The Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) made a great call in allowing all Missouri high schools to enter the Missouri Fall Classic bass tournament here at Lake of the Ozarks Oct. 26 whether or not the schools are signed up with the MSHSAA program. It was agonizing to get those Facebook messages from students and parents who wanted to participate in the tournament but they were disappointed that they might miss out because their school wasn’t signed up with MSHSAA. I was glad to see that MSHSAA is giving those students a chance to fish if they can find a coach, some teammates and boat captains.
MSHSAA’s decision shows that the state association is committed to helping the bass fishing activity grow so it will reach the 50-school mark needed for MSHSAA to start holding a state series culminating in a state championship. Hopefully these kids who will be fishing with an unofficial school team will have a great experience in the tournament and will take back to their school administrators several photos and testimonials from parents on how great an event it was for the kids.
We saw a great upsurge in interest for high school bass fishing after the Bass Pro Shops Open Championship of High School Fishing at Table Rock in June and hopefully since the fall event will be held in a central location of the state it will attract more teams from schools in Kansas City and St. Louis along with the Lake of the Ozarks area schools.
I also hope the schools that competed in the Bass Pro Shops event will also come up to show off their great programs. I was really impressed by how well organized and dedicated those schools were to the bass fishing program. They are shining examples of what we hope to accomplish throughout the rest of the state and I consider those high school teams the ambassadors of this program.
There are still some details to work on for the Fall Classic but hopefully those will be ironed out in the next couple of weeks. Even though schools not signed up with the MSHSAA program will be allowed to send teams to compete in the Fall Classic, the teams will have to follow all MSHSAA requirements. To see a list of the MSHAA requirements visit https://www.mshsaa.org/Activities/Info/BassFishing.aspx and click on Proposed Insurance Guidelines for Bass Fishing.