2004 Junior Championship

Charlotte, North Carolina
July 24th, 2004

The Minnesota B.A.S.S. Federation flew Derek Kuntz and Randy Helms and their parents to Charlotte, North Carolina with B.A.S.S. hosting them up at the Omni Hotel.

Derek and Randy went through the sponsor line and picked up their products. Following the pre-tournament meeting, they attended the kickoff dinner at the Omni Ballroom. B.A.S.S. brought the B.A.S.S. Classic qualifiers in one at time and introduced them. After dinner the pros and contenders were announced and presented. Contenders from different states (and each age group) were paired together. Derek was paired with Gary Klien as his boat driver. Gary Klein is no stranger to Bassmaster Classic events with 22 appearances. Randy was paired with Lee Bailey Jr., two time classic qualifier.

On Sunday July 25th the pro-am was held where Derek and Randy along with their partners, fished along side their Bass Classic qualifiers that day as a team. The boats they used were the boats being used in the Bassmaster Classic. Each person in the boat brought in one fish for a total of three per boat. This was also their pre-fishing day. The pros helped their junior anglers put together patterns and how they would fish the tournament waters. The weigh-in site that day was on the shores of Lake Norman. Each team was brought up to the scales along with their pro just like you see on TV for weigh-in.

On Monday July 26th the tournament began. In the 11-14 year old division Minnesota’s own Derek Kuntz finished in 5th place with one fish weighing 1-14, and catching his fish on a 3/8 oz Blk/Blue All Terrain Tackle Jig while fishing with Gary Klien. In the 15-18 year old division also from Minnesota Randy Helms finished a strong 15th place with one fish weighing 1-13 while fishing with Lee Bailey Jr.

Derek and Randy showed true professionalism and sportsmanship throughout the event. All the junior anglers were treated as champions.

Youth Director’s Perspective:

B.A.S.S. went all out to make this a truly great experience for all the junior anglers. The banquet, tournament site, and all the items behind the scenes made this a truly great experience. I assisted with the tournament in push off and the weigh-in. I helped check in boats and talked with all the Junior anglers and their Classic Pro drivers. The pros all commented on the junior anglers skills and determination out on the water with the tough fishing conditions. The pros are convinced that one of these kids will some day from these junior World Championship will be at the Bassmaster Classic one day and win it. They are all looking forward to next year. Next year the Classic heads to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and two lucky Minnesota junior federation anglers will make that prestigious trip.

Minnesota Sponsors for Derek and Randy at the Junior Bassmaster World Championship include:
Minnesota B.A.S.S. Federation
Cenex - life vests and patches
All Terrain Tackle - lures and embroidery
Mojo Rods - custom rods
Ranger Boats - custom embroidered shirts
A & N Tackle - custom culling ropes, balance beams and embroidery
Berkley - lures and patches

Todd Saterbak
Minnesoat B.A.S.S. Federation Youth Director