The Nebraska Walleye Trail anglers gathered at the Sands Edge bar and grill on August 19th to bring the 2017 season to a close, share a meal, and hand out the Team of the Year awards, prizes, and checks. Every year the anglers look forward to the Team of the Tear banquet, it is a great time when friends and competitors come together to share stories, swap a few lies, share a few drinks, and just plain old have a good time. As in year’s past the meal was sponsored by Ranger Boats.
This year’s point’s race was tight one and came down to consistency and in some cases weathering the storm, all the anglers that hung in there for the Shut Up & Fish tournament know what I am talking about. After the final tally, the team of Roger Sheckler and Kenney Gewecke came out on top with 532 points and were crowned Team of the Year for the 2017, congratulations gentlemen. Roger and Kenney were consistent all year they had solid top 20 finishes in every tournament. They were awarded $1400 in cash, a pair of custom engraved St. Croix rods, and a Minn Kota Certificate.
In a very close second place and no strangers to the podium was the team of James Miller and Jason Cooper with 531 points. They made a late season charge at Merritt Reservoir with a strong jig fishing performance. They received $1100 in cash and a pair of Smooth Move seats.
Rounding out the top 3 this year was Randall Horine and Brandon Sinsel with 522 points. For their efforts Randall and Brandon received a check for $900. Finishing 4th and receiving $600 was the team of Jason Hettler and Brandon Shada with 520 points. 5th place was Bill McGannon and Brian Hunke with 515 points, they received a check for $500. In 6th place was Rob Martensen and Greg Meckelburg with 510 points, they received a check for $400. Finishing in 7th place and receiving $300 was with 508 points and total weight of 53.03 lbs was the father/son team of JD and Danny Baker. In 8th place was Scott Willis and Ben Seim also with 508 points and a total weight of 45.03 lbs, they earned $250. Finishing in 9th place and receiving a for $200 was Ron and Seth Green with 501 points and completing the top ten in 10th place was Travis Riley and David Burgell with 497 who earned a check for $150.
In addition to the TOY awards The NWT started a traveling plaque for the Sportsmanship award. This award was started to recognize a team that went above and beyond the call to help out others. This year Nick Green and Blake Powers went of their way to catch and retrieve some other angler’s gear and return it to them. For their good deeds, Nick and Blake received a traveling plaque and a paid entry to the 2018 state championship tournament. Throughout the year anglers are encouraged to let the board know if they see a team going out of their way to help.
In all this was a fantastic season on the trail, we had some of the biggest fields and largest payouts we have had in years. From all of us on the board we would like to thank all the anglers, sponsors, and individuals that stepped up and made these tournaments happen. When you’re out and about make sure to support our sponsors and tell them thank you.
Thanks again and we hope to see everyone next year.