National Finalists Set For National Finals of BASSMASTER CastingKids
 
MOBILE, Ala. (April 28, 2001)—Ten youths have advanced from the BASSMASTER CastingKids semifinals to the popular program’s national championship to be held this summer in New Orleans. The event attracted 94 youths from 46 states and the province of Ontario.
 
Presented by Chevy Trucks, CastingKids is a nationwide program that promotes fishing, environmental stewardship, and family values to youths ages 7 to 14. Thousands of contests are held nationwide each year, with the program culminating in the semifinals held today and then the national championship held during bass fishing’s world championship.
 
The program has two age divisions—7 to 10 and 11 to 14—with five finalists representing each of the B.A.S.S. Chapter Federation’s geographical divisions. The 10 finalists will compete for a total of $21,000 in college scholarship funds when the championship is held in New Orleans this August.
 
National finalists in the 7-10 age division are Nick Anderson, Sparta, Wis. (Northern), Dylan Schaefer, St. Mary’s, Ga. (Southern), Jessica Digman, Sykesville, Md. (Eastern), Steven Nodine, Carlsbad, N.M. (Western) and Ory Schuman, Lincon, Neb. (Central).
 
The 11 to 14 division finalists are Randy Helms, Stillwater, Minn. (Northern), Federick Phillips, St Pauls, N.C. (Southern), Jon Laukhuff, Beech, Pa. (Eastern), Andy Whilden, Craig, Col. (Western) and Dustin Plunkett, Lawton, Okla. (Central).
 
This semifinals marked the first time a cast-off was not required to determine finalists in the 7 to 10 age division. Competition in the 11 to 14 division will be tough—Phillips, Laukhuff and Whilden each had perfect scores of 150 points. What is more, 13-year-old Helms has been in the program since 1997 and is the sibling of Tami Helms, 18, who won consecutive national championships in 1996-97.
 
“I’m excited about getting to finally have a chance to win a championship,” said Randy Helms. “It would mean a lot to my family since we’d have two championships.” Between Randy, Tami and 15-year-old brother Brian, the family has racked up eight state titles and two national championships in seven years.
 
The object of CastingKids is to hit a bull’s eye target with a hookless lure. Each contestant flips to the target from 10 feet away, pitches at 20 feet and casts from 30 feet. A perfect score is 150 points.
 
Sponsors of BASSMASTER CastingKids presented by Chevy Trucks are: the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, Zebco, Mercury Marine, Flowmaster Exhaust Systems, Pennzoil Marine, Long John Silver’s Restaurants, Ranger Boats and Berkley Power Bait.