Cabelas and I.O.W.A. Tournament Trail Sets 2008 Season
Mar 5th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Mar 5th, 2008 at 12:00 AM
The ice is still thick and Old Man Winter still has Iowa’s lakes in his grip, but plans for the 2008 season are already taking shape for the hottest tournament circuit in the Hawkeye state, the Iowa Organization of Walleye Anglers (I.O.W.A.) Team Walleye Tournament Trail. Highlighting the 2008 season will be the Cabela’s I.O.W.A. State Championship to be held on the Mississippi River at Prairie du Chien on October 11-12. “We had a great year in 2007, but 2008 promises to be even more exciting!” said Dean Higgins, who along with his wife Chris, owns and directs the I.O.W.A. circuit. “Having a sponsor like Cabela’s partner with us as the title sponsor of the I.O.W.A. State Championship can be summed up in one word: GREAT! We have a great sponsor, great location for big ‘eyes and a great time of the year to be on the Mississippi River.” In addition to the typical 80 percent payback based on number of entries, sponsorships this year will provide an additional $33,000 in cash and prizes. “We are really proud to be able to offer our teams this type of payback. It’s all due to the partnerships with our sponsors,” said Higgins.The road to the Cabela’s I.O.W.A. State Championship begins on Sunday, April 6 at Storm Lake, followed by a stop at Clear Lake on Sunday, April 20, Lake Rathbun on Monday, May 26 and a return trip to Clear Lake on Sunday, September 14. The tournament waters for this season provide interesting opportunities for the competing teams. “We continue to target not only good walleye waters, but also communities that we know appreciate our tournament anglers coming to their area.” For that reason, Higgins says Clear Lake, one of the premiere walleye hotspots in Iowa will be on the docket twice. “Our teams have always enjoyed fishing this lake. Both April and September are typically hot fishing times on Clear Lake. In addition, the community of Clear Lake has always responded very positively to our visits.” FCIS “Anglers Choice” Insurance of Forest City is partnering with the I.O.W.A. circuit and will be the title sponsor for both Clear Lake events. In commemoration of its 30th anniversary as an insurance provider, FCIS will give the 30th place finisher at each Clear Lake qualifier a free entry to a future I.O.W.A. tournament and a check for $250. In addition, FCIS will also provide a free entry to two other teams that finish out of the money at both qualifiers. Reflecting on the purpose of the circuit, Higgins noted. “Our goal remains the same. We want to make the I.O.W.A. Trail the ultimate experience for the Iowa anglers. It will continue to be for the weekend warrior, and we are working very hard to increase the number of anglers fishing the circuit, to create larger purses, to increase the number of sponsors, to add more prizes and to provide new opportunities for our teams.”The entry fee will be $240 per team for all events with an 80 percent payback plus additional prizes and awards. Membership for the Iowa Organization of Walleye Anglers will be $30 per person. “One of the rewarding opportunities for all I.O.W.A. anglers is our Enhanced Fishing Conservation Fund where $10 of each entry fee goes to the fund” Higgins continued, “We know the importance of sponsorships for the success of the circuit, and we have are continuing to add to the list of corporate sponsors who have a sincere interest in circuits like the I.O.W.A. circuit,” said Higgins. “This year’s corporate sponsors include Lund, Mercury Outboards, ShoreLand’r Trailers, Algona Marine and Sport, MinnKota, Humminbird, ABU Garcia, Cabela’s, Mack’s Lure, Smooth Move Seat Mounts, EZEE Step Inc., FCIS Anglers Choice Insurance of Forest City, King’s Pointe Resort of Storm Lake and Wright County Motors of Clarion as corporate sponsors.” With such sponsors, the I.O.W.A. circuit will be able to offer several special awards: the Lund Bonus, Algona Marine and Sport Lund Matching Bonus, Humminbird Team of the Year, MinnKota Family Team of the Year, the MinnKota Rookie Team of the Year, the ABU Garcia Linecounter Lunker Award, the Mercury Heavy Weight Award, the Smooth Moves Seat Award, the Need Mack’s Lure Award, the EZEE Step Contingency Award, FCIS Anglers Choice Insurance Bonus and the Wright County Motors Contingency Cash Award. Higgins continued, “We are also in the process of putting together even more sponsorship packages and will announce them as they are completed.” Higgins will spend several weekends at winter sport shows sharing the I. O.W.A. story. “We have had a lot of interest in the circuit, and I look forward to continued growth this year,” said Higgins. “As for the Cabela’s I.O.W.A State Championship, I think it’s going to be an awesome experience fishing the Mississippi River at that time of year. The teams that qualify will be in for the time of their life!” The I.O.W.A. website (www.walleyepromotions.com) contains all the rules, registration, schedule, special awards, contact information and sponsors. “We also have our message board as the on-line communication link. It’s a great place to ask questions or simply post a fishing idea. It is the hub for I.O.W.A. members. Interested anglers can call (515) 571-1085.