Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Banquet Breaks Organizational Records

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame continues to grow, and at its recent annual induction ceremony at Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium, a record crowd celebrated the induction of Tommy Biffle, Kathy Fennel, Dewey Kendrick, Aaron Martens, Steve Quinn and Lonnie Stanley. The ballroom at the White River Conference Center was filled to capacity as interested parties and a ‘who’s who’ from the fishing world mingled in pursuit of the hall’s mission.

“The live and silent auctions produced over $100,000, far exceeding our previous efforts,” Hall of Fame Chairman John Mazurkiewicz said. “All proceeds will be funneled back into our mission to celebrate, promote and preserve the sport of bass fishing. We will continue to provide much-needed conservation grants while expanding and enhancing the hall’s exhibits. Thanks to extreme generosity of the bass fishing community, we hope to expand our efforts in the future.

More than 20 Hall of Famers attended, wearing the distinctive blue blazers that set them apart among their peers. Bill Dance, on the eve of his 82nd birthday, spoke enthusiastically about the importance of the bass fishing community and the crucial need to preserve the history of the sport: “People will come from all over and they will visit this beautiful Bass Fishing Hall of Fame and they will see your picture and look at your plaque and maybe read about your accomplishments for years and years to come,” he said. Many will say: ‘Hey look at this photo. He was a keeper’ or ‘He was a good guy’… They were there to promote the great sport of fishing and like I said they will be there forever .

For the third year in a row, the majority of auction items were available online, and winning bidders spanned from coast to coast and also from Canada, but one of the highlights of the evening was the live auction with three unique prices. . The more than 325 participants bet vigorously on the assembled items, and the generosity ran. Rocky Kalsow was the talk of the hall as he submitted the winning bid for a two-day bonefish trip to the Bahamas with Hall inductees Johnny Morris and Kevin VanDam, as well as famed saltwater guide, the Captain Rick Murphy. VanDam and fellow Hall of Famer Davy Hite assisted emcee Dave Mercer with auction duties.

“It was a magical night,” Hall of Fame Vice President Daren Cole said. “Not only did Johnny Morris provide us with the venue to celebrate our progress, but Wildlife Wonders have now committed to expanding our footprint within their building. This will allow us to display the artifacts we have accumulated and explain the importance of sport to a wider audience.

BASS, Major League Fishing and Phoenix Boats were the main sponsors of the initiation activities. The event also received support from Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s, Wired2fish, PRADCO Outdoor Brands, AFTCO, Daiwa, Rapala, Shimano, Rather Outdoors, In-Fisherman, St. Croix, Costa’s Compete & Conserve program, Simms and Bass Fishing Archives. . Many other fishing/outdoor brands contributed to the online auction, as did over 75 professional MLF and BASS anglers by donating swimwear, signed lures and fishing trips.

Information about next year’s event taking place on Thursday, September 28 will be available in early 2023. More details about the Hall and its mission can be found at www.BassFishingHOF.com, or by contacting the Executive Director of BFHOF, Barbara Bowman, at [email protected]

About the BFHOF

The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame is a non-profit organization run by a volunteer Board of Directors and is dedicated to celebrating, promoting and preserving the sport of bass fishing. Since 2017, Hall inductees and memorabilia representing the history of bass fishing have been featured at the Johnny Morris Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri, where it has quickly become a popular destination. For more information about the Hall, its mission and to become a supporting member, visit www.BassFishingHOF.com, or contact Barbara Bowman, Executive Director of BFHOF at [email protected].

Aubrey L. Morgan