This last weekend, the Crappie Masters National Tournament Trail hosted its National Championship on the Ouachita River near Monroe, LA. More than one hundred teams competed in the two-day tournament. However, there could only be one winner—and Eric Cagle was crowned the National Champion for his 14 fish weighing a total of 28.81 pounds. Stakes were high with a grand prize of $30,000, which Cagle took home along with a $2,000 bonus from the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council for using E10 in his boat.
When interviewed by Brian Sowers, the voice of Crappie Masters, Cagle was quick to comment on the dependability of the E10 fuel and said it’s all he’s ever used in the 1200 hours he’s run his boat. You can watch that full interview on Crappie Master’s Facebook page here.
The tournament weekend attracts crappie anglers from across the country and provides us with a national audience to educate avid boaters, oftentimes one of ethanol’s most strongest critics. Due to our sponsorship, the Crappie Masters team helps us tell our message that ethanol is safe to use in marine engines, has performance and environmental benefits, and higher blends beyond E10 are great for your light duty and tow vehicles. Every National Tournament Champion in the past six years fueled their boats with E10, as well as dozens of state and national tournament winners over the years.
One of the ethanol’s most vocal advocates is Brian Sowers himself, who also spoke at the 2020 National Ethanol Conference. “I have an 18 foot Nitro that has a 1992 motor on it… I’m one of those guys that when I pull up to the pump, [E10 is] the cheapest gas I can get. It’s never been in the shop and it runs like a top.”
The partnership with Crappie Masters is now four years strong and 2020 started off with great promise. Back in January, the 2020 Crappie Masters tournament season had begun, and numerous state chapters were ready to kick off their busy seasons. The new format introduced this year would take the co-title sponsorship of the Renewable Fuels Association and the National Corn Growers Association to new levels and expand by more than sixty tournaments.
Then the pandemic hit, and like everything else, tournaments were halted for a period of time. Fortunately for us and avid anglers, several states started loosening COVID restrictions and lockdowns in late April and early May, allowing many state chapters to resume hosting tournaments with appropriate protocols in place to keep folks safe.
The heat of the summer is usually when teams prepare and work to qualify for the National Championship. This year, it was the only time left to make up numerous tournaments across the country that had been postponed. Kudos to the state chapters, along with the national folks, for getting nearly all these tournaments completed ahead of last weekend’s National Championship.
Crappie Masters expects all the state chapters to return in 2021 and hopes to add a few more to the roster. We look forward to the continued education of ethanol-blended fuel in their boats and their tow vehicles!