Bassmaster Championship casts off for start of tournament
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PARIS, Tenn. — The best of the best bass fishermen — who still rely on their parents to get around — kicked off competition Wednesday with each team hoping to reel in a high school bass fishing championship. “I know a lot of people are rooting for us back home, and I know the state of PA would love to have that title back,” returning champion Nick Osman said. Among the participants from forty states and two countries are the competitors from Canada. “A great coach drove us all the way down here, 15 hours to come down here,” Danny McGarry said. “We’ve never been here before, so it’s a big privilege to be the first Canadian team to come to the national championship.” The number of teams have more than doubled from last year, going from 60 teams to 136 teams. This ups the steaks and strengthens the competition. The returning champions love the friendliness of the competition and the amount of encouragement it brings. “We’ve traveled all over the country for this,” Osman said. “We’ve met the best of the best because of what we do. They’re our heroes and can’t wait to be someone else’s hero.” “I just love everything about it, getting out on the water,” said Cooper Gallent, a competitor from Canada. “The people are awesome, especially up here. Everyone is amazing, like everyone we’ve talked to is super nice. It’s awesome — I love the sport and I can’t wait to continue on and doing it.” This isn’t just a competition for everyone. It’s also a time to get familiar with an area one fisherman will soon call home. “I’m actually going to Bethel University in the fall,” Garrett Enders said. “We won a scholarship to go down there, so I’m going to attend there in the fall.” Competition continues through the end of the week. The junior competition, which includes middle schoolers, starts Friday in Carroll County. The final weigh-ins are on Saturday afternoon at Bethel University.