and earned a $1,000 Bass Pro Shops gift card for the biggest bass (2.73 pounds) among anglers ages 10 and under.
• FAMILY TEAMS: Craig and Chris Sanders, a husband-wife team from Oklahoma City, earned a $1,000 Bass Pro Shops gift card for the biggest bass caught by a Family Team (8.18 pounds).