Autism Awareness has a new twist for a group of professional anglers in 2017. The new campaign on the Bassmaster Elite Series will build on last year’s "pounds for a pledge" donation. Because April is Autism Awareness month, Elite anglers who want to participate will be in the running for an "Autism Angler of April" award and will be judged in two ways.
The anglers will be ranked by weight in the two Elite Series events in April and by how much money they raise during April, in their name, for autism. All Elite anglers will be given an Autism Awareness wristband to allow them to show their support for the cause.
“Each year, we have tried to build on our autism campaign in April, which is Autism Awareness Month,” said Elite Series veteran John Crews. “This year, we are adding on our pounds pledge for donating to an autism charity by adding the Autism Angler of April award. I think it will get more anglers involved, talking about it, posting about it, raising more money, and getting the word out even more."
The prize for the winning angler will be a one-of-a-kind trophy donated by MTM Recognition. All the anglers will be encouraged to join in to create awareness for autism and help raise money for various autism charities and services. Anglers can raise money and donate themselves or have their fans donate to an autism charity in their name in order to count toward their total. Each angler will keep up with the amount of money raised and submit the total at the end of the month.
Crews will again donate $2 per pound of bass he catches during the month to two charities – Blue Ridge Autism and Achievement Center near his home in Virginia and Autism Speaks, a national autism charity. The Elite Series has stops at Toledo Bend and Ross Barnett reservoirs during April, so weights can accumulate quickly.
Eli Delany, Autism activist and avid bass angler, started and runs My Little Buddy’s Boat, an autism charity. Delany has helped push the autism flag to the forefront of bass fishing with his "Fishin’ With a Mission" decal program. Many Elite pros have the decals on their boats.
The winner of the Autism Angler of April award will be crowned at the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest on Sam Rayburn in May.