EUFAULA, Ala. — Just hours before the DEWALT Bassmaster Elite at Lake Eufaula crowns its champion, volunteers spread out along the shores of Lake Eufaula to collect trash as part of the B.A.S.S. Nation Clean-Up Challenge sponsored by AFTCO and Huk.

“I love this lake and fish here a lot, so I hate to see trash around the area,” said volunteer Cal Culpepper, a 2018 member of the Bassmaster High School All-American team who now fishes for the University of Montevallo. “We also want to keep tournaments coming to Eufaula, and I worry that seeing litter at the weigh-in site will deter events from coming back.”

Led by Darrel High, the Youth and High School Director for the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation, volunteers from Headland High School, Zion Chapel High School, Harris County (Ga.) High School and the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation collected bags of trash from the shoreline of Lakepoint State Park, site of daily takeoffs and weigh-ins for the Elite Series event.

Harris County High School parent Dawn Culpepper felt it was important to have young anglers participate in the clean up efforts. “This teaches kids that there’s more than just fishing. They have to learn about conservation and protecting the source.”

Conservation efforts are a cornerstone of the B.A.S.S. tradition, and leading efforts to collect litter can have a sizable impact on the waterways the organization and its fans frequent.

“B.A.S.S. was founded on three things: tournament fishing competition, youth participation and conservation,” B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland said. “(B.A.S.S. Founder) Ray Scott used to always talk about the three-legged stool. This is one of the legs, and it doesn’t get talked about a lot.”

Bags of plastic bottles, cans, paper and plastic trash, styrofoam, umbrellas, shoes and even a water gun were collected in the clean-up effort.

“One of the things that we want to try to do is to improve the resource anytime we have a chance,” Gilliland said. “An event like this builds camaraderie between those participating. It builds goodwill with the communities that host our events.

“Most importantly, it helps us leave the venue better than we found it.”

The latest information on B.A.S.S. conservation efforts can be found on their group Facebook page or at Bassmaster.com.

2020 DEWALT Bassmaster Elite At Lake Eufaula Title Sponsor: DEWALT

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Abu Garcia, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ranger Boats, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Yamaha

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Carhartt, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Mossy Oak Fishing, Rapala

2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Conservation Partners: AFTCO, Huk

2020 DEWALT Bassmaster Elite At Lake Eufaula Local Host: Eufaula Barbour Chamber of Commerce

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 515,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2 and The Pursuit Channel), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship, new Huk Bassmaster B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series powered by TourneyX presented by Abu Garcia and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic.