National Guard, FLW Outdoors Fortify Association

Veteran pros Hite and Rose join bass team, Shimota added to walleye team

Mar 01, 2011, 13:27 ET from FLW Outdoors

MINNEAPOLIS, March 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The nation's most time-honored military branch, the National Guard, has extended its partnership with FLW Outdoors, the world's largest tournament-fishing organization. This union is more than a sponsorship: it is an avenue to spread awareness of the national commitment of our servicemen and women to outdoor enthusiasts throughout the world, giving back to our soldiers and veterans through an opportunity to engage in fishing events, and encourage people to explore the opportunity of serving their country.


Trisha Blake, president, FLW Outdoors Marketing Division, stated: "We are both honored and proud to have the opportunity to continue our long-standing partnership with the National Guard. The impact they have had on the growth of our sport has been remarkable. What the National Guard men and women do each day to serve and protect our communities, country and the world is something we should all be thankful for. We look forward to further building upon our unique partnership as we continue to educate our constituents about the opportunities that serving in the National Guard present as well as honoring those that have served with our soldier appreciation tournaments."

The National Guard will continue to serve as the title sponsor of National Guard FLW College Fishing, solidifying its commitment to bringing high-end tournament fishing to campuses across the country. It will also be the title sponsor of the National Guard FLW Walleye Tour, the world's premier walleye tournament circuit. The Guard will continue to sponsor The Bass Federation (TBF) Junior World Championship and the TBF National Championship while serving as the presenting sponsor for the Walmart FLW Tour events on Lake Chickamauga and the Potomac River during the 2011 season.

FLW Outdoors and The Bass Federation launched a new national program in 2011, High School Fishing, the largest student-angler initiative in history. The National Guard will serve as the title sponsor for the High School Fishing Regional Championships and the High School Fishing National Championship. These championship events will be held in conjunction with the regional and national championship events for College Fishing.

The National Guard is also a vital component of the newly launched FLW Outdoors Wounded Heroes Fishing program. The program connects FLW Outdoors member volunteers with wounded veterans for a day of fishing. The program was launched earlier in 2011 and has seen incredible participation throughout the country. To take a veteran fishing for a day, sign up at

The National Guard FLW Soldier Appreciation Tournaments began in 2010, and they will continue to be operated by FLW Outdoors in conjunction with the Guard at select FLW Outdoors events in 2011. These tournaments are designed to reward service and excellence among deserving soldiers.

"The National Guard is proud to continue our partnership with FLW Outdoors," said 1st Lt. Benjamin Bullington. "We look forward to another year of telling the National Guard's story and representing all of the soldiers who have served or are currently serving both at home and overseas. Our soldiers are doing great things every day all over the world, and our partnership presents a great vehicle in order to honor their service."


Representing Team National Guard in 2011 will be some of the best anglers in the sport of bass fishing. The pro team will consist of Brent Ehrler of Redlands, Calif.; Jonathan Newton of Rogersville, Ala.; Justin Lucas of Guntersville, Ala.; and Scott Martin of Clewiston, Fla.; as well as newcomers Brett Hite of Phoenix and Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., who will all compete on the FLW Tour.

Serving as co-anglers on the FLW Tour will be Sgt. 1st Class Reginald Falls of Howard, Pa.; Sgt. Adam Lock of Metropolis, Ill.; Command Sgt. Maj. Michael "Doc" McGhee of Blackstone, Va.; Capt. Curtis Persinger of New Albany, Ind.; and Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wojciechowski of Smyrna, Tenn. McGhee will also fish as a pro in FLW Tour Open events, and Capt. Jonathan Walker of Tacoma, Wash., will fish as a pro in the EverStart Series Western Division.

Pro Mark Courts of Harris, Minn., will continue to represent the National Guard in walleye competition, but will be joined by Lonsdale, Minn., resident Bill Shimota for 2011. The Guard will also have two co-angler representatives from the host state in each Walleye Tour tournament.

The National Guard will host displays and promote its sponsored anglers during the 2011 season while providing interactive games and information to fans at the FLW Outdoors Expo, surrounding all Walmart FLW Tour and championship tournaments, and the College Fishing Festival, held in conjunction with National Guard FLW College Fishing events. In addition, the Guard will reach thousands of outdoor enthusiasts and their families throughout the country through these and other events associated with retailtainment, which brings entertainment to the retail experience and was made famous by Walmart. National Guard will also be highlighted across the numerous media platforms of FLW Outdoors, including all bass and walleye events, its websites, "FLW Outdoors" television show on VERSUS, and its bass and walleye magazines.


FLW Outdoors is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world offering anglers worldwide the opportunity to compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world's richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player's Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit or