The Major League Fishing (MLF) 2021 Lucas Oil Challenge Cup presented by B&W Trailer Hitches is set to premiere with a two-hour episode Saturday, Jan. 2, at 1 pm CST on the Outdoor Channel. The event, shot over six days in September 2020 in Neenah, Wisconsin, and hosted by the Fox Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau (FCCVB), showcases 30 MLF pro anglers kicking off the 2021 Cup season.
“Hosting the Major League Fishing Challenge Cup was a unique opportunity that we were honored to be chosen for,” said FCCVB Director of Sports Marketing Matt Ten Haken. “It was extremely exciting for us to have some of the best anglers in the world come to the Fox Cities and be tested by our fisheries. I look forward to this event showcasing our community and our abundance of fishing options here in eastern Wisconsin.”
According to MLF Director of Event Research and Program Analyst Marty Stone, the primary factor for anglers in the Challenge Cup in Neenah was the fall transition.
“Throughout this event, the temperatures were dropping. That was a signal for these fish to feed, and in a hurry. And we see it play out throughout this event. Every one of the lakes that the anglers competed on in the Fox Cities was so uniquely different. From round to round, there was never a specific tactic or pattern that the anglers could carry over as they advanced. There was a lot of wind, a lot of adjustments, and these guys had to fly by the seat of their pants. We get to see it all – anglers in the rivers and canals, shallow-water vegetation, fishing boat docks, offshore stops. This was an extremely fun tournament and will make for some dramatic, must-see television episodes.”
The anglers competed on four different fisheries across the region, including Lake Winnebago, Lake Poygan, Lake Winneconne and Lake Butte des Morts. The fisheries were unknown to the anglers; they do not learn where they are competing until they arrive to the boat launch ramp each morning of competition.
The event will air on the Outdoor Channel as six, two-hour original episodes each Saturday afternoon starting Jan. 2, 2021, and running through Feb. 6, airing from 1-3 pm CST Each episode will be available for viewing on the MyOutdoorTV (MOTV) streaming app on the Monday morning following each episode’s Saturday premiere.
The first episode premiering Jan. 2 will feature the 10 anglers in Group 1 competing in their opening Elimination Round. Episode two will feature the 10 anglers in Group 2; Episode three the 10 anglers in Group 3. The top six finishers from each group’s Elimination Round advance to the two-day Sudden Death Round – episodes four and five – where nine anglers compete each day and try to finish in the top four. The sixth and final episode will feature the final eight anglers competing in the Championship Round to catch the most weight that they can to be crowned the 2021 Challenge Cup Champion.
The 10 Anglers in Group 1 that compete this Saturday (Jan. 2) on Day One of the 2021 Lucas Oil Challenge Cup are:
- Zack Birge of Blanchard, Okla.
- David Dudley of Lynchburg, Va.
- Chris Lane of Guntersville, Ala.
- Jordan Lee of Cullman, Ala.
- Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa.
- Mike McClelland of Blue Eye, Mo.
- Andy Montgomery of Blacksburg, S.C.
- Takahiro Omori of Tokyo, Japan
- Jeff Sprague of Point, Texas
- Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich.
The 10 Anglers in Group 2 that compete next Saturday (Jan. 9) on Day Two of the 2021 Lucas Oil Challenge Cup are:
- Adrian Avena of Vineland, N.J.
- Stephen Browning of Hot Springs, Ark.
- Brent Chapman of Lake Quivira, Kan.
- Ott DeFoe of Blaine, Tenn.
- Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla.
- Anthony Gagliardi of Prosperity, S.C.
- Alton Jones, Jr. of Waco, Texas
- Britt Myers of Lake Wylie, S.C.
- Jacob Powroznik of Prince George, Va.
- Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn.
The 10 Anglers in Group 3 that compete in the final Elimination Round (Jan. 16) on Day Three of the 2021 Lucas Oil Challenge Cup are:
- Josh Bertrand of Queen Creek, Ariz.
- Dustin Connell of Clanton, Ala.
- Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La.
- Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tenn.
- Michael Neal of Dayton, Tenn.
- Mark Rose of Wynne, Ark.
- Fletcher Shryock of Newcomerstown, Ohio
- Scott Suggs of Alexander, Ark.
- Randall Tharp of Port Saint Joe, Fla.
- Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn.
The full television schedule can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram , and YouTube.
The FCCVB hosts a plethora of other local, regional and national sporting events every year in the Fox Cities. The last MLF competition hosted, the Bass Pro Tour Evinrude Stage Eight Presented by Tracker Off Road, was in 2019. Sports tourism drives thousands of visitors to the Fox Cities and millions of dollars in visitor spending into the region every year.
News release, information, and photo shared from Major League Fishing.