Lew's steps up to help school programs and anglers

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (Jan. 31, 2012) - Lew’s has announced a new program designed to assist high school and college fishing clubs and teams with their rods and reels needs. The company is also helping the first collegiate qualifier for the Bassmaster Classic fulfill his pro fishing dream.

“We’re pleased that Andrew Upshaw picked Lew’s as his rod and reel choice for what we believe will be a long and successful career for him,” said company CEO Lynn Reeves. “Andrew qualified for the Classic during his final year of eligibility through the B.A.S.S. collegiate program. Now out of school (Stephen F. Austin University, Texas), he’s 100 percent dedicated to competing at the highest level, and what better way to start than competing against the country’s best anglers in the Classic next month armed with Lew’s rods and reels.”

Reeves went on to say it is “exciting and humbling” to meet a new generation of anglers, including Upshaw, who have discovered and embraced the Lew’s brand. “Although Lew Childre is credited for many of the innovations still featured on today’s baitcast reels, it is my age group that is most familiar with the original Lew’s Speed Spool and Speed Spin reels,” said the industry veteran with nearly 40 years in the fishing business. “I was confident a lot of us old guys would be happy to see Lew’s products back on top, but I was unsure about the up and comers who weren’t familiar with the rich American heritage of this legendary brand.”

Lew’s President Gary Remensnyder said today’s young anglers have been an often discussed subject ever since the Lew’s brand was acquired by Reeves in 2009. “Lynn told me right up front that he liked the collegiate bass fishing programs and wanted to be involved,” he said. “I couldn’t have agreed more, plus I was aware of the fast-growing high school initiatives, too. We’re now ready to roll out a program to benefit both levels of higher education. We want young anglers across the country to know that Lew’s cares about them and wants to support their efforts."

Any high school or college fishing club/team that is recognized by the school’s administration and has a designated advisor, coach or adult supervisor is eligible to apply for participation in the official Lew’s school program. A club/team must consist of at least six full-time students to be eligible, and the club must remain active in accordance with participation guidelines for annual involvement. Acceptance into the Lew’s program allows club members a purchase discount opportunity for rods and reels, and access to other resources helpful in growing membership and promoting the sport of fishing.

“We want this to be a meaningful program for our brand, our retail partners and the school members involved,” added Remensnyder. “Acceptance is not automatic and our guidelines will be regulated. Meeting our criteria for participation validates a club’s credibility, and we want the team members to be just as proud as we are of being a part of Team Lew’s.”

More details about the Lew’s school program, including the application form and how to apply, can be found on the Lew’s web site under the “Team Lew’s” heading, and then by clicking on “School Programs.”

Although not officially launched until now, several high school and college fishing clubs have already aligned with Lew’s during the preliminary formation of the official program.

“Not all school club members have pro fishing aspirations, and our program isn’t all about building pro anglers,” Reeves explained. “We simply want young people to enjoy the sport like we do, and serve as ambassadors for others to see and learn from. Fishing is a healthy, wholesome activity for young men and women to learn now and enjoy the rest of their lives.”

Upshaw, 25, earned his Bassmaster Classic berth through the College B.A.S.S. National Championship qualification process in 2011, and is the first angler to do so. Does he have a chance at winning the Classic? “Absolutely,” said Reeves. “Andrew is a highly knowledgeable and competitive angler who has been fishing for years. The Red River isn’t that far from his home in Hemphill (Texas), and he’s fished it before and done well in tournaments there. He’s sure to have the pros looking over their shoulders.”