What started as a local Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation chapter idea to get more local youth outdoors and involved at both the high school and junior levels, yielded fantastic results as the QUWF Jr. Bison Fishing Team qualified for the BassMasters JR. National Championship in Nashville, Tenn., according to a news release from Craig Alderman of QUWF. Kaden Abmeyer, Blake Louderbaugh and their mentor and boat captain Drew Simon recently competed in a 54-boat field with qualifiers from all across the nation.

“We could not be more proud of these kids as they represent the new effort of ‘clean streams’ and embracing the outdoor lifestyle through youth fishing with QUWF,” Alderman said. “More important, they literally stood on a national stage with ESPN TV coverage and called out their local community of Buffalo and the support provided to them. These kids rock.”

The fishing team is thankful for the local support.

“A very special thank you to the MS Propane Co. of Buffalo. They are first-class. Drew Simon and Drew Sanford of MS Propane provided the fantastic, fully wrapped tournament boat and equipment for the boys to compete in and the expert experience to guide them through their very first national fishing tournament, televised on ESPN to boot,” said Christine Abmeyer, chairwoman of the local QUWF chapter and leader of the QUWF Bison Fishing Team efforts in Buffalo. “It is no small task taking time off to trailer the boat to Nashville, fuel it, guide and mentor them for the experience of a lifetime, then bring it back to the Buffalo area. We believe this is a first for a Buffalo Bison youth team, and we hope our community will recognize the dedication MS Propane and QUWF provided and support them.”

The team of Kaden Abmeyer and Louderbaugh ranked 25th out of 54 boats the first day of competition and finished the final day of fishing in 31st place out of 54.

“This is a fantastic showing for their first-ever exposure to a national, televised spotlight,” according to a news release.

The team finished with 8 pounds and 7 ounces, with both boys catching many bass. The Bison Team Facebook page had continual updates on the team’s progress. The tournament lasted three full days. The first day is pre-fishing, then two days of actual tournament fishing, a grueling pace for the strongest of anglers.

“We want this to be a beginning and set a stage for others to follow each year and expand the concept to other chapters of QUWF nationwide,” Alderman said.

The Bison Fishing Team in Buffalo has a pond restoration project next on its list. The team is learning hands-on conservation of “clean streams” as well as the joy of fishing. 

Everyone is encouraged to get youth outdoors. To join the QUWF efforts at the local level, go to quwf.net.

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