Area Student Heads to Crappie Masters

Sep 08, 2015

Fundraising Efforts in Full Swing!

This time of year, families are focused on the return to school and gaining back routines lost through the summer months. For one local family, an opportunity for education exists beyond the current school year – through the love of fishing.

Last summer, The Buckner Clarion featured Austin Wright, a young man who competed in a fishing tournament with the potential for advancement to the national level. Unfortunately, the fishing did not work out in his favor but just behind him was his little brother, Cameron Wright, who won the entry into this year’s qualifying tournament.

Both brothers were granted this opportunity through the Kids Fishing and Education organization. During Crappie Masters tournaments, a kids fishing rodeo is held. All children receive a prize and one lucky youth is drawn through a raffle for an entry into the following year’s tournament.

Mike Vallentine, Crappie Masters President, said “We are committed to introducing the outdoors and crappie fishing to our youth by teaching them about conservation, preservation, sportsmanship and the outdoor way of life. Partnering with Kids Fishing and Education has allowed us to reach out and offer more to today’s youth and provide them a better opportunity in higher education.”

On August 22, 2015 Cameron and his partner, George Ryberg, hit the waters at Truman Lake in hopes of catching seven big crappie and they did just that. They weighed seven fish for a total weight of 7.28 lbs., landing them in 14th place overall and first place in the adult/youth division. The team won a top team adult/youth plaque, $275.00 in prize money, $100 gift card to Bass Pro Shops, $100 gift card to Everhart’s and a spot in the national competition to be held Sept. 25-26 in Paris, Tennessee.

“It was a fun tournament and I really liked fishing with George and making new friends,” said Wright. “I was really happy when I found out that I might get the chance to go to nationals!”

Due to work conflicts, Ryberg is unable to attend the national competition. This hurdle did not stop the youth from chasing his dream. Through a collaborative effort of his parents and the crappie masters team, Wright will compete with a new partner, Mike Roseberry, at the end of September. “I will be rooting for him to come up with a big finish and wish him the best of luck on this next leg of the tournament,” Ryberg said. 

One hundred and seventy five teams will gather to chase the title of National Champions and the grand prize of $30,000. The top 30 teams will receive cash awards and 31st-40th places will receive prizes.

Among the tournament, Wright and Roseberry will compete in the Adult/Youth division also. The top adult/youth angler team will receive a $3,000 scholarship and a Minn Kota I-Pilot Trolling Motor, as well as recognition as the Youth National Champion.

Wright’s adventure however, doesn’t stop there. He has also been selected as one of three youth in the 10-12 age division, who will compete in the Youth Scholarship Fish Off, Sept. 24. He, along with the other competitors, will be teamed up with a professional fishing team to oversee and mentor the youth fishing. Each youth angler will weigh in three fish. The youth angler in each age group with the most weight will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Plaques and prizes will be awarded to the other placing youth.

“As parents, we are excited for this opportunity for our son. More importantly, we are impressed by his grace and gratitude for the opportunity and his drive to accomplish so much at such a young age. We’ve always encouraged Cameron to set goals in life and attain them through hard work and education. He is aware of the financial strain this would place on our family but is willing to do what it takes to accomplish his dream. We would also like to express our appreciation for Crappie Masters, Kids Fishing and Education, to George Ryberg who brought him to this point and Mike Roseberry for completing this adventure with Cameron,” said Jessica and Jason Mauzey, Wright’s parents.

In the true nature of this 12 year old competitor, he is committed to raise as much money as possible to offset the costs of this trip. On Sept. 11, his family and friends will host a spaghetti dinner at Buckner Town Hall from 5-7 p.m. The cost is by donation only and a raffle will also be held for various prizes. On Sept. 12, he will be participating in the swap-and-shop held at Sibley Orchards, selling his homemade jellies. Anyone interested in donating should contact Jessica Mauzey at 816.284.9474 or can donate through PayPal using For more information about Kids Fishing and Education or Crappie Masters, visit or

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