A Winner and Great Fisherman

Oct 29, 2015

Last month, Cameron Wright had the opportunity to compete against some of the best pro fishing teams in the country.

In August, Wright and his fishing partner, George Ryberg, competed in the state qualifying Crappie Masters tournament at Truman Lake. They took first place in the adult/youth division and qualified for a spot at the 2015 Crappie Masters National Championship in Paris, Tennessee. 

In order to get to nationals, Wright had to pay for the entry fee and his family had to cover their travel expenses. With less than one month until the tournament, Wright organized two fundraisers in addition to managing his schoolwork and preparing for the trip. He and his family hosted a spaghetti dinner and sold homemade jelly to help cover the cost of going to nationals. With the proceeds from both of his fundraising events and additional community support, Wright was able to raise $1,200. 

“This gives a lot of credit to our community and to the town that we live in,” Jessica Mauzey, Wright’s mother, said about the financial support that made her son’s trip possible. “A lot of times you see communities come together in acts of tragedy or when something is wrong. This was a positive event, and it was really great to see the community step up and help him compete.”

Though Ryberg was unable to go to nationals due to work conflicts, Wright still needed a fishing partner in order to compete. Mike Vallentine, Crappie Masters president, introduced Wright’s family to Mike Roseberry in early September. With Roseberry as his new fishing partner, Wright and his family were ready to travel to Tennessee and take part in the tournament.

The 2015 Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters National Championship was held in September. Over 170 teams competed for the main title and the grand prize of $30,000. Six children, including Wright, were also given the opportunity to compete in the Scholarship Fish-Off. 

Each of the children partnered with a professional team to compete against the others in their age division. Wright was paired with Charles and Travis Bunting, 2012 National Champions, to go out on the lake and fish for four hours. After all six teams weighed their catch, Wright was named Youth Scholarship Champion for the 10-12 age division. As the winner, he received a commemorative plaque and a $1,000 scholarship toward his college education. 

“He was very excited!” said Mauzey. “He was smiling from ear to ear.” Wright and Roseberry went on to place fourth in the Adult/Youth division and 82nd overall. 

Wright’s success at nationals and his positive experience with Crappie Masters has had an enormous effect on his self confidence. “Getting to meet professional teams, getting to know the president of the Crappie Masters, and just the experience in general has really boosted his self esteem,” Mauzey said. “It taught him self worth and showed him that if you put your mind to something you can achieve anything.”

And though Wright didn’t take home the main prize, he and his parents were grateful for the opportunity to compete.  “He was a little bit disappointed that they only took fourth in adult/youth,” his mother explained, “But he learned that it doesn’t matter what place you get. It matters what you put into it, what you learned, if you had fun and the connections you made with others.”

Mauzey was also proud of her son’s character and sportsmanship during the tournament. “I think my husband Jason and I have a better recognition of how much integrity and grace he has as a human being. We watched him go up, shake hands with people and congratulate others if they did better or if they didn’t do as well as he did.”

After winning a top prize at the national championship and competing with some of his favorite pro fisherman, 12-year-old Cameron has walked away from the experience with a strong sense of self worth. “I’m a really good fisherman,” he replied when asked what he learned about himself while competing in the tournament. 

Wright and his family are grateful for the support of the Buckner community and the fishing community at large. “Thank you to Crappie Masters for the opportunity, as well as Kids Fishing and Education,” Mauzey said. “If it weren’t for them, this opportunity wouldn’t have been possible for Cameron.” She also thanked Ryberg and Roseberry, her son’s fishing partners, for their commitment during the state qualifiers and national championship.

About the Writer

Jessica Fraser

Freelance Writer

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