Cooper Tire's Seventh Annual Big Bass Fishing Tournament
Cooper Tire’s Seventh Annual Big Bass Fishing Tournament is one of the largest in the Ark-La-Tex, and it is scheduled for Saturday, May 14 at Millwood Lake’s Yarborough Landing. Kyle Thomas, Distribution Operations Manager at Cooper Tire will head up the tournament this year. “We expect to have 190 fishermen in this year’s tournament as we have the largest payout we’ve ever had—($13,300) potentially,” he said. “We will also have more raffle prizes this year than we’ve had in years past.” The entry fee for this year’s tournament is $80 and registration is open until the morning of the tournament.
All proceeds from this tournament benefit the United Way of Greater Texarkana. United Way of Greater Texarkana campaigns year-round to raise money to give back to over 25 nonprofit partnering agencies who have programs focusing on either health, education, or financial stability. Money raised from the Cooper Tire Big Bass Tournament is a significant contribution to United Way and impacts individuals and families living right here in the greater Texarkana area!
The Cooper Tire Big Bass Tournament started as an idea from United Way board member and Cooper Tire Employee Christine Linder. She approached United Way President and CEO Mark Bledsoe about the fundraising idea and as Mark recalls, “I told her, sure! It will be a lot to put together, but if you think you can handle it and want to tackle it, I’m on board!” On Saturday, July 15, 2015, the first Cooper Tire Big Bass Tournament took place at Wright Patman Lake’s Sportsman’s Cove. The tournament was a success and raised over $10,000 to be donated to the United Way of Greater Texarkana.
Though the leadership and the location of the tournament have changed, it has continued to grow tremendously! Cooper Tire invested in top-of-the-line digital scales to weigh the fish and a digital score board that allows fishermen to see who is in the top rankings each hour. Their investments are paying off. Cooper Tire employees travel all the way from Findley, Ohio to fish in this tournament. Locals living in the Yarborough Landing edition participate every year as well. President of USW local 752L, Kerry Halter says, “The payouts are guaranteed, regardless of entries. This event helps local businesses and beyond. The Cast for Kids and Genoa Central Bass Club will be on hand at the tournament, serving hot food and cold drinks for donations for each of their charities. This event is for everyone. Raffle tickets will also be sold, making the drive to Yarborough Landing worth the trip. The prizes range from reels to outdoor equipment. I can say, as President of USW local 752L, we are proud to partner with Cooper Tire as a sponsor and not merely participate.”
The men and women of this area who love to fish do not want to miss out on this exciting event. Between the prize money and raffle items as well as the opportunity to support the United Way of Greater Texarkana, it is truly a “win-win.”