Rend Lake Tournament to Benefit Athletes in Illinois

NORMAL, Ill. – Professional bass fisherman Chad Morgenthaler of Coulterville, Ill., is hooked on Special Olympics. He is teaming up with Special Olympics Illinois and the Law Enforcement Torch Run to host the 4th Annual Chad Morgenthaler Bass Tournament presented by Jasper Engines & Transmissions on Aug. 29 at Rend Lake in southern Illinois.

The tournament is a buddy team format, with a Beat the Pro fishing contest and chances to win great prizes. Morgenthaler and other Professional Anglers Association (PAA) pros will participate.

The fishing tournament is limited to the first 150 boats to register. Entry is $175 per boat if registered by 5 p.m. Aug. 21 which includes entry into the Big Bass pot. Entry fee is $200 per boat for those who register after 5 p.m. Aug. 21. Each angler receives a T-shirt and goodie bag full of tackle. The first three years of the tournament raised more than $77,000 for Special Olympics Illinois.

PAA anglers, tournament sponsors, auction items and two-person teams are still needed for the tournament. Donations and auction items may be sent in care of:

Jeff Henson
Special Olympics Illinois
605 E. Willow St.
Normal, IL 61761

Anglers and companies interested in getting involved in the tournament may contact Henson at 800-394-0562 or email him at

Registration for the tournament is from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28, at Rend Lake Resort, the official housing site for the tournament. A pre-tournament meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at the resort. The meeting includes dinner, an auction of great fishing items and a meet and greet with the pro anglers. Rend Lake Sailboat Harbor is the launch site for the tournament.

For entry forms or more information, contact Jeff Henson at Special Olympics Illinois at 800-394-0562, email him at or visit to download a form.

Morgenthaler is a three-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier and has several FLW Top 10 tournament finishes. He became involved with Special Olympics Illinois in 2005 when he donated a day-long fishing trip as part of an online auction sponsored by the organization. Special Olympics athletes were on hand at Crab Orchard Lake in southern Illinois to see Morgenthaler and the auction winner begin their fishing trip. That experience led to Morgenthaler’s interest in hosting a charity tournament for the organization.

“I was inspired by the courage and enthusiasm shown by the Special Olympics athletes,” said Morgenthaler. “After talking more with Special Olympics Illinois, we agreed a fishing tournament would be an exciting way to introduce the organization and its athletes to a previously untapped audience of fishermen.”

Chad Morgenthaler, 42, has been a professional bass fisherman since 2002. He is sponsored by Jasper Engines & Transmissions, Phoenix Boats, Yamaha Motors, Lunker Lure – Hawg Caller, Svanda GM Motor Group, Solar Bat, Power-Pole, Nameoki Village Marine, Abu Garcia, Trilene, Plano Tackle, Minn Kota, Element 21 Fishing, Optima Batteries and Professional Anglers Association.

Special Olympics Illinois is a not-for-profit organization offering year-round training and competition in 19 sports for more than 22,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics programs enhance physical fitness, motor skills, self-confidence, social skills and encourage family support.

The Illinois Law Enforcement Torch Run is the single largest year-round fund-raising event benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. The intrastate relay and its various fundraising projects have two goals: to raise money and increase public awareness for the athletes of Special Olympics. Each year, more than 3,000 officers in Illinois run more than 1,500 miles carrying the Flame of Hope through the streets of their hometowns and deliver it to the State Summer Games in Normal in June.