(Oct 30, 2015 - )
The Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship was an event filled with season standouts — the Top 50 pros in the 2015 Elite Series, the Rookie of the Year Brent Ehrler, the Angler of the Year Aaron Martens and the Toyota Fan Favorite Kevin VanDam.
“A huge highlight for me at the championship was getting voted fan favorite in a sweepstakes contest sponsored by Toyota,” said VanDam in his recent column on Bassmaster.com. “It’s extremely humbling and flattering, and I take the fans’ opinion of me very seriously. It’s not something I will ever take for granted.”
Each of the 50 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year contenders were eligible to become the fan favorite, and fans could vote once a day for their preferred angler. Along with the fan favorite title, the angler with the most votes was given $5,000 to donate to his charity of choice.
“My wife Sherry and I decided to add $5,000 of our personal money and give it to the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis,” VanDam said. “I’ve taken Make-A-Wish cancer-afflicted kids fishing, and we have friends who have been afflicted with the disease.
“My good friend Mike Auten, former Bassmaster pro, has a son Ryan getting treatment at St. Jude. I’ve visited him there along with other children and seen the amazing things that the hospital does for families and the progress they’ve made in cancer research.”
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, located in Memphis, Tenn., is one of the world’s premier pediatric cancer research centers. Its mission is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.
The 2015 Toyota Angler of the Year Fan Favorite Sweepstakes gave bass fishing fans an opportunity to cast a vote for their favorite angler and enter for a chance to win a Toyota Tundra.
“I was so excited when I learned I had won the sweepstakes that I couldn’t sleep at night,” said Jason Rawlings of Riverside, Calif., winner of the Toyota Tundra. “I’ve never won anything before, but now, I’ve won a truck!
“It will be nice to have something that will make loading up for outdoor excursions with my kids so much easier,” Rawlings said. “And, the charity component to this sweepstakes is also great because a lot of people will be helped by this sweepstakes.”
To read more about VanDam’s Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Fan Favorite experience and his passion for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, see his column at Bassmaster.com/blog/kvd-humbling-moments-aoy.
About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family's ability to pay.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines, Bassmaster website, television show ,The Bassmasters.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series presented by TNT Fireworks, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.