Game Wardens and Nixon Guide Young Anglers To Vexus Varsity™ Bonus

If the tiny community of Bee Branch, Arkansas, sounds familiar to serious bass fishing fans, blame it on Bass Fishing Hall of Famer Larry Nixon, who has called the rural community home for decades.


The area is also home to Nixon’s nephew and talented high school angler Cole Pennington, who partnered with Vexus® Boats angler Ely Hagans to become one of the very first teams to win a celebratory banner and $500 in Tackle Warehouse gift cards.


“Uncle Larry (Nixon) has been a huge influence. He’s taught us a lot about fishing but also to trust the Lord and His plan. He and Joey Cifuentes have told us to keep our faith, trust our gut, and never give up easily. We were both raised to believe that,” says Pennington.


The new Vexus Varsity program rewards qualifying high school teams who win a sanctioned tournament while competing in a Vexus boat with a Tackle Warehouse gift card for $500. Qualifying college teams who win a sanctioned tournament in a Vexus boat will win a $1,000 Tackle Warehouse gift card.


Pennington and Hagans won the Vexus Varsity prizes as a result of their victory at the Arkansas Game & Fish Commissioners’ Cup event on Lake Hamilton, where they cast big Zoom worms and Jewel finesse jigs on Powell rods to boat a winning weight of 13.92 pounds.


Ironically, Pennington’s grandfather and Hagan’s father worked together as Arkansas Game Wardens. So, there’s no doubt these two young fishermen have been mentored with a double helping of morality, integrity, and a rare insight into all things outdoors.


Hagans, who fishes out of a Vexus AVX1980 aluminum boat, says he’s already spent his portion of the $500 Tackle Warehouse gift card on Aaron’s Magic-colored drop-shot worms, light wire hooks, and Berkley Dredger 17.5 crankbaits.


When asked what he likes most about his Vexus, the future Bethel University angler responded without hesitation, “This boat floats in super shallow water, which allows us to fish in places some people won’t even try to take a fiberglass boat.”


Given the incredible guidance these two young anglers have been given, coupled with high aspirations to fish for a living someday, this will likely be their first of many times to hang a Vexus banner in their boat garage or dorm room. There’s also a strong chance they’ll keep Bee Branch, Clinton, and the rest of Van Buren County, Arkansas, recognizable to fishing fans for years to come.


Young anglers who wish to join the Vexus contingency programs are encouraged to register under the “Info” tab at




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