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Nov. 20, 2012
By Philip Gruenwald, media relations assistant
Professional angler Brent Chapman made a surprise appearance at the first meeting of the Fishing Club at Northwest Missouri State University, sparking enthusiasm in the young club’s members.
Chapman recently won Bassmaster Angler of the Year and has competed in 11 Bassmaster Classics. He was in Maryville, creating a promotional video with sponsor Tightlines UV Lure Company and met the Fishing Club to speak about his experiences and offer advice for an upcoming tournament at Mozingo Lake.
“Just to meet him was an awesome experience,” Fishing Club President Ben Schilmoeller, a sophomore agriculture business major from Le Mars, Iowa, said. “He’s like the Michael Jordan of bass fishing.”
The stories of Chapman’s humble beginnings in fishing were inspirational for Fishing Club members. Growing up, he fished during any free time he had, even late at night after baseball practice. Chapman, 40, has won $1.5 million plus sponsor endorsements in his career as a professional angler.
“Being our first meeting, we had a lot of freshmen,” Tyler Ruoff, a senior wildlife conservation and ecology major from Savannah, said. “To have the top fisherman in the nation show up, hear what can be achieved through our club and be able to work up to the potential of what Brent has achieved, really motivated all of our members and got us off on the right foot for this year.”
Chapman even mentioned the experience on his blog.
“This week I was up in northern Missouri working on a commercial for Tight Lines UV when we took a break and did something pretty cool,” he wrote. “We, Brett Ware of Tight Lines UV and myself, surprised the Northwest Missouri State fishing team by stopping by their meeting. It was nice to speak with the next generation of anglers and to feel their enthusiasm for our sport. I hope they enjoyed the visit as much as I did.”
The Northwest Fishing Club was founded in 2009. Besides entering tournaments and hosting speakers to educate members on conservation and the future of fishing, the club also engages in recreational fishing meets at Mozingo Lake, the 102 River and other locations around Maryville. The club meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays in Colden Hall 3700.
“Not everyone who joins our club wants to be serious about tournament angling,” Ruoff said. “We have a lot of members who just want to go to a farm pond and throw out a worm and bobber, and we don’t want to lose that aspect of the club.”
Enthusiasm runs high in the Fishing Club, especially after Chapman’s visit. One short-term goal for the club is their own boat. Besides making it easier for more members to compete in additional tournaments, Schilmoeller and Ruoff see the boat as a major recruiting tool for the club and Northwest.
“A boat wrapped in the University colors would say, ‘There are a lot of opportunities if you come to Northwest,’” Schilmoeller said. “You can fish and you can do so many other things.”
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468