The five legendary anglers and sportfishing industry leaders who comprise the Class of 2020 inductees into the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame are being honored by new, limited edition Bass Fishing Hall of Fame commemorative coins bearing their names.
The newest Hall of Fame members include two Bassmaster Classic champions—Jay Yelas and the late Bryan Kerchal—along with pioneering lure designer James Heddon, fishing educator Ron Lindner, and Steve Bowman, an innovator in bass fishing media and the professional fishing competitions.
They were to have been celebrated during the annual Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Induction Banquet scheduled for September 24 in Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, MO, but the dinner was postponed until 2021 because the COVID-19 pandemic would have made travel to the event difficult for many participants.
“While it’s unfortunate that we had to postpone our 2020 induction dinner, this first-year edition of the new Bass Fishing Hall of Fame commemorative challenge coin creates a lasting tribute to both our inductees and our celebration of the sport,” said John Mazurkiewicz, president of the Hall of Fame Board of Directors. “We appreciate the efforts of our volunteer board members in making this project become a reality, and we look forward to future editions for upcoming Hall of Fame induction classes.”
Challenge coins have long been popular among military service members, law enforcement personnel and first responders, who use them to confirm membership in elite organizations or teams. They are also created to honor outstanding individuals or commemorate important events, and they are highly prized as collectible items.
In addition to having their names on the coins, the five will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame museum, which opened in November 2017 within the Wonders of Wildlife complex at the flagship Bass Pro Shops store in Springfield. They will be inducted officially into the Hall of Fame along with the Class of 2021 in festivities to be held in the fall of 2021.
The beautifully minted coins bear the names of the 2020 inductees on one side and the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame logo and mission statement on the other. The coins will not be sold but will be given free to anyone who joins or renews membership as a supporter of the Hall of Fame during the annual membership drive now through the end of the year. (Visit BassfishingHoF.com to join or obtain more information.)
Supporters have the privilege of nominating individuals for consideration as inductees into the Hall of Fame. Nominees who meet the criteria for induction and are ratified by the Board of Directors are voted on by a select panel of 30 sportfishing industry leaders, media and professional anglers.
Supporter membership dues of $25 per year, combined with proceeds from the annual induction banquet and fundraising auction, enable the Hall of Fame Board to fulfill its mission of celebrating, promoting and preserving the sport of bass fishing. The Hall of Fame auction, offering valuable prizes, one-of-a-kind items and bucket-list fishing trips, will be held online this year starting on Tuesday, September 22. More details can be found on the BFHOF website and Facebook page.
In addition, the Board is currently reviewing applications for conservation grants to benefit bass fishing resources. Winners will be announced soon.
The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring anglers, manufacturers, innovators and media representatives who have furthered the sport of bass fishing. On display at Johnny Morris’ Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium are artifacts, photos and biographical information about the 77 Hall of Famers who have been inducted since 2001. To become a supporting member of the Hall, visit https://www.bassfishinghof.com/membership.